Treatment Options

I’m a mental health activist because I think a lot of traditional treatment options fail the people they’re supposed to help.

The traditional drug rehab treatment center industry is not regulated. How can it help a person that keeps going into the same centers over and over and relapsing? There are only a few treatment centers using evidence-based practices. And too often traditional rehab centers fail individuals who have a co-occurring mental illness. You can read about this in the book Clean by David Sheff that I reviewed at HealthCentral in September 2013.

Too often, traditional “day programs” fail young people with mental illnesses too. These programs are often little more than babysitting services. They fail young people who have the potential to do so much more after they’re newly diagnosed with schizophrenia or another mental illness.

Thus I don’t consider myself to be an “advocate” for traditional community mental health centers like the followers of the current “recovery movement” claim are the best options for treating people with mental illnesses.

I’m an activist who wants to see better options available for everyone who first experiences emotional or mental distress. I will continue to fight for the right of everyone to get the right treatment, right away when they have a break.

Doing nothing is not the solution. Turning people away from the hospital doors is not the answer. Using consumers as cut-rate labor is not the answer. Having anti-psychiatry consumers advise our loved ones not to take medication and to refuse the treatment that would help is not the solution either.

Social skills training and cognitive remediation are best-practices treatment that can help individuals with schizophrenia resume having a normal life.

Going off your medication and getting sick is not in my estimation the way to resume having a normal life. Denying you have an illness is the sure-fire way to become ill. Ironic, yet true.

Business-as-usual hasn’t worked for years. I’m an activist because I don’t “advocate” for the “right” to be psychotic. I don’t “advocate” for a person to accept having symptoms, when getting the right treatment quickly will enable them to live symptom-free or with minimal hardship from minor symptoms.

I had a doctor tell me that “total symptom relief” was the only acceptable outcome for my treatment. No kidding. He set the bar that high.

We need to set the bar higher for the kinds of outcomes we can expect for people newly diagnosed with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

We need to set the bar because no one should have to endure years and years if not decades of hell from ongoing symptoms, all because their treatment was delayed for too long.

The earlier a person gets the right treatment, the better the outcome is. That’s the bottom line.

I will continue to fight for everyone to have quick access to the right treatment for their needs. I will not join the chorus of haters bashing psychiatry and advancing their no-medication-no-treatment-at-any-time agenda.

Setting the bar higher is an idea whose time has come.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

2 thoughts on “Treatment Options”

  1. My daughter, nearly 13yrs old, was officially diagnosed with “Psychotic Disorder NOS with schizophrenic tendencies” & “Behavior Disorder NOS” in 3rd grade when she had a psychotic break at school, in the packed full hallway. I starting noticing the pronominal symptoms between age 2 & 3.
    Her team of doctors, at the local mental health provider, recently told me that her official diagnosis will be changing once they officially switch to using the DSM 5, to schizophrenia. Since I had documentation dating back to toddlerhood plus the family history they backdated her diagnosis to toddlerhood. All in all I have counted 4 major breaks…. 2 of which I handled by myself without any medical assistance…the 3rd I mentioned above… & the 4th was. Last year in 5th grade, which when when finally decided to medicate her. They have wanted me to hospitalize voluntarily her a couple times, but I refused, and that worked out just fine. The docs, then decided that her separation from her only safe zone she has ever known should induse more damage to her than going for observation 2 hours away

    I disagree with your assessment of the “day-progams”. The program my daughter has been in since the break mentioned above and has thrived! They provide:
    1) Psychiatrist who oversees and evaluates I fo provided by me, my child, psychotherapists, & school.. Usually meet every other month.
    2) Psychotherapist that meet with her twice a week during school…plus available for emergency calls 24/7
    3) a weekly after school group therapy session with other kids her age with similar disorders….trust me it’s no daycare/babysitter…. In these sessions they learn how to interact with others, are basically force to discuss their disorder with the others, while listening/learning about theirs.
    4) Family sessions with the Psychotherapist in charge of case… Every 3 months

    And the best part of their service is it is 100% covered by my states Medicaid program, ArKids 1st!!!! So that means no out of pocket expenses.

    Her father has…I mean had, he killed himself last month…. Pariond Schizophrenia as well a lot of others in his family. My side of the family has people with. schizophrenia, bipolar, OCD, and a few other issues.

  2. Dear Brandy Nolan,

    Your daughter has the ability to thrive.

    I’m glad to hear that you were able to obtain the best possible services for her.

    I’m grateful that other people are able to have positive treatment experiences.

    It would be interesting to hear from other readers their experiences with different kinds of mental health systems.

    Chris

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