Reports a qualitative investigation with people who have considered removing their dental amalgam fillings following a medical diagnosis of mercury poisoning. Seven focus groups involved 35 participants selected by random, criteria sampling from the computer records of one medical practice. The participants’ experiences represented four scenarios of presenting illnesses and patterns of linking mercury and health. Of the 32 who had begun amalgam removal, 29 reported enduring health gains. Many had been told their conditions were psychosomatic and had symptoms that included cognitive deficits and mood swings. Participants explored issues related to medical practice such as the focus on symptoms not etiology; how they had monitored health changes; the stigma of a psychosomatic label; and how detoxification was essential but problematic. A placebo effect and reduced galvanism as explanations for recovery are considered. The amalgam poisoning experience was costly financially and socially, so participants wished health professionals were more mercury conscious.
Jones L. The Bulletin of the New Zealand Psychological Society. 97, 29-33. 1999.