Abraham, I totally agree with you about each of us educating ourselves! I further agree with you that the doctors, therapists, etc, can't cure us. We each have to discover and decide what works best for us. However, just because a psychiatrist has gone through years of studying and hard work, doesn't mean they know for certain what will and will not work. As we all know, everyone is different and what works for one may not work for another! I have had many psychiatrists tell me that psychiatry is a "crap shoot." That is extremely discouraging to me.
The psychiatric community has done a lot of positive work for people diagnosed with mental illness. Prior to about 1950, if you were diagnosed with a mental illness, and fortunate enough to get care, your best form of treatment was to live in a mental institution, often for the rest of your life. Although we do have inpatient mental clinics today, patients aren't intended to live in them for life, because they can be monitored outside the hospital with psychiatric medications. In fact the framework for live-in *mental communities* has fairly much been phased out, due to psychiatric medications. Some facilities do exist, but many who live in them, don't stay for life.
So if you were to see the psychiatric community from another angle, you could be more open to what has worked, with psychiatric medicine, then what hasn't. We can't immediately assume all psychiatrists, and their prescribing of medications, don't always work. Personally, regardless of any preconceived notions about psychiatric medications, I'd rather take a psychopathic medication for life, than to spend my life in a psychiatric community. So thank God we're no longer living in the early 1900's to 1950's, and thank God now, we have these psychotropic medications to take, instead of cohabiting in a life long mental-health community.
Additionally, no med or supplement alone is a magic cure all. I, myself find that there are many things that I must do each and every day just to be able to carry out the everyday tasks that others without anxiety or any other mental illness take for granted. Rarely have I come across a psychiatrist who, along with prescribing meds, talks too me about what other things I can do to manage my anxiety disorder.
Just to give you another angle, psychiatrists and doctors see many patients, not just you or me. If you go to a psychiatrist covered by insurance, these doctors are given patients from insurance companies, and at very large numbers. We have to consider psychiatrists, like any hard working adults are people who need jobs to feed families and send their kids to school. Not to mention psychiatrists and doctors also have student loans from medical school still looming that need to be paid off. They have to make a living, and their bosses are in a way 'insurance companies.' It's not easy to attract patients with mental illness by just by word of mouth, posting an ad on the internet, or filing an ad in the Yellow pages. Doctors need patients to fund their practices, and these patients are often collected from insurance companies.
During a typical eight hour work day, if an insurance company sends a doctor 4 patients per hour, that doctor has to budget their time appropriately. She has to first observe your outward symptoms like any doctor, based on whether you take the medication prescribed, and then answer questions. Often these questions entail psychological problems in relation to mental health, which are best answered by a counselor, not for the doctor. So if a psych doctor has 32 patients that day, he may not have the extra time to add a quick educational training session on how to manage mental health.
Of course, if a patient is dissatisfied with their treatment, and argues, "Well I deserve a better doctor," then a wise consumer would start researching other psych doctors in the area to go too. Of course, that research will require work and time. Yet no matter who that person hires, that doctor will never have plenty of spare time to educate a client beyond brief questions on psychiatric medicine. Doctors weren't hired as full time teachers, instead they were hired as doctors to manage a case load of patients.
So, I have had to implement those on my own, as well as with the help of my therapist. That's fine, but I think there needs to be more discussions about what lifestyle changes can and should be made to manage a psychiatric illness. It really is so important, and since it's not a discussion that many of the psychiatrists I've dealt with have had with me, I've had to seek out self-help books, support groups and do my own research. Just my experience.
Nothing wrong with your choice of being your own doctor, or even your own therapist. If you're researching and educating yourself, it's always good to broaden your knowledge, because you maybe studying areas that may not have all the answers.
We can say psychiatrists don't have all the answers. Likewise we can also say, writers who write self-help books, and practitioners who works in the area of alternative therapy, like homeopathy, don't have all the answers either.