Mental illnesses have a jarring, disruptive effect on people’s lives, of that there is no question. The World Health Organization has indicated that nearly 450 million people have a mental disorder, which is among the leading causes of illness and disability worldwide.
Two-thirds of those with a mental disorder will never seek or get help from a healthcare professional. The reasons for the lack of treatment include stigma, discrimination, a neglect of preventive care and treatment, or the inaccessibility of mental healthcare. In the United States, the National Institute of Mental Health has said that tens of millions of people have a mental illness and only half receive treatment.
These statistics are disturbing, but there’s another side to the coin. The horrific side effects may be the reason for not receiving treatment.
The side effects, in some instances receiving a black box warning, are contained in a patient-information sheet placed in the box with the medications. The patient, however, may not receive the medication in its original box and may not be given the sheet. Not informing patients about the side effects is usual, or it is assumed they know them.
Anyone who has taken a psychotropic medication (a.k.a. AP or antipsychotic) knows how distressing, and terrifying side effects can be. Polypharmacy was originally prescribed only for psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Now, prescribers are again combining several drugs. The question of polypharmacy has been one of serious negative debate and still has not come full circle into acceptable practice.
The journal, Psychiatric Times, laid out the current state of polypharmacy: “Although polypharmacy is often used in the management of psychiatric disorders, there is very poor awareness of its efficacy. In some situations, polypharmacy also lacks respect and acceptability. This arises out of the fact that most…