Privacy Laws in Mental Health

Dr. Darcy, is it [OK] to get a test if you are on medicines like Abilify and Paxil?  [Does] the law protect me for my sickness, or [can] they use the test [results] like evidence [against me]?


This is a great question.  Essentially, you’ve been prescribed two medications:  Paxil, which is an antidepressant and Abilify, which is an antipsychotic.   It sounds like your psychiatrist wants to test your blood to see what your medication levels are, particularly your Abilify levels.  Not only is it common for doctors to check blood levels with medications that are in Abilify’s class of drugs, but it’s medically necessary, and here’s why:

Most mental illnesses result in imbalances in the brain. Abilify works to restore the correct balance of the brain chemicals that control mental health and cognitive abilities.  Regular blood work enables doctors to confirm that you are on the proper dose of the medication.

You sound concerned that if you agree to undergo testing, your doctor will have a paper trail, i.e., confirmation that you are being medicated by these drugs…

The law absolutely protects you and guarantees confidentiality around your healthcare.  Your doctor cannot use that information in any way that might cause you harm.

Bottom line is that you must get regular blood tests when you are on the medications that you are on, so for your own wellbeing, don’t delay.

Feel free to read the law yourself so that you feel comfortable with your treatment plan: