A really interesting article in Vice (see link below)
It covers Brent Miles’ experience trying IV Ketamine as a treatment for his bipolar and depression.
It is a really good read and raises some important issues.
For example in the current trend for medicating mental health problems, in both Brent’s and my experience, it really does seem that doctors will just throw pills at you and pray something works.
Brent says: “ I’m not an expert in pharmaceuticals, but it just seems like the strategy is just to throw different medicines at the wall and see what sticks.”
Mental health problems are still not particularly understood well and although treatments are I hope always improving this article shows that there is some hope with the use of ketamine.
I’m not sure if personally I would want to receive it in IV form – only because despite being covered in tattoos I hate needles.
Although I think never say never – I am only 28, when I get to 41 and I’m still fighting the bipolar demons I might consider it too.
The other point he raises is the addictive quality of the medications that are used to treat mental health problems and the tolerance you build to them. It seems almost inevitable that you have to battle drug addiction a long with mental health problems with the way that treatments are at the moment.
Many people will turn to illicit drugs to self-medicate and to be honest if I had the payroll behind me I would definitely consider it. Even my beloved Stephen Fry has admitted to self-medicating with a number of substances.
I would personally love to be prescribed Valium again – it seems to have been the only thing that stopped my anxiety in its tracks. However it is extremely addictive and so doctors don’t like to give out many of those magical pills.
Most of the medications we have available via prescriptions don’t touch the edges and while it probably isn’t advisable to go breaking laws and bank accounts I can see why the temptation is there.
I have joked that if I had some cocaine for the lows and Valium to dull the highs I’d be able to function.
No-one else I know seems to find it as funny.
Trapped in cycles of depression and mania, with limited counselling availability and a long waiting list to see a psychiatrist can you really blame my cravings?
So Ketamine as a treatment for the lows is highly tempting – however as Brent says in his article, the price tag is high so as usual the treatment isn’t something that is available to all.
What do you think? Is there enough research into treatments for mental health problems? Are drugs – prescribed or otherwise the answer?
I was once asked if I lived on an isolated island and had everything I needed to physically survive would I change having bipolar?
My answer is no, it is too much part of who I am – so then we have to ask maybe the problem isn’t just within ourselves but within the society in which we are trying to function in as well.
So are drugs the answer? The problem is I don’t know.
I do know everything I have tried so far hasn’t “cured” me. I also know that maybe I don’t want to be cured at all.