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A Piece of My Mind
May 9, 2012

Drowning in Plain Sight

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Hennepin Women's Mental Health Program, Department of Psychiatry, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (kimxx237@umn.edu).

JAMA. 2012;307(18):1923-1924. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3445

“Lithium saved my life,” said Lisa to her psychiatrist. Yet when she told him that she was pregnant, he said, “Of course, you can't take medicine while you're pregnant. Maybe we can give you Haldol, but even that wouldn't be safe.” Images flashed through Lisa's mind of the chaos and self-destruction she felt before she started taking lithium. Yet here was the physician she had known and trusted for years. She took comfort in his certainty that stopping her medicine was the right thing to do. In her mind she challenged herself to be a good mother and to put her own needs second. She stopped her meds—doctor's orders.