Q: When I was in high school I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder shortly following my father’s death. I feel that this diagnosis is inaccurate seeing as how I was in fact an emotional teenager and anyone in that situation at that age would present symptoms of BPD. I was later hospitalized for 3 months and diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder as I suffered from psychosis as well. However shortly before my discharge I was given back my diagnosis of BPD (I was 18) by a different psychiatrist. Since then my diagnosis has gone back and forth. I personally feel (& my current therapist agrees) that at this point in life I clearly do not present BPD seeing as how I have not self harmed in over 2 years, and I have no desire to be around people, I clearly have no attachment to anybody, I haven’t had any kind of drama in my life and my moods last longer cycling a few weeks at a time. My question is, could my diagnosis be incorrect as I was diagnosed at what I feel is a young age and how do I a get a new psychiatrist to determine this as most psychiatrists fear my BPD diagnosis when they read my file & since I live in Canada, I fell through the cracks of the system and am completely unable to get a new psychiatrist even though I’m taking psychiatric medication. Thank you so much for any tips you can give me.

A: Yes, I do believe that you could have been misdiagnosed. Unless there is a very clear pattern and obvious symptoms, most clinicians don’t diagnose personality disorders until adulthood. Being a teen who just lost her father could have affected the situation and your presentation. I am not familiar with the mental health system in Canada so I cannot suggest how to go about finding a new psychiatrist or how to officially change your diagnosis. Your best bet would most likely be to have your therapist talk to your prescribing doctor about your concerns and the lack of evidence for the diagnosis now.

However, you are also allowed to just disagree and not be so concerned about what your diagnosis is. Having the correct diagnosis can be crucial in some cases, such as Bipolar, Schizophrenia, OCD, etc because of the need to have the right medication. But for some other diagnoses, it is really just a way to understand and help someone. If you no longer meet the criteria and if it isn’t having a negative impact on your life, maybe you can just let it go and not worry about it. However, if it is impacting you, I would suggest that you be assertive and explain to your doctor calmly and logically what you just did here, as well as have your therapist advocate for you.

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Nov 2007

APA Reference
Counts, H. (2007). Could I have been misdiagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder at age 17?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/11/01/could-i-have-been-misdiagnosed-with-borderline-personality-disorder-at-age-17/

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