An addendum to; Are doctors still discriminating?


An Addendum to’ Are doctors still discriminating? ‘

On September 3, I posted the third in a series of blogs called Are Doctors Still Discriminating? And, after receiving a few comments, I feel the need to add an explanation and apologize for putting all physicians in the same basket. It was thoughtless of me and I feel the need to apologize.

When a doctor asks a question and his patient doesn’t describe his symptoms lucidly, or, if the patient has an odd way of speaking or strange mannerisms, the doctor often puts it down to the fact that  this patient was diagnosed as once suffering from a mental illness.

When our son was ill, we searched high and low for the ‘right psychiatrist’ for him. Then we searched for someone who would explain paranoid schizophrenia to us in a way we could understand, as well as give us coping tools, as we needed lots of them.

When searching for any therapist, one has to find someone who is compatible with one’s needs, so if a person with a mental illness needs a physician, it takes a bit longer as he/she has to do the rounds, ask questions, and then find one who does not discriminate. He/she needs to find a physician who knows how to put questions to this particular patient, but I realize that there are many obstacles in the doctor’s way, so, remaining open-minded is not always easy.

Of course NOT ALL doctors discriminate against people with a mental illness.

Yet, quite recently, a young woman called to confide in me and said that she never visits a doctor on her own as she knows that she’ll lose all credibility of being a professional as soon as she mentions her psychiatric history to many health care professionals. Having someone with her gives her status somehow. She went on to add that it was a sad reality. ‘It’s dehumanizing, when the patient has to figure out which doctor to talk to – or not,’ she went on to tell me. 

While listening to her, it brought back the time I’d read that a dark-skinned person had visited a fair-skinned doctor and did not receive the treatment he should have received.

I know that it’s difficult for doctors, especially when a patient does not respond to his/her current meds.

Of course this blog is not directed at the doctors who are able to empathize and who really listen and hear what their patient is trying to tell them.

 Don’t lose faith in humanity as humanity is an ocean. If a few drops in the ocean are dirty, the ocean dos not become dirty. Mahatma Ghandi.

Have a good day.

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One thought on “An addendum to; Are doctors still discriminating?

  1. dastein

    Thank you for writing this, I am really glad I stumbled upon your blog. It sadly doesn’t surprise me that physician would discriminate based on mental illness (I’ve haven’t seen a GP for 3 years as a result of my last GP putting me on an anti-depressant without fulling understanding my mental illness. I’m bipolar, so anti-depressants exacerbate mania and it was one of the reasons I had a major episode). Although I’ve not dealt with a GP, I have had experience with horrible therapists and psychiatrists.

    My first PsyDoc saw me a just a guinea pig, he laughed when I told him I was bipolar and within the first few minutes of the consultation he prescribed me three different medications (he barley even asked my questions about my symptoms or my life. In fact he boasted that he could diagnose and prescribe the “right” meds within the first few minutes of the meeting. Also, he was wearing a diamond encrusted cross, a rolex, was wearing an expensive suit and had an office filled with valuable trinkets and furniture. And on top of that he made me wait 3+ hours before he saw me). Needless to say, the first batch of meds did not work, in fact the Abilify gave me horrible tardive dyskinesia. For the next few months he put me on a bunch of different medications, each one having a horrible side effect or making my mania/depression worse. After a few months of this, I finally got the courage to break free from him and find a new psychiatrist.

    He was a older man in his late 60s. He radiated a friendly aura and talked with me for over 1.5 hours when we first met. I thought I had finally found the perfect psychiatrist. Boy was I wrong. Over the next year and a half he prescribed me Seroquel and increased the dosage to 900mg. After about a year on the massive dose I started to lose my cognitive functions- I had a hard time talking, could barely remember what I had done the previous day and I was over come by a powerful wave of lethargy and an empty feeling. My body was slowly dying and I finally realized it was due to the Seroquel (oh, I forgot to mention, this psychiatrist was paid by AstraZenica to prescribe all of his patients Seroquel, regardless of their diagnosis).

    It was around this time that I had been accepted into a graduate program. During this period I tried to taper off my medication through the use of illicit drugs. Unfortunately, I had become increasingly unstable and had to drop out as a result of mental distress. A few weeks later I started an out patient program at a hospital. About a month into the program I had a major mixed episode, which got so bad that three security guards had to escort me to the psych-ward. This ended up being one of the best points in my life. It was there that I met my current psychatrist. After examining me and talking with me on multiple times, he helped me get off Seroquel, as well finding the perfect med cocktail that stabilized my mind. I had finally found the perfect doctor, and to this day I see him every month (I’ve also found the perfect therapist, but I had to go through 5 bad therapists over a 20 year period before I found her).

    The reason I ended this post on my finding the right doctors, is that I want to give you hope that you will find the perfect doctor for your son. Just hang in there, because even when it gets dark, even when you feel like there is no hope, you will always find your way out of hell.

    Again, hang in there and I hope you are having a wonderful Friday Afternoon.

    Dave.

    Reply

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