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TOPIC TITLE: How is one diagnosed with Bipolar?
Created On 5/24/09 9:40 PM
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upbeat
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Posts: 3
Joined: May 2009

5/24/09 9:40 PM
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I had a major episode for the first time in my life about a year ago (I am in my upper 30's). I have a parent with bipolar and the first doctor I went to said that it was probably bipolar. I was told that the meds he put me on (Geodon and Lexapro) are the wrong treatment for bipolar so I switched dr's. The second doctor determined it was bipolar from the first few minutes of meeting me (my wife faxed in information about me beforehand). I have not gone back to him since, because I felt it was to quick of a decision. How does one really know it is bipolar? Maybe my episode was due to external influences (which it was) alone?
Also, did anyone ever hear of a chassidishe psychiatrist in Monsey - Dr Schwarz? I was told he is very good and reasonable, but I don't know anything else about him.
 
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gad
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5/24/09 10:01 PM
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You may want to copy this question and post it in "ask the psychiatrist."
(It's the last button on the menu page).
 
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Lev-Nishber
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Posts: 38
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6/2/09 11:53 AM
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Hi,

Hi, I’m sure you understand that I can’t give you a diagnoses nor can I tell you if the first Doctor or the second doctors are good doctors or if they diagnosed you correctly or gave you the right medication.

I can give you some information that might help you understand why you may feel so confused about the diagnoses or doctors.

From the knowledge and experience I have I can tell you this.

Even though some people get diagnosed early in life, mostly low 20’but some times even in their teen years or even younger. There are many people that don’t get diagnosed until later on, like in your case the late 30’s for many reasons. Some time’s because they just don’t show any real strange behaviors until that age or they don’t go to a doctor until they real hit rock bottom when an episode shows up. It could be that you where fine until now, but to be honest I think technically speaking a doctor doesn’t need to see you go thru a few episodes before diagnosing you. One manic episode is usually enough to place you as bi polar, now of course you need to be monitored by this doctor who will give you medication, and see if you really stay in that category. The doctor should usually monitor your moods and see how the medication is affecting you, how you feel and your behavior.

Now I know that most people reading this will agree with me. Medication is a topic for its self. I don’t know if there are three people on this site or anywhere else who met, who have bipolar that can say they are taking the exact same cocktail of medication and they feel exactly the same. Unfortunately there is no magic pill. Some people go to a physicist get a few prescriptions and they start feeling a little better after a few days. Some start feeling better after a few weeks, and some just don’t feel better only after a few months of upping and lowering doses, and some times finding out after a few months that this medication is just nor for you. And what patients don’t know and understand that doctors don’t always know the answers either, yes they do need to play a guessing game until they find something that’s right for you. A lot of doctors will not change a medication until they have tried every dose they can play with before changing it, because some believe that changing a drug can trigger an episode. Another thing people don’t know that a drug can finally work and then boom, suddenly one day the medication just stops work for your body and the whole medication game starts all over again. Some medications might work for you but blood tests might show that you need to get off them as well. The bottom line is that it’s not an easy thing being on medication. But from my experience from living with some one with Mental illness, I have to say that not taking medication can be much more dangerous in the long run. Yes side effects can be tuff to live with but not taking medication gets you in a much worse place at the end of the day most of the time. The bottom line is time, you need to give it a lot of time, yes I know it’s the hardest thing to do when your manic or depressed but there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

Now about Doctors: There are many very good doctors out there and I have to say there are some that are not so good there are some that are good but are not very nice people. I think more then with any other illness you should try to find someone that you like and trust. You have to understand that you need to be ready to hear things you might not want to hear but that doesn’t mean he is nasty. You want some one that’s honest, some one that will tell you how it is. You might not always feel like you want to hear it. But he/she should all so be there to listen to what you have to say as well. I just want you to know that you need to give a doctor time and let them know how you feel about your treatment. I personally feel that a doctor should give you a full session every time you see him/her. A five minute visit is not enough to figure out if you’re manic. One more very important thing I’ll ad before I finish. If you have anyone living with you please let them be part of your team. Let them talk to your doctor. I think they can only help with giving the doctor information that you might not even recognize. Some times the ill person has behaviors that don’t bother him/her but the person living with them are in hell. And by sharing this info with the doctor it can help them give them a better picture. Don’t look at it as they are telling out on you. Look at it as they are informing the doctor. If you cant hear it wait out side. Or let them do it by phone. And by the way that’s another sign of a good doctor, a doctor that’s open to listen and keep the family involved.
I know I missed a lot. Maybe next time I’ll write some more. Have questions please ask.
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Lev-Nishber
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11/29/09 2:11 PM
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Hope everythings cool out here.
 
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