Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Friday, April 06, 2007

Don't be bipolar in California

I found a really neat new (to me) site which discusses legal issues related to severe mental illnesses (bipolar and schizophrenia). I am reading it slowly, but already it has triggered a lot of thought about this.

I believe that there is a level on which patients have a right to choose treatment. I know very well how harsh the treatments can be, and how frustrating it is to not have them work as well as hoped yet still have all the side effects. I know that there have been times I have not been very compliant with certain parts of my treatments because I didn't like something about them.

I can't really imagine being bipolar and having well times, but I imagine if I did I'd push rather hard to be allowed to try significant med reductions/trials of being off meds. I did this when I only had a depression diagnosis, and although it wasn't what my doctor wanted it worked for me and made me feel I had tried everything when I did need the meds again.

In the situation I'm in I do have certain meds I have requested not to take. One of these, Zyprexa, is likely to help me, but I really do not want the side effects. Another of my online finds lately has been this which I plan to fill out and distribute to my mother and doctor's as soon as I'm well enough to trust my own decision making.

Which is the point. I know that at times I can't make any decisions for myself that are healthy. If I am unwell I want those meds forced on me no matter what. I already actually wish that my meds were available as depot injections (shots that give a month's worth of meds). I'd rather gets shots than worry about missing doses, etc.

I've seen many times what non-compliance with meds does. Anyone who has worked in psych has. Many, many of the admissions have not been taking meds properly for a very long period of time. As they are given meds on a consistent schedule and monitored while they take them and all stops are pulled to get those meds in consistently, the patient sometimes becomes a totally different being, capable of so much more than would have been anticipated upon arrival.

So, I now will make sure that everyone understands that I give up my right to refuse meds when I am too ill to live outside of a psychiatric facility. I never thought that wasn't obvious.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Dr. You-
I have a confession; I have been very bad about taking my meds lately. I am non-compliant and it sucks. I have realized that though and am going to get better about it.
Do you think that having a reward system (took all my meds for a week so I can buy a new book) is an okay idea ... it would probably work for me, but I don't want to depend on a "reward" system for actually taking the medications I need to feel like me. Help?
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