Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

Misdiagnosis - Depression and Anxiety

Posted In: Medical Errors 0 Replies
  • Posted By: HealthySkeptic
  • December 4, 2008
  • 01:09 AM

I am a 53 year old male. I also went through several years of what I can only describe as pure h***. I complained of anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, low libido, muscle aches, joint pain, etc. I was told at various times that I had clinical depression, severe anxiety, bi-polar disorder, etc. I was convinced that I had some severe psychological problem that would affect me for the rest of my life. I guess when you're that messed up you can read your way into just about any set of symptoms presented to you. I would have believed anything.
I was placed on many different medicines and combinations of meds, of increasing strengths and dosages. Some of them (Effexor in particular) left lasting physical side effects. The meds made my life miserable and also made the emotional and psychological symptoms much, much worse - to the point where I spent 3 days in the hospital because I was so messed up. It got to the point where I could not think straight and I was completely convinced that it was all me. My wife is very supportive, but she was so frustrated that she could barely stand to be around me. She stuck with me through 3 long and miserable years of this treatment.
I finally got annoyed at the situation and decided to stop all treatment against the advice of the psychiatrist and my GP. I reasoned that it was kind of odd that I could go for 40 years coping just fine and then suddenly be unable to deal with life. Sure, like many other people I didn't have a fairy tale childhood, but I dealt with it. It didn't overwhelm me and it never made me think that my adult life is awful.
I stopped taking the meds last year. I started feeling better within 2 months, but still had the original symptoms after finally weaning myself from the medicine-go-round. I spent a few months researching and filtering through all of misinformation on the Internet and finally came to the conclusion that I just might possibly have low testosterone levels. Of course, after being convinced by the medical folks that I was anxious, depressed, bi-polar, or Lord knows what else, I was extremely skeptical that I could possibly diagnose myself and suspected deep inside that I was just broken in some way.
With nothing to lose, I went to my GP and requested a blood test for testosterone levels. He was reluctant, but agreed after I explained my symptoms as low libido and tiredness (removing the pych symptoms from the decision matrix). "Normal" T levels are 300-800 ng/dl. Mine was 80, which is about normal for a 25 year old woman.
After two months of using a testosterone gel, the level had climbed to around 450. After a few more months, I gradually started feeling better than I have felt in more than 10 years. I no longer need afternoon naps, My muscle cramps have gone away. I am sleeping through the night for the first time in 5 years. I am thinking clearly again and I have won a couple of awards at work for some deep analysis that I simply couldn't have completed a year ago. My wife likes being around me again and my personality has returned.
My GP is skeptical, attributing the changes to a placebo effect. I am a pretty rational person, so I have carefully considered his opinion. After all, he is a doctor and I am an engineer. I don't have his training and a dramatic positive response to testosterone treatment is not all that common. Then again, I tried things his way for several years.
I feel absolutely great - really well and whole for the first time in many years. This treatment has worked where every other approach made me feel worthless and worse. I'm not imagining the fact that I sleep soundly, I don't ache, I am not depressed and worried, and I'm not tired by early afternoon. I am receiving positive feedback from friends and co-workers who have absolutely no clue what I've been going through. Sure, I have a few minor issues, but I'm not in my 20s. I don't believe in magic. These results are tangible and have lasted for many months - even through a few rough spots. I seem to be resilient again.
My GP still believes that I have an anxiety disorder. I respect him, but I am afraid that he has lost objectivity and that everything I say is scrutinized and filtered through his original diagnosis of anxiety and depression. I am pretty unhappy about the whole situation. I have now been labeled as a psych patient, which means that everything I say or do will be suspect in the eyes of any future practitioner. It is a very real no-win situation.
I can only deal with the facts. I tried everything else and got much worse. I tried this and I got my life back.

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