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View Poll Results: If you've been treated for Mental Illness, rate the effectiveness
1 2 12.50%
2 0 0%
3 1 6.25%
4 0 0%
5 0 0%
6 2 12.50%
7 1 6.25%
8 2 12.50%
9 1 6.25%
10 2 12.50%
It's too soon to tell 1 6.25%
Can't really tell if it's made things better or worse 4 25.00%
Voters: 16. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-11-2014, 04:50 PM   #46
Andy Alt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
In my experience mental health treatment over the last 15 years seems almost experimental. It seems about every 8 weeks or so I find out another guy I served with has committed suicide. (I'm aware that is probably not that frequent but it just feels that way) I would be nice if people stopped perceiving mental illness as a weakness or problem that needs to be hidden and started doing pushing for some actual research on the issue. Maybe things are changing it's been a good long while since I've been to the states and the military community overseas is well insulated so I could be talking about the past but it is my thoughts on the matter.
Chris, my father died of suicide when I was eight. I've had two attempts myself (last was 13 years ago) But I don't claim to know what it's like for members of the military to lose colleague after colleague to suicide. It's gotta be tough, to say the least.

Even among civilians, many still view depression or suicide as acts of cowardice, or a weakness. But I think they are in the minority now.

But I suspect for those in the military, when they have been trained to ignore pain and show no weakness, it must be five times harder to change the thinking, to realize it's not a weakness, it's a sign that some healing needs to be done, that humans are not machines and sometimes need to be vulnerable in expressing how they feel and asking for help. As I said, to do that for many "civilians" is difficult, but it must be so much harder for a soldier trained for combat. We do hear about it in the news from time to time (the "soldier mentality that prevents them from getting help), but of course the reality is always much darker than a statistic.

My Uncle served in the Army during Vietnam (Rangers '68,69), my grandfather served in World War II (Navy). I can't speak about their personal experience, but I can say that I do have respect for what Veterans do and I believe they should be entitled to top-notch health care.

As for what treatment is like these day,s that's up for debate. Some was covered in this thread. From what I can tell from all the mental health-related blogs that have sprung up in recent years, getting quality mental health care can be quite a challenge and far too much emphasis is still placed on the psych drugs. They can be effective, but without proper non-drug treatment they fall far short of helping people recover.

And there is still quite a bit of controversy over their efficacy versus risks. I remember in 2008 in TIME an article by Mark Thompson that said antidepressants were going to be used to help treat deployed veterans (It was the cover story actually: America's Medicated Army). Meaning the vets would stay in-theater, but be given SSRI medication to help deal with combat-related stress. This struck me as a very bad idea. Particularly at the time, just a few years after black box warnings were added to SSRI and SNRI medications.

Some say it "only" raises suicide risk by 1% but I believe that's only in clinical trials. The sad truth, as I know it, is that in the real world the amount of data collected by doctors treating patients after drug approval is pitiful. To the best of my knowledge, doctors aren't required to submit data to an central body so post-clinical trial data can be analyzed properly. so what happens in the meantime? Anecdotal evidence is dismissed as being non-scientific and people who speak against medication are labelled as Scientologists and nutjobs. 1% maybe, but if a patient being treated for depression and suicidal thoughts commits suicide after starting treatment... does anyone raise an eyebrow? Is there any way to determine if the med played a role? No, in most case it's chalked up as a suicide and added to suicide statistics.

I don't mean to repeat myself, some of this I've already mentioned earlier in this thread, but wanted to summarize a bit.

As for drugging the military, I haven't read any follow-up info on how well that "treatment" method worked. But I don't always follow the news either.

This forum might be helpful to you or your colleagues:

Hadit.com Veteran to Veteran LLC
Quote:
VA claims research for service Connected disability compensation rating is just one of our many forums This is a good forum to put general VA claims questions. There are several forums that deal with specific issues, such as TDIU. PTSD, Agent Orange, etc look over the various forums and post in the one you feel best fits your question.
Veteran’s Crisis Line

This guy is stationed in Germany, too. You and Lance might have something to talk about.
http://mordfilm.wordpress.com/

This guy's a doctor who appears to focus on treatment without meds, and he's got resources on his site for clinicians and the general public/patients:

The website of David D. Burns, MD
http://feelinggood.com/

Let me know if you'd like any other reading material, Chris. I wish the best to you and yours.

Last edited by Andy Alt; 09-11-2014 at 05:23 PM.
 
Old 02-10-2015, 08:28 PM   #47
Andy Alt
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I decided to try another therapist. So far, so good, after five weekly sessions. He specializes in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). It seems like a pretty good approach. He hasn't recommended I get on medication yet. He suggested I join his DBT group, which I did. I've attended two group sessions so far, a "skills-based" group, that so far seems like it'll work well for me.
 
Old 02-10-2015, 09:24 PM   #48
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That's good to hear. There are many different types of therapies, and how well they work is on an individual basis.
 
Old 02-11-2015, 11:06 AM   #49
vmccord
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I am sincerely happy for you too. Good luck.
 
Old 02-11-2015, 12:25 PM   #50
Germany_chris
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Keep on keepin' on..and congrats
 
Old 02-11-2015, 06:45 PM   #51
sundialsvcs
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Andy, the fact that you recognize the problem and are, yourself, seeking help to deal with it effectively ... "is huge." It means that you can survive this thing, beat it, and continue with your own [much better ...] life.

You're able to see it for what it is ... a disease process, and maybe a reaction to trauma: perhaps physical trauma that you experienced, and of course the emotional trauma of serving in combat at all. We really don't know what makes the human brain "tick," anyway. We have no idea. But we do know that if someone who's battling depression does not take it at face value, does not believe those dark and hopeless thoughts but rebels against them, that's likely to be the one that survives it.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, as you fight this ... this, perhaps the most terrible and insidious and heartless enemy that you have ever faced. You will face it. And, you will beat it.
 
Old 02-12-2015, 09:46 AM   #52
rtmistler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QRCode View Post
I didn't vote because I never had treatment for my depressions nor taken medications.

Don't get me wrong, I had my share of depressions in life but they weren't in the severe situations. I did had a health related depression but I never consider suicide as a means to resolve the depression. Many of my depressions got resolved through time.
Right, can't really vote because I've never been treated for any mental health issues. Not that everyone doesn't have social issues throughout the course of their life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Alkaline View Post
Oh, by the way, the only suicide attempts I've had were when I was getting treatment, when I was getting treatment. None before, none since. Coincidence? I honestly don't know. I'm just glad to be myself. Meds can cause anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, insomnia... well, I'm grateful that now I can narrow down the list of things that might be affecting me, and not wondering how a drug is interacting with me.
I don't call it coincidence at all, the world is so drug heavy it's ... inappropriate IMHO. I fully get that medication may help some people. However I do believe that in the large part of the cases, it should be a near placebo and should be considered a temporary solution. In short, the large main of social depressed people should actually have good counseling and be guided to a point where they can self help their selves. Instead therapists prescribe rapidly and when things don't improve, they swap out meds, increase them, decrease them, and the cycle continues. I see this a lot in friends and family members.

I do understand that there are persons who absolutely need treatment and support on a lifelong basis. I just honestly don't feel the numbers are as high as the amount of people who end up going on some form of psychology based medications.
 
Old 02-14-2015, 10:12 AM   #53
Andy Alt
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Thank you, everyone.

@nmistler: a lot of people, including myself, have similar views. Thanks for expressing them.
 
Old 03-05-2015, 03:33 PM   #54
Jeebizz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtmistler View Post
Right, can't really vote because I've never been treated for any mental health issues. Not that everyone doesn't have social issues throughout the course of their life.

I don't call it coincidence at all, the world is so drug heavy
I disagree, it is more like the US is so drug heavy. I can't think of any other country that can even come close to the number of prescriptions and drug advertisements. In fact I can't even think of other countries that even advertise meds so openly and frequently if at all.

I don't think though I can offer a clear perspective, since I found myself now on prescription meds, but to be fair I was really in a downward spiral. However meds alone should not be the only method in treating said ailment , such as clinical depression. A combination of therapy like CBT (Cognitive Behavioral therapy) or other types should at least be considered. To me meds are to be used as something either to supplement or in very bad cases to stabilise the patient in question.

The problem is that certain meds are too quickly prescribed, and whats worse are prescribed for 'off label' use, meaning prescribed in use for things that the drug was originally intended for. Nevermind the big business it is to sell these meds. Again I can only think of the US where pharmaceutical companies have literal free reign in targeting doctors, nevermind the ads on tv alone.

At the risk of further derailing this thread though, I'll just end by leaving this here, where I believe sums up the issue perfectly.
 
Old 03-05-2015, 04:34 PM   #55
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Yeah, I agree with all that, and I watch the show regularly. The blame for it falls mainly upon Big Pharma, but doctors and people are partly to blame too. Doctors should not be so quick to bow down before the mafia-like Big Pharma, and I'm sure many refuse to be swayed by their tactics. People should fight against Big Pharma turning them into legal drug addicts. I hope things change in the future for the better, I'll do my part.

Last edited by metaschima; 03-05-2015 at 04:35 PM.
 
Old 03-06-2015, 02:02 AM   #56
kuser:)
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Quote:
when you get past the fear and the ridicule and the judgment and the stigma of others, you can see depression for what it really is, and that's just a part of life, just a part of life, and as much as I hate, as much as I hate some of the places, some of the parts of my life depression has dragged me down to, in a lot of ways I'm grateful for it. Because yeah, it's put me in the valleys, but only to show me there's peaks, and yeah it's dragged me through the dark but only to remind me there is light. My pain, more than anything in 19 years on this planet, has given me perspective, and my hurt, my hurt has forced me to have hope, have hope and to have faith, faith in myself, faith in others, faith that it can get better, that we can change this, that we can speak up and speak out and fight back against ignorance, fight back against intolerance, and more than anything, learn to love ourselves, learn to accept ourselves for who we are, the people we are, not the people the world wants us to be.
Kevin Breel: Confessions of a depressed comic (from ted.com)

Here's what I think:
Every single human being is capable of doing something that they should do, in order to make all of us better people. Every single human being has a potential, that nobody else has.
There is only one YOU. You are HERE on this planet (maybe even in the whole universe). YOU are HERE, NOW. There probbly won't every be anyone like you again in the future. Even if there will, it's not NOW. So the only question is: what will you do while you're here?
So I think it boils down to finding, what you really care about, and doing it, because nobody else can do it better than you - you have a unique perspective.

Last edited by kuser:); 03-06-2015 at 02:06 AM.
 
Old 03-17-2015, 10:37 PM   #57
Andy Alt
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@Jeebizz: IMHO, I don't think there's any danger of this thread becoming "derailed."

Interesting piece by the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)

Psycho-Pharma Front Groups
http://www.cchrint.org/issues/psycho...-front-groups/

Quote:
Little known but extremely relevant fact: The Campaign to “Stop the Stigma” of “Mental Illness” was launched by…. the Pharmaceutical Industry.

With a seemingly altruistic agenda, the fact is the campaign to end the “stigma” of mental illness is one driven and funded by those who benefit from more and more people being labeled mentally ill—pharma, psychiatry and pharmaceutical front groups such as NAMI and CHADD to name but a few. For example, take NAMI’s campaign to stop the “stigma” and “end discrimination” against the mentally ill—the “Founding Sponsors” were Abbott Labs, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Pfizer, Novartis, SmithKline Beecham and Wyeth-Ayerst Labs.[...]
They also have a cool RSS feed: http://www.cchrint.org/feed/

And for those particularly interested in Veterans' issues:

Behind the Epidemic of Military Suicides
http://www.cchrint.org/issues/the-hidden-enemy/
 
Old 03-21-2015, 08:49 PM   #58
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Talking about medications, a couple of weeks ago, under the directions of my doctor, I stopped taking the anti-psychotic drug I had been taking for years. (It was prescribed off-label for anxiety and depression).

So far so good. Haven't had major withdrawal symptoms and I actually feel my mood has improved. Never liked that drug since it made me feel numb and foggy and less me, as if I didn't care about anything and didn't enjoy life. Pretty boring.

If I ever have to be medicated again for some reason, I'll make sure not to take anti-psychotics.

Anyway, just wanted to share my experience. Hope everything goes well for you guys.
 
Old 03-21-2015, 11:13 PM   #59
Jeebizz
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I was initially prescribed 'seroquel' (not sure of the spelling) but that is essentially an anti-psychotic, when all this shit happened last year, it was for sleep disturbances/insomnia but I never touched it -- and I'm glad I didn't! There is a big difference between a doctor and a psychiatrist and I find it most disturbing that doctors can prescribe meds for off-label use without taking any considerations of alternative meds, and nobody knows the long-term effects either. I think they perhaps need to re-affirm their Hippocratic Oath.

For me a combo of amitriptyline and sertaline seemed to work for getting me through my clinical depression, and I am at least off the amitriptyline, which is an older antidepressant and quite effective, but unfortunate side-effect is a huge spike in weight gain. Still on Sertaline and doing fine. And For sleep I have 'Remeron' , but only downside is the night-time munchies which only contributes to weight, but thats going at a lower dose soon too.

I am not in any hurry to be off my meds by any means, the gradual lowering is obviously the way to go. Rarely a med should be stopped abruptly and only under direction.
 
Old 03-22-2015, 12:43 AM   #60
Hungry ghost
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Yes, IMO anti-psychotics should be prescribed for what they're meant for -- psychotic episodes. I respect my psychiatrist and I don't deny the fact that the aripiprazole (that's the name of the medication) helped me for some time, when I was having too much anxiety, but I don't think I should have taken it for so long. I feel that a part of me has been idle for a long time and now it's slowly waking up.

BTW, also took sertraline for some time and I think it's the medication that worked the best for me.

You're right not hurrying to stop the medications. They were probably prescribed for a reason and you should stop them only when you and your psychiatrist consider it's the right time to do so.
 
  


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