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New here. No diagnosis, at least I don't think so.


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Looks like a down to earth forum here, so that's good. I take the generic effexor 225mg ER per day. I basically told a P.A. that's what I wanted to take and that was a few years ago. I get anxiety & depression and sometimes that goes away and life is great and I feel like I can handle any situation that comes my way (to the point that I forget how bad I've felt), then... plop. I guess my biggest problem is I don't think I trust psychiatrists.  I went to one years ago because my wife & mother decided I have adult ADD, so I told the doc that and he treated me for ADD. Prior to that I had been to a shrink who treated me for depression because I told him I had depression. I've been to multiple counselors and that does nothing. Lately I'm thinking I have bipolar disorder, so I guess I could go tell a doc I have that.  Why do I need a doc who's going to just take whatever diagnosis I give them? Don't they have a process? I mean, hell, I can Google symptoms. What's their role?

Anyway, hi!

MJ

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hi MJ! i hope you find good support here.

what a lot of people here recommend if you're in diagnosis limbo is to stop focusing on a label, and start focusing on specific symptoms that are causing trouble for you. if you think you may have bipolar disorder, the best thing you can do is start tracking your mood every day to start to build data that supports a diagnosis. i like the app Moodflow and have been using it for a few years now. reading through posts in our bipolar forum here can also help you see if you relate to experiences that people dx'd with bp have.

one of the primary thing a pdoc can offer you is access to medication that GPs aren't comfortable prescribing. if you think you have bipolar and want to explore mood stabilizers and other options like that, you'll need a pdoc. if you're not comfortable seeing a pdoc right now and just want your effexor refilled, your GP/walk-in clinic can do that. there's no "right" way to approach treating mental health problems. there are people on this forum who don't have pdocs. where i'm from pretty much the only way to see a pdoc is to see a GP until the GP decides that your situation is too complicated for them, and then refers you to a pdoc.

how does effexor work for you? i was on 225mg for the majority of the time i took it and i liked it, particularly for anxiety. when i had to discontinue the support med i took with it (risperidone), i found it didn't cover my symptoms (primarily obsessive compulsive) effectively on it's own. are you thinking of trying another antidepressant?

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Echolocation, 

Hi! Thanks for the response! Also thanks for the ideas of tracking and focusing on symptoms. I'll do that. I'll check out the app as well. As for Effexor, yes, I believe it helps. It probably helps more than I'm aware, actually. Man, the withdrawal is nasty, though. The few times I didn't refill it on time was no fun - brain zaps,  weird eye swishiness with vertigo, and anxiety.

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MJ_Hill - Welcome to Crazyboards. We hope you find the assistance your're looking for here.

The thing to remember about psychiatrists first and foremost is that yes, they have a method, based on the general scientific method. That means the results, diagnoses and prescriptions they arrive at can only be as good as the data they receive to work with. That's why @echolocation's advice is sound - the most useful thing you can provide to a psychiatrist is an accurate description of your symptoms, rather than your own assessment of which condition you think you have. Not being a trained psychiatrist yourself, you may not interpret the same symptoms correctly and come to the wrong conclusion about what's happening to you, yet if that's the only information you give the psychiatrist, that's all the psychiatrist will have to work with.

Asking for specific medications isn't a good idea unless you have an extensive prior track record with a range of medications and know that the medication you're requesting has been effective for your previously. Otherwise, if you request a specific med, the psychiatrist may get the mistaken impression that you're speaking from experience and not question further, when in fact another medication, or combination of meds, might suit your case far better.

Phsychologists/therapists are in the same situation. It's much better to approach a new therapist with a set of symptoms rather than a self-diagnosis. Proceeding from an assumed self-diagnosis can delay and even set back progress while the therapist discovers that what he or she is attempting to help you with isn't actually the problem. It then becomes a process of unwinding assumptions and disentangling them from actual observations so that actual progress can occur.

Perhaps the best way to approach a care provider in your situation is to say, "I know that something is the matter with me, and I've thought it might be different things, but I can't be sure of any of them. Let me just describe what I'm experiencing." Let the professional take it from there.

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Hi. Just found my way here from my introduction.

Focusing on symptoms is a good idea because that's what you'll do eventually, anyway. Not every case of ADHD is the same, and your symptoms might be different from mine, so everyone focuses on their own personal symptoms and how to address each one, once they get a diagnosis. However, a diagnosis can be helpful in lots of ways beyond just having a label, I think. For me, it's a relief to be able to say "I have ADHD", rather than having to say, "I"m such a space case", in certain situations, like when in a work environment, or when seeing another doctor. I'm not on disability, but I think that if you had to apply, it's much better to provide them with a diagnosis, rather than a list of symptoms. 

I think both psychiatrists and psychologists can do an evaluation for various disorders. If they didn't do an evaluation when you first started, or they didn't do one that covers what you guess is the problem (like if they did an evaluation for depression, but you think your symptoms better fit bi-polar disorder) you can ask to be evaluated. 

Also, it's very common to have more than one diagnosis with mental illness, I think. ADHD and depression and Bi-Polar are all frequently diagnosed together. So it doesn't necessarily mean you or your doctors are on the wrong track. Eventually they may tell you that you have all three.

Welcome to this forum! I'm very new as you know, but everyone has been nice so far.

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On 3/6/2022 at 11:59 AM, undone said:

I'm not on disability, but I think that if you had to apply, it's much better to provide them with a diagnosis, rather than a list of symptoms. 

As part of the Social Security Administration's requirements for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you must be diagnosed with a medical condition ("impairment") by a licensed doctor or psychologist/psychiatrist. You cannot apply on the basis of a list of symptoms. They're not going to take your word for anything.

On 3/6/2022 at 11:59 AM, undone said:

I think both psychiatrists and psychologists can do an evaluation for various disorders. If they didn't do an evaluation when you first started, or they didn't do one that covers what you guess is the problem (like if they did an evaluation for depression, but you think your symptoms better fit bi-polar disorder) you can ask to be evaluated.

If a psychologist or psychiatrist did not perform an evaluation on intake, that person is not doing his or her job. Without a basic preliminary evaluation, that professional has no substantive information upon which to base any sort of plan of treatment. It would be extremely unusual for a new patient not to receive an intake evaluation. They are also much more likely to perform an evaluation on the basis of symptoms described than the patient's guess at his or her own diagnosis. It's the same as going to see a doctor about abdominal pain - just because you say "I think I have a stomach bug" doesn't mean the doctor is going to prescribe medicine for a stomach bug without examining you for the actual cause of the illness. 

On 3/6/2022 at 11:59 AM, undone said:

Also, it's very common to have more than one diagnosis with mental illness, I think. ADHD and depression and Bi-Polar are all frequently diagnosed together. So it doesn't necessarily mean you or your doctors are on the wrong track. Eventually they may tell you that you have all three.

While comorbid mental conditions are not uncommon, Depression and Bipolar cannot be diagnosed in the same individual, and you will never be told that you have both plus ADHD. 'Bipolar' is short for Bipolar Depression, as it is a type of clinical depression; the general term 'depression' as used above usually refers to Unipolar Depression, also called Major Depressive Disorder. A patient cannot have both unipolar and bipolar depression. You are, I believe, aware of the related categorization of depression known as Dysthymia, or Persistent Depressive Disorder, that may be comorbid with Major Depressive Disorder, but not with Bipolar. A patient with both Major Depressive Disorder and Dysthymia is sometimes said to suffer from 'Double Depression', but this term is not applied to patients with Bipolar Disorder.

Determining whether you suffer from unipolar or bipolar depression is very important, because the treatment is not the same, and the wrong treatment can actually exacerbate the condition. This is why a formal diagnosis by a qualified professional psychologist or psychiatrist is essential. Self-diagnosis is particularly problematic when dealing with depression because of the seeming overlap in symptoms between conditions; professional training and judgment is needed to distinguish the actual type involved.

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