Saturday morning reading

At Furious Seasons, Phillip Dawdy talked about the stabbing of a psychologist in NYC, going by the assumption that the murderer was a patient. That let loose a furore of protests/angry comments/anti-psychiatry posts. He followed with a post about the disturbing comments, generating more comments in turn.

Both the posts and the comments are variously informed, angry, mocking, bizarre, and quite a few are insightful. Recommended if you have an open mind and hard stomach (quite a few readers were angry/disappointed enough to stop following Dawdy, it seems.)

Judith Warner wrote an article on Overselling Overmedication. Phillip Dawdy posted a rather vitriolic post in response. She referred to Peter Kramer's review of Charles Barber's Comfortably Numb- How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation. He returned to Barber's essay in Washington Post.

Interestingly, all these articles seem to make valid points. I find myself agreeing to parts of all, all of none.

– Medications help those who are sick.
– There are those who are not sick/do not need medications for their brand of sickness, but get medicated anyway.
– Medications have side effects.
– There is much more to recovery than just pills.
– Doctors and patients need to be more judicious in prescribing and taking of pills, respectively.
– America's mental health care system is all effed up.

Go read if thats what you want to do on a Saturday morning.


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About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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11 Responses to Saturday morning reading

  1. Emjay says:

    That is some heavy reading for a Saturday morning! πŸ™‚

  2. Purplesque says:

    Lol..I know. I sort of got dragged into it against my will by the interesting comments and cross references. Had to drink two cups of tea to recover. Talk about self medicating. πŸ™‚

  3. I tried a couple of times to read these and got so bogged down in the misery that I stopped. Came back, stopped. Came back. *sigh*So much pain out there, on all "sides" and in all arenas. Thank you for posting the links….I think that a lot of people assume that everything is "fixable" one way or another, and some things just aren't. It's the living with what we can't "fix" that calls for patience and courage, IMO.

  4. Karen Lynn says:

    I just saw a show the other on MSNBC about psychiatrists who treat inmates, and how they have to wear protective garments to keep them from getting stabbed from outside the bars. Then I saw the news blurb about the psychiatrist who was stabbed. I'm hoping you are always safe Purple, I guess I never realized that the field you work in was dangerous until just the last few days.

  5. Purplesque says:

    Patience, courage and faith. We were having a discussion the other day on how psychiatry and religion have always been sort of against each other; I was a little surprised. Learning to live with what we can't fix is a part of spirituality, I think. Science is finally going back to its roots, they are teaching us mindfulness techniques in residency. πŸ™‚

  6. Purplesque says:

    Thank you, Karen…I don't think of psychiatry as a particularly dangerous field on the whole; isolated incidents do get blown up by the media.I have done some stupid things over the last couple of years, for sure. But I'm learning to be less idealistic and more careful.

  7. Oh! I didn't have religion in mind when I said that — but I do see the connection. And wow yes, the sciences and religion (per se) have been at odds for a long time.I think I meant it in a more pragmatic way – that everything in life – including life – has limits – and our ability to "fix" things does, too. And stepping beyond those limits takes us into a place where we have choices of blaming others (drugs,the "system," – whatever), repeating ineffective behavior (like taking drugs that don't help, presribing drugs that don't help, not treating, not accepting treatment, etc), or facing those limits for what they are and moving on, functioning as well and fruitfully as possible. Gosh maybe that's spritiual; I hadn't thought of it. I read an article a few weeks ago about a guy who's trying to "cure" aging. To make our bodies last forever, in a healthy way, as far as cells do things, anyway. He looks forward to a day when we will not age or die. But nowhere in the article did he address the psychological impact or the original physiological "oooops's" that would be perpetuated (or the chemical imbalances that would need to be balanced indefinitely). I adore "science" (the creativity,method, and disicpine involved): the "fixing" what is broken – and improving what can be improved – but our minds are endlessly creative when it comes to mischief, and our DNA is stubborn. So I guess I feel more comfortable when we recognize that there are boundaries and that although exploration beyond the limits can be a very good thing, irrationally flailing against them, repeatedly, isn't. Yipes. That was a big blob of a comment! I'm going to hit "post" now and then come back and see if what I typed made any sense.

  8. Heh — it came close! I'm going to look at the library post —— have a great day!

  9. Me, again- I did leave out something– those "limits" -? they do change…people live longer, we have all kinds of treatments for all kindsof probelms, we can travel in space, and clone animals, etc — but pushing them, breaking tthrough hem typically takes an significant investment of time and effort. And that may be a good thing – maybe it gives people a chance to adjust. Or not. OK, all done. thanks!

  10. Purplesque says:

    Thank you for the comment. You're absolutely right..when I said religion/spirituality, I was thinking of learning to accept and move on, rather than constantly flailing against any boundaries set, real or imaginary. We grow up these days (at least, I did) believing that all boundaries are meant to be violated, that there is nothing we can't fight and win against. Which is a great attitude to have, sure, but then when it doesn't pan out (as it won't, sometimes, laws of probability), we crash and burn. People who have some kind, any kind of faith, somehow seem to do much better against these kind of odds. ( I sound like a preacher. Yikes!!!)

  11. Which is a great attitude to have Yes — being optimistic about goals is so good. And being realistic about results is good, too. I think.

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