Med

Patient Review of: Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital

When a good idea goes wrong for every patient.

I have a real battle with my mental health. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder over half my life ago, I’ve been on probably hundreds of medications; some gave me seizures, others gave me psychosis. I’ve lived through withdrawals on par with a heroin addict (but with less of the fun) and battled doctors on accepting my body — no, I’m not actually trying to lose weight, but thanks for the advice!

Oh, the advice. Take adderal, no don’t, yes let’s try it again, and lets cut your benzos in half overnight with large dose of gabapentibn so you don’t die.

This is CRAZY talk. And it happens everyday, in every medical clinic, with every psych patient. The battle to keep our doctors more aware of our own bodies, minds, and the side effects of what they prescribe is well-worth its full time job.

For me, it has been since 2015, when I had a crisis that combined an abusive marriage and the fall of content marketing (aka my career, as I knew it.)

Since then, I’ve been inpatient dozens of times. Most recently, I was sent to the newest psych hospital in Washington state, Smokey Point Behavioral Health. (I should note I’ve discussed a lot of my experience with their advocacy staff. But this should not go without public awareness.) I was there for 5 days initially.

During those 5 days, there were no groups (except a few I remember involving music and singing. That’s cathartic, I will admit) and the food was severely lacking nutritional value — the only recourse an extensive nutrition evaluation within the first two days, but then it’s up to your “Doctor” to sign off on the nutritional guidelines for better food.

I ended up on Trazedone for sleep (my stress, for years, has resulted in 2–3 hours of sleep a night, a major factor in my depression) but developed an allergic reaction to it (my eyes swelled shut) which NO ONE NOTICED until I was home and could google my symptoms.

To their benefit, most of my meds remained the same, with the addition of Cymbalta for a “mood stabilizer.” There is some theory that the meds I’ve been on for a decade aren’t effective, so doctors always try to add something since I’m perpetually depressed*

(*I’m actually not, I have just had a hell of a struggle rebounding from my divorce, decline of career and social life as an unmarried, infertile 34-year old.)

Smokey Point did not monitor the effects of Cymbalta; I quickly became manic, but that was just “my energy returning” according to one of the various ARNPs who spoke with me. (I never saw an actual doctor at Smokey Point.)(And my PCP pulled me off of it immediately.)

The true horror is in lack of any kind of therapeutic value.

They not only aggravate patients to increase medication or use physical punishment (a tactic used by another local psych hospital, Fairfax, which is highly relevant — but let’s cover these bases first) but then send us home with no actual follow-up treatment.


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