A Taste of Their Own Medicine

Here’s a fascinating read from January 2018. A psychiatrist writes that one of his patients threatened to jump off a bridge if the doctor prescribed a particular psychotropic medication to him. At first, the doctor took the same patronizing attitude that I’ve observed many adopt with my clients. The doctor asked the patient which side effects were bothering him. The patient gave a typical list. The listed side effects aren’t enumerated in the article, but I am guessing they were similar to what my son Andrew complained of: lethargy, difficulty concentrating, inability to read a book, occasional slurred speech. The doctor gave the stock response: What has a greater negative impact on your life–those side effects, or another manic episode?

But then, the doctor did something I’ve never heard of. He took the meds himself. He journaled, every 30 minutes, about the effects he was experiencing for the next 24 hours. It’s a must-read, especially for anyone who believes forced drugging of people is OK because “it’s for their own good.” Maybe every doctor should be required to take a dose of these meds. Only then can they make a reasonable determination that these known side effects are no big deal.


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