On patient compliance

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Charles was taking Zoloft when we met. Realizing it was doing him no good, possibly harm he quit taking it. A grueling two months passed before withdrawal pangs from the supposedly non-addictive drug ended. I was never more proud of him. His strength came from resentment. He was angry with the psychiatrist whose only solution to his problems was to suggest a series of SSRIs.

Finally with Geodon Charles seemed to have discovered a medication that stabilized his mood and put to rest his manic highs and lows. The effect of the Geodon was impressive: Charles’ lost his crazy resentments, became reasonable and mostly showed good judgment.

Charles would be playing for three different churches if he were still alive. When presented with four different sets of liturgical arrangements by the Lutheran church he was to work for he panicked.

Back in the days of bipolar madness Charles would seem almost superhuman. On a manic high his energy and determination appeared boundless. Until the crash.

Charles deliberately quit taking Geodon for a few days, wanting the bipolar high to enable him to master the liturgy.

My suspicion is that while he wasn’t taking the Geodon he returned to narcotics. Several weeks earlier he was without the medication and spent about $200 on crack. A couple of days in a treatment center and Geodon circulating though his system killed his desire for more cocaine.

Possibly the saddest aspect of Charles’ death is that he was closer to taking control of his life than he’d been since I’d known him. Honestly I doubt he’d have succeeded. But if he hadn’t foolishly stopped taking his medication he might be alive.

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On patient compliance
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