What Do You Think of My Story? Why I Hate Psychiatrists?

Question by I hate Doodles!!!!!: What do you think of my story? Why I hate psychiatrists?
A little background information:

I was “diagnosed” with “bipolar 2” disorder about 3 years ago. I use the term “diagnosed” loosely, because there is no real way to diagnose mental illness. It is all subjective and depends on what the doctor thinks.

Anyways, in the three years I’ve had this illness, I have been on at least 10 different medications. Most did nothing for me, or produced side effects so severe, I couldn’t get out of bed. Lithium made my TSH levels go up to over 24 and gave me hypothyroidism. Wellbutrin made me so depressed, I tried to kill myself. Geodon gave me restless leg syndrome. You can see where I’m going with this.

Here’s the kicker. Before I was “diagnosed” I had ONE inpatient psych hospitalization. Since I was “diagnosed” I’ve had FOUR.

How can this be explained? It’s obvious to me that the medication caused my issues. If you have an explanation, please, let me know.

I have been off all my medications for two weeks now. I feel great, no signs of “mania” or “depression”. If I am truly “bipolar”, how can this be explained? Wouldn’t I be out of control by now?

Any thoughts or explanations would be awesome! Thanks!
Carmel, I would LOVE a free consultation. You do post this on your website, correct?
Tried Lamictal. Gave me horrible headaches and made me so dizzy at times, I couldn’t get up.

Depakote is something I will never try. I am already overweight and do not want to gain any more because of a medication.

Best answer:

Answer by CarmelBrulez
The one thing that scares the life out of me when I read a question like yours is that YOU are an amateur yet you ask other amateurs for their advice and opinions. Why? Is it the blind leading the blind? You say that expert psychiatrists do not know, yet you ask people who are less experienced and qualified than them. I have been an experienced qualified therapist for many years and I know of cases where the drugs given were the wrong ones or made the person very ill. Then you have to decide do you continue to trust the people you are consulting, or do you consult others or do you do it alone? But asking amateurs is stupid!

Answer by gardensallday
Some people do have a lot of trouble with the medications, but most people do find relief from them. I have asked my social worker and therapist this over and over – most people do get some relief. But there is a subset of patients who have endless problems with the meds, and never find anything that works very well. It is indeed possible the meds destabilized you and put you in the hospital – this has happened to me as well, and my brother. But again, this is fairly unusual, and we have trouble with non-psychiatric meds too – just have unusual genetics.

Most people with bipolar are not continuously sick. Most people have “episodes” and my psychiatrist said after discontinuing medications, 50% of people with bipolar will relapse within 2 years. But 50% WON’T, it will take longer for a relapse. Many people have only 3 or 4 breakdowns in their lives. meds lengthen the time until relapse for most people, but most people do still have relapses anyhow, just not so many of them.

Some people have very blantantly obvious symptoms of bipolar that it’s unmistakable and not subjective opinion – true mania is like nothing else. You go weeks or months without needing any sleep, hardly. Like an hour or two of sleep. Only bipolar or a brain injury can do that. Bipolar II, well that can be confused with other things.

Psychiatry is in its infancy and the patients are sort of guinea pigs. But what can doctors do? The patients are sick NOW and need help NOW, they can’t wait until the treatments are better. Most people with severe mental illness no longer need to be institutionalized, and that is a direct result of effective medications. Cancer treatment for certain kinds of cancer is terrible too, and lupus and fibromyalgia and lyme disease treatments do not help enough, and how about rheumatoid arthritis? Mental illnesses are not the only kind of illness for which treatments are no way near good enough.

I have a lot of weird med reactions, but lamictal was ok – I only got headaches from it. It didn’t help, but it didn’t hurt either. Depakote gave me extremely violent nightmares, which is very rare (couldn’t even find that side effect googling around) but otherwise was OK (Ok, I lost some hair, and it grew back curlier, but I like my new hair better). Anyway, lamictal is first line for bipolar depression, and depakote for mixed moods. Those two don’t have a nasty reputation, so if you do want to try something, consider them.

Go to psycheducation.org. The doc there will give non-medication advice as well as go thru the meds. He is now a psychiastrist at Harvard. Light boxes, exercise and social support are all mood stabilizers. They won’t be enough if you really do have bipolar, but they will help.

Bipolar is thought to get worse as you age, if you don’t treat it. I don’t think you want your bipolar to get as bad as mine is – I am suicidal 200 days a year, for at least part of the day, disabled, and couldn’t have kids because I would be an unfit mother. In my 20’s, I could still function most of the time. So NOT treating is risky, too. You gotta weigh the risks. (In my case, I never did find a treatment that worked, but that is rare). So anyhow, good luck to you, I definitely empathize.

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