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Right to be Unmedicated
An_256421 posted:
I am on medical leave from college, by choice. I am bipolar and unmedicated. The stress and loneliness was difficult, but learned a great deal about my limits and what I need. I would like to return to school with a smaller course load and identified supports... but not medication. The school is requiring me to submit a psychiatrist's statement of readiness. Psychiatrists are only for medications! What are my rights to be at school and unmedicated? How else might I show my readiness? Does anyone have any resources that might help me a) protect my right to be unmedicated while b) returning to school?
slik_kitty responded:
I think the school is within it's rights to require that. you could go see a pdoc and see if they think you are ok to continue school while unmedicated. that isn't a good choice though. bipolars need medication to be able to function. you may be fine now, but at some point, it will flair up again. you need to make a choice. is it better to remain unmedicated and uneducated, or start taking the meds that will give you a stable mind to enable you to become educated.
reneegigliotti replied to slik_kitty's response:
I agree with you Kitty. If she voluntarily withdrew from school for some other medical reason she would still need a physician's approval to return. It's not a policy unique to psychiatric illnesses. As to her belief that psychiatrists only do meds, that's not exactly accurate. They diagnose, evaluate, determine level of safety (for self and others), make non-pharmaceutical treatment recommendations (psychotherapy, assignment of disability status, assignment of life skills assistance such as a case manager, etc), and in worst case scenarios can involuntarily hospitalize you if the need arises. A psychiatric evaluation is par for the course after a medical absence from a college, grad program, or even a job. If an MD says her bipolar disorder isn't severe enough to warrent medication, then she's off the medication hook. If the MD says that she cannot function adequately unmedicate, the school doesn't want that level of liability if she chooses not to be medicated. At that point she's AMA (against medical advice). She can do that as long as she's not actively psychotic. It's a free country. However the school is within its rights to not accept her back.


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