One Consumer’s Observations of the Mental Health Care System in America

The mental health system is a unique culture. Psychiatry itself is, unlike any other medical specialty. Mental health is an enclosed system. That means it is a world within a world. The doctors, therapists, patients, and support workers play roles. It’s a reciprocal environment. Each player in the system allows the other person the opportunity to act out his or her role. For example, the psychiatrist gives you a diagnosis that has no basis (Yes this does happen from time to time). You, the patient, having complete faith in the powers of the behavioral health system, accept this diagnosis as the gospel truth. In time, you begin to notice certain behaviors and thoughts that you believe may be a sign of your supposed illness. You return to your doctor and report these symptoms. Your psychiatrist agrees with your observations and writes them down in your medical record. He also inserts his authoritative comments to support his opinion. Therefore, both parties in the relationship are mutually validated in their roles.

When one has been playing the patient role for so long, a person begins to identify himself or herself as a “psych patient.” That’s who you are. This is the term that defines your very existence. You belong to the mental health system. Soon enough you find that every activity you engage yourself in is related to your disorder and the medication your doctor prescribed to suppress it. It’s a sad commentary indeed. It’s sadder still for the person who needlessly struggles against an undefinable defect in his or her character as if the diagnosis were the irrefutable truth. I acknowledge the fact that the unsettling scenario I am painting here is not true for every psychiatric patient.

At some point, the psychiatric patient discovers the benefits of being labeled mentally ill. There are mental health workers, such as case managers who assist the “consumer” in obtaining a free living allowance from the Federal government in the form of Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental Security Income in whatever minimal amount it may be. I will add for comfort that social security disability benefits are reported (by the government) to run dry in 2016. A consumer is often entitled to free housing, health care, food assistance, and much more. The mentally ill person may even have the right under certain disability laws to bring a pit-bull into a no-pet residential community. Technically speaking, you could even take it on a commercial airliner. The reason is simply because your therapist deemed it necessary that you have an emotional support animal (oops was that a secret?). Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there are people who require a companion animal for their emotional health. I’m not trying to be disrespectful to those who are struggling. What I’m saying that there are incentives built into the system for many people to accept their diagnosis and play out their role.

There are case managers and outreach workers that will go to court with you, and advocate on your behalf before the judge when you run afoul of the law. They will help the mentally ill with all of their personal affairs. What a bargain! Run out and tell all of your friends about it. Let the government take care of you. It makes being a psychiatric patient seem so much more attractive. Why wouldn’t anyone want a psychiatrist label to them disabled? Again, I’m being sarcastic to make my point that people, who are improperly labeled with a DSM V diagnosis, run the risk of becoming dependent on the mental health system for their needs.

This kind of social welfare encourages people to give up their ambition and motivation. It instills the idea that living a marginal existence is sufficient. I, for one, believe in the greatness people can achieve for themselves and the world by applying themselves.

Remember this. Once you get into the mental health system your chances of getting out are slim. There are a number of reasons for this. Primarily because the psychiatrist or psychologist has you convinced that you have a serious medical problem, which you can’t handle yourself. We all know that’s ridiculous. Many people manage their depression and anxiety remarkably well without the use of psychiatric medications. If Ativan calms your nerves and helps you function, then that’s great. On the other hand, I have seen plenty of people become addicted to sedatives. These drugs are unsafe. I wouldn’t put your faith in the safety of the anti-depressants either. I think the pharmaceutical giants are quick to point that out as a result of the numerous class action lawsuits filed against them.

Some blame can be placed on the pharmaceutical companies for this unnatural drug dependence. As I was writing this article, I surfed NAMI’s website (National Alliance for Mental Illness) and noticed “In Our Own Voice,” a public education program, is funded by a grant from Eli Lily. This is the pharmaceutical giant that manufactures psychiatric drugs like Prozac, Zyprexa, and Cymbalta. I gather (without too much mental effort) that Eli Lily’s generosity is a publicity campaign to make them look like one of the good guys in the mental field, and as a result, boost sales. As I surfaced the Internet, I found that NAMI has been receiving their fair share of criticism for their questionable association with pharmaceutical companies. I will not say NAMI is immoral or unethical. That would be too easy. If Ely Lily offered me thousands of dollars, I would have to seriously consider taking it. Sometimes the decision to cross the line depends on one’s real life needs. Other times it just has to do with making a buck. There is no denying that this kind of corporate misconduct adversely affects the mental health system and exacerbates the suffering of its consumers. Again, I know some people require the assistance of the pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatric community. The screening process for prescribing these medications is a big part of the problem. That’s because there is no adequate process in place for dispensing these potentially dangerous drugs.

Society itself contributes to this dysfunctional culture. The general attitude of the public is “As long as they are not bothering us you can do what you please with them.” This gives the mental health providers even more authority to do as they please. And so the psychiatric patient is stripped of his or her rights. As I see it, a psychiatric patient is a human being without respect or dignity. You can call my words dramatic if you like.

It may seem as I am playing the blame game and the taking on the victim role. Allow to clarify the role of the patient in the mental health system (those like myself). I will be the first to admit that the informed psychiatric patient is the one who is primarily responsible for his or her unfortunate situation. We have to accept our role in the system. No one can twist your arm behind your back, and say, “Go see a therapist about your anxiety.” At least that’s true in most cases. When you reflect on why you did it, you will say, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The worst thing a mentally ill person could ever do, is telling someone about his or her condition. As soon as you do, the other person looks at you differently. An automatic flash goes off in the person’s brain, “Oh God. Here we go. His illness is acting up.” This attitude is especially noticeable in the face of a mental health professional, your family members, and closest friends. It’s a universal reaction. From the moment you reveal your secret, everything you do will be blamed on your illness. The ways in which you express yourself as a normal human being will be measured against your supposed disorder. If you are frustrated about something, the people in your life will conclude, “His meds aren’t working.” When people think you cannot hear them, they will gossip amongst themselves, “Oh he’s a psych patient. That’s why he looks agitated. That’s part of his illness.” This attitude is quite common. It comes from a lack of understanding. How could a person know, unless he or she has personally experienced it.

If you should attempt to verbalize your rights as a human being, the mental health provider will proceed to have you committed to a psychiatric hospital against your will. The patient can be held for an indefinite period of time until a clinician decides the person has come to his or her senses. The mental health professionals can essentially do whatever they want with you because no one is going to speak out against them. In Massachusetts, psychiatric patients must retain a specially trained lawyer to represent them before a mental health court in order to be released. This is where we are in 2013. I’ll bet most of you reading this article didn’t know how our behavioral health system works. We are still in the dark ages.

The only time the state of the mental health system is brought to light is when a patient commits suicide or kills someone. Then there is a public uproar and the psychiatrist or therapist are blamed or in some cases sued. In their defense, no doctor can control the behavior of their patient in society. That is not their job as I see it. The mental health professional cannot be held responsible for the actions of their patients, unless they were grossly negligent in some way. We are free and sovereign human beings. In the United States, people are generally allowed to operate freely without undue interference from others. The American attitude is “No one has the right to tell me what to do.” It’s a slightly different story if the patient states that he or she intends to commit suicide or kill someone. Then the call to duty is activated.

John Backster is an advocate for the mentally ill and an activist for reform in the behavioral health system. Mr. Backster believes that the over reliance on medication as a primary treatment for psychiatric illness has led to a decline in the quality of mental health care nationwide. He is employed as an advocacy speaker for the National Action Committee for Mental Health Care Reform. He considers himself an activist for the rights of the mental ill. Mr. Backster is dedicated to bringing awareness to the alarming deficiencies that exist within the behavioral health care system. His goal is to curb the over-reliance on dangerous pharmaceutical drugs as the preferred treatment for patients with debilitating psychiatric disorders.

5 Essential Elements Your Dental Care Specialist Should Provide

It is no secret that healthy teeth and optimal oral care contribute significantly to having a good overall health. This makes it important to go for preventive dental check ups regularly; however, serious dental conditions requiring complicated procedures require you to urgently visit your dentist. Whether going for a cosmetic dentistry routine to fix your smile or undergoing a more complicated root canal treatment (RCT), following are the five things you must expect from your dental care provider:

Experienced Team of Dental Care Practitioners

The most important thing for a reliable dental practice is to have an experienced team of dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants. Quality dental clinics have multispecialty experts who excel in their respective fields ranging from cosmetic dentistry (smile designing, teeth whitening, laser bleaching) and orthodontics (brace procedures, serial extractions, myofunctional appliance control), to endodontics (root canal, pulpotomy, tooth coloured fillings) and prosthetics (implants, partial dentures, crowns/bridges).

Ease and Convenience of Access to Care

Getting convenient access to care without long waiting period is an essential factor that contributes to patient satisfaction. Whether you need a cosmetic dental procedure or require a follow up on your root canal treatment, every patient expects to be granted an appointment as soon as possible.

Round-the-Clock Services

While dental clinics should be open during peak visiting hours, 24×7 emergency services also constitutes an integral part of their operation. There are several times when patients experience unbearable pain or inconvenience during non-practice hours, such as during the middle of the night or holidays. Considering this, mobile dental vans have gained much appreciation from the patients and the dental fraternity alike. Not only do these 24 hour dental care services spare you the inconvenience of commuting, they deliver state-of-the art treatment at your doorstep.

Top-Notch Hygiene Standards

Patients should pay close attention to the standards of cleanliness followed by dental practices. This not only involves highest standards of sterilization with regards to dental treatments and procedures but also general hygiene of the reception and patient waiting areas.

Approachable Staff Reflecting Quality Care

Having a team of warm and friendly patient-facing professionals, dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants is an invaluable asset to the patients. Patients should expect a pleasant experience right from when the appointment is fixed over the phone to when the procedure is complete at the clinic. This is an important factor that converts first-time patients to regular ones. More importantly, all dental care practitioners should reflect highest standards of oral health in their own mouths.

6 Effective Herbal Remedies For Phobia

A phobia is commonly described as an irrational fear, the symptoms of which may be manageable at times. On certain unfortunate occasions this irrational fear can be so debilitating that the everyday life of a victim may come to a standstill.

A fear can be related to just about any object, situation or person or may be caused by a reflex action of the subconscious mind to avoid an unpleasant experience.

Common phobias include acrophobia (fear of heights), agoraphobia, (fear of open spaces), claustrophobia (fear of closed spaces) and so on.

Common symptoms of a phobia range from a sensation of terror or panic, inability to focus on thoughts, a strong desire to escape from the situation or an uncontrollable physical response such as dizziness or trembling.

There are many ways of helping sufferers of irrational fear. Natural Remedies for Phobia such as herbal remedies or aromatherapy can be really effective in this direction.

Here Is A List Of Common Herbal Remedies For Phobia.

Lemon or Lime

Lemon juice is considered highly effective in alleviating the nausea and dizziness caused by an attack of phobia. This method is commonly used by Ayurvedic practitioners. To obtain complete relief from different symptoms related to phobia, cut the lime in half and smell it for some time.

Chinese Skull Cap

The Chinese skull cap is an herb which can help a patient to get relief from the anxiousness and fear caused by a state of phobia. Traditionally, Chinese skullcap has been used by Chinese herbal practitioners to treat problems related to anxiety and insomnia. One of the main ingredients of this herb is flavonoids such as wogonin, which helps to come down the stress hormone in patients with phobia to a great extent. This herb helps in activating the central nervous system of a person which thereby helps patient to respond more positively to fear and anxiety.

Meadow Sweet

Meadow-sweet is a kind of herb which can be taken by a person suffering from phobia in the form of tea in order to get relief from the discomfort of anxiety and fear. The physical symptoms usually associated with phobia such as palpitations, panic and disturbance in the digestive system can be overcome my ingesting meadow sweet.

Passion Flower

Passion flower is a herb which can help to modulate the body’s emotional response to stress and help a person to remain emotionally calm and balanced. This particular herb acts as a natural sedative and can help a patient to overcome extremely fearful situation which can trigger responses related to phobias. The vine of this herb contains many soothing property which makes it an effective herbal remedy for all different kinds of phobias. In many books for Ayurvedic Treatments for Phobia, passion flower tea has been recommended for problems related to nervousness and fear in patients suffering from phobia.

Kava

Kava is a herb which is traditionally used in the South Pacific region to prepare ceremonial drinks. This herb is a natural sedative and relaxes the muscles of the body. Root extract from kava is soluble and can be added to water to relieve a person from the symptoms of phobia. Kava is also known to calm the gastrointestinal system and provide a suffering patient relief from phobia related stomach problems such as nausea and acidity.

Chamomile

Some of the common problems which people suffering from phobia experiences are fear, dread and sleeplessness. Chamomile is referred to a nerve relaxant which helps to soothe and relax the nervous system and cure the common problems associated with phobia.

This herb also acts as a natural sedative and soothes the nervous system by affecting the neurotransmitter in the brain in such a way which helps the phobia patient to become more stable and calm.

Anxiety is the outcome of continuous unnecessary thoughts, tension and fear. Apart from Ayurvedic medicines Yoga, meditation and pranayama can be very beneficial in clearing the panic attacks first by phobia. Ayurvedic medicines for phobia in general are very soothing and harmless. However, consult a health care professional before embarking on any line of treatment.

Ath Ayurdhamah is dedicated to restoring and maintaining the lost balance between physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, through the understanding and practice of age-old systems of Ayurveda and Yoga. Our strength lies in understanding the body and its performance at constitutional level and that is what we apply to our Remedies.

Our products manufacturing process uses herbs which have passed through multi-staged & rigorous selection process. We ensure careful selection and sourcing of herbs, minerals and oils from the best sources and appreciate the fact that hygiene and high quality control standards are critical in the manufacturing of these medicines and products to get optimum results. All our products are Approved by Ayush department and we are GMP certified.