Watching last night’s House two hour season premiere allowed me to see from an outside perspective what it was like to be admitted into the psychiatric hospital. I felt the show depicted a realistic perspective of what hospitalization can be like for the most part.
One aspect I did love about the show is that it did highlight some of the problems with our mental health care system. It showed the clinical therapist trying to help the delusional man by taunting him to move a 500 pound piano and yelling at the delusional man that he couldn’t save the catatonic woman just like he couldn’t save his dead wife. That I thought was too harsh and over the line, but I’ve seen some therapists and psychiatrists do just that. They think smacking someone with reality will help them more. Unfortunately, House takes the extreme opposite view and escapes with the delusional man to a carnival where they both have a great time “flying” in a wind tunnel machine and testing their strengths until the delusional man decides he can still fly and jumps off the ledge of the parking garage in the hospital. (He might have just wanted to commit suicide right then instead of flying…my depiction is slightly unclear.)
Which was better: House fueling his delusions and giving him one of the best days of his life which led to the man getting physically hurt or the therapist forcing him to confront reality?
I firmly believe they were both wrong. The delusional man was still a threat to himself or to others, so shouldn’t have been taken out of the ward, but House did not treat the man entirely in a patronizing way. I know, hard to believe, right? However, the therapist was cruel, harsh, and patronizing, but he didn’t pretend with him either.
So what is the right way?
Well, thank you for asking me to answer, since I’ve been known to become delusional at times, so I have the inside scoop on how we think in that type of situation. 🙂
Okay, well I need to clarify myself here a little and give you some more background information about me. Many people, including my therapist, believe my intuitive senses about myself are very unusual and extremely accurate. I am able to identify my mood swings and get the help I need before my manic episodes and psychosis go too far faster than even people who are observing me can do the same. This is not “normal.” Most people with bipolar disorder lose control once they reach the manic state. I, on the other hand, can still control or be controlled in certain circumstances even while beginning psychosis.
I’m basically trying to tell you that I might be very beneficial in answering this main question because I have been there and knew what would have helped me when I was in that situation. Remember, the question is the following:
What is the right way to treat a person who is delusional and manic?
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This is just my opinion. I am not claiming to know how to help Schizophrenics because I do not have that diagnosis.
1.) Be honest and open with them when they ask you a question.
2.) Do not take a long time to act in getting them the help they need. “Patience is a virtue they know not of.”
3.) Do not treat them like a criminal. Have an ambulance take them to the hospital.
4.) Do not threaten them in any way.
5.) Be kind and courteous, but firm in your resolve. Do not patronize.
6.) Find out their history by contacting loved ones by checking their phone or personal items for “In Case of Emergency (ICE).” If you are just a friend, that’s great because you are not restricted by law to get the patient to sign a consent form to contact others about their medical history. Call their contacts immediately. It could be your friend’s life on the line. They will know what medications help them the best or the person’s history of violence or suicide.
7.) Do not try to reason with them harshly at that time. Don’t disagree or agree with their delusions. Just try to calm them down by reasoning with their resolve and negotiate with them. If they are willing to compromise with you, then you are lucky.
8.) Do give them your opinion on the subject. Their mind is working overtime, so you bringing up another point to their inner debate may mean them their life.
9.) Once in the hospital, trained professionals should be able to take it from there, but I do have to stress the word “should.” I’ve been hospitalized three times now within a ten year span of time and the system is still messed up. Hence, the reason I am writing this blog.
10.) Remember this phrase I am going to preach until I turn blue: “Perception is reality, until reality changes perception.” This phrase means for me that everyone’s collection of perceptions make up their reality, so it is “reality’s” job to change someone’s misguided perceptions not you. It takes medicine, doctors, therapy, relationships, and drive for someone to truly get better (and unfortunately money because of the screwed up healthcare system which still doesn’t look that much better for us even with the plan that is on the table right now).