View Full Version : Anyone else feel they been misdiagnosed with BP?


jkimbo
12-13-16, 02:00 PM
I do not think I am bipolar. I think pdocs use that and borderline when they really have no freaking idea what is going on with their patient.

Little Missy
12-13-16, 02:04 PM
Me too. Good thing I shut that mess down about 20 years ago.

Fuzzy12
12-13-16, 02:15 PM
Don't think I'm bipolar. I just have bad emotional regulation. That's what the psychiatrist eho diagnosed me with adhd said as well. I'm probably somewhere on the mood disorder spectrum but I think.think it's just good old unipolar depression.

Sigh..I do miss hypomania or whatever that was though.

peripatetic
12-15-16, 02:35 AM
I do not think I am bipolar. I think pdocs use that and borderline when they really have no freaking idea what is going on with their patient.

so, my short answer to your question is that, no, i don't feel i've been misdiagnosed bipolar...but, full disclosure, i've never been or been suspected of being bipolar either...

i'm posting though because i'm concerned about where this might be going for you.

i've known people who didn't believe their bipolar diagnosis at times and discontinued meds. and, though i don't have bipolar, i have something else that requires medication apparently and when i've discontinued i've landed in the hospital. repeatedly.

when you say that psychiatrists use bipolar when they don't know what's wrong... and that you've been misdiagnosed... how did your diagnosis come about? do you know if it's bp1 or bp2? i ask because if it's the former especially, i would strongly encourage you to seek a second (third, fourth, etc) opinion on your diagnosis before stopping your meds, if you're on them.

i don't mean this to come across as negative; i've just been on the other side of these questions and seen what the consequences can be and since i don't know you at all...it's concerning. i mean, maybe you are just misdiagnosed. i think you joined when i was ...most recently incapacitated, i suppose. so i can't really say. but please consult with a professional before running with the misdiagnosis idea if you're taking meds for it.

sarahsweets
12-15-16, 05:41 AM
I feel a few ways about what you have said. I am BPII and I was diagnosed with that when I was 16 or so. I was diagnosed with adhd at age 6 but never medicated until my 20's and was never medicated for the BPII until my 20's also despite my history with hospitalizations. I am 41 and although not old,in my neck of the woods, medicating for either thing wasnt well known. I think in some ways Bipolar is en vogue in the last few years. If you think about any celeb meltdown you have read about alot of times they say its bipolar- even if its not. Sometimes people who commit crimes will be reported by the media as bipolar, even if they are not. Thats not to say that those people are not bipolar but sometimes the spin put on bipolar by things like the media can filter into our views of what mental illness is, and seem typical. So I think its possible that some doctors might slap a BP diagnosis on their patients but really- a good doctor isnt apt to do that. If you are satisfied with how your doctor chooses to treat one or some of your issues except for the bipolar diagnosis its worth taking a look at whether you just dont like the sound of it. Its hard for me to see that a doctor can treat adhd, anxiety etc really well and adequately for a patient but be so clueless that they also label them bipolar.so think the patient is bipolar. Does that make any sense?

jkimbo
12-15-16, 03:59 PM
Well to expound a bit more, I was first diagnosed 1987, I was 28 and my 14 year old son died in a drowning accident. I totally lost it and eventually my wife and I (first marriage) split up and divorced. I ended up seeking counselling which in turn developed to therapy and then seeing a pdoc. NOT ONE OF THOSE "professionals" considered perhaps the loss of y son might have had something to do with it. I've had many pdocs over the years and they refuse to discuss this with me. But the last two did and agree with me! Their profession is in many ways simply guess work and many refuse to admit they might be wrong. Not all but a significant amount.

Fast forward to the present. I may indeed share many of the characteristics of BP, but so do other diagnoses too. My last two pdocs ignored the diagnoses and proceeded to treat my symptoms without any "labels".

I just wonder how many times this happens out there. Why I asked the question. Thank you for all your feed back!

Kunga Dorji
12-19-16, 04:24 AM
Well to expound a bit more, I was first diagnosed 1987, I was 28 and my 14 year old son died in a drowning accident. I totally lost it and eventually my wife and I (first marriage) split up and divorced. I ended up seeking counselling which in turn developed to therapy and then seeing a pdoc. NOT ONE OF THOSE "professionals" considered perhaps the loss of y son might have had something to do with it. I've had many pdocs over the years and they refuse to discuss this with me. But the last two did and agree with me! Their profession is in many ways simply guess work and many refuse to admit they might be wrong. Not all but a significant amount.

Fast forward to the present. I may indeed share many of the characteristics of BP, but so do other diagnoses too. My last two pdocs ignored the diagnoses and proceeded to treat my symptoms without any "labels".

I just wonder how many times this happens out there. Why I asked the question. Thank you for all your feed back!

One observation I would make is your concern that your symptoms had been misdiagnosed as bipolar when they actually were a reaction to the loss of your son.

This mirrors my situation where as a person with known bipolar I fell apart when my marriage broke down. Now at that stage I was off medication, (and I am still not happy that that happened- I regard it as a prescribing error).
However I did not attribute my state at that time as being a relapse of my bipolar, and neither did the two psychiatrists I was seeing at the time (one for medication and one for talk therapy). My GP though did insist it was Bipolar- though I did not get treatment for it.

The truth is that Bipolar episodes can be triggered by distressing personal circumstances, just as Bipolar episodes can create havoc with your personal life and relationships

The truth is though that the vast majority of harm associated with Bipolar is associated with the manic/hypomanic states and the havoc that these cause in our personal, work and financial life, and that those episodes are treatable.

I have recently been looking at the benefits associated with Lithium (even at subtherapeutic levels) and it produces a reduction in suicide, interpersonal violence and rates of dementia even at subtherapeutic levels and in non Bipolar populations.

The benefits of Lithium are also matched with a low side effect rate, and the stuff is remarkably cheap- so there is nothing to be gained for the drug companies in pushing up sales levels.

Given these features of Bipolar treatment I think there is good reason to be using diagnostic labels-- just so long as we don't get to the point where they limit our capacity to see the whole patient.
(IE overfocus on my bipolar caused my ADHD to be missed, and overfocus on my ADHD caused my Bipolar to be neglected. Both of those failings in my management added to the damage to my marriage, and both of them caused serious, preventable long term harms).

jkimbo
12-19-16, 05:13 PM
...
Given these features of Bipolar treatment I think there is good reason to be using diagnostic labels-- just so long as we don't get to the point where they limit our capacity to see the whole patient.
(IE overfocus on my bipolar caused my ADHD to be missed, and overfocus on my ADHD caused my Bipolar to be neglected. Both of those failings in my management added to the damage to my marriage, and both of them caused serious, preventable long term harms).

This is my concern. I believe once you have the bipolar label, most pdocs will attribute everything to the bipolar. I can't count how many times I have heard, "oh it's just your bipolar". That's all they see! Pdocs read their notes on the patient because they see so many patients they can't remember everything about them and I don't blame them for that. They see "bipolar" and that's where the visit begins in the back of their mind.

jkimbo
12-19-16, 05:25 PM
Also one other observation in my favor. I was on lithium for about 5 months. It did NOTHING for me, and I stopped it I felt it was not worth the freaking blood tests for taking a med that I don't need or is useless for me. I have tried every bipolar med on the market since 1987. None of them do any thing except make me extremely tired. They fall under the zombie meds classification for me. I have never had a true honest to goodness manic episode! I hardly call being upset, agitated, and upset a manic episode!

Yes I do have mood swings, don't we all? Yes I fall in depression sometimes, and even then most antidepressants don't work, a combo of wellbutrin and zoloft does help me when I am in a deep state of depression.

I have discussed this with every pdoc I ever had, they refuse to admit my initial diagnosis could have been wrong!

One pdoc did such a spin on my diagnosis I had to lmfao in front of her. She said my manic episodes don't have to be euphoric or hyperactive, they can also be disruptive by being overly agitated, angry, upset, and accompanied with more anxiety then usual.

Where she got that from I have no idea because I could not find one reference to mania the way she described it could also be. It's as if she was going out of her way to cover up the fact I WAS MISDIAGNOSED! lol

someothertime
12-20-16, 06:55 AM
This is a very good discussion to be having.

FYI, a psychiatrist in the family thought I was bipolar for a long time but did not say anything to me.

The point being.... without good general knowledge and an open mind.... it is an easy thing for a practitioner to quickly associate hyperfocus with manic episodes. Kunga has provided a much more detailed break down on the difference between the two. I believe a really key indicator and now realise why so much ( sorry ) focus is placed on symptomatology during childhood. The vast majority of ADHD symptoms would have been present then.... with perhaps further cognitive coping mechanisms grown on top. Strictly bipolar would be much more likely to onset from teenage years onward.... i'm guessing around 18 -> 27 being key years. It is possible to have both.... in these cases treatment and diagnosis can become more complicated.

mctavish23
12-20-16, 09:19 PM
fyi,

There's an evidence based "One Way Comorbidity" between Bipolar & ADHD, in that most people with Bipolar

also have comorbid ADHD, while the opposite is not true. Hope that helps.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

AddAnxiousMe
12-29-16, 09:37 PM
I think that for too many years too many doctors ignored the chemical/physical aspect of many psychological problems, and refused to use medications that could have helped many people; and spared them hours of useless talk therapy. That's the problem, they just focused on cognitive/talk therapy. Now I think that too many doctors look too much to the "chemical imbalance" thing, even though it's never been proven that we're lacking in any specific neurotransmitter that could cause psychological problems. I do believe there are chemical imbalances of some kind, but we just don't know exactly how or where, and how medications affect them. It's been said that you can't affect one neurotransmitter without also affecting others. They all work together in some mysterious way. To me, a good doctor is one that looks at both aspects of mental illness; the chemical, and the real life problems that can indeed lead to psychological distress and disorders. Unfortunately, those doctors are hard to find!

sarahsweets
12-30-16, 07:26 AM
This is a very good discussion to be having.

FYI, a psychiatrist in the family thought I was bipolar for a long time but did not say anything to me.

The point being.... without good general knowledge and an open mind.... it is an easy thing for a practitioner to quickly associate hyperfocus with manic episodes. Kunga has provided a much more detailed break down on the difference between the two. I believe a really key indicator and now realise why so much ( sorry ) focus is placed on symptomatology during childhood. The vast majority of ADHD symptoms would have been present then.... with perhaps further cognitive coping mechanisms grown on top.
Good points- adhd symptoms must have been present by age 7 and impair your life in 6 or more ways in 2 or more areas of your life for it to be adhd. Ideally, that should be a thread that makes diagnosis more accurate. I was diagnosed at age 6 but never treated for adhd until my 20's.Strictly bipolar would be much more likely to onset from teenage years onward.... i'm guessing around 18 -> 27 being key years.
Symptoms of bipolar were present by age 16 and even though I had been in a psychiatric hospital at age 16-and in therapy my whole life- they didnt understand how something like bipolar could be present in a teen or child- so I went untreated until my 20's as well.

sarahsweets
12-30-16, 07:30 AM
I think that for too many years too many doctors ignored the chemical/physical aspect of many psychological problems, and refused to use medications that could have helped many people; and spared them hours of useless talk therapy.
I think some of this has to do with age-time period in which you grew up. I am 41(gasp!) and even 20 years ago they didnt know enough about treating bipolar and that a semi-normal person could have it. Therapy was always the assume approach.
That's the problem, they just focused on cognitive/talk therapy. Now I think that too many doctors look too much to the "chemical imbalance" thing, even though it's never been proven that we're lacking in any specific neurotransmitter that could cause psychological problems.
Do you mean in adhd or bipolar?

I do believe there are chemical imbalances of some kind, but we just don't know exactly how or where, and how medications affect them. It's been said that you can't affect one neurotransmitter without also affecting others. They all work together in some mysterious way. To me, a good doctor is one that looks at both aspects of mental illness; the chemical, and the real life problems that can indeed lead to psychological distress and disorders. Unfortunately, those doctors are hard to find!
I firmly believe there is a chemical imbalance in myself when it comes to bipolar. What that is and how to fix it has been a crap shoot for years. The right combo of meds from a very awesome relationship with a psyche has saved me. With adhd it gets hazy. I dont know enough about the technical sciencey stuff to know if there is any chemical imbalance component- I guess there could be, but I dont know what it would be.

Kunga Dorji
01-17-17, 02:16 PM
Do you mean in adhd or bipolar?


I firmly believe there is a chemical imbalance in myself when it comes to bipolar. What that is and how to fix it has been a crap shoot for years. The right combo of meds from a very awesome relationship with a psyche has saved me. With adhd it gets hazy. I dont know enough about the technical sciencey stuff to know if there is any chemical imbalance component- I guess there could be, but I dont know what it would be.

Aren't we lucky? We both have bipolar and ADHD.
As a rule I don't subscribe to the chemical imbalance theories- and the reason for that is that neurotransmitters are widely distributed across the brain-- so hitting one or two with a medication and hoping for a predictable effect is something of a "crapshoot' to use gambling language.

Bipolar may be different, there is some suggestion that we may have an issue in our mitochondria ( the energy power packs in our cells) and that they may flip from overactive (manic, high metabolism/can't sleep/can't stop doing things/ weight loss) to underactive (depressed/sluggish/putting on weight/can't get out of bed.

It is not possible to say yet, but most other psych disorders are increasingly being seen as network problems---- the brain is a complex organ comprising multiple subsystems (cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, midbrain, cerebellum etc). Mathematical modelling suggests that such a system is at risk of flipping from order to chaos, and getting locked in one state or the other.

I have mentioned "mindfulness" many times in my previous posts, and in this context "mindfulness" (which can be taken broadly to mean awareness of awareness) can be seen as a solution to this problem. The awareness that you are hyperaroused, for instance, can be very helpful for a person with mild manic symptoms- as it can tell you to withdraw from activity and not over commit, and it can tell you to employ the skills that you have learned to settle yourself.

Many old steam engines etc from the 19th century used feedback mechanisms to prevent runaway activity. These mechanisms were called a "governor" and mindfulness can be seen to be a governor of the mind.

I hope this is not too far off the point, but the chemical imbalance model is really very weak, and i think that it disempowers us and makes us feel weaker than we are.

Kunga Dorji
01-17-17, 02:32 PM
fyi,

There's an evidence based "One Way Comorbidity" between Bipolar & ADHD, in that most people with Bipolar

also have comorbid ADHD, while the opposite is not true. Hope that helps.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

Thanks Robert, that is very helpful. I had not heard that.It does not surprise me.

Can you please point me to any articles that support this position?

It is enormously difficult for a patient with diagnosed bipolar to get adequate ADHD treatment. I know that many psychiatrists in my home town (Melbourne, Australia) are utterly opposed to giving stimulants to any patient with a diagnosis of Bipolar.
A year ago I had a severe relapse of hypomania, which was due primarily to disruption of my lithium treatment when the focus shifted to my ADHD. It has been a hell of a job convincing my doctor to resume stimulants, and has taken 9 months.

I don't know if you are aware or not of the latest evidence of the benefit of lithium. There have been a series of papers published looking at not only patients on lithium treatment but also individuals exposed to ground water with high levels of lithium ( ie Lithuania-- interestingly enough).
The conclusion is that exposure to lithium in any of the range from trace levels in water to therapeutic doses for bipolar is positively correlated with lower levels of suicide, homicide and dementia.

That is a very interesting finding--- especially as the stuff is so cheap that nobody has a commercial interest in pushing it.

jkimbo
01-17-17, 06:52 PM
My therapist finally admitted to me I probably am not bipolar and could have been misdiagnosed. I can't tell you how happy I was to find someone who would consider this as possible!