The Drugs Don't Work..

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The Drugs Don't Work..

Postby . » Mon Aug 26, 2002 4:10 am

I'm asking for opinions and random information here. I'll give you some back history first. About 4 years ago, I was diagnosed with mania and anxiety. They put me on Paxil, I took myself off and let it go for about 3 years. Then, it got really bad. I went in about a year ago, and along with mania and anxiety; they diagnosed me with schizophrenia ( through brain scan and spinal tap, which apparently they are starting to use regularly now; they weren't before ). So now, I'm on heavy medication every single day. I can't seem to function without it. That may or may not be just because of the withdrawals or I actually need the drugs. These drugs also cost roughly 1500 dollars a month. Now, my brother, who is a devout Christian, swears I could heal myself through the power of prayer. A friend of mine swears I can heal myself through the power of positive thinking. Another through herbs. So on and so forth. So now I'm curious about you guys.. does anyone think mental disorders can be healed through methods that don't involve drugs? I'm not talking about depression that lasts a day.. I'm talking about major mental disorders. Do you think drugs are needed until they can handle the disorder? Or perhaps the person should just be locked away? Any comments are welcome really..
The thing is.. the suggestions of prayer and positive thinking bug me.. as they suggest that I am just too weak to handle these things myself.. and apparently from negative thinking.. am keeping myself down.
Hmm, I'm not even sure why I'm asking in here. I've got insomnia tonight, I guess.
Let me know what you guys think. I'm interested.

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Babbster
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Postby Babbster » Mon Aug 26, 2002 4:26 am

Conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, depression and the like can indeed be treated in many cases without the use of pharmaceuticals - usually through talk therapy with a qualified counselor (social worker, licensed therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, some clergy).

The more serious conditions such as schizophrenia, unfortunately, aren't believed to be curable (or the symptoms even ameliorated in most cases) without the use of anti-psychotics. Doubly (or even googly) unfortunate is that conditions like schizophrenia don't just go away and people who have these conditions are pretty much stuck on medication for the rest of their lives. Untreated (going without meds), the conditions can get worse until normal function is all but impossible.

I'm all in favor of people praying if they're believers, and I'm certainly not going to poo-poo the idea that God *could* reach down and cure someone were He so inclined. However, the fact is that He helps those who help themselves, and for someone with schizophrenia the most effective way to help is therapy with medication(s).

What it comes down to for me is this: If I have an infection, I take antibiotics (for however long the doctor tells me); if I have a headache, I take Tylenol (as directed on the bottle); and if I had schizophrenia (which is no less a physical/chemical problem), I'd bloody well take the anti-psychotics and/or anti-depressants I was given. People who maintain that you're in total control of your mind are fools at best and dangerous at worst - there are just some things that we don't have direct control over, including the chemicals in our brains.

Disclaimer: I am not currently in the mental health field in any capacity. I was employed in a support role for some time in a psychiatric facility. I personally recommend only to follow the instructions and recommendations of a board-certified psychiatrist and tell anyone else to piss off. :)
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Postby Lobstrosity » Mon Aug 26, 2002 4:48 am

Point 1--Prayer:
I am of the opinion that prayer and positive thinking are one and the same. This is because I do not believe that God will re-arrange the neural pathways in your brain (or adjust the levels of neurochemicals, or do whatever is physically needed) simply because some people pray to him asking for it. God won't bring dead person back to life no matter how many people pray for it. Good people get sick and die all the time. To me, all this is evidence that if there is a God, he's not bigtime into interfering with the rather beautiful set of physical laws he has set down to govern this universe. I have heard studies that indicate prayer has a measurable healing effect. The magnitude of this effect is comparable to that of the placebo effect, in which a person taking sugar pills will seemingly get better if he truly believes the sugar pills are real medicine.

Point 2--Positive Thinking:
In my mind, positive thinking would be identical to the placebo effect, for it only works when you truly consider your actions (i.e. positive thinking) to be physically healing you. People who believe with all their hearts that God is healing them through prayer have the very highest level of positive thinking--blind faith that all is good.

Point 3--Herbs
My view on herbs is that they're pretty much crap. I fail to see why one plant would evolve to be the perfect cure to a specific human ailment. Sure our ancestors used them, but this was only because they were the best medicine available. We must remember that even with these marvelous herbal remedies, our average life expectance was around age 30. Herbs worked ok for a few things. Modern drugs are specifically designed to extract or synthesize those compounds which address the problems at hand. They are scientifically tested to demonstrate that (a) they're not harmful and (b) they actually do what they claim. Herbs undergo no such studies (in general). They can easily be equated with superstition: "my grandmother's grandmother used herb X to cure Y so I know it works" or "the Navajo indians used this herb as a cure, so it must be good." Most remedies out there that say you can avoid western medicine are identical with superstition in that they fear with a passion any sort of studies which might document their healing action. New age practitioners make it sound as if any scientific investigation of, say, aromatherapy will somehow make it stop working. Or often you'll get stories about how one strange new technique miraculously saved someone. This would be an example of a case study. One example does not indicate a trend. Many independent variables external to the treatment may have been responsible for the recovery. You don't hear how many others died because the treatment didn't work.

In summary, my personal feeling is that your best bet is with modern medicine. It is with modern medicine that our average life expectancy has dramatically risen, so why abandon it now? Mental disorders are caused by physical deficiencies and though the body has some ability to heal itself, it cannot dramatically rework things. Drugs coupled with some psychotherapy (to perhaps teach you new ways of thinking about things and/or perceiving the world) would probably work the best at giving you a normal life. I wish you all the luck at finding something that will get you through this with the minimal amount of hardship. You have my deepest sympathies for what you must be going through. Keep in mind that I am by no means a definitive expert on these matters--I just tend to have scientifically oriented opinions on things.

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Postby BBF! » Mon Aug 26, 2002 5:36 am

...medication every single day. I can't seem to function without it.

These drugs also cost roughly 1500 dollars a month.

...pretty much stuck on medication for the rest of their lives.



Who's to say whether the drugs are truly helpful. It's certainly in the best interests of the "drug dealers" that you keep taking them.

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Lobstrosity
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Postby Lobstrosity » Mon Aug 26, 2002 5:45 am

Well, in the case of schizophrenia, the evidence that drugs have an impact is fairly clear. Without it, people mentally degrade to the point where they become wracked with paranoid delusions and must be committed to psychiatric ward to prevent them from harming themselves and others. Drugs can very significantly reduce these effects and suppress the delusions. The problem is that they're not healing anything; they're simply adding some chemical that the brain is lacking or inhibiting some chemical that the brain has an overabundance of (I don't know enough about this to know which of these is the case with schizophrenia, but I believe it is the latter and I believe the chemical is the neurotransmitter dopamine). As such, they must be taken for life (or until some procedure is discovered that can allow the body to produce what it needs--or stop producing what is harmful--by itself). Now the price being set at $1500 per month may very wel be the drug companies trying to gouge a captive audience for every possible cent. The drug companies definitely aren't in the business for altruistic reasons.
Last edited by Lobstrosity on Mon Aug 26, 2002 7:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Bag of Ass
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Postby Bag of Ass » Mon Aug 26, 2002 6:05 am

Screw western medicine.

You must renounce the carnal pleasures, meditate, and learn to focus your chi. Only by doing this will you truly master the power of Shoryuken.

Wait, what were we talking about?

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Postby Kauser » Mon Aug 26, 2002 7:00 am

Most mental disorders arise as a result of imbalances in brain chemistry. Drugs actually work wonders with this, and you don't have to be a zealot, or a new ager to use them.
Do not call up what you cannot put down.

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Postby WhipstitchZombie » Mon Aug 26, 2002 7:16 am

Do what you think is right, not what someone else tells you to. But, if you did that, you wouldn't be asking us...

Pay no attention to me.
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Postby Magic Placebo » Mon Aug 26, 2002 8:11 am

I'll have to go with "Placebo" effect since I was mentioned unintentionally by Lobstrosity. Heh heh, I don't know how I came up with this name. I guess I just saw too many of those drug commercials. :mrgreen:

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Lobstrosity
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Postby Lobstrosity » Mon Aug 26, 2002 8:18 am

As long as you don't pronounce it "place-bo" (as in I went to this "place" yesterday) I'll have no problems with you.

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Postby BBF! » Mon Aug 26, 2002 8:37 am

Speaking of drug commercials, I'd be interested in knowing some of the side effects of these anti-psycho drugs. Seems like every pill I see advertised anymore, even for something as simple as allergies or heartburn, comes with a plethora of freaky side effects that sounds like a disease in and of itself! Like, oh say, headache, stomach ache, drymouth, diarrhea, explosive diarrhea, cramps, high blood pressure, brain hemorrhage, anal bleeding, blindness, loss of soul, etc etc. And that's on the fucking kid's version.

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Lobstrosity
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Postby Lobstrosity » Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:02 am

I think that's the result of a deal drug companies struck with the FDA in order to allow advertising of prescription drugs in the first place. If I remember right, not too long ago you never saw commercials for prescription drugs. Things changed and now the requirements for these commercials are that they must list every side-effect ever recorded. So if one person once had explosive diarrhea while taking the drug, they probably have to mention it (actually, maybe it's two people). I could be completely talking out of my ass here, but I get the feeling advertising a prescription drug requires actually saying all of that fine-print shit. Specifically with regards to antipsychotic drugs, I hear the side-effects are pretty nasty. Supposedly they tend to make you feel very lethargic and bogged down. Once again, never tried them, could be talking out of my ass--that's for you all to decide.

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Re: The Drugs Don't Work..

Postby Trin » Mon Aug 26, 2002 2:10 pm

. wrote:..About 4 years ago, I was diagnosed with mania and anxiety. They put me on Paxil, I took myself off and let it go for about 3 years..


What were the deciding factors in choosing to go it alone? I'm not ignoring the fact that you subsequently deteriorated, but your ability to manage yourself then (once withdrawal subsided) should be an indicator of your ability to do it now.

As I see it, some long term mental illnesses are basically brought on and/or aggravated by predominantly envrionmental factors - family, an intensely traumatic experience, socio-economic factors, friends/support, etc. In those situations, there's a strong case for a more spiritual approach towards healing. Religion, positive thinking, herbal remedies, support groups - anything which brings you faith should only help you. They'll generally give you stability and hope, two things very important to 'handling the disorder'.

Where, however, there are physical contributors to a mental illness, I feel the drugs have a definite role to play. It's here that I share your irritation with the fairly self-righteous opinion that you're too weak to handle yourself. These might be dreadful comparisons, but aren't the physical effect of these drugs the same as a crutch to the lame, or insulin to the diabetic?

A person's ability to struggle on without a crutch may be admirable or inspiring, but if their condition is simply too debilitating, and indeed if they cause their condition to further deteriorate, then I believe they're ultimately foolish in ignoring the assistance available to them.

First post. :oops:

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Postby . » Mon Aug 26, 2002 4:10 pm

Alright, I'll answer a couple questions here. ( Thanks all who responded, by the way. )
Whippy.. I wasn't specifically asking anyone if I should stop medicine.. only what they thought of the alternatives.
BBF.. I'm on 3 anti-psychotics and I've hit quite a few side effects. Nausea, headaches/migraines, muscle tremors, muscle twitches, mood swings, dizziness, drowsiness ( but never when I need it ), sleeplessness, heart tremors. I'm sure there are more I've had, but these are the ones I get now. But I talk to the doctor about them and he says.. "Oh, those are normal. They should go away with time. Now what I want you to do is get out more, exercise, do more." I'm sorry, but I can't go out and exercise when I'm keeled over trying not to fall off the floor, twitching like a maniac.
Oh, and your first post in here was kind of depressing.. ( the three quotes ) thanks. I'll cry about it later though.
Trin.. good first post.. heh.. I took myself off of Paxil because I felt like it was doing absolutely nothing to help me. I was still as depressed, still didn't eat. I was on it for 6 months which is long enough to see even a little progress. With the ones I'm on now.. I don't seem to notice what they are doign while I'm on them.. but when I accidently run out.. I definitely know what they were doing. But like I said, I don't know if that's the same with all withdrawals or my brain is actually needing those chemicals. You know what I mean?

TheIratePirate
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Postby TheIratePirate » Mon Aug 26, 2002 7:16 pm

Well,I´m not a doctor but I believe than many problems can be solved without drugs.If this is the case for you I´m not really qualified to say.But in my case it was.

From I was about 5 years old I started getting throat infections really often.So they gave my antibiotics to cure.Thats all very good.That´s ´till I got a allergic reaction to them.So now I´m alergic to penicilin.Yeah for me,when I get something dangerous.Anyway they started to give me something else.Some kind of tablets.Cost more.Worked worse.So I stopped taking them.Now when I get sick I don´t go to the doctors unless I think it´s really serious.

I know that you can´t really compare the two things,since yours is far more serious and of a psycological kind rather than a psysical.So I have something else from my life that probaly won´t help shit.But here goes:

A freind and former classmate of mine suddenly stopped coming to class about 4 months ago.We(the class) found out that he had been submittet to an asylum with some kind of depression.Well,he returned to us just before our summer break(after having tried to kill himself a couple of times).He was taking quite a bit of medication but he was back in the world progessing with his life.So we start school again(not that long ago)and on the second day he stands up int the middle of one of his classes and walks out and nobody sees or speaks to him in days.We find out that he had himself commited again.So this friday he turs up at a party we threw together.He doing fine now,cuz the doctors finally foud the right drugs for him.They have apperently been giving him the wrong stuff.Twice.Anyway he dropped out of our class and is now going to take up some work of some kind.

In conclusion:Are you sure they are giving you the right drugs?

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Postby Groovis » Mon Aug 26, 2002 7:32 pm

In all honesty, somethings can be cured positive thinking/energy. Others, you need the meds. Unfortunatly, in your case, you may need the meds, and I won't be the one to tell you to try going w/o. :(

Aside from my aging, overweight body eventually going to start hurting in the upper left quadrant (I'm sure), I have never had an ilness I haven't kicked by sticking it out. I hate pills.

When I get sick, and it's pleasant out, I'll go for a walk and get fresh air, enjoy the out of doors. If you live in a city... my apologies.

Having suffered from rather severe anxiety when my Fiance had a stroke (full blown nerveless ness in the face and limbs, incoherent babbling, and a vast relief that I wasn't driving the 2 episodes I had before getting medication), I gladly took my meds, because no matter what I tried, I could not feel positive. My walks didn't help (and collapsing in public isn't fun...), games didn't help, nothing to focus my mind on.

I can look back on it now and think light of it, but only because everything turned out fairly well. (Married now, and she's nearly 100%)

Plut, do what makes you smile. Thats the best advice I can give.

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Postby . » Mon Aug 26, 2002 8:32 pm

Irate: No, I don't know how I could possibly be sure they are giving me the "right" medicine. All they can do is try it and switch it around, right? That's what they do.. I've been through 7 different ones and am on 3 at the moment. This round is definitely better than the previous..

Groovis: That also seems to be a problem lately. Finding something to smile about. I can't even remember the last time I've spoken outloud. I'm probably taking everything for granted, but the things that did make me happy, don't right now. I know you know what that's like.

TheIratePirate
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Postby TheIratePirate » Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:27 pm

Sorry I meant no offence.Just wondering.Well I hope you find "something to smile a"t and get better
It changes everyhting
But in the wrong direction
It changes everything
And what we turn into
Love conquers all
But evil won today
D-A-D,It Changes Everything

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Postby . » Mon Aug 26, 2002 9:35 pm

TheIratePirate wrote:Sorry I meant no offence.

What? No offense was taken. No worries.

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BBF!
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Postby BBF! » Mon Aug 26, 2002 10:27 pm

Ehh, wasn't my aim to depress, but I guess it did look rather depressing...sorry about that. It is a good insight into how I generally see things, though. I'm both pessimistic, and fully convinced that everyone is out to screw over everyone else.

Maybe I could use some drugs, heh...

:oops:

So, yeah...freaking heart tremors!? (now that I think about it, I'm not sure what exactly a heart tremor is. Anyone care to describe? I did some google searches, but can't seem to find anything but badly written fiction. Information Super-highway my ass.)


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