The madness of the NHS and therapy funding for Dissociative disorders

I am often asked how I was able to get NHS funded treatment here in the UK and given I know there are so many people struggling to get the same help I decided to write this post.

Like many people I had to fight for treatment, a long and often destabilising fight to get those in authority to see that long term specialist therapy made sense given it’s the only internationally recognised treatment for Dissociative identity disorder.

Looking back it still seems strange that I had to fight for help which has in fact saved the NHS thousands, but fight we did. If I’m honest I couldn’t have done this without the support of my daughter who would often challenge the beuracracts when I wasn’t able to. At times we wrote letters, telephoned the funding bodies repeatedly, and utilised social media when we could.

Research* clearly indicates the financial benefits and cost savings achievable when a client with a dissociative disorder is given long term talking therapy. It demonstrates the financial madness of refusing treatment and yet CCG’s across the UK still refuse individuals applications for therapy funding.

Given research demonstrates that at least 1% of the population has some form of dissociative disorder isn’t it time the NHS took notice of these facts instead of wasting ££ by not treating people.

A single A & E attendance costs ££, as does each crisis intervention. In fact every single contact with a health professional incurs a charge. Yet many DID clients are left floundering from one costly crisis to another and yet are still refused funding for therapy, the one treatment internationally recognised as beneficial. In fact every time I spent a week in hospital cost money and given I spent 200 weeks as an in-patient this often unhelpful intervention cost far more than my therapy ever did. These costs were at first reduced and then eradicated as I recieved therapy. In fact I’ve not had a single admission since my therapy started saving the NHS tens of thousands of pounds.

The potential for cost savings by giving therapy is huge and I mean HUGE!!! And these financial benefits are relevant to many many people with a dissociative identity disorder. Yet the NHS still blocks funding in the main, its as if the beauracrats cannot see the financial gains they can achieve and their understanding of DID is often not existent.

So my advice to others here in the UK is challenge every refusal, lobby your Medical team be that a GP or a psychiatrist to get them on side and then lobby your local CCG (clinical commissioning group) at every turn. Use social media to contact the chief executive of the CCG, and their mental health lead too. Contact your local MP and get their support as well and If you are able to perhaps consider if local media might help. Basically its Challenge, challenge, challenge.

Outline continually the research evidence which shows the cost benefits and the ISST-D ( international society for the study of trauma and dissociatiom) international guidelines for treating dissociative disorders. If you can obtain through a freedom of information request the costs attached to each crisis intervention and medical contact you have had, if you’ve been an in-patient obtain these costs, basically try and demonstrate how much it’s costing them already by not giving you therapy. I learnt recently that back in the dark days when I was suicidal and went missing from home the costs were huge. In fact £8,000 to just ping a mobile phone mast and that’s more than the cost of 1 years therapy.

I know how fortunate I have been to get my treatment in the NHS and know first hand tbe enormous benefits of long term talking therapy. So now my treatments over I aim to work to get the funding madness changed, with this in mind I recently had a meeting with my local CCG to raise the treatment of those with DID in my locality who sadly were being rejected for funding at every turn. It was a useful meeting and I hope will prove fruitful in the end.

They are so many CCG’s failing those with dissociative disorder and it needs to stop. I intend to lobby as hard as I can to get those in power to see the financial madness of not funding therapy. So if you are fighting for funding let me know I’m happy to offer advice where I can. It’s time this madness of NHS funding was stopped and the treatment proven to be beneficial to recovery and financially sound is a right not a fight.

* research by Dr Mike lloyd ‘ How investing in therapeutic services priovides a clinical cost saving in the long term’ as featured in the health services journal.

What is DID? A brief 16 step guide.

This week I have found myself in London trying to explain DID to a journalist. Funny how suddenly facing a microphone forces one to become more succinct and yet I do find it hard to explain dissociation and how it impacts my life. This got me thinking that maybe others would find it helpful to have a basic intro to DID.

This post is therefore a very basic guide to dissociation and DID.

Dissociation

1. Dissociation is something we all do, when we go on auto pilot or take a regular journey and suddenly realise we are further along than we thought.

2. Dissociation is only an issue when it becomes dysfunctional.

3. It is an effective survival mechanism blocking painful unbearable memories.

4. A sane reaction to insane circumstances

Dissociative Disorders

5. There are 5 types of dissociative disorder, dissociative depersonalisation, dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, Dissociative identity disorder and other specified dissociative disorder. The most extreme is Dissociative identity disorder (DID).

Dissociative identity disorder

6. DID means a person has 2 or more distinct identies with their own unique perceptions, thoughts, feelings mood and memory.

7. Yet each part is a part of one person, one body.

8. DID is often caused by traumatic events such as childhood trauma.

Myth Busting

9. DID is not a personality disorder

10. It doesn’t mean the person has 3 heads.

11. Unlike the portrayals in the media people with DID in real life are no more likely to commit crime, harm someone or be a danger than anyone else.

Symptoms (based upon my own experience)

12. For me the symproms were many and varied and included: Loss of time, confused identity, gaps in memory, internal voices, feeling detached, disrupted sense of self and sense of place, self-loathing, denial of trauma, nightmares, flashbacks, suicidal thoughts, self harming. Broken relationships, often buying the same thing multiple times.

13. For someone with DID life can be very chaotic, and at times frightening.

Treatment options.

14. International guidelines recommend that long term talking therapy is the only effective treatment for DID.

15. Long term talking therapy is very cost effective, research shows that it reduces emergency department visits, Crisis interventions and hospital admissions.

16. It is actually cheaper to provide therapy than to leave people with no provision.

Helpful sources of info.

First person Plural – firstpersonplural.org.uk

An Infinite mind – aninfinitemind.com

ESTD – estd.org