Thursday, March 15, 2007

Amanda Baggs on Drug Withdrawal

If the reader is not familiar with Amanda Baggs, this post is not going to make a lot of sense.
So if you don't know who she is, first do a bit of homework. Check out this link and come back and finish reading here.
I'll wait.


Okay then.
NOW go to this most recent post by Amanda and read her account of the variety of medications to which she has been subjected and her various responses. Sounds like she's been there, done that...

Many years ago, I was on a neuroleptic. I was found to be toxic on that neuroleptic (very toxic, in fact) and put on another one instead. That one was heavily sedating (among other things). Instead of doing anything with the dosage of the neuroleptic (Zyprexa, which they’d cranked up to 45 milligrams in their continuing tradition of overdosing me on things by prescription), they added Wellbutrin (lots of it) to the mix. I immediately felt deliriously and unreasonably happy, started believing all sorts of weird and grandiose things (and I’d been recently exposed to a lot of New Age crap, so that had a heavy influenced on what weird things I believed), and had way too much energy.

Now, when you have this kind of side-effect on Prednisone (and I have had an extremely similar one on that recently), it’s considered a side-effect of a drug. An unpleasant one, and one that needs to be watched out for and guarded against, but a side-effect, not something innate. When you have a side-effect like this on a psych drug, the assumption is too often that you had this all along as an “underlying issue” and that the proper thing to do is to “treat that issue” rather than to reduce or eliminate the psych drug.

So the next thing I knew I was being put on Lithium for either bipolar or schizoaffective disorder depending on who you asked. And I was beginning to think that maybe they were right about me being out of touch with reality for real, and becoming far more likely to want to take every drug they shoved at me, because even I was aware that something was a little “off” here.

She's just getting warmed up at this point.
Go to the link and read the rest.
This remarkable young woman is changing the way I look at people, medicine and just about everything else.


Dr. T said...

You should not base your opinions of psychiatrists on the stories of one patient, especially when the stories make little sense medically.

In psychiatry it can be difficult to distinguish between drug side effects and drug unmasking of latent psychiatric problems. Some psychiatrists are better at this than others, but that does not mean the entire profession is bad.

Hoots said...

Thank you for leaving a comment.

Amanda's post says more to me about the complicated challenges facing psychiatrists than the efficacy of any treatment approach. Others may be as narrow as you suggest in their opinions, but I certainly am not.

Her story illustates to me how easily people of good will, with the best of intentions, can be on the wrong track. I haven't read even a small part of her writing, but the little I have seen is quite impressive. I don't get the impression that she is trying to blame or sit in judgement on physhiatrists or any other group. Her mission seems to be simply one of raising the awareness of Autism, its unrealized variety and the many misguided attempts to "manage" or "cure" a condition that may (or may not) need both but not in the manner that the practioner or family member imagines.

I found her essay on the meaning of power to be powerful, inciteful and inspiring. You might want to look it over before thinking she is just another "case."

I would also like to hear what parts of her story "make little sense medically." Perhaps as a trained professional you could break it down so that a lay person might understand.