Psychologically Speaking: Troubled treatmentDR. BATYA L. LUDMAN, THE JERUSALEM POST Jan. 26, 2006
Dear Dr. Batya,
I have a child (age 25) who has been under psychiatric treatment for a number of years.The child was doing better but stopped taking medications several months ago, startedself-treating with St. John's Wart and garlic and now has regressed.Anytime we, the parents, attempt to complain about the lack of medication, the child has been given a mantra - "I have to listen to Dr. X and not to you." We are becoming moredesperate as the situation is becoming more difficult and has the potential to turn into acatastrophe. The doctor seems to be oblivious and ignores our input. The doctor feels hisresponsibility is to his patient and is relying solely on 45 minutes of input a week fromhis patient.Is there any way I can intrude into the doctor/patient process to inject a dose of reality?The situation is quite scary and I feel a responsibility to the public at large to either getmy child off the streets before something bad happens or get the child back onmedication.After treatment for almost two years, the doctor still has not come up with a diagnosis. Isthis normal? I keep asking the doctor what he's treating if he has no diagnosis.
- Desperate Parent
Dear Desperate Parent,
It sounds like you've had your hands full for quite some time. I hope that someone is ableto hear your concerns. Your son has tuned you out and his doctor has not brought youinto his treatment plan. He has also chosen not to listen to you and seems not to beavailable in any way to hear your concerns.From your letter, it would appear that your concerns are quite serious. There is a fine line between being intrusive into an adult child's treatment and being a concerned parent.Clearly they seem not to want your input and no one has suggested a family sessionwhich, depending on the circumstances, might be appropriate if everyone were to agree.While you don't feel that you have a relationship with your son's doctor, I am wonderingwhether he has one and if so, is he happy with his psychiatrist and their relationship.While the psychiatrist has a confidential relationship with your son and will therefore not be able to tell you anything unless your son agrees, perhaps you could set up anappointment with him to voice your concerns and ask general questions. This would atleast make the psychiatrist aware of your grave concerns.You have described your son as having regressed, not taking his prescribed medication