I was pleased to be asked to contribute a blog post to the upcoming International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP) conference in Los Angeles, Oct. 28-29. The conference is entitled: Alternatives to Biological Psychiatry: If we don’t medicate, what do we do?
The content of my post (below) is the usual stuff that I yammer on about, that everybody talks about alternatives to the current mainly drug based treatment for schizophrenia, but what is anybody actually DOING about it?
Actually, it is parents who are disastisfied with the current group think about mental health, who, through trial and error, have figured out how to put the pieces of their child back together. We are reluctant to deliver our relative into the hands of professionals, having learned through experience that if you want to do something right, do it yourself. Unfortunately, parents who have figured it out, are rarely invited to speak at conferences, which are the domain of mental health professionals. That being said, the ISEPP conference is a terrific opportunity to shape and direct the future of alternatives to biological psychiatry. Fellow bloggers, Becky Murphy and Duane Sherry have also contributed posts to the ISEPP blog. Read Becky’s contributions here and Duane’s here.
A Mother’s Search Through Alternatives to Biological Psychiatry: If we don’t medicate, what do we do?
By: Rossa Forbes
First of all, I am delighted to have the chance to speak to this issue in my blog post to ISEPP. That’s the big question, isn’t it?
If we don’t medicate, what do we do?
Where is the how-to guide?
In December 2003 when my then nineteen year old son, “Chris,” was first hospitalized and given a diagnosis of “schizophrenia,” I had no idea that there were any alternatives to the medications. Certainly, no doctor informed my husband and I that there are competing schools of thought about schizophrenia and other so-called mental illnesses. Instead, we were told the usual claptrap that he had a brain disease and drugs would control it but not cure him. That negative message stopped us in our tracks for at least two years. My son did not get better during that period, even in an expensive outpatient program that he attended daily. He was as much a mystery to the psychiatrists when he left—as medicated as when he entered.
However, I got better, meaning I got smarter and started to investigate what I could do for him. I decided to take my inspiration from psychiatrists and others who have a generally more upbeat perspective on schizophrenia—Abram Hoffer, Thomas Szasz, R.D. Laing, Dr. Peter Breggin, and Dr. Loren Mosher. I went even further afield and read Carlos Castaneda, Hermann Hesse, and Daniel Paul Schreber and began to sense a wonderful magic to this so-called disease. I am not romanticizing this condition, but it’s important to see the magic. I read about the German New Medicine of Dr. Ryke Geert Hamer and I saw how trauma or shock registers in the body as cancer, schizophrenia and other health problems. Dr. Hamer also says that rendering a diagnosis sets in place feelings of hopeless and despair that prevent healing. How right he is. Armed with this information, I put together my own healing program for my son. This generally amounted to dragging him (and me) through some weird and wonderful stuff. I figured that chances are, as his mother, I had a role in why he reacted to life as he did, and I may as well take this opportunity to heal myself, too.
Read the rest here.