The 21st Century Cures Act h as convinced people our broken mental-health system can be remedied with an infusion of cash.
But there’s a shortage of psychiatrists in our country. In hospital settings, people in perpetual crisis are ping-ponged from one on-call doctor to another. In just a few days, they’re released with the promise that one day soon they’ll feel better. That’s unfair. Any medication attempt only has a 30 percent chance of effectiveness. If it fails, naturally, the patient ends up back in the hospital, sees a different doctor, and they get a completely different diagnosis, and drugs, too.
Continuity of care with an experienced doctor is the best approach, but without a small fortune, forget about it. Only half our psychiatrists take insurance. This precludes the possibility of our most vulnerable citizens having access to the clinically seasoned.
Last year, Abilify, an anti-psychotic drug, was the No. 1 selling medicine worldwide, raking in $6.9 billion. This is partly due to clever advertising but also the suppression of information regarding this side effect. It’s bad for business. Many National Consumer support organizations depend on drug company dollars. The media does, too.
If patients were given answers to their questions and provided high-level neurology for their symptoms, they’d take their medications.
But we can’t even get doctors to talk about it. They no longer believe in older, traditional psychotics, like Thorazine, thinking that newer meds are safer. Sadly, a pile of studies have proved otherwise. That info has also been buried.
But patients know their bodies don’t lie. Keeping our mentally ill mentally well is not all about money. Access, transparency, support and transportation would help more.
Allison Biszantz, Hollywood