Prescribing for personality disorder: Qualitative study of interviews with general and forensic consultant psychiatrists
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Aims and method: To explore experiences of psychiatrists considering medication for patients with personality disorder by analysis of transcribed, semi-structured interviews with consultants. Results: Themes show important relational processes in which not prescribing is expected to be experienced as uncaring rejection, and psychiatrists felt helpless and inadequate as doctors when unable to relieve symptoms by prescribing. Discontinuity in doctor-patient relationships compounds these problems. Clinical implications: Problems arise from: (a) the psychopathology creating powerful relational effects in consultation; (b) the lack of effective treatments, both actual and secondary to under-resourcing and neglect of non-pharmaceutical interventions; and (c) the professionally constructed role of psychiatrists prioritising healing and cure through provision of technological interventions for specific diagnoses. There is a need for more treatments and services for patients with personality disorder; more support and training for psychiatrists in the relational complexities of prescribing; and a rethink of the trend for psychiatrists to be seen primarily as prescribers. © 2014 The Royal College of Psychiatrists.