Friday, December 6, 2013

"Wait, did that make sense to you?!" 2 days Psychiatry-- A Review

Well, its been a whirl wind of two days in the psychiatric hospital.

Yesterday morning, I was picked up by my friend with her car which was already packed with other friends. Our destination was the same. The psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of town (typical for old psychiatric hospitals).

After wandering around the very Harry Potter-esque grounds, we eventually found the conference room. The medical director was responsible for my group. He gave us a short history on psychiatry before heading onto the wards. We were split up into groups of two and then dispersed onto different wards. The set up on the two days was the same:

Ward with 1 or 2 patient interviews
Discussion of cases
Ward with 1 or 2 patient interviews
Discussion of cases

And that both days. Essentially we were on 4 different wards and saw between 4-8 patients.

So yesterday morning, I was on the addiction ward. My friend and I talked to two alcoholics. They were very honest with us. They had different ways of becoming alcoholics and it was interesting to see how it started with each of them. It was also amazing how sweet the lady was. She really doesn't want to be an alcoholic and quickly sought help this time around. Neither of them had very supportive social circumstances. It is hard to tell how much of that is because they are alcoholics or they became alcoholics in part due to those circumstances. In the end, it is devastating to see what alcoholism does to the people. I wish them both the best on their way to recovery.

The medical director was a character. He did a great job explaining things and we had quite the laughs during lunch. He was motivated, which is important for such days.

After lunch, we had two schizophrenic patients to interview. This was exhausting. The conversation was fluid and on first glance made sense but if you did the math of the years they proclaimed things happened it didn't quite add up. At the end of the conversation, I felt like I had a lot of information but it didn't fit together. Luckily, my friend felt the same. Even luckier, the doctor told us that that is the way conversations with schizophrenic patients often go.

After the discussion with the group about their patients, we were free to go. We were all a bit exhausted from all the impressions we had gained that day.

Today was not different. During the morning meeting, the medical director gave us a history lesson on how psychiatric patients were euthanized during World War II and how the medical director of the hospital at the time was one of the very, very few psychiatrists that were against it and were active about stopping it.

My partner from yesterday wasn't here today, so I was on my own (which was absolutely no problem for me, the others hated doing things alone). I was sent to the depression ward. I had a very nice lady to interview. She was at the end of her treatment and it had worked very well for her. It was nice to see that with the right therapy, these people can be helped. After our chat, I chatted with the ward doctor a bit and then headed back for group discussion.

Then came lunch! They have quite the good food there.....almost everything is better than what we have in the hospital were we study.

After lunch, I grouped up with two of the others and we had two patients to interview. One of them was an Oxycontin addict (although he didn't tell us that, the patient records did) and the other was also schizophrenic and his symptoms had worsened, leading to his admission. Both of them were some what difficult to interview. The second just got up at some point and said he had to go and would see us next week.....?! I guess he will be disappointed this time next week, if he can remember it.

I was quite drained after the three interviews today. It is literally crazy to see how quickly someone can develop a psychiatric disease. It's frightening sometimes to see how many characteristics I share with some of the patients. In the end, everyone has their issues. It is about how you deal with them which differentiates where you are at in life. And a stable, supportive and loving social surrounding is essential. So love the people around you and be nice to them. Don't do drugs. And don't be afraid to ask for help should you need it.

The last few weeks in psychiatry have definitely changed my views on some issues and the way I perceive things. It was very enlightening.

We start with Pediatrics on Monday and that continues through winter break and into January. After Peds, we have a few weeks of OBGYN.

You can all catch me here again in February, at the latest, when I do my Peds Internship and OBGYN rotation.

I wish you all a lovely holiday season. Enjoy your family and friends. Be thankful for your health, your family and hopefully supportive social surroundings!



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