Posted 11/22/2006 9:35 PM (GMT -6)
Hi, I am new to this particular forum here. I will say I am a grad student working on a degree in mental health counseling and a medical transcriptionist. I have a good understanding of medications from my work and I am learning about some of it in school. I am NOT a doctor, but I can tell you what I know, or what I might have come across.
One of the criteria used to diagnose BPII is an "allergy" or at least untoward effects of typical antidrepressants, particularly SSRIs. In mental health care today, it is well known that about 70 to 80% of the antidepressant scripts written in this country are written by GPs. In my own experience, I was given Prozac 5 mg (25% of the normal starting dose) and given this on 3 separate occasions by my GP who didn't believe that it made me suicidal. I had similar problems on Zoloft, Effexor and Paxil. Wellbutrin left me completely out of touch with reality and amitriptyline made me dizzy, disoriented and gave me tunnel vision. My GP insisted on trying something new every month and going back over those that had failed. Why? Because she didn't have enough knowledge to diagnose BPII disorder.
I have seen a number of psychiatrists. I was on my 5th one when I received a diagnosis of BPII. If you can name a psychological disorder, I have been diagnosed with it! When the last one made his diagnosis, he carefully and deliberately told me that bipolar disorder is not a mental illness, it is a physical, medical illness, akin to diabetes. It is like diabetes in that is chronic and needs to be treated daily and monitored carefully.
As to why psychiatists think they are so superior...it is probably for the same reason that so many psychologists think they are so superior. They have studied this and feel that they can purge themselves of all such difficulties and be around to help poor, wacko, sicko, crazy you. It is the same thing that makes any medical specialist think they are superior because they are a doctor. They aren't superior, they are human beings and they all break wind and make mistakes like the rest of us.
I can tell you that when you enter grad school to be a counselor, there is NO testing of your mental processes, no MMPIs, no psych evals whatsoever. I have been observing that some of my fellow students are a little "screwy" and that is to say that they seem to have some psychological problems of their own. They aren't kicked out of the program, nothing is said, they just keep plugging along. Most schools these days do not require therapy for the student going through the program! It is a case of the blind leading the blind.
It has also been studied, whether or not someone with a mental illness can be an effective counselor. There seems to be some thought that being mentally ill to some degree can actually make a person a BETTER counselor. It has to do with the client being able to relate to the therapist and whether or not the client views the therapist as a person, or someone trying to act superior to them. You know, psychiatrists would do better with their patients if they got off their high horse and related to us.
With psychiatrists, as with all healthcare professionals, money talks. If you aren't getting what you feel is adequate service from one provider, find another. Research your meds online so you know what questions to ask your doctor about them and you know what you are taking and why. Be vigilant in getting the service(s) you need.