Mental Health Advocacy

The mental health care system is a unique culture. Psychiatry itself is unlike any other medical specialty. The psychiatric community is an enclosed system. This means that it is a world in a world. The doctors, therapists, patients, and support workers play roles. It’s a reciprocal environment. Each player in the system allows the other person the opportunity to act out his or her role. For example, the psychiatrist gives you a diagnosis that has no basis (Yes this does happen from time to time). Having complete faith in the powers of the behavioral health system, you unhesitatingly accept this diagnosis as the gospel truth. In time, you begin to notice certain behaviors and thoughts that you believe may be a sign of your supposed illness. You return to your doctor and report these symptoms. The psychiatrist agrees with your observations and writes them down in your medical record. He also inserts his authoritative opinions to support his diagnosis. Therefore, both parties in the relationship are mutually validated in their roles.

When one has been playing the patient role for so long, a person begins to identify himself or herself as a “psych patient.” That’s who you are. This is the term that defines your very existence. You belong to the mental health care system. Soon enough you find that all activity you engage yourself in is related to your disorder and the medication your doctor prescribed to suppress it. It’s a sad commentary indeed. It’s sadder still for the person who needlessly struggles against an undefinable defect in his or her character as if the diagnosis were the irrefutable truth. I acknowledge the fact that the unsettling scenario I am painting here is not true for all psychiatric patient.

Remember this. Once you get into the mental health system your chances of getting out are slim. There are a number of reasons for this. Primarily because the psychiatrist or psychologist has you convinced that you have a serious medical problem, which you cannot handle yourself. We all know that’s ridiculous. Many people manage their depression and anxiety quite well without the use of psychiatric medications. If Ativan calms your nerves and helps you function normally, then that’s great. On the other hand, I have seen plenty of people become addicted to sedatives. These drugs are unsafe. I would not put your faith in the safety of the anti-depressants either. The pharmaceutical giants are quick to point that out as a result of the numerous class action lawsuits that have been filed against them.

Some blame can be placed on the pharmaceutical companies for this unnatural drug dependence. I surfed NAMI’s website (National Alliance for Mental Illness) and noticed “In Our Own Voice,” a public education program, is funded by a grant from Eli Lily. This is the pharmaceutical company that manufactures psychiatric drugs like Prozac, Zyprexa, and Cymbalta. I gather (without too much mental effort) that Eli Lily’s generosity is a publicity campaign intended to make them look like one of the good guys in the mental field, and as a result, boost sales.

As I surfed the Internet, I found that NAMI has been receiving their fair share of criticism for their questionable association with pharmaceutical companies. I will not say NAMI is immoral or unethical. That would be too easy. If Ely Lily offered me thousands of dollars, I would have to seriously consider taking it. Sometimes the decision to cross the line depends on one’s real life needs. Other times it just has to do with making a buck. There is no denying that this kind of corporate misconduct adversely affects the mental health care system and exacerbates the suffering of its consumers. Again, I understand that any people require the assistance of the pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatric community. The screening process for prescribing these medications is a big part of the problem. That’s because there is no adequate system in place for dispensing these potentially dangerous drugs.

I have a particular issue with atypical anti-psychotic medications such as Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, and Risperdal. After taking Risperdal for over fifteen years for bipolar manic-psychosis, I was told by my prescriber that I no longer need it. My psychiatrist told me that she “believes my patients should experience their emotions. I was thinking “You mean human beings should experience emotion? What a marvelous idea!” In a follow-up appointment, I asked her about the memories and emotions I was experiencing with such great intensity. She told me that Risperdal has a blunting effect on emotion. It actually suppresses one’s feelings. I wish my last four or five treaters had mentioned this terrible effect. Since emotions do not go away, but rather pile up, I recommend that people process their emotions while they occur rather than putting aside for a later time. Anti-psychotic medications should be used as a treatment of last resort, and only in cases where a patient is not responding to milder therapeutic treatments.

I recently learned that Jansen, the pharmaceutical company which manufactures Risperdal was sued by a number of states for their deceptive marketing practices. Apparently Jansen’s sales representatives were encouraging child psychiatrists to use Risperdal on “unmanageable” children. There is a mental health condition the psychiatric community calls “oppositional defiant disorder.” Here are the criteria for diagnosing this so-called mental illness (This was taken from Wikipedia):

Some signs and symptoms that must be perpetuated for longer than 6 months and must be considered beyond normal child behavior to fit the diagnosis are:

“The child must exhibit 4 out of the 8 signs and symptoms listed below in order to meet the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic threshold for oppositional defiant disorder

– Actively refuses to comply with majority’s requests or consensus-supported rules

– Performs actions deliberately to annoy others

– Angry and resentful of others

– Argues often

– Blames others for his or her own mistakes

– Often loses temper

– Spiteful or seeks revenge

– Touchy or easily annoyed

Generally, these patterns of behavior will lead to problems at school and other social venues.”

Essentially, any child in America could be diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder as defined in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual. For this reason, any child could potentially be prescribed anti-psychotic medication.

Interestingly, the Jansen sales reps also walked into nursing homes encouraging the doctors to prescribe Risperdal to their dementia patients. It was not until elderly nursing home residents started dying from Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome that people started complaining about this drug. The lawsuits filed against Jansen resulted in a billion dollar settlement. This money went to state coffers to recover the health care costs involved in treating the victims. At least that is their claim. This landmark settlement is one the largest in pharmaceutical history.

When Zyprexa first entered the prescription drug market, I was prescribed to me for anxiety. I remember at that time I was taking classes at my local hospital for frustration with the mental health care system (I realize that now). I met a person who was serving time in an inpatient unit for bipolar disorder. I knew him from years before. This man was anxiously pacing on the floor. His restlessness was making me nervous. I noticed he was popping a pill all fifteen minutes. I asked him what he was taking. He said Zyprexa. I was troubled by this, so I expressed my concern to a nurse. She said, “He has a PRN for it, but even that has its limitations. For those of you who are not familiar with medical terminology, PRN means “as needed.” Thinking back on this, I am wondering if this man is still alive.

I use to hear psychiatric patients complain about how their doctors experhymented on them. I thought this statement was a little far-fetched (especially coming from a psych patient). I realize now that this is exactly what they were doing to me. I believe the term the medical community gives to this dangerous experhymenting is “off label use.” I do not know if off label drug use is unique to psychiatry or if it is typical practice in all medical specialties. I am under the impression that medications proposed to treat a certain condition, must undergo medical trials before entering the prescription drug market. I have found myself in the emergency room more than once because of this off label use practice.

Society itself contributes to this dysfunctional culture. The general attitude of the public is “As long as they are not bothering us you can do what you need with them.” This gives the mental health providers even more power to do as they please. And so the psychiatric patient is stripped of his or her rights. As I see it, a psychiatric patient is a human being without respect or dignity. You can call my words dramatic if you like.

It may seem as if I am playing the blame game and taking on the victim role. Allow me to clarify the role of the patient in the mental health care system (those like myself). I will be the first to admit that the informed psychiatric patient is the one who is primarily responsible for his or her unfortunate situation. We have to accept our role in the system. No one can twist your arm behind your back, and say, “Go see a therapist about your anxiety.” At least that’s true in most cases. When you reflect on why you did it, you will say, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The worst thing a mentally ill person could ever do is reveal his or her expertly diagnosed psychiatric illness to others. As soon as you do, your friends will treat you differently. An automatic flash goes off in the person’s brain, “Oh God. Here we go. His illness is acting up.” This attitude is especially noticeable in the face of a mental health professional, your family members, and closest friends. It’s a universal reaction. From the moment, you divulge your dark secret; everything you do will be blamed on your illness. The ways in which you express yourself as a normal human being will be measured against your supposed disorder. If you are frustrated about something, the people in your life will conclude, “His meds aren’t working.” When people think you cannot hear them, they will gossip amongst themselves, “Oh he’s a psych patient. That’s why he looks agitated. That’s part of his illness.” This attitude is quite common. It comes from a lack of understanding. How could a person know what a mentally ill person is experiencing, unless he or she has personally been a patient of the psychiatric system?

If you should attempt to verbalize your rights as a human being, the mental health provider will proceed to have you committed to a psychiatric hospital against your will. In Massachusetts, they have the permission of the commonwealth to hold a person indefinitely. A patient can only be released from a facility when a clinician decides the person has come to his or her senses. Mental health professionals can essentially do whatever they need with you because no one is going to speak out against their abusive practices. Consumers of the Massachusetts psychiatric system must retain a specially trained lawyer to represent them before a mental health court in order to be released.

Psychiatric patients may also be forced to take anti-psychotic medication against their will. Theoretically, they can even make a patient submit to electro-shock treatment. In Massachusetts, a mental health facility must comply with the Roger’s decision and petition the appropriate court for approval. I am told this is a fairly routine matter. The court system merely acts as an assembly line for approving these orders. Once again, who is the judge going to believe, the medical doctor or the mental patient? It’s no contest. When I say this, I am not referring to the people who are actively hallucinating and believe that invaders from Mars are attacking.

The only time the state of the mental health system is brought to light is when a patient commits suicide or kills someone. Then there is a public uproar and the psychiatrist or therapist is blamed and in any cases sued. In their defense, a doctor cannot control the behavior of their patient in society. That is not their responsibility as I see it. The mental health professional cannot be held responsible for the actions of their patients, unless they were grossly negligent in any way. We are free and sovereign human beings. In the United States, people are typically allowed to operate freely without undue interference from others. The American attitude is “No one has the right to tell me what to do.” It’s a slightly different story if the patient states that he or she intends to commit suicide or kill someone. Then the call to duty is activated.

This is where we are in 2013. I’ll bet most of you reading this article did not know how our behavioral health care system works. We are still in the dark ages. I have not personally had the experience I just described, but I have been in the psychiatric system long enough to have learned how business is carried out.

What Is Dental Care Advocacy? What You Should Know

When it comes to dental care advocacy, it’s really wrong to ask what it is all about. The correct question to ask is this: What are some issues that the American Dental Association or ADA is advocating? Because really, when you say “dental care advocacy”, everybody knows that it has everything to do with resolving issues that are related to healthcare.

dental advocacy

We did some research on Google and were surprised to find that the ADA is actually passionate on several issues where other wouldn’t seem to care. These include securing millions of dollars in research money to help military personnel maintain their dental health and resolve dental issues. Other issues include increasing support for the Dental Heatlh bill for increased awareness on dental health issues, increased funding for denta health support services for the Indian Health Services, and increasing funding for dental health research and information dessimation.

If it sounds like the ADA is taking up a lot of issues in the name of dental health, it is. However, you would be glad to know that these advocacies get enough support from legislators and different sectors of society. And it will only be a matter of time before we can see expanded efforts to improve the dental health of Americans throughout the country. The good thing about it is that expanded efforts is only going to cost a few million dollars to the government, not billions of dollars, unlike the other issues that are bugging the country.

My dentist in Brooklyn belongs to all the top associations for dental care and this gives me the confidence and assurance whenever I need good dental treatment

If you have bad dental health, it can actually cause a host of other diseases in the body. But even if it doesn’t lead to something tragic, you bet that poor dental health is going to make you look bad literally, and smell bad too.


Mental Health Advocate

Studies indicate that the frequency of diagnoses of mental illnesses is on the rise. Whether this is due to the increased awareness of mental illness in the medical community and general population or if mental illness is actually more common than before is unknown, but either way it is clear that health insurers need to address this issue, rather than continue to ignore it as much as possible.

While most private health insurers offer some type of coverage when it comes to mental health services, it is never anywhere near the coverage offered for other, more traditional and mainstream, medical services. Even though mental illness is recognized as a real, tangible medical issue by experts in the field of medicine and research, health insurance has yet to catch up to modern life.

Mental health services are subject to a much higher incidence of exclusions and limitations in health insurance policies, including prohibitively higher co-pays and caps of the maximum number of covered treatments or counseling sessions.

With approximately one third of Americans suffering from a mental illness annually, it is rather shocking that the coverage continues to lag for much needed services. Due to the high price for seeking the most appropriate treatment, care for individuals with mental illness is unacceptably minimal.

Lack of mental health care when needed is associated with an array of problems. Job loss due to lack of symptom management, irreparable relationship problems, and even death are just a few examples. Perhaps one of the most disturbing effects of an untreated mental illness is that of a parent on a child. Children can thus be at risk not only for developing their own mental illness, but for neglect and abuse- simply because the national health care system refuses to offer affordable care for adults suffering from mental illness.

Unfortunately, individuals without health insurance often are not treated until they reach their breaking point, arriving in a hospital emergency room or psychiatric ward. While there are some services, such as Medicaid, that do indeed cover mental illness care, these individuals often lack the social support or education to go through the lengthy process of obtaining approval for the program.

Despite the increased understanding of mental illness in the United States, many primary care physicians still lack the experience and knowledge to properly identify even the most common of mental problems. This often results in a patient believing that complaints are “all in her head,” exacerbating the problem even more.

Even patients with insurance can experience delayed treatment for their illness. Waiting lists to see psychiatrists and obtain specialized case managers are often lengthy, with priority given to cases sent by the local court. Though most mental health hospitals are non-profit, this does not mean that their primary focus is not the bottom line rather than the patient.

As with all medical treatment, it is necessary to advocate for yourself, whether or not you have health insurance. Be persistent in demanding the proper care, and you can ensure proper treatment for any mental illness.

Mental Health Advocate

What follows is my journey into madness with the help of so-called mental health professionals. Keep in mind these events took place in Massachusetts. You will find this story somewhat amusing, and yet undeniably disturbing.

In the early to mid-1990s, I mentioned to my PCP that I was experiencing trouble with my memory. He in turn, said “Has anyone ever talked to you about Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. I was quickly referred to a Psychiatrist. I told the doctor what my PCP said. This Psychiatrist immediately offered me a prescription for Ritalin. There was no discussion regarding symptoms or tests of any kind. It was simply this way: If the Ritalin helps you then we’ll know you have ADD. I returned for my next appointment telling him that the Ritalin was not working. The doctor put me on another stimulant called Dexedrine. That did not work, so he prescribed some other stimulant that I cannot remember.

At this point, I told the doctor that I was getting anxiety, so he prescribed Zyprexa. This was when it was first put on the market. I was also given a referral to a Psychologist. My conversations with this Psychologist focused on what I had done the previous week and how my medications were working. This went on for several years. Nothing was accomplished therapeutically. I saw some of her notes in my medical records. My mother did psychic readings for entertainment. Based on this information, my Psychologist stated that my mother ran a cult. She also stated that I was sexually abused. This never happened. There was an entry in my record that said my father was not in my life because he had moved out-of-state. My father moved when I was in my mid-twenties, and he called me regularly. This is all terribly absurd.

Getting back to my medications, I told my new Psychiatrist that I was feeling depressed. He put me on Paxil, with no questions asked. I went back to him three times. Each time he would say “It always works,” and he would increase the dosage at each visit. Later I was put on all of the SSRIs, like Zoloft, Paxil and Celexa, as well as Wellbutrin. My PCP prescribed Pamelor which made me feel a little euphoric. It was not the best choice of medication for me.

This psychiatric treatment escalated as time went on. It went from bad to worse. At some point, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and panic attacks. Some of the doctor’s would add psychosis to my diagnosis. I asked one doctor if she would put me on Amantadine (I believe it is an anti-viral medication) because I read on the Internet that the Borna Virus caused Bipolar Disorder. I was desperate to escape this disease. She consented (for no reason), and a week later I was in the hospital for several days with severe hallucinations. This was at least ten years ago.

One Psychiatrist put me on Klonopin for my anxiety. I was extremely sedated on it. I told him it wasn’t working. I believe my doctor said – I can give you three milligrams three times a day (no quote for this one). He said, “That’s the best I can do.” Not surprisingly, I got into a car accident. I never attributed the Klonopin to my sedation. I thought I was always tired due to lack of sleep.

I went through every conceivable psychiatric medication on the market, including Depakote, Trileptal, and Seroquel (which gave me severe hallucinations). They also put me on all the second generation antipsychotics. There was one Psychologist who asked me to undergo neuropsychological testing. His conclusion was that I had Asperger’s Syndrome. That diagnosis was later refuted by another Psychiatrist.

I spent ten years outpatient at a well-known mental health hospital in Massachusetts beginning in approximately, 2000. The medication cocktails continued with the four resident doctors assigned to me. I even took medications for my supposed memory deficits. I was prescribed Namenda (as part of a study), Mirapex, and Excelon (at any earlier time). For the most part, I was kept on a regime of Lamcital 300mg, Lithium ER 1350 mg, and Risperdal at various milligrams. At about five years into my treatment, I began to complain to my doctor about tremors and restlessness. The doctor I was seeing called it Akathesia. She prescribed Inderal 80mg, rather than take me off the Risperdal.

I was on Ativian with one of my doctors. Once again, I told the doctor that I was feeling tired while driving. He prescribed Adderall to keep me awake during the day at my suggestion. I was eventually arrested for operating under the influence of drugs. This was later reduced to reckless driving. The only thing that my doctor had to say is, “I could have gotten sued.”

It has gotten to the point that I can no longer use a pen to even sign my name. A Neurologist diagnosed me with Tardive Dystonia. She insisted that I go on a low dose of a tranquilizer/anti-convulsant medication, as my only option. It does not affect my driving or give me sedation, but neither it does it help my condition.

My current Psychiatrist stated in my medical records that the Risperdal contributed to my Dystonia. . . in those very words. I was taken off my Risperdal almost five months ago. I feel the same as when I went on it, which probably means that I didn’t need it. She also lowered my Lithium. The medical director asked me if I knew that I was on three mood stabilizers. She asked me if I knew why I was on Risperdal. I replied that did not know. I remember two of my resident physicians at the hospital I was being treated ask me that same question. It is in my medical records.

The problem I can see in filing a complaint against the Psychiatrists with the Board of Medicine, is that the doctors can simply say, based on my behavior at the time, they had justification in the continued use of the drugs they were prescribing me. I am interested in the paranormal as literally millions of people are in this country. That must have been a problem for them. It’s interesting that I have been in contact with dozens of people who share my beliefs. These people I am speaking of are productive members of society, and they are considered perfectly sane. It’s true I had debt and a spending problem. I wonder how many people are in debt, and have not been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder? The country is 17 trillion dollars in debt for that matter. I went to Debtors Anonymous years ago, and I have not taken out a loan or credit card in three years.

I attend an unorthodox church, which is a popular religion in many parts of the United States. Their main focus is the use of mediumship to confirm the continuity of life after death. This organization has hundreds of members who receive messages from the deceased and relay them to their loved ones. I’m wondering why all of these people have not been diagnosed with mental illness. Just because, one does not accept such beliefs, does not give justification for creating a psychiatric issue. Is talk of the supernatural enough of a reason to label me as having a psychotic disorder? Am I any different those famous trance mediums who sold millions of books? I mean besides the fact that I haven’t sold millions of books.

This is what happens in the mental health system. You are already convinced of your insanity by the first mental health professional. In your visit with a new Psychiatrist, you tell him or her, what you believe is wrong with you. The doctor agrees with you, and has you answer a number of questions on paper having to do with your behavior, thinking, and symptoms. Because you as the patient already know your diagnosis, you provide answers that support your belief in this diagnosis. At the end of the session, the psychiatrist gives you medications to treat the supposed ailment. In subsequent visits, you provide the Psychiatrist with information, about what you believe to be bizarre thinking, and, therefore, related to your illness. The Psychiatrist then documents this self-reported information in your record as evidence of your mental illness. If you move on to another Psychiatrist, he or she merely accepts the diagnosis of the previous treating physician and continues on with that medication routine.

Sometimes I feel like am a perfectly normal person with a unique personality just like everyone else. The experiments I endured at the hands of the Massachusetts mental health system have set me back. I feel as if I have lost fifteen years of my life. I feel especially cheated by the Psychiatrists who treated me at the mental health hospital I was a patient at for the past ten years or so. These so-called medical professionals had me believe all of this nonsense for years. I do take responsibility for allowing them to do this to me.

I admit that Psychiatry is probably one of the most unrewarding medical specialties since their patients generally dislike them. Still, I’m sure there are decent, intelligent, competent, and well-intentioned medical doctors working in the mental health field. It’s just that I have only encountered the ones who should not be practicing.

Mental Health Advocate

When you contemplate it, our knowledge of the universe ought to be out and out astounding. Everybody in the west is allowed to have rich and full social lives and virtually do whatever they need. Be that as it may life isn’t dependably about satisfaction, as an example winning millions and using it without limitations. So as to succeed, we have to experience ups and downs; along these lines life can likewise be intense. Indeed, the strongest, boldest and fittest individual can struggle here and there. Occasions such as when you are feeling miserable, when no one appears to grasp, even your own particular self.

Really, the thought of counselling for adults has existed over hundreds of years and portrays the need for one individual to make a request for assistance and counsel from an alternate one. Directing in its broader sense is all about helping individuals to purpose mental issues or issues, frequently identified with work or social matters. The principle part of the advocate is as issue solver. Through immediate consultation or non-immediate direction, his point is to help the individual to settle on equalized choices. There are different various types of mental health advocates: advising analysts, specialists, clinical clinicians, and social laborers, and pastoral advisors.

The part of counselling for break up is to manage extreme disarranges like misery, tension, consuming scatters, and studying inabilities. Counsellors generally work in groups, offering mental health support. Guiding therapists practice on day by day life issues, as restrict to great mental scatters. These sorts of advisors invest a ton of time working in the neighborhood, in schools, healing centers, facilities, and in addition private areas. They encourage with issues identified with individual matters, as an example relationships, anguish, work and different burdens of each day.

Counsellors are medicinal specialists. They as a rule have both medicinal degrees and psychology degrees, and are qualified to treat mental scatters utilizing a fusion of guiding help and doctor prescribed pharmaceutical. Psychiatry regularly includes the solution of pills like antidepressants, yet psychology is progressively about attempting to realize updates in conduct with no prescription. Clinical volunteers can frequently be discovered in clinics or out-patient offices. These counsellors are essentially intrigued by the way that the individual’s issues identify with their existence scenario and social life. Pastoral guides are specialists in psychology and religious philosophy. They attempt to furnish profound and religious experiences that can serve to take care of mental issues and give direction.

Mental health counsellors do counselling for addiction come to comprehend the qualified data of customers through perceptions, talks with and tests so they can choose the best game plan to help their customer. They frequently help their clients’ thought and settle on positive decisions. Regular work exercises in mental health directing incorporates booking customer purpose, finishing hazard appraisals on customers as presupposed, talking and advising with clients (to help them settle on educated choices about themselves, their lives and even relationships and anticipated objectives), giving positive advice and medicine prescription for clients, keeping precise clients’ records, indexes and documentation and providing the best medicines.