Forced medication or forced mutilation? 17.03.2019

Forced medication is a subject of discussion which many people within the field of psychology feel very passionate about. I've spoken to people who have either had a mental illness in the past or who are currently suffering and to say that it saddens me to hear and to have seen for myself of some of the tragic fates within the world of psychiatry would be an understatement. There is this one medicine in Norway, In some cases it's shown a positive effect on reducing the symptoms of psychosis, curing it completely in some cases and reducing the risk of a relapse. However, this can happen naturally, through therapy or simply through a course of nature. The potential downsides to this medicine does not justify using it. Not when we don't even know if it's needed or not, not when they're gambling with a human being. We know far too little about mental illnesses. It´s easy for a doctor, to look at a chart of information and to decide that a medicine is effective enough to justify the use of it, but they are not dealing with an order of staples or numbers in a stock market, they are dealing with real human lives and these people need to have a say in the matter!

This topic, the one of forced medication, is a very serious topic and even the people at the very top of the pyramid within this field are still in conflict about what the right thing to do really is and that is why I find it astonishing that this can even be legal. When they don´t even know! The patients get no say in the matter. A rule is followed blindly by all doctors whether they are on the pro or the con side of the debate and why? Who made this rule? Undoubtedly it was enrolled based on a document of information and statistics, when none of these numbers offer any information as to what the patients have to say about it. When it needs to be their choice.

See, the possible side-effects of this medicine are absolutely horrible! Those sho receive this medication, are often already so fragile from the shame and embarrassment of getting a mental illness and also worn out from the strain of having had the illness in the first place. Combine all of that with this dramatic change in their appearance from the medicine and you wind up destroying a human life. Even if the psychosis improves within a matter of weeks or months, the patients are still forced to carry on with the medicine for at least three years. So rebuilding their old lives, even if they have recovered mentally, becomes very difficult and many are unable to refrain from isolating themselves. Other side effects can be a lack of any sexual drive, a loss of emotions and well as patients describe it in general, a loss of life.

I know people who have recovered while neglecting to take their meds in secret, maybe even spitting them out while still in hospital, hence making a full recovery and never even having a relapse. (OK, so maybe that was me) These are the people who survive. These are the people who go on to lead normal lives, with normal jobs. We barely even know anything about mental illnesses. Hardly enough research has been done to justify forcing any medication on anyone unless it´s a question of life and death and in these cases, it isn´t! It makes me furious (and that's a good way to wind up locked up, so we better not speak our minds) when conversational therapy would have been more than enough! You need to address the actual underlying problems, not drug people to "fix" the problems. It´s like sweeping the dust underneath a carpet.

I see it as an assult. In the same way that lobotomy was an assult. Lobotomy used to be accepted and now, look at how we view it today, isn´t it possible that there is still room for improvement within psychiatric treatment? Something is wrong and if you go back, even just a couple of years, the picture get´s even worse. It´s probably because there is so much fear of the unknown, so much shame attached to this, especially for the poor patients and even cruelty. Many doctors and nurses, among other people, see the patients as someone who are worth less than themselves. They don´t say it out loud, but it affects the way they address them. When in reality mental illnesses can affect anyone! Yes, even you. It can affect anyone, on the same level that a cold or cancer or any other illness can affect anyone. X-patients are often shunned from their previous network, the topic being too "taboo" or "difficult" to deal with. This doesn´t always happen, but it happens.

Of course, some doctors and nurses are absolutely wonderful people, not all medicines are bad and some patients make a full recovery with or without medication, but nothing gives you the right to invade their bodies. It doesn´t matter that they are in a confused state of mind. They are not in mortal danger, they are not a danger to society while hospitalized and there is a good chance that they are going to make a full recovery without any medicine, so let them decide over their own bodies. Because how would you like it, if it was you and it can be, some day it could be you. 100 %, this could happen to you and I hope by now you have some idea how devastating it is. Having someone invade and even alter your body is worse than any psychosis. I have yet to find a single X-patient who is on the "pro forced medication" side of the debate.

Nina Titternes