Informed choice: knowing potential of harm vs the potential for help in order to make a reasoned choice

Yesterday was  the beginning of iatrogenic illness month because people are being gravely harmed by medications that are being overused and misused. Knowing this can help us make informed decisions. Informed choice means one must know about the potential of harm versus the potential for help in order to make a reasoned choice.

My educating folks about the harm that medications can cause often leads to an assumption on the part of some readers. They imagine that I think no one should ever take psychiatric drugs. I am, indeed, highly critical about how psychiatric drugs are used, but it doesn’t follow that I would make decisions for others based on that. I have never told anyone to not take a psychiatric drug and I never will. People have a right to make that choice. Always.  Also given the state of mental health care today it’s pretty clear to me that some people truly need psych drugs as there are not any meaningful options provided for them. Psych drugs, too often, are the only option on offer.

There is no infrastructure of care for meaningful alternatives at this time so this means people need to do what they need to do. Understanding the risks, however, allows for folks to make better choices and to minimize harm and to change their minds as appropriate. Nothing ever remains the same. We work towards change so that people have more choices as they make sense.

I am not arguing against people with a different experience from mine. Some people, given the state of things, do indeed, find psych drugs helpful and necessary. So what I’m trying to do is help those who have an experience like mine know that they can make other choices as well as educate folks so that they might minimize potential harm if they don’t have the means to free themselves from drugs. This fact often seems lost on folks who want to generalize their experience to everyone. We are all different. We all need different things at different times. See: Psych drugs kill vs Psych drugs save lives. What if both are true? 

This stuff isn’t easy. I don’t want to feel like a threat to anyone and when people are in crisis or really struggling too much information can really put anyone in overwhelm. I’m totally okay if folks need to not read my work. I get it. We need some information and sometimes we need to block out other information. We take care of ourselves as we need to wherever we are on our trajectory of life. There is little on this life plane that is clearly black and white.

This post was inspired by these tweets:

 See: Iatrogenic illness month — October

See also: To my friends and readers who still take psych drugs (and to everyone on and off meds too)

More related posts:

●  Stop taking your meds, right now… (NOT!)

●  Some thoughts on stopping psychiatric medications – pros and cons to coming off

●  Dogmatic anti-meds stance can be dangerous

●  Informed consent and pro-choice when it comes to drugs and medications

●  Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act

●  Psych Drugs Kill vs Psych Drugs Save Lives. What if Both Are True?

*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. Do not assume your MD will know how to do it either. They are generally not trained in discontiuation. They don’t always understand that they don’t know how to help either. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up

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