Working at a psychiatric ward

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The last months I have worked as a psychologist at a psychiatric ward. I must say I find this a bit challenging, since I have often spoken up against some of the treatment given there. I find the concept a bit hard to swallow, even if I see that sometimes it really helps people to be at a place where they can start rebuilding their lives. Sometimes life gets so hard that you need some extra help to get back there again. But the problem is: I feel there is so little focus on psychological treatment while they are there.psychward

The focus is often on medication when the therapist have their “talks” with the patients, or trying to find the correct diagnosis. This is very important, but I sometimes think we could do more. We have many people working at a psychiatric ward: Nurses, doctors, psychologists, social workers, physiotherapist and different students. Every one play an important part in the treatment of the patients. For many its important to get a regular sleep habit, start exercising, eating healthy or attend creative activities that we offer. Medication is often necessary, but I still feel we psychologists should get more involved in their mental well-being. We have the time to talk about their issues, but often doctors underline the importance of “not getting into things” because it might upset the patients when their not ready.

But who have actually asked the patients about what they would like to do?

13 thoughts on “Working at a psychiatric ward

    mrsabbyj said:
    June 6, 2015 at 19:40

    Reblogged this on mgwebbuddy.

    FLYNN said:
    June 6, 2015 at 20:25

    Reblogged this on The Blogging Path.

    awax1217 said:
    June 6, 2015 at 20:37

    i wrote the following short story on my blog. Please take a read and let me know what you think about it. Could a person keep a lie like that for thirty years. What do you think? P.S. I am good and the incident is over for now.

    positivagirl said:
    June 6, 2015 at 22:33

    Huge respect to you for writing this. I know that it is often difficult to criticise our field of work. I worked with a few that were sectioned under the mental health act. One particular guy had BPD and became really psychotic, I called crisis team for an emergency assessment as I felt he was at risk. They assessed him and he was taken in under the mental health act. I went to visit him in hospital. He was so drugged, it reminded me of one flew over the cuckoos nest film.

    I wondered just how far had times changed? Medication, does it resolve or simply mask? He was a young guy, and became like a drugged cabbage, it was sad to see. he was later transferred to another hospital and kept for longer. I worked with another woman, again asked for her to be assessed and she was taken in under the mental health act (when this happens in the UK, if they are felt to be at risk, they cannot get out or leave, until they are told they are allowed to leave). She also radically changed when she was heavily medicated. I found this distressing, also visited her in hospital.

    If only more people had the same attitude as you, but there is old fashioned draconian views that are embedded and entrenched, I wonder if it is easier for them to work with people that are ‘drugged’ and therefore no trouble? I don’t know. I have always thought that it is demeaning to the patient.

      mirrorgirl responded:
      June 9, 2015 at 21:30

      I am glad you also keep doing what you feel is right, rather what others want. Humans have to challenge their fear of speaking up. Luckily someone will listen if we just try long enough. Things can change, but it seems like it will take time. Psychiatry has had many horrible approaches to treatment, and even if it still struggles, new treatments are starting to appear. I do think drugs can be good in certain circumstances, but not as a solution. A recently read “an psychiatric epidemic” which really made me think. I am skeptic when it comes to using medication over a long period, as it might actually make problems worse in the long run.

        positivagirl said:
        June 9, 2015 at 21:34

        I have always believed this to be true. I think perhaps to control some mental health perhaps it is useful. However I lost count of clients I worked with on anti psychotics that were worse by taking them. I had often wondered for symptoms such as depression/anxiety whether it masked the problem rather than cured. How would somebody know if they were better, if they were drugged? Stopping the medication appeared to bring a new range of problems that were not there in the first place. I am sure that it has its place but in psychiatric hospital I was to be honest shocked by what I saw. This young guy was so drugged he could hardly speak. I wondered whose benefit this was for, the patient, or the workers?

        mirrorgirl responded:
        June 9, 2015 at 21:39

        I do agree with that, many patients complain about not feeling much anymore, and often alternatives to medications are not offered or tested out. It`s a shame, when we have so many other treatments that have been shown to help people with AD/HD, bipolar disorder and psychosis. But often those studies is buried in the research on medication.

        Drugging people so much that they can´t even talk reminds me of “one flew over the cuckoo`s nest. I thought we had learned from past mistakes, but some things that I see make me doubt that. But: We have good psychiatrist where I work, too, who are open to trying new things and taking away medication that doesn`t seem to help!

    takingthemaskoff said:
    June 7, 2015 at 00:09

    Thank you for having the courage to speak up $!!!

      mirrorgirl responded:
      June 9, 2015 at 21:25

      I always will do, I have nothing to loose. Luckily most people listen, and if they don`t, I move on and try to change and fight for something else important to me!

        takingthemaskoff said:
        June 9, 2015 at 21:26

        Stay true, stay true. It gets tough. ….I’ll be keeping u in my thoughts

        mirrorgirl responded:
        June 9, 2015 at 21:30

        Thank you, that is so nice of you!

    Evan J. Zimmer, MD said:
    June 9, 2015 at 16:57
    Planning ahead  « Mirrorgirl said:
    June 10, 2015 at 09:17

    […] I have written before, I want medication to just be a supplement to more extensive therapy. In my view, we also need to […]

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