Psychosis Possibly Linked to an Occupational Disease: An e-Patient's Participatory Approach to Consideration of Etiologic Factors
In the spring of 1996 I suffered an acute manic episode from toxic encephalopathy. A 15-year span of employment in the prepress department of a high volume printing company resulted in exposure to high levels of noxious fumes in poorly ventilated conditions. <br /><br /> <br />Psychotic symptoms first occurred at the age of 33. I had no prior history of mental or physical disease. Visual hallucinations were the initial symptoms, which rapidly progressed to racing thoughts, severe insomnia, pressured, incoherent speech and difficulty concentrating. Manic symptoms were prevalent with religious delusions, thought broadcasting and the feeling of ecstasy. Family intervention took place and I was quickly diagnosed at a local hospital and treated for bipolar I disorder, with psychotic features.<br /><br />After two years of battling repeat bouts of manic/psychotic episodes requiring hospitalization and numerous side effects from psychiatric medications, I became proactive in my health care and began searching for alternative solutions. I eventually found the help I needed through integrative psychiatry. <br /><br />As an individual who has experienced psychotic episodes, I believe that the emergence of participatory concepts in mental health care can empower consumers to become engaged in recognizing symptoms, selecting treatment options, and working in partnership with providers to develop illness self-management recovery programs. Patient empowerment is critically needed to strengthen the mental health care system. Innovative strategies targeting informed, safe decisions are needed in order to effectively involve mental health consumers in the prevention and recovery of psychotic disorders.<br /> <br />As a mental health advocate my goal is to: <br /><br />1. Advance the consideration of medical conditions and substances that may induce psychotic symptoms.<br /><br />2. Identify some unique challenges that providers and patients dealing with psychotic disorders must overcome in order to establish effective recovery strategies.<br /><br />3. Illustrate the benefits of participatory concepts in mental health care.