A Psychiatrist Airs His Professional Doubts

Many thanks to Truthman30 for this article, written by Dr Michael Benjamin who has 38 years’ experience in the field of Psychiatry.

Did you ever stop to wonder or ask yourself ‘what am I doing?’ I did and in many ways I wish I had not. As a Psychiatrist, I still do not know what our profession is trying to do. It seems we have a series of solutions and now we are trying to find the problems that they can solve. My observations are either anecdotal or part of research that I have done as a Psychiatric Auditor and are based on my 38 years experience in the field of Psychiatry.

In the adult population, generally speaking, the influence of the Drug Companies is terrifying. Very few research projects disprove the efficacy of a drug when the trial is sponsored by the drug’s manufacturer. Harmful facts that may be discovered are not disclosed. When they are, their importance and significance are downplayed. For example, one of the major, popular, new anti psychotic drugs actively and substantially increases the risk factors for heart attacks or CVAs. In all the adult population the major medical goal is to reduce these risk factors. Only severely mentally ill psychiatric patients are the exception.

It has been shown that after 10 years of illness a psychotic not taking medications is four times more likely to be symptom free than one that is taking medications. Read that again. You would expect the complete opposite. In spite of the hype, the quality of life in patients using the older medications are better than the new. So we are paying more, endangering more and getting less. Not very impressive is it? The mantra of today’s Psychiatric Services are something like this:

• A patient gets ill.
• He goes to the emergency room where he is admitted or referred to community service organizations.
• On admission he is diagnosed, medicated and sent home to continue care in the community.
• He continues his therapy in the community.
• He is only re-referred if the community cannot cope.

What happens in reality?

• There are no hard and fast rules or consistency as to who is received and why. A large proportion of first time hospitalized patients will never re-appear in the Mental-Health system. Why were they hospitalized in the first place?
• Referrals to community care from the ER are done badly, if at all.
• The vast majority of hospitalized patients remain unknown to community care after discharge.
• A large proportion of the patients are no longer taking medications in a meaningful way three months after discharge from hospital.
• Most of the patients seen in community care were not hospitalized.

Grim reading indeed.


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