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1.  A Pill for the Ill? Patients’ Reports of Their Experience of the Medical Encounter in the Treatment of Depression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66338.
Starting in the 1960s, a broad-based patients’ rights movement began to question doctors’ paternalism and to demand disclosure of medical information, informed consent, and active participation by the individual in personal health care. According to scholars, these changes contributed to downplay the biomedical approach in favor of a more patient-oriented perspective. The Swedish non-profit organization Consumer Association for Medicines and Health (KILEN) has offered the possibility for consumers to report their perceptions and experiences from their use of medicines in order to strengthen consumer rights within the health care sector.
In this paper, qualitative content analysis was used to analyze 181 KILEN consumer reports of adverse events from antidepressant medications in order to explore patients’ views of mental ill health symptoms and the doctor-patient interaction.
Principal Findings
Overall, the KILEN stories contained negative experiences of the patients’ medical encounters. Some reports indicated intense emotional outrage and strong feelings of abuse by the health care system. Many reports suggested that doctors and patients had very different accounts of the nature of the problems for which the patient was seeking help. Although patients sought help for problems like tiredness and sleeplessness (often with a personal crisis of some sort as a described cause), the treating doctor in most cases was exceptionally quick in both diagnosing depression and prescribing antidepressant treatment. When patients felt they were not being listened to, trust in the doctor was compromised. This was evident in the cases when the doctor tried to convince them to take part in medical treatment, sometimes by threatening to withdraw their sick-listing.
Overall, this study suggests that the dynamics happening in the medical encounter may still be highly affected by a medical dominance, instead of a patient-oriented perspective. This may contribute to a questionable medicalization and/or pharmaceuticalization of depression.
PMCID: PMC3688884  PMID: 23823902
2.  Experiences from consumer reports on psychiatric adverse drug reactions with antidepressant medication: a qualitative study of reports to a consumer association 
The new European pharmacovigilance legislation has been suggested as marking the beginning of a new chapter in drug safety, making patients an important part of pharmacovigilance. In Sweden since 2008 it has been possible for consumers to report adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to the Medical Products Agency (MPA), and these reports are now understood as an increasingly valuable contribution in the monitoring of safety aspects in medicines. Already in 2002 it was possible to report experiences with medicines to the non-profit and independent organization Consumer Association for Medicines and Health (KILEN) through a web-based report form with an opportunity to describe ADR experiences in free text comments. The aim of this study was to qualitatively analyze the free text comments appended to consumer reports on antidepressant medication.
All reports of suspected adverse reactions regarding antidepressant medications submitted from January 2002 to April 2009 to KILEN’s Internet-based reporting system in Sweden were analyzed according to reported narrative experience(s). Content analysis was used to interpret the content of 181 reports with free text comments.
Three main categories emerged from the analyzed data material: (1) Experiences of drug treatment with subcategories (a) Severe psychiatric adverse reactions, and (b) Discontinuation symptoms; (2) Lack of communication and (3) Trust and distrust. A majority of the reports to KILEN were from patients experiencing symptoms of mental disturbances (sometimes severe) affecting them in many different ways, especially during discontinuation. Several report included narratives of patients not receiving information of potential ADRs from their doctor, but also that there were no follow-ups of the treatment. Trust was highlighted as especially important and some patients reported losing confidence in their doctor when they were not believed about the suspected ADRs they experienced, making them attempt to discontinue their antidepressant treatment on their own.
The present study indicates that free text comments as often contained in case reports directly submitted by patients can be of value in pharmacovigilance and provide important information on how a drug may affect the person using it and influence his or her personal life.
PMCID: PMC3554467  PMID: 23259410
3.  Reaching out to people struggling with their lives: a discourse analysis of answers from Internet-based services in Norway and Sweden 
The Internet has enlarged the scope of human communication, opening new avenues for connecting with people who are struggling with their lives. This article presents a discourse analysis of 101 responses to 98 questions that were posted on 14 different Internet-based mental health services in Norway and Sweden. We aimed to examine and describe the dominant understandings and favored recommendations in the services’ answers, and we reflected upon the social consequences of those answers. The services generally understood life struggles as an abnormal state of mind, life rhythms, or self-reinforcing loops. Internet-based mental health services primarily counsel service users to seek help, talk to health care professionals face-to-face, and discuss their life struggles openly and honestly. They also urge service users to take better care of themselves and socialize with other people. However, such answers might enhance the individualization of life problems, masking social origin and construction. Consequently, the services are challenged to include social explanations in their answers and strengthen their responsibility to amplify peoples’ messages at a societal level. Potentially, such answers could strengthen democratic structures and put pressure on social equity.
PMCID: PMC3459688  PMID: 23049282
depression; e-mental health; health psychology; Internet; public health
4.  Struggles for recognition: a content analysis of messages posted on the Internet 
The Internet has enlarged the possibilities of human communication and opened new ways of exploring perceptions of mental health. This study is part of a research project aiming to explore, describe, and analyze different discourses of mental health in Norway and Sweden, using material from Internet-based services.
To examine messages posed by users of publicly available question-and-answer services and to describe their content.
A Web search was used to identify Norwegian and Swedish Websites offering mental health services by email or posted messages. A total of 601 messages from 20 services, 10 Norwegian and 10 Swedish, were analyzed by means of qualitative content analysis and further interpreted in light of the social theory of recognition by Honneth.
Eight categories emerged from the analysis: family life, couples, others, violence, the ungovernable, self-image, negotiating normality, and life struggles. These categories were then grouped into three themes: (1) relationship to significant others, (2) relationship to self, and (3) relationship to the social community. The themes promoted an understanding of mental health as closely connected to political and social factors.
The results showed a variety of concerns from various parts of life and empowered the view that mental health should be understood broadly, at a conceptual level. Mental health emerged as a deeply relational concept that emphasized the equal distribution of chances in life. It strengthened the moral grammar of social inclusion and the acceptance of plurality in social life.
PMCID: PMC3413043  PMID: 22888257
Internet-based services; mental health; public health; social theory
5.  What can we learn from consumer reports on psychiatric adverse drug reactions with antidepressant medication? Experiences from reports to a consumer association 
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the cost of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in the general population is high and under-reporting by health professionals is a well-recognized problem. Another way to increase ADR reporting is to let the consumers themselves report directly to the authorities. In Sweden it is mandatory for prescribers to report serious ADRs to the Medical Products Agency (MPA), but there are no such regulations for consumers. The non-profit and independent organization Consumer Association for Medicines and Health, KILEN has launched the possibility for consumers to report their perceptions and experiences from their use of medicines in order to strengthen consumer rights within the health care sector. This study aimed to analyze these consumer reports.
All reports submitted from January 2002 to April 2009 to an open web site in Sweden where anyone could report their experience with the use of pharmaceuticals were analyzed with focus on common psychiatric side effects related to antidepressant usage. More than one ADR for a specific drug could be reported.
In total 665 reports were made during the period. 442 reports concerned antidepressant medications and the individual antidepressant reports represented 2392 ADRs and 878 (37%) of these were psychiatric ADRs. 75% of the individual reports concerned serotonin-reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and the rest serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Women reported more antidepressant psychiatric ADRs (71%) compared to men (24%). More potentially serious psychiatric ADRs were frequently reported to KILEN and withdrawal symptoms during discontinuation were also reported as a common issue.
The present study indicates that consumer reports may contribute with important information regarding more serious psychiatric ADRs following antidepressant treatment. Consumer reporting may be considered a complement to traditional ADR reporting.
PMCID: PMC3215951  PMID: 22026961
6.  The bodily presence of significant others: Intensive care patients' experiences in a situation of critical illness 
This study is about intensive care patients and the bodily presence of significant others. The aim of the study is to inquire and understand the patients experience of the body in relation to their significant others during critical illness. Open, unstructured, in-depth interviews with six former intensive care patients provide the data for the study. The phenomenological–hermeneutical analysis points to a theme among ICU patients' experience of conflict between proximity and distance during the bodily presence of their relations. Patients experience different and conflicting forms of responses to the presence of their significant others. Patients experience significant positive confirmation but also negation through this presence. In the ICU situation, the reactions of significant others appear difficult to deal with, yet the physical presence is significant for establishing a sense of affinity. Patients seek to take some responsibility for themselves as well as for their relatives, and are met with a whole spectrum of reactions. Intensive care patients experience the need to be actively, physically present, which often creates sharp opposition between their personal needs and the needs of their significant others for active participation.
PMCID: PMC2976569  PMID: 21063475
Phenomenology; hermeneutics; intensive care patients; critical illness; significant others

Results 1-6 (6)