Talk Doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns to Drug Therapy: featuring Dr. Donald B Levin MD

From the New York Times today an article about poor suffering psychiatrists who can’t help but give their patients inferior and dangerous drug treatment over psychotherapy, because, heaven forbid, the psychiatrist might have to give up a bit of his income.

It begins with great empathy for the poor psychiatrist who had no choice but to stop helping his patients live better lives!!!

Talk Doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns to Drug Therapy

Dr. Levin has found the transition difficult. He now resists helping patients to manage their lives better. “I had to train myself not to get too interested in their problems,” he said, “and not to get sidetracked trying to be a semi-therapist.”

He says about drugging people:

“I’m good at it,” Dr. Levin went on, “but there’s not a lot to master in medications. It’s like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ where you had Hal the supercomputer juxtaposed with the ape with the bone. I feel like I’m the ape with the bone now.”

But because he’s so attached to his income he knowingly sacrifices the wellbeing of his patients:

“At first, all of us held steadfast, saying we spent years learning the craft of psychotherapy and weren’t relinquishing it because of parsimonious policies by managed care,” Dr. Levin said. “But one by one, we accepted that that craft was no longer economically viable. Most of us had kids in college. And to have your income reduced that dramatically was a shock to all of us. It took me at least five years to emotionally accept that I was never going back to doing what I did before and what I loved.”

He could have accepted less money and could have provided time to patients even when insurers did not pay, but, he said, “I want to retire with the lifestyle that my wife and I have been living for the last 40 years.”

“Nobody wants to go backwards, moneywise, in their career,” he said. “Would you?”  (pull out the violin)

There you have it. “Fuck the patients, I want to have a good lifestyle.” Unfortunately this is most likely much more common than one would think. Practicing professionals who consciously choose to not do what is best for a patient so that they might get paid by insurance and live superior lifestyles to most of the population (and most all of their patients).

You can read the whole article here.

**My husband made the comment that this is all about patients being customers. I pointed out the word “consumer” broadly used in mental health circles,

His response was:

yes – but consumers is an odd (and obviously demeaning) euphemism. I prefer customers because it makes it unambiguous that this is a retail operation. A psychiatrist is a licensed drug pusher. Whereas illegal drug pushers don’t in reality don’t need to do much pushing — their customers are eager to get their hands on the dope — psychiatrists do very explicitly push drugs on people who very often did not come in search of drugs.

Yup!

UPDATE:

These patient reviews for Dr Levin are worth looking at too!  He sure as hell isn’t fooling his patients. Most of us know what is up, don’t we? The reviews come from Vitals.com

HE IS A NIGHTMAREbad patient, doctor communication. writes scripts like he’s giving out candy. misdiagnosis bi-polar, severe manic deppression , after i spoke with on first visit. 20 minutes. he said i talked too much. 3 and 4 different meds. was prescribed. He has no clue. i got very sick with the interation of drugs.I am 5’6 and weight 139 lbs . he had me on enough med. for someone who weights 200 lbs.worse experience of my life…I hope this information is helpful.

Read more: http://www.vitals.com/doctor/profile/1174516223/reviews/1174516223#ixzz1FpGTRB00

★☆☆☆☆Don’t Expect Compassion or True Concern from this DoctorVan G.

Dr. Levin is a pathetic, money-focused psychiatrist more concerned with whether he’s being paid enough than serving his patient’s interests. He does push pills like they’re candy and then blames the patient if he/she has a drug interaction or doesn’t find the drug to work effectively. Worse still, Dr. Levin often doesn’t remember what his patients tell him and has to ask repeatedly over the course of time about key aspects of his patient’s life or background. In my case, I have a severe chronic illness that causes me constant depression and anxiety and yet Dr. Levin could never seem to remember what my disease was or why I couldn’t sleep at night. In the end, he treated me brutally and without compassion because he didn’t like having to deal with getting medications approved from my medical assistance plan. He even pried into why I hadn’t purchased or leased my own car when he was prescribing enough drugs to cause me to be a genuine hazard on the roads. Also, considering that I was on medical assistance, how would I have the money to afford a car? In the end, I invested years in a doctor who completely disappointed and abandoned me and who prescribed medications that caused tremendously uncomfortable reactions to which he was insensitive. He took the fact that these meds didn’t agree with me as a slight to his professional judgment when I simply wanted him to help me find relief for my symptoms so that I could get rest. Now he has left me without the necessary meds I need and no psychiatric help all because he doesn’t like dealing with my medical assistance plan and feels he’s not being paid enough.


★★☆☆☆
Quick to Diagnose and MedicateAmanda J.insider_expert Insider Expert | Rank: 13,036

This Dr did not take enough time to get to know me before deciding on a diagnosis and medication. The medications he prescribed were not appropriate for me, and ended up causing severe issues. I would not recommend this Psychiatrist to anyone.

★☆☆☆☆Couldn’t find a worse doctor.by starkravingsane at Citysearch
June 17, 2009Every patient gets only a 15-minute appointment, no matter what. This is nowhere near enough time for Dr. Levin to get a full and accurate picture of all of a patient’s symptoms and stressors. And certainly not enough time to carefully monitor the effects of the very serious meds he’s prescribing.Dr. Levin is extremely drug-happy and prescribes addictive sedatives and stimulants like they’re candy. Even a basic antidepressant can cause really serious effects like mania or suicide and needs to be carefully monitored–which can’t be done in 15 minutes a month.

Dr. Levin is extremely irresponsible, which is a very bad thing for someone entrusted with people’s health. Especially when many of those people are already just one step away from disaster or death.

I do think he actually really knows what he’s doing. His knowledge of psychiatry is not at all lacking. He just doesn’t seem to care.


AVOID DR. LEVINE AT ALL COSTS!!! I DON’T WANT ANYONE TO HAVE TO GO THROUGH WHAT HE PUT ME THROUGH. I had never been on medication when I first went to Dr. Levine for treatment for ADD. He prescribed adderall and effexor, saying they had to work together (which I later found out made no sense at all.) HE OVERPRESCRIBED BOTH MEDICATIONS by 3 and 5 times the amount I should have been on (and having never been on a medication should not have been prescribed both at once at all!) When I called to tell him I was having many side effects her scoffed and said “oh, it’ll wear off, you’re fine.” Two weeks later I was so ill I practically collapsed in class and left to go to my college health center. Calling again and talking to the person at his front desk, she freaked when I told her how much I was prescribed and had him call me back right away. He told me he FORGOT TO PRESCRIBE ME A STARTER PACK TO WORK ME UP TO THE DOSE I WAS ON, which the nurses at the health center told me for my size I should not have been on that much even worked up to it. HE TOLD ME TO OPEN THE PILL, BRUSH SOME OF IT OUT WITH MY FINGER AND TAKE IT THAT WAY. That is the most ABSURD and awful thing he could have said, this guy should not be a doctor and could have seriously killed me, I’m lucky there were no long term effects, though it did cost me a semester of schooling. He also refused to send my files to the health center after the head nurse, my mother and myself asked for them a dozen times. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I went through!!! This man should NOT be a doctor.

Read more: http://www.vitals.com/doctor/profile/1174516223/reviews/1174516223#ixzz1FpGZwjBw

The worst psych experience

by Jon8 at Citysearch

The office manager treats you like a mental patient. The Dr. is not good with patients that are sensitive to drugs/ have side effects from drugs.

He believes more in medication then in people and I turned out be a fairly drug sensitive person. I thought my case was hopeless but did go on to find a great doc that does help ‘sensitive types’. Very bad first experience, I wasted a lot of time and money there.

Couldn’t find a worse doctor.

by starkravingsane at Citysearch

Every patient gets only a 15-minute appointment, no matter what. This is nowhere near enough time for Dr. Levin to get a full and accurate picture of all of a patient’s symptoms and stressors. And certainly not enough time to carefully monitor the effects of the very serious meds he’s prescribing.

Dr. Levin is extremely drug-happy and prescribes addictive sedatives and stimulants like they’re candy. Even a basic antidepressant can cause really serious effects like mania or suicide and needs to be carefully monitored–which can’t be done in 15 minutes a month.

Dr. Levin is extremely irresponsible, which is a very bad thing for someone entrusted with people’s health. Especially when many of those people are already just one step away from disaster or death.

I do think he actually really knows what he’s doing. His knowledge of psychiatry is not at all lacking. He just doesn’t seem to care.

Warning: Do not use this doctor!!

by Mack1 at Citysearch

Do not use this psychiatrist – Warning!! He is simply a medication pusher and does not check in with his patients to see if they are having personality changes while on medications. Do yourself a favor and find a good counselor who will work closely with you to help you with your issues. This advice just might save your life!!

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters