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Old 01-25-19, 01:19 AM
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Unhappy I just found out I may have been misdiagnosed...

I was diagnosed with ADHD-C several years ago back when I was still in high school. Since then I've been put on a couple different medications but nothing has really worked. When I started college I started having more issues with mood swings, anxiety, and depression. I would go from feeling super depressed and wanting to disappear to being on top of the world, bouncing off the walls, to having a lot of nervous energy and just wanting to yell and scream and punch things.

Well, I thought for a while that I just had anxiety and depression on top of the ADHD and that all of the mood swings and high behaviors and feelings were due to hyperactivity. But that didn't explain the obtrusive thoughts that wrecked havoc on my mind (the obsessions came in spurts though, not something more long-term like with OCD) or why stimulants started having a negative effect on me when they had worked several years before, or how intense and sudden the mood swings were. I looked into bipolar once because of the mood swings but what I saw being described was not rapid-cycling enough to explain what I was going through so I pushed it out of my mind.

So then my dad (also diagnosed with ADHD but without the hyperactivity as well as depression) goes to see this new doctor my parents found highly recommended guy and this doctor says that he's almost 100% certain my dad has bipolar disorder. So my dad gets put on new meds and he's doing a lot well. After years of adjusting changing and medications and nothing really working, finally there's improvement.

So my parents talked about me with the doc and he said he wanted to see me. Thought what I have is bipolar, too. Apparently my story fits more inline with what he sees in people with bipolar than those with ADHD. So I go to see him and now I'm on these new meds and they...might actually be working? Like I'm not as panicked as I usually am and that's allowing me to actually get stuff done instead of avoiding it for eternity and worsening the panic so that's nice.

I still don't know what to think, though, tbh. Back when I started researching and got diagnosed with ADHD it was like "Ah yes, finally things make sense!" And after a while you start to integrate that into your identity, you know? So it's kind of jarring to find out you might be misdiagnosed not just because of the fact that "Wow, would've been nice to know ahead of time before everything went to sh*t" but also because you sort of accept that as part of your identity so to find out it's wrong is like having to go through the whole denial/acceptance/understanding process all over again and it's kind of jarring.

This forum funnily enough is one of the places where I first started to connect with people I related to, learn that there ere more people like me out there, and come to terms with the fact that I may have ADHD. So you all hold a special place in my heart for that. I was a confused and lonely teenager who didn't have any real friends and was terrified of fostering closer connections due to stuff from the past so finding a community here when I most needed it was incredible. Which is why it's jarring to me to realize that my diagnosis may have been wrong this whole time which makes me question a lot of the growth and development I went through in those years.

This is a bit of a long rant post but that's more or less the gist of it. You guys helped me through some rough and lonely and uncertain times as a community and while many of you who I knew then are moved on now, I will never stop being grateful for that. Now I'm in another terrifyingly uncertain transition time; a lot of things are hanging in the balance and it feels like I have nowhere to ground myself. Maybe I have Bipolar Disorder. Maybe I have ADHD. I don't know anymore.


~~~

Didn't really have a plan for where I'm going with this so I'm just gonna end it here and leave you with a couple of questions.

1) I know some of you have experience with misdiagnosis; what has that been like for you and how do you cope with the uncertainty of it?

2) Is there anyone on here with bipolar who have had similar experiences? If so, what stood out to you that made you go "Oh: that's bipolar" that helped you come to an understanding of/terms with it?

3) Does anyone know the difference between bipolar hypomania and ADHD hyperactivity from a more personal point of view? I've read the clinical definitions and comparisons, but examples are always far more helpful.


~~~

TL;DR: I was diagnosed with ADHD-C years ago but new doc thinks it's bipolar. Still skeptical but starting new meds now and they might be working? What are your experiences with misdiagnoses and ADHD vs Bipolar Disorder (specifically hyper rapid cycling Bipolar II if that applies)?

Also I still have the same Naruto banner and Bleach avatar on here that I made back in high school so that's fun. Really brings me back.
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Old 01-25-19, 03:04 AM
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Re: I just found out I may have been misdiagnosed...

It might well be possible for you to have both ADHD and Bipolar.
I'm diagnosed with both. Take meds for both as well.

I can have both rapid cycles...but also, I can be in my highs or my lows for months as well.
When I'm in a high...I feel like freaking superman! It's like nothing can stop me...I hyper focus on whatever it is, and I usually do awesome at it. Like when I got myself into college and ended on the Dean's list. And it was so fun and exciting to me that I was almost literally getting high off of it haha.
I love being in those highs.
Unfortanently they don't last...and when I come down from them, I typically come down hard!
I went from loving every second of college...to flat dropping out. Then I went through several months of deep depression.

But then I sometimes rapid cycle too. I'll be having an awesome day and be all chatty with people and out going and life feels great...then seemingly for no reason, later that evening...I crash and get all depressed and life feels gloomy and I just want to be left the heck alone.
My ADHD meds do not help this one bit because of the come down I experience on them once they start wearing off in the evenings.

I take Lamictal for my bipolar...which has worked out pretty well for me. It's not perfect and I suspect I could use an increase in my dose...but it has done a great job from keeping me from my real deep lows.

...
I went through many years of being misdiagnosed...my poor therapist who I had for over 10 years just couldn't nail it down lol. It went from borderline personality disorder, to schizotypal, to obsessive compulsive disorder, to bipolar, and we were even exploring the possibility of dissociative identity disorder there for a bit before she left the facility.
Also another therapist that worked at the facility specialized in autism and told my therapist that he suspected I had asperger's syndrome (now officially just called high functioning autism). Though I don't have a diagnosis for this (the guy who specialized in it retired) I still think I have it. Both my most recent therapist, life coach, and pill lady agree, though none of them know enough to really want to give me an official diagnosis.

It was VERY frustrating not ever having a diagnosis that really it me. Or they would fit me...for awhile, but then I'd change and would no longer fit the diagnosis.
But I kept growing and I changed a TON in the years I was see that therapist...I went from being a completely broken person full of paranoia with extreme social anxieties and zero self-esteem...to who I am today. I'm not at all the same person I was back then.
That and she had no education on ADHD at all...so it never even come up on her radar of possible diagnoses.

I was doing some research on google when I bumped into a description of ADHD...then I quickly found these forums...and dang! It was AMAZING! I swore at that point in my life I'd given up finding a proper diagnosis I agreed with fully...and I felt like there was no one in the world that could understand me or relate to me. I felt so alone and like I was completely different from everyone.
Only...holy crap! There were dozens upon dozens of people here describing the EXACT same kinds of things I struggle with! I couldn't believe it!

My therapist referred me to a lady who could diagnose me...and she determined that I did indeed have ADD (ADHD-PI) after just my first session with her. Turns out that she had an adult daughter who also had it, and so she was well educated with it.

...
I've always wanted a proper diagnosis. I just want to know I'm not just being dumb...I don't want to feel so alone...I want people to understand me. And I want reasons for why I struggle in the ways I struggle. It's been very frustrating and has absolutely wrecked my self esteem always thinking that I was just broken or something.
Having a diagnosis I agree with has changed a lot for me. I feel more confidant, I know I don't struggle alone with this stuff (and that gives me a ton of strength), and I've been able to start (very VERY slowly) accepting that I'm not just being a stupid idiot...but rather I have legitimate struggles that are beyond my direct control.

...
Sorry for the HUGE reply haha xP...
I think it's possible that maybe you might have both bipolar and ADHD though. Of course I know nothing about you, and I'm as far from a doctor as it gets haha...but it is something for you to consider.

(((((((Hugs)))))))

No matter what happens...I hope the best for you.
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Old 01-25-19, 04:18 AM
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Re: I just found out I may have been misdiagnosed...

I can relate to so much of what psycho said that I won't repeat it again (what the adhd diagnosis meant for me).

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder II but I never felt that my mood swings are extreme enough or that the hypomania is high enough or lasts long enough to really warrant that diagnosis. I too took lamotrigine for a while but it didn't help at all. After being diagnosed with ADHD I have pretty much had no episodes of hypomania. I think my mood swings are better explained with the emotional dysregulation that's part of ADHD. I do think I've had quple of episodes of hypomania but I think they were triggered by medication and I definitely have a problem with recurring depression.

The way my psychiatrist explained to me the difference is that in bipolar your mood swings aren't really due to external circumstances though circumstances stances can trigger it. So you might be in a great mood even though you know that your circumstances are crap and vice versa whereas in ADHD your mood swings might be exacerbated (because of emotional dysregulation) but they are congruent with your circumstances.

I've never been classically hyperactive though i go through periods where I find it hard to be still but mostly it's because I'm too excited about something.

Like psycho said you might have both. And they might resurface at different times of your life. I can understand it's tough to have to redefine the past when you are used to viewing it though the lens of ADHD so if possible try not to focus on that but on what helps you NOW
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Old 01-25-19, 05:03 AM
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Re: I just found out I may have been misdiagnosed...

It warms my heart that you found support here; I know I have, and I'm eternally grateful.

You must be close in age to my son, he would watch new episodes Naruto in Japanese on the computer as soon as they were released ( it must have had subtitles?)
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Old 01-25-19, 08:16 AM
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Re: I just found out I may have been misdiagnosed...

My teenage daughter was misdiagnosed in the opposite way, as a therapist said she had a mood disorder but she really had adhd and anxiety. She was always an anxious kid but **** hit the fan when she was bullied in middle school. Her anxiety presented itself, and still does, as irritability. So at its worse she would kick me if I got too close, throw stuff, purposefully dump food on the floor, & say mean things. She felt like bugs were crawling under her skin and would scratch and scream. Mood disorder meds did nothing to help (lamictal, abilify) and benzo's made her crazy with little memory of it later.

We got lucky and saw a great child psychologist who diagnosed her with anxiety and probably adhd too. Zoloft and therapy has helped & she's take Zoloft now for several years - no adhd med but fish oil helped with her ability to concentrate - but she grew tired of taking so many big pills and stopped. We want to try adhd meds too, but Adderal upset her stomach badly so we may retry over school break. I wonder if an Adhd med might help with her anxiety.

A study of children has shown those who are irritable (which was for a long seen as how children presented mania) grew up to be anxious/depressed adults, not adults with bipolar.

Not sure if that helps, but that's our journey with an incorrect bipolar diagnosis.
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Old 01-27-19, 09:27 AM
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Re: I just found out I may have been misdiagnosed...

Try not to sweat about it. The more you delve into things the more dodgy the whole DSM orientated diagnosis process becomes.

The DSM is highly subjective, and is a tick box exercise aimed at putting the "patient" into a box to justify a "treatment" to the funders and also ensure the psych's keeps his *** covered.

We're in an interesting time as the geneticists and neurophysiologists begin to unpick the fundamentals of mental health..... and they bear little resemblance to the picture presented by the DSM/ICD. In fact the DSM is possibly hindering the research because the behavioural symptoms used by the psychs for a diagnosis can come from several sources and one can also get widely varying symptoms from the same underlying neurophysiological cause.

The key is to move beyond the "diagnosis" and work out what works for YOU. The psych's can help, but their advice has to be taken with a pinch of salt. They are not as expert as they make out!!
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Old 01-27-19, 01:30 PM
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Re: I just found out I may have been misdiagnosed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by qanda View Post
My teenage daughter was misdiagnosed in the opposite way, as a therapist said she had a mood disorder but she really had adhd and anxiety. She was always an anxious kid but **** hit the fan when she was bullied in middle school. Her anxiety presented itself, and still does, as irritability. So at its worse she would kick me if I got too close, throw stuff, purposefully dump food on the floor, & say mean things. She felt like bugs were crawling under her skin and would scratch and scream. Mood disorder meds did nothing to help (lamictal, abilify) and benzo's made her crazy with little memory of it later.

We got lucky and saw a great child psychologist who diagnosed her with anxiety and probably adhd too. Zoloft and therapy has helped & she's take Zoloft now for several years - no adhd med but fish oil helped with her ability to concentrate - but she grew tired of taking so many big pills and stopped. We want to try adhd meds too, but Adderal upset her stomach badly so we may retry over school break. I wonder if an Adhd med might help with her anxiety.

A study of children has shown those who are irritable (which was for a long seen as how children presented mania) grew up to be anxious/depressed adults, not adults with bipolar.

Not sure if that helps, but that's our journey with an incorrect bipolar diagnosis.
Unfortunately, many clinicians still believe that only boys have ADHD or ASD,
and it's mainly girls who have Bipolar. The therapist was certain that my grand-
daughter had Bipolar until he talked to his supervisor who had a daughter with
ASD, and she pointed out that the two girls were very much alike.

A few years later I began therapy for my anxiety and so a different therapist
was certain that I have Bipolar. All the tests I've taken say that I have ADHD,
ASD, anxiety, and PTSD. Like your daughter, I take Zoloft for the anxiety and
Omega 3 fish oil for the ADHD. When I stop either one I can soon tell that the
beneficial effects have vanished.
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Old 01-27-19, 04:54 PM
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Re: I just found out I may have been misdiagnosed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kilted_scotsman View Post
Try not to sweat about it. The more you delve into things the more dodgy the whole DSM orientated diagnosis process becomes.

The DSM is highly subjective, and is a tick box exercise aimed at putting the "patient" into a box to justify a "treatment" to the funders and also ensure the psych's keeps his *** covered.

We're in an interesting time as the geneticists and neurophysiologists begin to unpick the fundamentals of mental health..... and they bear little resemblance to the picture presented by the DSM/ICD. In fact the DSM is possibly hindering the research because the behavioural symptoms used by the psychs for a diagnosis can come from several sources and one can also get widely varying symptoms from the same underlying neurophysiological cause.

The key is to move beyond the "diagnosis" and work out what works for YOU. The psych's can help, but their advice has to be taken with a pinch of salt. They are not as expert as they make out!!
You are so right about this! Thank you for putting it in precise and clear language!!
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Old 01-27-19, 06:38 PM
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Re: I just found out I may have been misdiagnosed...

I have been diagnosed with Bipolar II by one of doctor, but i rarely visit that doctor for getting prescribed my meds
My main or lets say who i am going to for 6-7 years, he said it can be something that drug induced drug caused ( i was on desyrel+cipralex+concerta)
he says there is possibility that too much load of medicine caused ur state which is like hypomanic episode

I am diagnosed ADHD-C
Both of doctors agree on my ADHD-C

Maybe i have both maybe i have only ADHD, my main doctor said that time will show it is bipolar or not, he said that if it is bipolar, i will have another hypomanic episode without drugs(i am currently on anti-psychotic,mood stabiliser,anti depressant)


I think differing ADHD from Bipolar is quite difficult because symptoms are familiar

So my situation is a little like urs, by the way my mother has Bipolar I

I am new to this bipolar thing

one month ago , i had a horrible extreme mood swings it was more like ultra ultra rapid cycling, i asked my doctor he said it can be mixed episode too but mood swings were extreme as ****

now i am taking medicines , i am stabilized i guess time will show is it bipolar&adhd or adhd alone

i think there is only one way to know you are bipolar or not
having a full-blown mania (Bipolar I case)
or having a long hypomanic state ( Bipolar II case)

correct me if i am wrong but there is no way to pre-diagnosis bipolar

they will diagnose unipolar depression untill u have hypomania or mania
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Old 02-08-19, 02:24 AM
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Re: I just found out I may have been misdiagnosed...

comparing or contrasting ADHD (A/B/C/B - all alphabets) and bipolar (used to have 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5... etc) is.... hm... let's say they are TOTALLY different diagnosis/category and any proper psychiatrist should have differentiate them right off the bat. If you have bipolar and are on a stimulant, god help you.



ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder which applies to those who are unable to dis-inhibit themselves from either impulsive behaviors/distracting influences as opposed to bipolar which is a mood disturbance disorder. Comparing a neurodevelopmental disorder and mood disturbance disorder is like comparing apple and a table.



Now I can see that for patients, the symptoms may appear similar but under those trained eyes, they are different like night and day.


I can't.... I should sleep.
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Old 02-08-19, 01:20 PM
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Re: I just found out I may have been misdiagnosed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwynnwire View Post
comparing or contrasting ADHD (A/B/C/B - all alphabets) and bipolar (used to have 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5... etc) is.... hm... let's say they are TOTALLY different diagnosis/category and any proper psychiatrist should have differentiate them right off the bat. If you have bipolar and are on a stimulant, god help you.



ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder which applies to those who are unable to dis-inhibit themselves from either impulsive behaviors/distracting influences as opposed to bipolar which is a mood disturbance disorder. Comparing a neurodevelopmental disorder and mood disturbance disorder is like comparing apple and a table.



Now I can see that for patients, the symptoms may appear similar but under those trained eyes, they are different like night and day.


I can't.... I should sleep.
I admit that I don't know much about bipolar, but I don't think the differences
between bipolar and adhd is as black and white as you are saying it is.

Diagnosis becomes more complicated when there are comorbid disorders.
According to the NIMH, anxiety disorders and adhd are often diagnosed among
people with bipolar disorder. Having both disorders can surely complicate the
diagnosis.

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topi...er/index.shtml
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Old 02-08-19, 01:39 PM
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Re: I just found out I may have been misdiagnosed...

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Originally Posted by hypergirl96 View Post
This forum funnily enough is one of the places where I first started to connect with people I related to, learn that there ere more people like me out there, and come to terms with the fact that I may have ADHD. So you all hold a special place in my heart for that. I was a confused and lonely teenager who didn't have any real friends and was terrified of fostering closer connections due to stuff from the past so finding a community here when I most needed it was incredible. Which is why it's jarring to me to realize that my diagnosis may have been wrong this whole time which makes me question a lot of the growth and development I went through in those years.
This forum is amazing.
Quote:
1) I know some of you have experience with misdiagnosis; what has that been like for you and how do you cope with the uncertainty of it?

My misdiagnosis issues have been for physical stuff not mental health but it is frustrating even when you have physical evidence that tells you one thing and a doctor who says another. I try not to get too hung up on labels but it can shake you when you try so many meds and nothing works and then one day they just do.
Quote:
2) Is there anyone on here with bipolar who have had similar experiences? If so, what stood out to you that made you go "Oh: that's bipolar" that helped you come to an understanding of/terms with it?
I will try not to run on too long here.. I have bipolar II and adhd AND GAD, PTSD and some other stuff. I am 43 so In elementary school when I was super distractible and all over the place in other people's business a child study team "diagnosed " me with "attention issues" but no one we knew had talked about adhd and my mother didnt know to pursue it. At age 16 the bipolar took off and I was hospitalized and even then they were calling it "manic depressive" still and never considering it for kids so I went unmedicated. I had my son when I was 20 and when he was three he had such severe symptoms of adhd I went through 4 psychiatrists to find one knowledgable enough and experienced enough to diagnose him. He began meds at age 4 and they were life changing. I started to see her then and got medicated for the bipolar..and the adhd I started meds for about 3 years later. It took so many combos of meds to figure out the bipolar and it was during my last hospitalization when my last child was a newborn that I was put on the magic combo of bp meds and life changed. I have always taken amphetamines. I tried ritalin and it was no good with the bipolar and so I was on dexedrine for like 7 years and moved to adderall and have stayed on adderall. Without the adhd management the bipolar wouldnt course correct and without bipolar med management the adhd wouldnt either. I think one issue is some doctors are convinced of an a-ha diagnosis and are not willing to delve into the intricacies of comorbid disorders. I think they want to have a successful answer and its not that easy. Finding a patient thorough doctor who isnt hung up on it being only one thing has helped me.
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3) Does anyone know the difference between bipolar hypomania and ADHD hyperactivity from a more personal point of view? I've read the clinical definitions and comparisons, but examples are always far more helpful.
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I have a weird flavor of bipolar. When unchecked I had : risky behaviors, highs, very severe depression, self harm, alcoholism, bad spending habits...BUT also with the adhd I had bad spending due to impulsive decisions, alcoholism, physical and mental hyperactivity, fidgeting, not following through, starting things I couldnt finish, procrastination, poor emotional regulation...see how confusing it gets? What if you have both? How will you feel? What if you have only ever tried meds for one or the other and not both and both is what you need? I would definitely open up this dialogue with your doctor.
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TL;DR: I was diagnosed with ADHD-C years ago but new doc thinks it's bipolar. Still skeptical but starting new meds now and they might be working? What are your experiences with misdiagnoses and ADHD vs Bipolar Disorder (specifically hyper rapid cycling Bipolar II if that applies)?
My rapid cycling wasnt as 'rapid' which I think is a more bipolar II thing. My mania consisted of severe insomnia and sleepless nights where I would undertake some ridiculous project and never follow through and leave chaos in my wake. The depressions were what almost killed me. I suffered through the highs that were short knowing the lows that followed would be long and drawn out and desperate. I hope this helps you.
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