What do I do if I don’t agree with a diagnosis?
In August of this year they took my Fiance off of antidepressants after an incident at work that upset him. They diagnosed his bipolar disorder. His phychitrist since August has had him on Remron, Respirdal, Seraquel. They now have him taking Effexor XR 187.5 mg and Abilify 25mg and klonopin 2mg. His condition has worsened 100 times fold, he sleeps almost 20 hours a day, cries a lot, says he wants to die, says he feels worthless, says his life is over. His doctor has pushed him off onto another facility that is running his insurance which may take a while. I do not believe he is bipolar at all, after knowing him two years and having the disease myself he has never shown any sign of mania. He was living a normal very productive life while just on an antidepressant (lexapro) until the incident at work. He has never seen a therapist only received help in the form of medication by a phychiatrist.
I know this medication is not working for him at all, he has been on it for over a month maybe two and has only worsened. The doctor is refusing to reconsider his diagnoses of bipolar to just clinical depression (which runs in his family, there is no bipolar disorder on either side of his family just major and clinical depression)
The hospital won’t admit him here unless he attempts sucicide which I am afraid isnt far off. I just don’t know what to do to help him besides have him call his doctor and demand to be taken off his current meds and be put back on the lexapro or something similar. He is suffering terrible side affects from the abilify and all they are doing is increasing it. I am scared and frustrated. I have called the crisis line here several times but he has problems communicating with strangers and doesn’t open up or tell the truth. They told me they won’t admit him unless he attempts or says he is going to kill himself, stating I feel like I want to die doesn’t count. How should I go about getting him treatment ASAP and get the point across on how bad this is. This has been going on for 6 weeks now. This is wearing on me as well. I love him dearly but he has become my shadow when he is not sleeping he follows me from room to room, we do not live together yet. I live with my parents but he is scared to go home and doesn’t want me to stay there with him as he lives with his.
A: In fairness to the treating psychiatrist, if your fiance isn’t telling him everything, the doctor can’t be expected to know how to treat him. If he is telling the doctor everything you have written and it has fallen on deaf ears, it’s time to get a second opinion. If your fiance can’t disclose everything by himself, I hope he will include you in his appointments so that you can help him describe the entire picture. It’s okay to do this. Anyone is entitled to a second opinion. Your insurance company may not pay for it, but there are times that money should not be the deciding factor – and this is one of them. Find a way to pay for a consultation or go to a clinic that has a sliding fee scale. I also strongly suggest that you find a psychotherapist both to help you negotiate the medical system and to help treat the depression. Patients who use both therapy and medicine tend to do better than those who look to medicine alone to manage their illness.
I wish you both well through this difficult, difficult time.
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). What do I do if I don’t agree with a diagnosis?. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 12, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/03/21/what-do-i-do-if-i-dont-agree-with-a-diagnosis/