KOCHI: Fahad Fazil-starrer ‘Trance’ is running successfully garnering rave reviews. From the hero’s acting to the director’s bravery to approach such a bold subject, movie aficionados have been quite gung-ho about the film. However, the movie has drawn flak from psychiatrists for labelling certain psychotropic drugs as ‘killers’. Irked by movie-makers’ mindless branding, doctors say that such labelling of bonafide medicines is blunder.
“At a crucial point in the movie, a doctor tells viewers that ‘psychotropic medications like Risperidone and Xanax (that the protagonist takes for him mental disorders) will lead to brain damage and eventually will kill him inch by inch’. This is total blunder,” wrote psychiatrist Dr Thomas Mathai Kayyanickal in a Facebook post.
“Mental disorders like depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension and asthma. For a Parkinson’s disease patient, when dopamine gets reduced in brain, tablets are prescribed as a supplement. Similarly, chemical intervention are done in case of mental illness treatments too. Visit the OP of a psychiatry department to see how people lead a normal life with the help of these medicines,” wrote Thomas, who works at the Centre Institute of Psychiatry in Ranchi, Jharkhand.
“Movies influence society and alter the mindset. Therefore, such misinformation spread by popular films has the potential to ruin the lives of persons with mental illnesses,” said Kochi-based psychiatrist Dr Monu Varghese.
Dr Thomas describes a disturbing incident in his post. “A patient with anxiety disorder, treated by my friend in Kochi, was reluctant to take medicines. He reasoned that has stopped taking it because it would cause brain damage. Who will be responsible if a person with psychotic depression goes off medicine and commits suicide?”
Dr Arun B Nair, associate professor, Department of Psychiatry, Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, said Risperidone and Xanax have commonly prescribed medicines for psychiatric patients and they do not have any adverse effects as mentioned in Trance. “There are thousands of people with psychotic disorders doing very well on Risperidone. Misguided by films, if they discontinue the medication, it would definitely worsen their illness, and cause brain damage,” said Dr Arun.
“Some patients with psychotic disorders may also have suicidal thoughts, which could be secondary to their delusions and hallucinations. Antipsychotics like Risperidone prevent suicide. If such people stop medicines without advice from the doctor, chances of them attempting suicide is also high,” he said.
In the movie the lead actor undergoes through a sort of a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a mental health condition triggered by a past terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Risperidone is used for the treatment of psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. Risperidone modulates the level of dopamine of the brain, thereby reducing delusions and hallucinations
It also prevents suicide tendencies in patients
Xanax is an anxiolytic. It reduces anxiety and helps promote sleep