There’s a lot of things in life that can drive a person “crazy.” Relationships, work, heck, even mental illness.
But in an article entitled, Psych meds drove my son crazy (also see Digg discussion), Ann Bauer makes the leap of logic into having the reader believe that, without a doubt, psychiatric medications led to his “crazy” behaviors. They absolutely may have, I agree with that.
But she puts none of his reactions or behaviors onto the fact that her son was depressed and suffering from the loss of a woman’s attention (his first date of his life). I’ve known people who’ve killed themselves over such things.
So yes, she went to see many doctors, even specialists, and they seemed to have misdiagnosed Bauer’s son. It happens every day and I think it’s sad, but it’s also completely understandable. Because mental illness isn’t something you draw blood for and then run some lab tests on (and, even if it was, doctors misdiagnose patients everyday for medical illnesses as well). It’s subjective and doctors build upon what’s in the chart, very rarely starting with a clean slate after a chart has been established on a patient.
Are doctors sometimes quick (too quick?) to reach for their prescription pads when confronted with a series of symptoms that suggest an appropriate psychiatric medication might be helpful to the person in pain who’s sitting in front of them? Maybe. But doctors rely on their experiences and education to form a professional opinion about the person’s likely diagnosis and prescribe an appropriate treatment — that’s what they do!
Should doctors be aware of and keep up with every new issue or research paper on the effects or side effects of every medication they prescribe? Yes, in an ideal world. Can they? Not a chance. Medical knowledge has long outstripped an individual’s ability to keep up with it about 50 years ago. Any doctor you see may or may not be up on the latest research for a medication he or she is prescribing.
Doctors aren’t infallible (and most never claimed to be in the first place) and they sometimes make mistakes in diagnosis. This story appears to be one such misdiagnosis. But for every story like this, I wish they’d also print the 1,000 or 10,000 stories about people who have been accurately diagnosed and prescribed a medication that positively changed their lives.
Because that is a far more common experience.
But I guess it’s also not “news.”