Elizabeth has been on various wards as you know for just over six weeks. An acute ward is not a good place to withdraw from psychiatric drugs but neither is the family home. There needs to be facilities for this provided. It is not peaceful on an acute ward. However having said that, when someone is a trauma victim, there needs to be ongoing therapy and when I checked out what was on offer in a couple of future possible placements I was not too happy. These specialist facilities are not in the local area. Anyway, I telephoned the recovery house to tell them that Elizabeth is withdrawing from Abilify. I was astonished that the Responsible Clinician thought that she should be recovered after a short space of time so I had to point out to him that it took much longer to recover and can take a year or so. When someone is coming off drugs such as this they should automatically have the counselling/psychotherapy.
Yesterday I got the news that Elizabeth was being discharged but I did not agree with the decision as much as I wanted her off the acute ward, I felt that first of all Elizabeth should be sent somewhere where they specialise in PTSD (not Cygnet!) but somewhere where they offer proper care like I provided for four months in Scotland and in Australia.
As a former colleague of Dr R D Laing told me, he never used drugs on patients and it is lazy to use that approach in my opinion. If psychotherapy was used together with other therapies then as I have seen through the wonderful care provided by http://www.working-to-recovery, it is possible to get well again – I must emphasise the term “well” – Elizabeth feels unwell physically because she is withdrawing from a powerful drug and not because she has any psychiatric labels.
Getting back to the discharge of Elizabeth from Trent Ward, I had already contacted the recovery house – at such recovery houses people are all on prescribed drugs and there are as many as 12 others there short term. I got that feeling Elizabeth was feeling anxious about such a move and had identified a smaller ward for neurological rehab on the site of Edgware Hospital but when I mentioned about this we were told a referral was necessary and the consultant psychiatrist brushed Elizabeth’s wishes aside. Anyway for six weeks Elizabeth has refused every drug on offer locally and at Edgware which was not the correct environment either when going through drug withdrawal. No-one warns you of how difficult it is to withdraw off these drugs or the fact there are no facilities for psychiatric drug withdrawal. I am proud of the fact Elizabeth has said no. Coming off these drugs has enabled her to speak up for herself much better. Anyway, the recovery house was situated not so far away from where I live and much easier to travel to than Edgware. I had a call from Elizabeth when she arrived there to bring her some things but I had not noticed she had tried to contact me as I was busy driving and finding where to park. She was in a foul mood on arrival. I had previously warned the recovery house that Elizabeth suffered from PTSD. I therefore did not stay long but today arranged for a friend to visit instead, bringing her mobile phone and other possessions. When this friend got there it was obvious that Elizabeth was still distressed. Then I got a call from the recovery house to say they were not letting her back in. I was a long distance away from home at the time and it was awful to get this news as I could not help in any way. I made several phone calls to the team but you can never get through as they are always out at meetings and then they do not ring you back or write. Elizabeth is now back again in the local area and on a local ward (Suffolk). The kind of place I would like to see her recover from these drugs is somewhere peaceful as at times I get calls from Elizabeth who is distressed and I think that environment is extremely important and especially as I have proven this works – going away to a peaceful natural environment most people could get well. The kind of environment I am talking about is Scotland and then Australia through “Working-to-Recovery”. This costs a fraction of what some private sector wards are charging. Elizabeth stayed at recovery houses in Australia and all the time she was getting better that is until she returned to my local area which is not what I would have wished. We don’t seem to have any recovery houses of this nature in the UK.
I think going away from the local area to somewhere quiet and peaceful was the answer and receiving the correct therapy. Staying at recovery houses, working with international MH professionals and peer supporters was the best solution in an environment where no one pushed psychiatric drugs. We need more of this type of recovery house as there is nothing like this in the UK. The care provided worked and the UK needs to take an very different approach to that currently adopted under mainstream care as this approach has worked for Elizabeth who came back well from Australia but such care needs to be continued for at least a year in the cases of abuse victims.
I have identified several specialist centres that deal with trauma/PTSD and who offer therapy but why are there not more? these are not local but it is crucial that counselling/psychotherapy is provided and not just accommodation in the community. I have emailed everyone about this today as something needs to be done urgently especially as a locked ward is costing a lot of money. I would prefer Elizabeth to stay in a nice hotel or health spa where there is a gym and swimming pool and nice facilities quite frankly.
I do not want Elizabeth to remain on that acute ward much longer but I want her 100% well before being discharged into the community and I am going to discuss all this with the Consultant Psychiatrist RC – Dr K Choudhury on Thursday this week.