Thursday, 6 December 2012

without capacity? in whose opinion

I have a major concern about the phrase 'without capacity', in terms of reasons/excuses given for enforcing treatment on the non-compliant or nonconformist patient.  I say this, having been a nonconformist person for over 60 years.  As someone who knows my own mind and likes to be listened to.  Which I think can or should be said about every human being.  Whether labelled or not by a psychiatrist.

I really didn't like being forced to take psychiatric drugs then forced to stay on them.  The drugs took away my decision making abilities, made me flat in mood and lacking in motivation.  Life wasn't enjoyable and seemed to be different shades of grey.  I prefer the vivid colours or autumn shades, depending on the time of year or day.  But grey just doesn't do it for me.

Recently I was supporting someone who was a patient in a locked ward.  They were resisting the regime, refusing the psychiatric drugs and labels.  And I was standing with them, in their resistance.  At a meeting with the consultant (forensic) psychiatrist he tried to tell me that the patient I was supporting was without capacity.  Also that people without capacity didn't require independent advocacy.  Wrong on both counts. The person had me to advocate, has now recovered, got off all the psychiatric drugs within 6 months, and got back on with their lives.

Therefore I am very concerned to hear that half of the women over 60 in Scotland getting ECT or shock treatment, are deemed to be 'without capacity' and get it involuntarily or against their will.  What is this all about?  The SEAN (Scottish ECT Accreditation Network) 2012 report states, in Summary and Key Findings page viii, that 71% women, 29% men get ECT, and of these 34% get it involuntarily or because they are 'without capacity'.  What's going on?

I want to know why women are being targeted for electroconvulsive therapy or electroshock as it's described elsewhere.  Shocks to the brain, anaesthetic and repeated treatments of it, sometimes over many years, I suspect.  I think it's a scandal, that women, and many of them old women, are having this done to them.  My mother had many courses of ECT in the 50's and 60's, against her will, in Murray Royal Hospital.  And so she took a depixol injection in the hip for the rest of her life, under compulsion.  It's just not good enough, for mothers and grandmothers.

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