A recent print article in New Scientist illustrates what we psych patients and survivors, as well as veterans have known all along. Drugs have been used to lessen the traumatic effects of medical harm. I believe there’s a sneaky little motive here. While institutions may claim the drugs are used to “calm” the patient, it makes little sense to “calm” an already restrained patient with Haldol. Haldol causes akathesia, that is, the urge to move one’s limbs, often one’s legs. With both legs tied, this means for many patients, the agitation will only worsen. They will not be calmed! Secondly, Haldol isn’t particularly sedating. Thirdly, if the patient has never had Haldol before, why on earth would NOW be the time to give a brand new drug the patient could be allergic to, while the patient is tied down? Should he/she have a dangerous allergic reaction while restrained, this could all turn very quickly into a medical emergency.
I think the Haldol is given for an alternate reason. Let’s look at the circumstances…..
What causes a traumatic reaction, that is, a reaction of PTSD-type? When you are truly very very scared? Scared for your life? According to the trauma folks, there are two types. One is when you are being chased and running like mad, running for your life, pursued, such as pursued by an attacker, or when a tidal wave comes after you, or in a fire when you must run out of your home very fast. Another is entrapment, when you are stuck, cornered, locked in somewhere and cannot get out, or pinned down. Rape is a pinned-down situation, as is surgery, as is restraints. Seclusion or any locked situation can also be traumatic, especially when the patient is threatened or if there’s no end in sight.
Do these “staff” know that restraints are traumatic? I think so. They give the drugs because they know damn well that giving drugs reduces the traumatic reaction. They are less likely to be sued later on for medical harm.
This has been known for ages. We don’t need a study to prove it, but it seems whoever did the study has it down now on paper. Give a person some drugs or ECT and they won’t be too upset if you have abused them, raped them, medically harmed them, done horrible things during surgery, or otherwise nearly killed them.
How was your stay in the mental spa?
“Oh, very pleasant, thank you. I got put in restraints one night, but of course I was being obnoxious they said, so I suppose I asked for it. Very pleasant stay.”
If you hear stuff like that coming from the mouths of compliant patients, maybe the above is the reason.