I always find APA a bit overwhelming. There's so much going on at once, so many people to catch up with. Invariably all the stuff I want to go happens at the same time and invariably it's the same stuff everyone else wants to go to so I end up sitting on the floor in the backs of rooms-- I can't find who or what I'm looking for, and I stay out late every night and eat and drink more than I normally do. I always find it fun to give a presentation or two, but even if I'm only talking for a few minutes, there's something very draining about public speaking. Monday morning I ended up in the hotel gym and by late afternoon, I thought maybe I'd go home at lunch on Tuesday.
Fortunately, I did remember that I was presenting on a panel on Tuesday afternoon, so I didn't leave until after our workshop! We did a four-hour seminar on Sunday morning (Thank You to those who came out at 8 AM to hear us!), went straight to a book signing, and then Tuesday we did a new media workshop with Steve from Thought Broadcast and Dr. Bob. It was a lot of fun and it was great to meet some or our blog commenters, including William, Synergysta, and Tigermom! My one regret was that I didn't go to see Dianne Wiest, the actress who plays the psychiatrist on In Treatment.
The protesters were their own story. On Saturday, there were people with signs that said things like "Human Emotions aren't Diseases." I tweeted out: "Is it a problem that I agree with most of the protesters?" From what I could tell, they were calm and pleasant. On Sunday, the crew was more aggressive. They were chanting, "Stop Drugging and Shocking Our Children." As we walked through this line of chanting protesters, thrusting pamphlets at us, one man followed us screaming. My friend said she felt like she was walking into an abortion clinic. On Monday I didn't see any protesters, but there was a giant jumbo-tron set up blaring out information about the DSM, interviews with people saying it wasn't scientific. I only watched for a few moments, but I just thought, "yup." The sign about the Psychiatry drugging our troops caught my attention because we hear so much in psychiatry about how their aren't enough psychiatrists to treat the troops and especially the returning vets. While the suicide rates and use of psychotropics have both risen, their is nothing about the sign that indicates that the soldiers taking the medicines are the ones committing suicide, and I wondered how the troops feel about protesters picketing on their behalf.
Some pics: The protesters of course. One of Clink's slides as she explains "What is Twitter," the Hopkins Press sign from our booksigning (The duck is bigger than ever!), Dr. Steven Hyman, former director of NIMH, giving a very thoughtful talk on the pros and cons of the DSM and his thoughts about the DSM-V.
What? No news on how your talk went? What do your colleagues think of your ideas re: how to represent Psychiatry to the public?
Rob, I think they went well, from what I could tell. 8 AM on a sunday and they closed down Broad St. for a 10 mile race, and people got there anyway. The three of us went to 3 separate rooms. The seminar participants had a lot of questions.
The New Media workshop had a better time and standing room only. People asked questions and no one fell asleep.
Shrinks, in general, are afraid of new media and there's a lot of "don't do it" messages out there. I think people like the idea of open dialogue and we talked about how much we've learned from our commenters.
Thank you for asking.
How was Israel???
There are two constants in medicine in general: Change, and resistance to change. Docs of all stripes tend to reject change, until dragged kicking and screaming by the juggernaut.
I suspect shrinks in general will jump on that crazy social media bandwagon as well.
Israel was wonderful, thanks for asking!
Great post! Glad it went well! Sorry I wasn't home so that we could meet up, but sounds like you had plenty to do just the same!
Going through the demonstrators sounds harrowing to me. I would have found that unpleasant, regardless of their message.
I am glad your talk went well. What you describe of the convention is much like other conventions I have attending. There is too much going on for too many hours and it is easy to get information overload.
I also walked through a crowd of "Don't medicate our kids" protesters. I just kept thinking of the relief expressed by kids and their parents when they get the meds and therapy right. The kids can then learn in school, experience emotional peace, and the families can be families again.
""I also walked through a crowd of "Don't medicate our kids" protesters. I just kept thinking of the relief expressed by kids and their parents when they get the meds and therapy right. The kids can then learn in school, experience emotional peace, and the families can be families again.""
The other side of the coin is many people on psych meds long term, including me, have felt the meds made it impossible to learn. The horrific side effects caused emotional destruction and not peace.
I did experience the benefits you described short term. But it is the long term that you and your colleagues are ignoring in my opinion.
Also, if the meds are so effective for kids, then why are 250 children are added to the mental health disablity rolls every day which are the statistics quoted in Robert Whitaker's book, Anatomy of an Epidemic?
He also mentions that many of those children added convert to the adult rolls.
I realize causation doesn't equal correlation but come on, if this was happening to people on a non psych med, all sorts of questions would be asked. But it is business as usual regarding psych meds.
Dinah, as an FYI, Mind Freedom sponsored the protests and is definitely pro choice regarding meds. So it seems a bit much to compare them to anti abortion protestors.
I do think medications help some children, though AA, I'm not sure about the "pro choice" concept with a child. If an adult doesn't like meds, then can vote with their feet. With a child, they are often forced to take them. I've had friends say their kids ask for their meds because they are so much more comfortable on them. Oh, I'll write a post.
Adults do not always get to vote with their feet. Involuntary inpatient, you will be dosed to your eyeballs. If you refuse to swallow, they restrain and inject EVEN if you are not violent or a threat. @Rob Lindeman, I could not imagine being stuck in an elevator with you are often quite correct about psychiatry and psychiatric "treatment".
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