Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tragedy

San Francisco Chronicle: "3 kids feared dead -- thrown into S.F. bay. Mother who said she heard voices is arrested." What was she thinking, or feeling? We have no information about her diagnosis. Did she have a psychosis related to a medical condition or a substance, such as amphetamine? Did she have a psychotic disorder, or a mood disorder? Episodes like this are rare, and contribute to stereotyping of the mentally ill. (Most mentally ill patients are non-violent.)

But every psychiatrist knows that this can happen. We are asked to predict and prevent these tragedies, but we are not infallible. When I hear news like this, I always freeze, and think: is it my patient?

5 Comments:

Blogger D.P. said...

OMG! I don't understand this . . .I can't imagine a mother doing this to her children.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Silly String said...

This article says she "told investigators that she had been treated for schizophrenia over the summer while staying with her sister in Florida and had thought she was cured".

Another quote: "She was taking Haldol, which eases the effects of schizophrenia. ... She told authorities she hadn't gone to a doctor in the Bay Area after she stopped taking the medication and began hearing voices because she thought no one would be able to treat her, authorities said."

8:19 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

One of the hardest aspects of mental health is compliance with taking the medication. Either the side effects are intolerable or the patient feels "better" and doesn't think they need them anymore.
Not understanding (or denying) that they have a chronic condition. This is so sad for all concerned....

4:22 PM  
Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani said...

These cases seem so senseless and so tragic in more ways than one. There is no easy answer. Sadness abounds when I let this recent story in.

~Deb

8:00 AM  
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9:34 AM  

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