Monday, June 13, 2005

Getting Away From the Psychs in Order to Recover

Quotes from a conference held by survivors of mental health services in Ireland recently:

Dr Tony Bates, principal psychologist at St James’s Hospital in Dublin.

"Among their negative experiences were being forced to undergo treatments such as electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) that were intrusive and frightening; the over-reliance on medications which left them dazed and confused; the lack of any explanation of why these treatments were being offered; the inadequate provision of any other social or psychological interventions, such as talk therapies being offered, being left wandering around hospital corridors in a bewildered, even perplexed, state, often inadequately clothed, being seen only as embodiments of some particular diagnosis, and not as people who were highly self-aware and rational in some part of their being, and being talked at, rather than listened to.”

A female former patient speaking at the same conference:

"it’s very difficult to get taken seriously while you are an inpatient in a psychiatric unit”

“We are often written off as being mad and discredited because we have spent time in a psychiatric unit.”

“But as a whole they just have too much control over vulnerable people. And patients are too heavily medicated, so they can do what they want without being answerable.” (speaking about staff)

“... many people are afraid to open their mouths to the staff in case they get an injection”.

A male former patient at the same conference:

“Proof of the fact that the system is failing is that the system is just full of people that keep returning”.

"I know one woman who is 30 years of age and has had 63 admissions. But that’s because they are not listening to the people that matter. This woman keeps telling the doctors that the psychiatric medication is making her worse. But the doctors have the power to hold her down in bed and give her the medication by needle.”

"Every day there are seven to eight people given a dog-bone to chew on, getting electrical cables put onto their head and enough electricity to light a 50 watt bulb. And the scary thing is they don’t even know how it works. They have no idea. And they just know that 62 per cent of people benefit from it, but what about the 38 per cent that don’t? And these people’s memories may be permanently impaired or they may get the shakes as a result,”

"In my experience I had to get away from the people and services treating me in order to recover.”

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