Treatment Not Working, What Next?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I grew up in an extremely abusive environment of every abuse possible. I was ordered through the courts to counseling and to see a psychiatrist (against my will). They diagnosed me as having PTSD, GAD, Adjustment Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder, which was nearly 12 years ago. They have had me on several anti depressants to the avail of nothing working for me. I have come to the conclusion they were wrong for the diagnosis’ and nothing is going to work for me.

My issue is that I seem to be getting worse. I have been in two law suits due to over use of credit cards and not being able to pay the bill. I am soon facing another one. I can not get along with my co workers and have been nearly fired. Ive also caught myself having break downs at work, violent mood swings at home, and other things that scare me. I cant keep a relationship because I make it disastrous and I know its always me.

The up side to it all is, Im not always mean, irritable, hateful and out of control. I do have periods where Im extremely happy, hyper to the point of bouncing off the walls and getting in trouble cause Im so hyper active. I also get a lot of work done in these periods of time.

Is there anything I should do? I dont like counseling, simply because I do not feel comfortable. The medications obviously do not work. What can I do to feel better and have control of my life again?

A. You believe that you were incorrectly diagnosed and suspect this may explain why the prescribed treatments were ineffective. You may be correct. That possibility exists but so does the possibility that you were correctly diagnosed. It is always difficult to offer a reliable diagnosis over the Internet but your symptoms, as you’ve described them, seem to be somewhat consistent with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by episodes of depression and mania. Mania symptoms include increased energy, heightened sex drive and impulsivity, among others. Individuals who experience mania describe this state of mind as euphoric. You sometimes feel “extremely happy, hyper to the point of bouncing off walls.” You also described being able to “get a lot of work done” during these periods of hyperactivity. These are all possible signs of mania. Mania may feel good but it is a sign of mood instability. Extreme changes in mood are a possible indication of a mood disorder (i.e. such as bipolar disorder).

With regard to bipolar disorder, it is particularly important to be correctly diagnosed. Bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as depression. Misdiagnosis can have consequences. The main consequence is receiving the wrong treatment. A specific concern is being prescribed the wrong medication. Some antidepressant medications can actually make bipolar disorder worse. It can induce mania in some individuals. It is possible that the reason the medications did not work for you is because you were incorrectly diagnosed.

You do not want to go to counseling or take psychiatric medicine. You tried them both and neither treatment was beneficial for you. It makes sense that you would be reluctant to try them again but I would encourage you to consider it. Start with a new psychiatric evaluation. This time, choose a mental health professional who specializes in the treatment of bipolar disorder or mood disorders in general. Working with a specialist could greatly improve your chances of receiving effective treatment. Again, please keep in mind that I cannot be certain that you have bipolar disorder but given your symptoms, it is a realistic possibility.

Here’s a link to a website where you can search for treatment professionals in your community. It often takes time, effort and patience to find the right combination of treatment. It can be a frustrating process but you should not stop trying. If you found the correct medication or treatment, it could greatly improve your life. The alternative is to do nothing and to continue to suffer. I would advise against the latter option.

Thanks for your question. Please take care.

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Jul 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Treatment Not Working, What Next?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/07/17/treatment-not-working-what-next/