Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How I view physical treatments for Mental Illness

Even though there is always a spiritual component to mental health problems, there are physical symptoms too to deal with. My take up to now in these posts on mental health is that both the physical (body) and the spiritual (mind, heart, soul) are involved in mental illness. Both components must be treated, not just one. In today's treatment environment, mental health sicknesses are seen as strictly medical conditions and thus the primary lead in is medication. Once medication is taken then it seems all future progress is judged based on the effectiveness of the medication in reducing the symptoms. Adjustments are the medication dosage levels. Treatment becomes medication centric. The pendulum needs to swing back the other way so decisions about treatment are not so lopsided.

The purpose of medication I believe is to calm down extreme physical symptoms of psychiatric conditions. Medication is helpful in this regard. For example, if someone is depressed, so depressed they can't even keep their eyes open or see straight because light is literally blinding (this happens) then medication could be used to get the person out of a state of suffering from the physical symptoms.

As I've state before, medication should be used to treat symptoms not an underlying irreversible chemical imbalance. Medication should used when necessary to help restore a person to a state where rigorous work can be done on issues of the heart.

There are other treatments available beside prescription drugs that could also be explored such as diet, megavitamins, full spectrum lights, shock treatments, etc.

Every treatment that is geared toward physical symptoms should be considerd for both its pros and cons. Every treatment has side effects and long term unknowns.

The general mind set I believe is to see medication as a tool to treat symptoms of mental illness. Great wisdom is needed though because treatment of heart issues should always be the most important and they are the hardest to deal with. There is much more value in working on those conditions that are much more difficult to restore. Isn't that the case with everything in life?


erin said...

Good post, Pat. Thank you for not saying that medication shameful and "unnecessary if we would only put our faith in God." I can't think of a way to make someone feel worse. As if taking meds for these sorts of issues isn't humbling enough.

Daniel Haszard said...

My issue is Zyprexa which is only FDA approved for schizophrenia (.5-1% of pop) and some bipolar (2% pop) and then an even smaller percentage of theses two groups.
So how does Zyprexa get to be the 7th largest drug sale in the world?

Eli Lilly is in deep trouble for using their drug reps to 'encourage' doctors to write zyprexa for non-FDA approved 'off label' uses.

The drug causes increased diabetes risk,and medicare picks up all the expensive fallout.There are now 7 states (and counting) going after Lilly for fraud and restitution.

Daniel Haszard