"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Self-Medication and Diagnosis 

Is a dangerous game. The Times ran an article today about the growing trend of young people self-diagnosing illnesses, especially psychiatric conditions, and prescribing themselves and others medications - either by demanding their doctors write scripts, or by getting them by, erm, other means. It focuses on a group of people who seem to be fairly savvy - using the internet and PDR to research their choices - but these people still seem to have no real medical or pharmacological training. Which really worries me.

I manage meds for my grandparents, and to some extent my parents, and sometimes do help friends out with their considerations, because I have taken pharmacology, worked in psychiatric facilities, and have some medical training, while they don't. But everyone is very clear that I. Am. Not. A. Doctor. and that they need to consult someone who is.

I understand the appeal of making your own decisions on psychiatric drugs especially, as each one is so idiosycratic, and I fully agree that patients in this regard should, when they are able, take an active role in finding out about the drugs their doctors suggest. Read that last sentence carefully: when they are able - many psychiatric patients, regardless of their personal opinions, do not make sound judgments; and the drugs their doctors suggest - it's one thing to ask your doctor about a new drug you've seen advertised, but demanding a medication contrary to your doctor's advice, or even one with which s/he is unfamiliar, is dangerous*.

And don't get me started on people sharing prescriptions. Yes, you've taken Vicodin before and didn't have any problems. Thing is, you were at home recovering from a tonsilectomy, not out clubbing. OK, so you were out clubbing, but make no mistake: you got lucky.

I see my friends doing this, and it makes me spitting mad. Not just because it's stupid, but because it's inevitably me who has to do CPR/get puked on/call the ambulance/explain to the paramedic what you've taken and why you were taking it on a belly full of tequila. All of these things seriously ruin my buzz.

*If your psychiatrist needs to read up on a drug before prescribing it, that's what should happen. Let me assure you that, unless you are a medical professional, your doctor will almost always read/interpret the literature very differently and more effectively than you will.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?