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Not sure about the diagnosis


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Hi, I got diagnosed rapid cycling bipolar in december 2016, I'm too lazy to write down all the background and symptoms but will do if necessary (if anyone cares). The thing is, sometimes I wonder if this "rapid cycling" type is a legit illness, or a legit version of it. I don't want to be offensive, but, as everytime someone says that, what I want to say may be a little offensive to some, or maybe not: I have serious doubts about mental illness. I'm not saying they are not real or some dumb shit like that, but it seems to me like a lot of "professionals" tell people they have *insert really specific type of really obscure disorder* and then everyone is on pills and bla bla bla.

What I'm trying to say is: how can I even be sure if I do have this illness? I've been a lot better since I started taking lamotrigine, so I seem to react in a "good" way to the treatment thats known to work for people with bipolar, so I guess thats that. But, "objectively" speaking, things aren't much different. For example, my mind keeps going back and forth in cycles all the time, in other words, is like I'm a "lite" version of myself now. The whole thing seems like a scam. Whats the point of trying to repress something that may aswell be nothing and at the same time unavoidable? How can all the different versions of bipolar be the same illness if they are all so different?

thanks for reading!

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Hi, bestdisplayname. I haven't seen you before, so welcome to CB, and please feel free to PM me or one of the other mods if you need help navigating the boards.

We don't diagnose here, so I can't tell you if you have the right diagnosis or not. What we always say is this: If you're having problems that are disrupting your life -you're having trouble at work, or with relationships, or your behavior is out of control in other ways, or your anxiety, etc.- it doesn't matter what you really have, as long as you can get relief for the symptoms form which you are suffering. So if, for example, you can only sleep for two hours a night and it makes you permanently irritable, unable to focus, and headachey, then getting on a med that helps you sleep and takes those problems away is the correct treatment, whether you're bipolar or have OCD.

The fact that you've had a positive response to Lamictal tells me that maybe you benefit from a mood stabilizer; the fact that you're till having problems suggests that maybe you need a higher dose, or you need another element to your meds. I'm bipolar, and you can look at my signature to see what I need to live a good and manageable life. There are a lot of people here with ambiguous diagnoses who are on meds because their lives are otherwise untenable. You don't know until you try.

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I echo Gearhead. Sometimes it doesn't matter what you call it, it just matters how you treat the symptoms you have.

I can say however that rapid cycling is a real type of bipolar disorder and I have had rapid cycling before coming upon Lithium (medicine of the Gods, I say!). 

 

So it's a relative thing.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 9/22/2017 at 8:53 AM, Alien Navel Cord said:

I can say however that rapid cycling is a real type of bipolar disorder and I have had rapid cycling before coming upon Lithium (medicine of the Gods, I say!). 

Mental diagnosis are no different than any other diagnosis, say cancer.  If you get certain physical symptoms you get a diagnosis of cancer. If you get certain mental symptoms one earns a diagnosis of a mental illnes (and mental illness is based on biological factors just like cancer).  If we called cancer herpes, it wouldn't be treated right, so it goes with mental illness.  We have to label mental illness just like any other illness.  Symptoms are stereotypical for a disorder and symptoms need to be grouped in order to distinguish disorders.   OCD and bipolar disorder have very different symptoms and its important to be able to communicate the differences between each disorder through the use of labels.  If one concentrated on treating symptoms, they may not treat the illness properly.  For example if one focused on treating depressive symptoms in a bipolar patient they may use antidepressants which can worsen mood in bipolar patients.  If I were to just treat the symptom of a cough in one with lung cancer they would die. Labeling mental illness helps providers see the big picture and better treat patients.  Mental illness is labeled according to the DSM-V which "is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and offers a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It is used, or relied upon, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, the legal system, and policy makers together with alternatives such as the ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders, produced by the WHO."  By design, the DSM is primarily concerned with the signs and symptoms of mental disorders, rather than the underlying causes. It claims to collect them together based on statistical or clinical patterns. As such, it has been compared to a naturalist's field guide to birds, with similar advantages and disadvantages.  Many criticisms exist of the DSM (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders#Criticism) but it is important that such a standard exists and can provide a framework for the understanding of mental illness.  Being labeled bipolar or schizophrenic only means your doctors have a better idea of where to start treating you.

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