Do Not Give Up On Treatment
Psychiatric patients oftentimes need reassurance that a certain treatment will be beneficial. The sound of a tricyclic antidepressant causing cardiac problems or electroconvulsive therapy inducing seizures can be understandably scary and concerning. Do not ever push a certain therapy onto a patient unless it’s an emergency.
Emergencies include suicidal ideation, past suicide attempts or current severe depression. Even substance abuse may be considered an emergency if the patient has a history of depression and overdoses, and is currently using. No matter what the situation is, always be kind with psychiatric patients; you are the potential healer of their suffering.
Persistence is important with psychiatric patients because many times, their judgment is too impaired to make rational decisions. For instance, many severely depressed patients in state hospitals are non-responsive to multiple antidepressants; their only hope is ECT.
But many patients refuse ECT out of the fear of feeling the electroconvulsive shocks being delivered via electrodes placed on the temporal regions of the head. The chances of feeling the shocks are slim to none, considering that anesthesia with Brevital, an anesthetic barbiturate, is given at a dose which induces sleep within 10 seconds, for a duration of 5-7 minutes.
The actual convulsions, on average, do not last longer than 180 seconds. The point is that psychiatric patients need persistent explanations and reassurance that a certain therapy has the potential of being beneficial. Giving up on a certain therapy because a patient consistently says “no” is giving up on your patient!
Do not settle for mediocracy. Psychiatric patients need persistent, healing human beings who do not give up on them. An excellent psychiatrist attempts to put him or herself in that patient’s shoes, in order to try to understand their perspective and where they are coming from.
Be that excellent psychiatrist. Be that caring healer. Be that loving human being!
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)