Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

bipolar diagnosis after a 10 minute consultation with a GP

Posted In: Medical Errors 3 Replies
  • Posted By: mentalist
  • December 23, 2008
  • 11:20 AM

I went to an after hours surgery the other day to get a medical certificate for a day off work. It wasn't a cop out, I'd fabricated the reason for taking the day off but the real reason is an intense recurring depression I've had since I was 16 (now about to hit 30). Without going into the how's and whys it was triggered, it cycles in and out of my life usually by a catalyst of some kind of emotionally intense event. I'll be the first to admit that I've experienced symptoms of mania and depression, both hall marks of the bipolar condition. But based on the prolonged introspection that seems to be incidental of depression, it's had more to do with my personal psychodrama and sporadic drug use than a genuine chemical bipolarity. Anyway I regrettably opened up to an extent to the GP at an after hours surgery after making an initial statement of feeling generally low, being fatigued, listless and an inability to concentrate (foolishly I thought I'd attempt to gain treatment for my real condition whilst justifying my sick leave work alibi). I effectively told him about my most recent foray into depression and the trigger event when I was 16. In 10 minutes he "diagnosed" me with bipolar and was initially going to right me a script for lithium but my earlier protestation about SSRI's and bludgeon medication made him rescind to a "milder" prescription of sodium valproate (a substance that was incidentally found to be successful in the treatment of epilepsy and subsequently made a transition as an attempted mood stabiliser for the fabled BPD). Of course he strongly recommended I visit a psychiatrist for further evaluation and I strongly advised for him not to notate everything we discussed in his assessment notes..I haven't had further assessment, nor have I picked up the script of sodium valproate. I got home and read up about the side effects of taking this drug for the condition I was purchased into- they weren't nice, and I'm sure anyone reading this who has taken medicine (chose not to use quotation marks) knows better than I about the reality of some of these drugs. Well point is, is a 10 minute assessment sufficient justification for the prescription of a serious psychotropic? regardless of his ardent recommendation for psychiatric evaluation and perhaps the (according to the medical establishments) justification for doing so, was it ok that a GP at an after hours surgery so readily prescribed someone a medication that has real and potentially extreme side effects after really, a non qualified and cursory evaluation? I honestly feel toward those reading this who have been diagnosed and treated for bipolar and have gained a sense of wellness and repair after the ongoing treatment and the adjusted application of medication from their various practitioners, a sense of respect and good will. And perhaps an element of envy that I really have so little faith in the practitioning of my own "condition" and also so little opportunity to freely consult and mediate it's nature. Anyway it's become an added dimension to my melancholy now, rather then seeming like a step toward alleviation and I know I should probably get another assessment. I'm just concerned I'll be sold into some kind of life long mental condition and all I really want is a cause to hope, not another layer of condemnation. Anyone's opinions and perspectives are welcome and appreciated.

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  • I am a 29 year old, 5' 4" 135 pound female. I say this because of the symptoms I am going to list. I've struggled with depression as well since I was in my teens. While I did have some traumatic events early on- I am not sure that is still the reason. I've been told by one counselor that she thought I was bipolar but then in my chart - she changed it to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after talking more extensively to me about the events. I have high blood pressure and have since I was 23 that I've had to take medicine for. I've tried different anti-depressants that had horrible side effects, made me over the top happy and then some that I couldn't take because it caused me to have high blood pressure even with the meds. So, a few years ago, I was sent to a psychiatrist that only monitors medicine (not a talk therapist) and within 10 minutes- he said I was bipolar III. Now I take Lamictal (also used for seizures) and wellbutrin XL. It worked for a while up until this past 6 months really. I have started a series of tests, appointments to try to discover some under lying issue of my symptoms. So far they've found that I have a birth defect with my renal tubes. The next tests are for hyperparathyroidism and lupus. I go to a nephrologist on Jan. 19th so we'll see. My point in all this is that I think that they're too quick to prescribe medicine that if you've taken is really hard to get off of without some withdraw. And to label someone after 10 minutes isn't good when they don't really know anything else about you. Be careful!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • January 7, 2009
    • 08:41 PM
    • 0
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  • First poster: you may want to read your medical file. Once it gets posted into your insurance file, it's in your records and will be a prior existing condition with all of your future insurance. You could speak with the director of the facility and have the ten minute diagnosis removed stating your reasons. You are young, too. Find some type of activity to get involve with like karate lessons, painting, etc...keeping busy has a way of keeping you occupied so you don't dwell on your weaknesses.
    Monsterlove 2921 Replies
    • January 8, 2009
    • 00:44 AM
    • 0
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  • I am a 29 year old, 5' 4" 135 pound female. I say this because of the symptoms I am going to list. I've struggled with depression as well since I was in my teens. While I did have some traumatic events early on- I am not sure that is still the reason. I've been told by one counselor that she thought I was bipolar but then in my chart - she changed it to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after talking more extensively to me about the events. I have high blood pressure and have since I was 23 that I've had to take medicine for. I've tried different anti-depressants that had horrible side effects, made me over the top happy and then some that I couldn't take because it caused me to have high blood pressure even with the meds. So, a few years ago, I was sent to a psychiatrist that only monitors medicine (not a talk therapist) and within 10 minutes- he said I was bipolar III. Now I take Lamictal (also used for seizures) and wellbutrin XL. It worked for a while up until this past 6 months really. I have started a series of tests, appointments to try to discover some under lying issue of my symptoms. So far they've found that I have a birth defect with my renal tubes. The next tests are for hyperparathyroidism and lupus. I go to a nephrologist on Jan. 19th so we'll see. My point in all this is that I think that they're too quick to prescribe medicine that if you've taken is really hard to get off of without some withdraw. And to label someone after 10 minutes isn't good when they don't really know anything else about you. Be careful! Thanks for sharing that, and I'm very much heeding your warning. Despite the rocky road of quick fire prescriptions you've been given I think it's positive that you are now being tested for physical conditions, as at least as far as I know the medical establishment tends to be more precise and effective with treatments when they can identify something under a microscope. If anything, my experience with depression since my teens and the various events that have triggered or aggravated it makes me understand that doing as much as you can for yourself is vital. Eating/sleeping well, getting a measure of regular exercise, occupying the mind through hobbies and other interests, steering clear of emotionally turbulent people, substances and situations and deepening a personal psychological/spiritual insight is really important too. All of these things may be apparent for most people (if they really have to think of it at all), but personally it's probably been a lack of consistency in the above which has overall contributed the most to my depressive episodes. I believe that for a large percentage of mental illness, if you can maintain an overall healthy lifestyle not only will it minimise the negative effects of various conditions but can also assist in properly identifying the underlying causes. By taking care of variables such as the ones above it helps to clarify the matters that remain that contribute to negative symptoms such as guilt, pain, resentment, fear which on the most part are psychologically driven rather than chemically (although obviously they have a chemical symptom which affects our mood). This is the tact I choose to take on my situation, as in the past I've made the most progress when I've empowered myself with the ability to heal myself. After all I know my own mind the best and I can't casually prescribe myself serious meds just so I can feel as if I've "treated" myself! I hope that if they do diagnose you with any of the non-psychological conditions you outlined you'll be professionally and effectively treated and will soon feel an unhindered state of mind. If not, without knowing your situation I'd like to think you can play the biggest part in your well being by believing in your own ability to do so. I think the brain naturally wants to find balance and harmony if we can just provide it the lifestyle and state of mind to achieve this. I've started taking a closer look at nutritional supplements such as omega 3 (natural mood stabiliser), complex B-Vitamins and amino acids such as tyrisol as well. They aren't by any means as potent as the psychotropics at doctors disposal, but at least if used properly they will certainly do no harm. Wish you all the best and thanks again for sharing, it's good to know that someone else felt a 10 minute diagnosis was kinda hasty, to say the least.
    mentalist 1 Replies
    • January 12, 2009
    • 00:06 PM
    • 0
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