Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

Misdiagnosis - Depression and Anxiety

Posted In: Medical Errors 8 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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8 Replies:

  • Joey, I am so happy for you. You must be an extraordinary, strong person. The worst part is that your GP won’t admit his mistake which has ruined so many years of your life. Please consider going to another GP. He’s no good. So many of us at this forum have met doctors like him, doctors filled with prestige, doctors, who should have never become doctors in the first place. Remember also that it can take years for your body to recover from such a chronic condition. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I wish you the best of luck in the future. I am so very happy for you! :)
    Felsen 510 Replies
    • December 9, 2008
    • 01:54 AM
    • 0
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  • Dear Healthy Skeptic, I'm glad you were able to do your doctor's job for him. I've spent my entire adult life (32 years now) searching for help--and yes, I've been on psych meds for most of that time--and no, they're not helping. I have chronic pain and several other conditions caused by the stress that the pain inevitably creates. I've learned that doctors don't make the time to research symptoms. Instead, they double-book their appointment slots to make as much money as possible. It seems that they aren't keeping up with technology when it comes to making a diagnosis. They're not learning about all the new unprecedented cases. However, your doctor had the answer in front of his face, missed it, disagreed with you about it, and won't admit his mistake. Sounds like you need to give your money to a more deserving doctor and perhaps consider reporting your current doctor!!:)
    kkirchner6959 2 Replies
    • December 12, 2008
    • 05:34 AM
    • 0
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  • Hi!Seems like you are a lucky and smart man. I also have been diagnosed with anx / dep for 15 years, even though my origial complaint was my heart rate disturbances. Who wouldn't be anxious when they stand up and their heart rate goes from 66 to 134 and no one knows why??? I've actually had a stress treadmill test where I went to my knees (blacking out) and they said the test was OK, I was just having anxiety ! Once you are framed with "anxiety" that is all the DR's hear. You can see their eyes glaze over when you start to talk once they know you "supposedly" have anx / dep. They just immediately assume....God Bless and Good Luck in the futurePamela
    pamelasmc 82 Replies
    • December 15, 2008
    • 04:49 PM
    • 0
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  • I have similar. Major depression is a certainty, and get the same pulse surge to over 150 from 72 just sitting. I am on Bupropion, Amblify and Mirtazapine. It helps but not enough.
    LastRevolutionary 2 Replies
    • December 15, 2008
    • 07:30 PM
    • 0
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  • If you have unexplainable pulse surges, please make sure to rule out pheochromocytoma of the adrenal glands. Headache, is another major symptom. Good luck!
    Felsen 510 Replies
    • December 15, 2008
    • 08:06 PM
    • 0
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  • No headaches. Other than the rapid pulse and elevated BP. I think the depression and stress causing it are the source. Lorazepram does nothing to limit it.
    LastRevolutionary 2 Replies
    • December 15, 2008
    • 08:12 PM
    • 0
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  • Have you researched POTS /Dysautonomia
    pamelasmc 82 Replies
    • December 16, 2008
    • 01:34 PM
    • 0
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  • yoga and meditation helps you to get relieved from stress and anxiety.
    marymn 4 Replies Flag this Response
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