This is going to be quite a personal post as I’m going to focus my writing on my own experiences of the two. It may contain triggering content for some so if it does stop reading and find someone you can speak to.
The first time I was restrained and injected was possibly the most terrifying moments of my life. I was pushed through the ward to the seclusion room and restrained by a mixed gender team and injected. There was no explanation, no attempt at verbal deescalation and no debrief. I was left half asleep in seclusion with my new key nurse watching me. This was a situation I found myself in many times. Though sometimes there was a relief in finally being knocked out and not having to face the pain anymore.
I’m not sure what I feel about chemical sedation. I think it has its place in psychiatric settings but sometimes it is used as a punishment or too quickly without any attempt at deescalating the situation.
This is a method that has worked really well for my sometimes and not so well others.
First I’m going to tell you about the time the didn’t inject me and tried verbal deescalation. It involved being restrained to the quiet room, me sobbing and shouting, and sat there for two hours with three members of staff trying to keep e sat down not desperately running at walls. It was the most painful night of my life. They tried to talk me down and talk me into taking the tablets but two hours later and we were all flagging. I did eventually concede that taking my medication was the only option if I didn’t want the injection.
That was a fairly negative experience of verbal deescalation. There’s been a change since I’ve moved units. Verbal deescalation is the norm and very rarely is the injection used. When I was constantly headbanging the staff unfailingly talked to me until I was grounded enough to be removed or walk away from the wall. There’s a much greater feeling of ownership for your emotions if you’ve been talked down rather than forced down on a bed.
I can’t give you an answer as to what is the better option. Both have their merits and disadvantages. But I do think verbal deescalation should always be the first line of treatment before the injection is considered.