This is a very tough personal story for me to write. I find this tougher than writing about myself.
I have a sister who was diagnosed with the Schizo-affective disorder in her late 30’s. Actually, she’s been given many diagnoses but I think the Pharmaceutical slaves, her Doctors finally settled with this label. My sister was a high functioning person until she became ill. She went through a prolonged postpartum depression after the birth of her second child. We all felt something wasn’t right but we were not able to pinpoint what was going on. We all received a call one afternoon that she had tried to commit suicide. From what I remember, my sister dropped her daughters off at school and the babysitter then proceeded to drive to the Lake. She parked her car and swallowed a ton of pills. When she began to feel the effects of the pills she panicked and she rushed herself to the Doctor. They called an ambulance. My sister was in ICU for 3 days and then sent to the Psychiatric Ward. Things just got worse from that day on.
After my sister was discharged we found out they had her on at least 4 different medications. At the time, we were just hoping the meds would help her to climb out the deep abyss she had been in for quite some time. Sadly, her symptoms began to escalate. My sister was beginning to hear voices and see ‘things’ that weren’t there. My sister developed psychosis and became suicidal again. Luckily she was able to confide in her family that she was suicidal. Back to the hospital she went and came home on even more medications.
My sister has been in and out of the hospital for the past 15 years. Her psychosis has increased, she has trouble with her fine motor skills, cognitive impairment, receives IGG infusions because her immune system is shot, and is depressed most of the time. She stutters when she’s nervous or tired. I swear she’s on enough medications to kill a horse! She is unable to work because she can hardly function. She’s also gained a lot of weight along with other health issues.
As I write this tonight, she ended up back in the hospital a few days ago due to her psychosis increasing. I am her health care power of attorney and I requested a family meeting with her Doctor and Social worker. They are poisoning her with drugs and these drugs will eventually be her demise, not her illness.
She told me she is on 8 psychiatric drugs, AND the Doctor increased one of her medications today. 8 drugs, REALLY? What is wrong with these Wacka-Doodles?! She sounds like a zombie but that’s all good because the staff doesn’t have to deal with real strong emotions and the Doctor can discharge her faster if she ‘appears’ emotionally stable. Nevermind that she doesn’t appear physically stable.
The goal for calling a family meeting?
As a family we all have concerns. We want to know WHY she is on so many drugs, and bring it to their attention that many of these drugs interact severely with each other. We want them to know the drugs are causing her more physical issues. We want to find out if the Doctor has ever looked into alternative answers for her? She has currently been in IOP (Intensive Out patient therapy) for over a year because I requested something long term after her discharge last year. Unfortunately, it sounds as if the group has a wide range of illnesses and is fairly generic with the therapy the use. They need to understand that she functions fairly well for the first hour after waking- that is until she pops her drug cocktail. My sister was also diagnosed with PTSD years ago and I don’t think the Therapists she’s seen have ever focused in depth on this aspect of her illness.
Pharmaceutical Companies are winning!
According to the Washington Post (2012) “The US spends $113 Billion on Mental Health Treatment and most of the dollars go towards prescription drugs and out patient therapy.” Many of the psychiatric drugs have side effects that are worse than the illness itself, not to mention they are dangerous when combined. Most of these drugs are highly addictive, even those which claim they aren’t. I’ve seen the withdrawal, and it’s not pretty.
So, what is the answer?
I’m stumped. I want to see her improve, but what I am witnessing is a continual decline. I would like to see her receive intensive one on one therapy which would include focusing on her PTSD. I want to shake her doctor and Therapists- asking them if they could function on this many drugs? I understand she needs medication because of the psychosis, but 8… I repeat, 8 psychiatric drugs?!
Sadly, my sister gained labels years ago and now they treat her in a robotic manner instead of understanding she’s human with emotions, a good heart, has dreams for a better future just like those who treat her do. She’s just a number to them- she’s become part of the system instead of keeping her individuality.
I would love input from anyone that has experienced something similar with a loved one and had much better luck? I would love to know what we are missing as a family, so we can be of more help to her.