Wisconsin Woman Forced to Take Psychiatric Drugs for 17 years
Linda Eiden was 33 when she was diagnosed and involuntarily committed. At the time of this report Linda is 50 and lives in an assisted care facility, Care Partners, in Stevens Point Wisconsin. For the last 17 years, she has been involuntarily committed to live in a supervised facility and court ordered to take psychiatric drugs. She says there are no talk therapists at her living facility and she sees her psychiatrist four times a year.
For photos of Linda by Wisconsin psychiatric survivor artist Felice Eliscu, see PsychRights coverage here:
" When Linda told her doctors that she would like to try therapy she was told there’s no money in the budget."
Linda reports she has been under involuntary commitment for years but has steadily
fought for her right to get off meds and live an independent life. This
summer of 2011 she went on the record saying she wants to get off psych drugs –
and she was simultaneously put on an additional new drug that exhausts
her. Linda has a meeting with her psychiatrist in October 2011 - and will have
a commitment hearing in January 2012.
Below is a recap of Linda's story:
Linda has been told she must take psychiatric drugs for the rest of her life. Her current regimen includes Geodon and Risperadal, both powerful so-called "antipsychotic" drugs. These drugs have caused serious health problems for Linda including weight gain that's made her morbidly obese, tardive dyskinesia (which can mean permanent involuntary twitching for life), headaches, bloody noses and dizziness.
She uses a bariatric (for very morbidly obese people) walker and a wheelchair to get around, is type 2 diabetic, and has to take insulin shots and pills.
Linda currently takes some 22 medications per day and she worries constantly about her deteriorating health. Recently, her doctors added a new drug to her regimen that makes her very tired - she reports she is sleeping 16 hours/day.
Despite her circumstances, Linda has persistently advocated to change her situation. She successfully won a lawsuit against Zyprexa for health damages.
In 2010 she activated a MindFreedom Shield Alert to try and stop the continued forced drugging.
This summer, Linda notified her caregivers that she wanted to come off psych drugs and try alternative treatments even though she worried about reprisals (being further medicated or sent to another even less desirable institution). When she told her doctors that she would like to try therapy she was told there’s no money in the budget.
Linda’s unwavering goal is to live an independent life. She wants to live in her own home and complete her college degree in Business Administration, “Like David Oaks did, he completed his degree and he’s successful.”
Linda has a quarterly meeting with her psychiatrist Dr Leahy, on Oct 11, which she says is basically a drug compliance status check and she will have a commitment hearing January 2012.
She has asked the Shield to write letters or call and protest her situation.
The following are options for the shield to target. Please contact with civil but strong messages of support for Linda Eiden:
President Obama: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson: 202-224-5323
Sen. Herbert Kohl: 202-224-5653
U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy: 202-225-3365
State Sen. Julie Lassa: firstname.lastname@example.org
State Rep. Louis J. Molepski Jr.: email@example.com
Gov. Scott Walker: firstname.lastname@example.org
The county has immediate responsibility for involuntary commitment.
You may speak to a Client Rights Officer at Portage County Human Services866-920-2525
There’s also a State's Clients Rights office608-266-2717
If you are not satisfied with the response you can go to the state protection disability advocacy rights608-267-0214
Your own words are best but you could say something like:
"I am contacting you to protest the continued involuntary commitment and forced drugging of Linda Eiden, currently a resident at Care Partners in Stevens Point, WI.
"Ms Eiden has been under court order for17 years - but she wants to get a degree and live independently.
"She has formally requested and has the right to alternative treatment.
Please investigate Ms. Eiden's situation immediately."
Linda's psychiatrist is Dr. Maureen Leahy: 1-866-920-2525 ext 5885