Vermont is at the forefront of a war between traditional treatment of mental illness- medications and acute hospitalization (when one can even find a bed in a hospital) versus what they consider new talk therapies and either no medication or minimal medication. Where does that leave practitioners such as myself, comitted to easing symptoms, keeping people safe, and trying to work ethically within such a broken system now fraught with disagreements between providers about the very things we once agreed on? I wrote this essay, an excerpt follows, as part memoir, part public service announcement, and part in response to what I see as a potentially dangerous trend in psychiatry. I sent a copy to Robert Whitaker, whose Anatomy of an Epidemic, Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, 2010, Broadway Paperbacks, New York, was a pivotal point in all this, but he didn’t respond. As we blame mental illness in our national discourse on gun control, as we blame our broken system for mental illness in the first place, we should place understanding of biology and treatment in the forefront of our dialogue.
Note: I have deleted the excerpt as I am reworking the essay for publication. Thank you.