Collaborative Treatment

My employment as the Health Guide at HealthCentral’s schizophrenia website ended in September.

I had that job for the last nine years. There I was in the vanguard in what I wrote about recovery. Often I was talking and writing about hot topics five years before other people did.

Now that this job ended I will write in the blogs about topics that I would’ve written for HealthCentral.

One thing I want to talk about is collaborative treatment. I wrote about shared medical decisions and becoming a proactive patient at HealthCentral years ago. This is one of the tactics I stand in solidarity with others about so I want to talk about it before I get into the juice of the educational conference topics.

I advocated for educating yourself; staying ahead of the latest research; talking to peers; and getting a second opinion if you feel it’s necessary.

The “do as I say, because I’m the doctor” approach is not ever one I followed. I had a shrink keep asking me to switch to Risperdal. I kept telling him “No, no, no” because I didn’t trust him. I knew the drug was just as likely to cause weight gain.

On the other hand, I thought “Sign me up” when Dr. Altman told me he was going to switch me to Geodon. “Hallelujah” ran through my head because I was aware Geodon might not cause weight gain. Over eight years later I still haven’t gained weight.

In an ideal world, Dr. Altman would’ve told me: “I want to switch you to Geodon, and here’s my rationale…what do you think?” I don’t remember him telling me this. And at the time it didn’t matter to me. I automatically went along with him.

In the coming blog entries I’ll list questions to ask your doctor.

It’s true that in the words of the SYMS clothing store advertisement: “An educated consumer is our best customer.”

So while I might not agree with everything so-called consumers advocate for I do stand in solidarity with the idea of collaborative treatment.

To this end I will talk in here about how to interact with a doctor collaboratively.

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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.

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