Thank you. I’ll do that.
Member has chosen to not make this information public.
Member not yet following any Pages.
Some months ago, I was having severe stomach pain. My bloodwork revealed that I was anemic. My doctor recommended a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy and colonoscopy. However, I live in a backward city with poor medical care. We have a tremendous shortage of specialists. In fact, there isn’t one neurosurgeon within 400 miles of my home. Auto accident victims have to be transported by helicopter to a major medical center.
The waiting time to see a gastroenterologist in my city was almost two months. In the meantime, I was in severe pain and was rapidly losing weight because I could only eat bland food. I tried to contact The Mayo Clinic in Pheonix. I was told that there was a 6-month wait to get an appointment with a gastroenterologist. The representative, however, said that if my physician sent a referral, I might get an appointment sooner. She sent one out but I heard nothing back. It has been more than six months since the referral was sent. I also asked the Mayo Clinic’s representative whether I could fly out to Pheonix and come in through the emergency room. In a hostile tone of voice, she said that she didn’t know. I subsequently found out that a U.S. hospital cannot turn away patients who need emergency treatment. (I also have excellent medical insurance which always pays for all my medical treatment.)
I was also told that I could not be seen at The The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota because one has to go to the closest geographical location to the patient’s residence.
Luckily, I was finally able to get an endoscopy/colonoscopy in my home city. A precancerous polyp was removed from my colon. That was where I was losing blood. I went through months of unnecessary suffering because I live in an area with poor medical care. As I already mentioned, I could not utilize the top-notch physicians at The Mayo Clinic in Pheonix.
I have read the “U.S. News and World Report” ratings of medical care in the U.S. I was shocked by the disparity of medical care in this nation. Wealthy coastal areas in New England, California, NYC and Washington DC have the best hospitals and physicians. Those who live in rural areas or small cities have medical care that is grossly inferior to the more affluent coastal regions. For example, the average life expectancy in my city is 5 years lower than in the wealthier coastal areas. This disparity in medical care is a national disgrace. As the wealthiest nation in the world, we should be able to provide every citizen with quality medical care.
The Mayo Clinic is an exception. By building facilities in rural areas, they are able to provide the best medical care in areas that need it the most. Unfortunately, I could not even get my foot in the door, so to speak. In fact, I was given the feeling that I was not wanted as a patient at The Mayo Clinic.
What makes me angry is the way the newer antidepressants were marketed. I don’t know if it was the fault of the pharmaceutical companies or the prescribing physicians. I remember the first time I was given Effexor, my psychiatrist said it was non-addicting. There was no mention of side effects. I trusted the guy. He was obviously getting his information from the pharmaceutical reps. All he had to do was read the package insert to see all the side effects. I partially blame myself for not doing my own research. There were reports all over the web about severe side effects and withdrawal symptoms. If physicians don’t know this stuff, it’s up to patients to be their own medical advocates. I was abruptly cut from 400 mg of Effexor and put on Wellbutrin as a substitute. I’m lucky I was still young. The ensuing depression, anxiety, and mood swings were terrible. When I went back to the psychiatrist, he said something like, I thought you knew to go off gradually. Amazing. These are powerful psychoactive chemicals that are still not completely understood. I have nothing against their use if there is full disclosure. The patient should be informed by the physician. And the FDA does nothing except after some disastrous situation develops. There is no such thing as a panacea. There never was and there never will be.
I would look up the side effects of your HRT.
Were you weaning off the time release version or the regular one? 37.5 is too large a drop. If it doesn’t come in a smaller dose, switch to the regular non-time release version. I know they make a 25 mg tablet. Go down not more than 10% a month, which would be 3.75 mg. for your first drop. You would then be taking 33.8 mg. Then go down 10% of 33.8 mg. If you don’t have a mg. scale, a compounding pharmacist could show you about how much to break off. The drop to nothing is the hardest. I know because I came off my final dose of Pristiq too quickly. (Pristiq doesn’t come in a non-time release form.) The withdrawal wasn’t terrible because I was exercising and doing yoga about 2 hours a day, but it was bad enough. I was getting painful mood swings and a weird feeling of disorientation, like when you have a fever. It lasted for about 2 months. The withdrawal symptoms you’re getting could be protracted. If you decide to stick it out, keep an eye on your blood pressure, eat high-quality food and try to walk a half hour a day. (The exercise helped me tremendously.) Withdrawing too quickly stresses your body and mind. Try to be kind to yourself.
I would see a good physician. He/she would have to get a solid medical and psychological history to eliminate any conditions that might be the cause. Usually, if I’m sleep deprived for a day or two, my body makes up for it by giving me a longer, deeper sleep. The sleep deprivation you describe can be dangerous. You wouldn’t want to operate a motor vehicle, for example. There may be other medications you’re taking that are causing your insomnia. Or it may be a physical condition. I’m just guessing, of course. I don’t want to alarm you but urge consultation with a doctor who will spend some time getting to the root cause of your insomnia. I would walk away from anyone who throws you sleeping pills. They only work for short periods of time as you quickly build a tolerance. They also interfere with the deep stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement. Paradoxically, they block the kind of revitalizing sleep that allows you to wake up refreshed. I would also stay away from melatonin. It is a complex hormone that has many risks despite its loyal following. I hope this helps.
Too many physicians prescribe antidepressants off-label as a kind of panacea. They often cause more problems than the original illness. I had a friend who’s doctor prescribed Prozac for his back pain. He had a terrible reaction to that drug. He started getting seizures and became completely despondent. After he stopped taking the drug, his seizures didn’t stop. He went to a good neurologist who determined that his condition wasn’t being caused by any physical disease. The Prozac released emotions that he couldn’t deal with. While in therapy, he remembered that he was sexually molested as a child by an older sister. The whole point of psychotherapy is to bring up painful emotions but in a controlled manner. The mind has to gradually assimilate painful events. Antidepressants are unpredictable. A psychologist once told me that they’re kissing cousins to LSD. Patients are rarely informed of the risks because many doctors believe the pharmaceutical companies’ propaganda.
I agree with you completely. I think you would like Dr. Peter Breggin’s site: http://www.breggin.com The fact is that a chemical imbalance theory for any mental illness has never been proven. The pharmaceutical companies played that angle for years until they were forced to change the language in their advertisements to “may be caused by a chemical imbalance.” Another interesting fact is that a major side effect of all antidepressants is depression. That accounts for the elevated suicide rates for those started on an antidepressant. (It’s not only young people who are affected.) Science hasn’t even begun to understand the role that neurotransmitters play and how they interact with each other. You may find, as I did, that proponents of the chemical imbalance theory stick with this belief with a cult-like fervor. It is a waste of time arguing the point. Many become hostile when confronted with a different point of view.
Another good site is http://www.mindfreedom.org. This organization exposes the abuses of the psychiatric establishment.