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Posts Tagged ‘psychiatry’

Arriving late at night, exhausted after a long journey, you find your hotel room smells of vomit and is crawling with cockroaches. In the morning you check out early and complain, but the concierge only shrugs and gives you a customer satisfaction questionnaire. Ticking boxes to questions like, “Was your room number easy to read?” and “Did the bath have a plughole?” you realize you have been forced to give the hotel a 95% satisfaction rating, squeezing your complaints on to the one line allowed for “Other remarks” at the bottom.

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This month’s draft guideline from the health quango NICE on the long-term management of self harm provides a revealing perspective on the NHS’s inadequacies, which go beyond failures in the treatment of individual cases to NICE itself and the basis for its existence.

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Sunshine

It’s a sunny day today, a nice change from winter darkness. What, though, lurks in the dark corners of the healthcare business? A bill put forward to the US 111th Congress two years ago proposed letting everyone see.

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booksThe wilful narrowness of much academic training for mental health professionals never ceases to astonish me.

Its worst effect is that those professionals who have the most impressive qualifications and titles can turn out to be be the least skilled treatment providers, which makes it very difficult for patients who are serious about recovery to find a competent therapist.

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Far away to the North, in Lapland, some say, Santa’s elves are elving away making Christmas presents ready for good little girls and boys. What would be on a mental health Christmas list, I wonder? Immediate response to every psychiatric crisis? Coordinated team treatment without any referrals or waiting lists? Effective home treatment that keeps people off medication and out of hospital? Perhaps, if you’ve been very, very good…

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At the edge of a state of mental illness, there is a boundary with normality. But where are the edges? These days we see one of the edges of mental illness becoming clearer, and another one becoming fuzzier. Strangely, the clear one is easier to lose sight of than the fuzzy one.

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Much of the information about mental illness promoted to the public over many years tells a story in which mental illness is a lifelong disability, incurable and hopeless. The mentally ill are fundamentally different from everyone else. They act strangely. They can be dangerous.

The fundamental difference, we have been told, is that the mentally ill have brains that are chemically unbalanced. It is just the way they are. When they take special drugs to restore the balance they can appear normal, but they are not really.

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