Finding psychiatrists and kaohsiung is like?


#1

I am thinking of moving to Kaohsiung but I need to know if there are psychiatrists and possibly psychologists that I could get a hold of? I suppose I could go into Taipei once a month if needed. Can anyone help me on this one?
Also, anyone have anything to say about Kaohsiung? I know nothing of the place and most of the comments I’ve read about seem to be about Taipei.
Is there a way I could get a hold of tegretol and paxil in Taiwan or would I need to bring a year’s supply from home?
Thanks for any help,
I’m still trying to decide whether I’m coming for a year or not.


#2

Speaking as an ex-paxil user (discovered that I was actually happier without!), I know that it is available here in Taiwan. If you have a full time job and health card, you can get Paxil (known here as Paroxetine) much cheaper than in the U.S.

Here’s a listing for a psychiatrist in Kaohsiung (I’m sure there are others, too):

Psychiatry
Dr. Ming-Jen YANG
Tel: (07) 731-7123, ext. 8750

Kaohsiung is a big, polluted city, not much different from the other cities in Taiwan. The big draw is the bar/pub scene, although some enjoy the proximity to Kenting, a pleasant beach area. Try this page to learn more about Kaohsiung:

http://aroundkaohsiung.freeservers.com/directory.html


#3

Well, as for psychiatric drugs, you will have no problem. Just say what you were prescribed in the states and say that you can’t get a therapist and that is that. They will give you ANYTHING YOU WANT in any reasonable quantity (one friend got 100mg Xanax/day (enough to keep any 2 ton hippo happy all day every day)).

As for getting a therapist, forget about it. They will not understand any of your problems (due to cultural differences (flame me if you must, but it is true)).

As for Kaohsiung being the same as any other city in Taiwan… I lived there for two years… it is definitely not the same. It has a measure of lawlessness that isn’t present in the other big cities. It is very Taiwanese and has little western culture. As for the bar scene there, it SUCKS!!! Kaohsiung is great for a genuine Taiwan experience, but not for the foreign scene.


#4

I think it’s great that you are thinking of going to Taiwan. I’ve been there twice before, and am planning on going back this November for about five years. Anyway, one thing I learned that almost everyone experiences is that, no matter if you have a history of psychiatric illness or not, you will at some point become depressed. I think most people get angry at almost everything and think of how beautiful home is. This is perfectly natural. I know Taiwanese here in the U.S. who experience exactly the same thing. Anyway, keep in mind that this will probably happen, and plan on how you may deal with it if you can’t get a therapist. Even if you want to have no contact with Westerners there, it would probably be a good idea to find one good friend who you can talk to, vent your frustrations, and who will be receptive.

Another idea is that you check with a local (in your country) university’s psychology department to see if there are any Taiwanese grad students there. They may be able to suggest where to look for a western therapist. I remember someone telling me that there is an American psychologist in Taipei. Unfortunately, I don’t remember anything else beside that. Another option is to check with your country’s (U.S.?) consolate (or whatever they call it). They may have a list of American doctors. As a last resort, look for a western-trained therapist (I mean one who studied extensively in the U.S. or another western country).

Lastly, good luck. If you need it, take time away from the bustling urban areas and find some place more peaceful to get away from it all. I should hopefully be there in November, though I’ll be living in Taipei. There, I plan on studying at the Mandarin Training Center at National Taiwan Normal University, and teaching English to support myself. I’m always open to listening to people and trying to provide some sort of support.

Take care.

Peter


#5

Forgot to mention this in my last message. When I was there last, I lived with a guy who’s girlfriend was a Taiwanese psychiatric nurse. Based on what she told me, and what I have read in psychiatry journals (I have an interest in psychiatry and neurology), Taiwanese psychiatrists are well-trained. By that, I ONLY mean that they do a lot of research and that Taiwan has a well-established mental health system. I don’t know about how well they provide psychotherapy, though. And, like it was mentioned above, there can be problems in communication no matter how good there English is.

Taiwanese are no less prone to psychiatric illness than anyone else in the world. In fact, I read somewhere that Taiwanese women have a high incidence of depression compared with women in other countries. And, there are a lot of men, just like in every other country, who suffer from mental illness as well. You may find that older, more traditional people aren’t very familiar with modern practices and beliefs about mental health. But, younger people (20s and 30s) will often be easier to talk to about mental health problems. I had a friend who’s friend was acutely bipolar, and we talked about her feelings about her friend’s experiences. All I’m saying is that we Westerns probably (okay, I admit, I’m speaking from my personal belief…I haven’t surveyed people about this or anything) think that East Asians either don’t suffer from mental illness or don’t know much about it. You’ll be surprised that, at least, the younger generation is much different from the older generation with regard to this. So, don’t be afraid to make friends with someone Taiwanese, and, if you can communicate with them on even a basic level, discuss your feelings.

Best wishes.

Peter