So today I visited outpatients at my mental health hospital. My medication has been increased, this is usual. We normally go through all the available doses of drugs before we give up and try a new one. So today I want to talk about drug resistant mental illness, which is something very close to me.
Having tried various drugs to help me cope with my illness the psychiatrists have told me that my condition is drug resistant and that we have to try and get the drug and dose right. We’ve been trying this for years. The question is when do you give up and accept that drugs may not be for you? I haven’t got to that stage yet, I’m still hoping that eventually we will find just the right balance, but I can understand the frustration of those who do ask it.
The main concern I have is that if you give up the drugs, what is left? The way mental illness is treated in this country consists of drugs and therapy such as CBT, DBT etc. The problems with this are obvious to anyone who has spent months and months on a waiting list for these therapies. Even after waiting a long time for therapy it may still be problematic. For example it may be group therapy, which some people find impossible to take part in because of social anxiety or concerns about privacy. One to one therapy is rarely used these days for some reason. I guess because of the expense of treating individuals rather than a group of people at the same time. But the problem still remains, what do you do for those that don’t respond well to the normal course of treatment?
In an ideal world patients would be treated based on a plan that focuses on the individual and their particular needs, where therapy is tailored to them. I believe that this is what is required for the treatment of mentally ill patients, all of whom have complex needs. The NHS tries their best with the meagre resources they have but serious investment with money and research is needed now in the midst of a mental illness epidemic.
I’m not saying that throwing money at the problem will cure all of its ills, but bloody hell it will at least be a start.
So for now I carry on with my drug trials hoping for a miracle because without it what else have I got left?