Over medicated or misdiagnosed?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. My husband was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder-Recurrent-Severe several years ago. He has been through numerous medications and is currently taking Lexapro, Klonopin, Trazadone, Wellbutrin SR and Trileptal. He is currently unemployed as he was fired from his job as a truck driver a few weeks ago for being involved in too my accidents. His 4th job in the last 6 years, primarily for the same reason. In addition to the loss of health benefits to cover the cost of these medications, I don’t feel they are helping him. He continues to be irritable, clumsy, obsessive about unimportant issues, very inattentive which may explain the numerous accidents. While working with a friend to make a little money in the meantime, I’ve learned that my husband “talk’s too much, telling everybody about his medical problems”, “doesn’t drive well, constantly hitting curbs and such”, “doesn’t pay attention to what’s going on around him” and “thinks he knows everything”. He behaves the same way at home constantly picking on our kids (boys ages 17 and 18, looking for something to create an issue, he’s argumentative, irritable and very negative. I need to add that both of our children have been disagnosed with medical conditions as well. Our 18 year old has Intermittent Explosive Disorder and ADHD (medicated with Dextrostat, Depakote, Klonopin, Buspar and Clonidine) and our 17 year old has ADHD (medicated with Adderall, Neurontin and Clonidine). The situation in this household is about to explode and I don’t know what to do anymore. Financial restraints prevent obtaining help and my husband’s employment prospects aren’t good until this issue is resolved. Please give me some direction!

A. I am sorry to hear about your complex situation. It would be difficult for me to know if your husband is over medicated or misdiagnosed without more information. My first thought is that maybe he is in need of counseling, in addition to his medication treatments. Medications are only part of what can help treat psychological disorders. For many psychological disorders, it is recommended that medications are utilized in tandem with therapy. Many people even rely on therapy alone. When medications are used solo, without a therapeutic component, they are less effectual in treating psychological disorders.

What you and your family could do, without needing much money, is to seek family therapy from a local community mental health center. Seek family therapy with therapists, and not from a doctor or psychiatrist who typically only deal in the realm of medications as treatment. The family therapy could be in addition to the doctors and/or psychiatrists that your family members already see for medication treatment. Most communities in the United States have community mental health centers. Based on the number of family issues that you have described, you all may benefit from seeking family therapy. If, on the other hand, your husband is not open to family therapy, you and your boys can attend. If your sons will not go, perhaps you can go alone for individual counseling, even if it is only to have a place for you to vent, discuss your feelings about your home situation, or to receive guidance from a therapist. I believe that family therapy, with the right therapist, may help your family deal with the many issues that you have described. If not family therapy, consider your own therapist to help you cope with all that is going on around you. I hope I have provided you with some direction. Please take care.

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Jan 2007

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2007). Over medicated or misdiagnosed?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/01/04/over-medicated-or-misdiagnosed/