Updated: May 7, 2019
Some 7 or 8 years ago my brother had a psychotic breakdown. He had to be hospitalized and then subsequently put in a long-term care community to stabilize. After they began medicating him he began unusual behaviors even for him. One of those behaviors was running away. While I thought it was because of his mental health issue I discovered it was much more than that.
I had been trying to obtain benefits for my brother for over a year. As many of you may know Social Security is not an easy benefit to get when you don’t have much of a clinical history. Because he didn’t have any benefits or any income they put him on a first-generation psycho tropic medication, Haldol. I later discovered it made his paranoia worse and began atrophying his extremities. When that didn’t work they tried another medication and then another. I also believe that because we live in a medicated society and because of the lack of understanding of my brother, the nature of that community was to calm him down to protect him from harm and or any liability, rather than evaluate his medication.
This format of medicating in the industry is commonly known as chemical restraint. Most family members don’t really know the term nor do they understand what it means. That term means exactly what it says. It means medicating somebody in order to keep them in a sedative state, so they are kept in line, more manageable. The result was that he nearly died because he was over medicated.
It’s become our cultural norm to pop a pill when something goes wrong. Personally, I’ve never been one to take medication and neither had he and in this country that is a rare thing to find. I’m not against pharmaceuticals, I am against the misuse of pharmaceuticals. I am also against medicating a symptom as a solution. That’s why I am so glad that Illinois has passed a mandate that requires facilities to reduce the use of psychotropic medications. I do believe that there is a time and a place for pharmaceutical medications. They save lives, no doubt. People are becoming opioid addicted; everyone wants immediate relief without looking closely at what the cause of the ailment is or what the effects of a treatment can be.
You will be happy to know that while my brother isn’t cured of his mental illness, he is in a much better place. Once I was able to get him a new team we discontinued all the meds he was on and started from scratch. It continues to be a journey but he is learning better ways to support good brain health.
As a society, we need to begin looking at illnesses as signals of misalignment of the body’s resources. Our bodies are meant to heal themselves when they are properly tuned. I have sought out alternative methods to medications all my adult life because of what I have seen side effects do to people I love. One of those alternative methods that I have become very invested in are Essential Oils. I will be sharing more with you about that in blogs to come as I journey through becoming a certified aromatherapist.
We at Living Life with Dignity want to offer our clients the benefit of having the knowledge to be able to talk with doctors and practitioners about alternatives when caring for a loved one. Until recently many people thought that essential oils were another commercial effort to prosper from people’s vulnerabilities and aliments. That isn’t the case anymore. If you are an unbeliever go to pubmed.com type in any essential oil and you will be able to pull up a clinical trial performed on that oil with amazing results. They are also being endorsed by Blue Cross Blue Shield through their wellness initiatives. If you want to know more contact me.
The tides are changing…
By Fran Piekarski
President, CEO and founder of Living Life with Dignity and Life with Dignity. A Certified Professional Guardian, expert in Hoarding Disorder, published author and speaker. Passionate about assisting and educating families and individuals with Mental Health issues and Dementia to create holistic, comprehensive solutions for care. "I strive to help those in these under served, under resourced communities uncover and support the best approach of care for their individual needs."