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Our Mental Health Blogs

Why You Can’t Give Up On Bipolar Treatment, Even If Your Doctor Does

Why You Can’t Give Up On Bipolar Treatment, Even If Your Doctor Does

When I was first diagnosed, I went through 18 months of medication trials without success. I initially tried a bunch of antidepressants thanks to misdiagnosis and then I went through mood stabilizers when it was confirmed that I had bipolar disorder.

And every medication was pretty much the same. I would take the drug, it would induce horrible side effects, I wouldn’t be able to tolerate the drug and then I would have to try something else. It was unadulterated hell.

After 18 months of that, I went to my psychiatrist’s appointment, sat down and looked at my doctor as he threw his hands in the air and said, “I can’t help you. You’re no longer my patient.”

My doctor had fired me.

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Reach Out to the Right People for Mental Health Help

Reach Out to the Right People for Mental Health Help

This morning, a girl from the United States (I’m in Canada) contacted me and said she had taken 40 pills in a suicide attempt and now needed help immediately.

Please don’t do this.

Please don’t treat the internet like it’s 9-1-1. It isn’t.

It just so happened that I was checking the comments on my blog three minutes after this girl posted this comment so I caught it in time. (Help was called.) But I very much could have missed it. It could have taken me hours to get to this comment. I get many comments and emails and sometimes it takes me a long time to get around to reading them, let alone responding. I am, in no way, an emergency service.

Reaching out to someone is always better than reaching out to no one, but please, if you need mental health help, know who to reach out to.

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Bipolar Treatment That’s “Good Enough,” Isn’t

Bipolar Treatment That’s “Good Enough,” Isn’t

In psychiatric studies, generally response and remission are recorded for the effectiveness of medications. So, a certain percentage of people positively respond to medications (get somewhat better) and a smaller percentage of people go into remission (get mostly better) from medications. The definitions of “respond” and “remit” vary, but typically it’s a reduction in symptoms, as measured on a scale, to a specified degree.

In practice, this means that a medication can still be deemed “effective” even if it only moves you from a 10 to a 5 on a scale of depression.

Well, this isn’t good enough.

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Making a Bipolar Medication Change Safety Plan

Making a Bipolar Medication Change Safety Plan

Recently I went through a nasty bipolar medication change. I stopped one antipsychotic in favour of another. Of course, this was to improve my overall treatment. And as I’ve said before, if you change nothing then nothing changes, and in this case, I had to change medications in the hopes of changing my mental wellness.

It did not go well.

What ended up happening was a gradual slide into horrific suicidality. The new med was not effective for me.

But I learned something from this experience. Before changing bipolar medications, it’s a good idea to put into place a medication change safety plan.

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When Bipolar Medication Doesn’t Work: Disappointing Your Dr.

When Bipolar Medication Doesn’t Work: Disappointing Your Dr.

I am a very difficult case of bipolar to treat. Believe me. I have been on more bipolar medications than anyone I know and finding an effective cocktail is akin to walking on water. It’s possible, but it’s pretty darn rare. And recently I made a medication change from one antipsychotic to another. It went very badly in a whole host of ways. In fact, I terminated the medication trial early and went back to my previous medication.

I see my doctor this afternoon and now I have to tell him the bad news about how it went. And I feel guilty about failing another bipolar medication. I know he will be disappointed and I feel bad about it.

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Dealing with Doctors Who Won’t Tell You Your Diagnosis

Dealing with Doctors Who Won’t Tell You Your Diagnosis

One of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard is of doctors not giving their patients their diagnoses. That’s right – the patient sees the doctor, the doctor does a full assessment, the doctor reaches a conclusion, but keeps it a big secret like an upcoming birthday party.

This is an example of parental doctoring and completely insults the patient.

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder – Cousins?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder – Cousins?

Bipolar disorder has an approximate prevalence in society of 1% and obsessive-compulsive disorder has an approximate lifetime prevalence of 2.5%. When you put those two numbers together, you should have a very small population that has both bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

However, this turns out not to be the case. Actually, according to a recent study, 50% of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder also have a depressive disorder and 10% have bipolar disorder.

In short, if you happen to have both disorders, you’re not alone.

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Bipolar and the Pressure to Get Better

Bipolar and the Pressure to Get Better

Hi. My name is Natasha and I have bipolar disorder. In fact, I have had bipolar disorder for at least 14 years. And many of those years I spent not really getting better.

Much to the chagrin of the doctors and those around me. After all, if I was taking pills, seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist, shouldn’t my wellness be just around the corner?

Sometimes I felt pressured to just say “yes, I’m feeling better,” when that wasn’t the truth of the matter at all.

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Anxiety and Psychiatric Appointments

Anxiety and Psychiatric Appointments

I have been seeing a psychiatrist for about 14 years now. There have been many different individuals, but I’ve been seeing one or another for most of that time.

And in all of that time I’ve noticed something – I get anxious before a psychiatric appointment. Even though I’ve been doing this seemingly forever, when it actually comes time to sit in the waiting room and then be taken to the tiny room with the dingy paint, I feel anxious.

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How to Know If You Need a Psychiatrist

How to Know If You Need a Psychiatrist

I use the word “doctor” quite liberally and often use it interchangeably with “psychiatrist.” The reason is quite simple – psychiatrists are, in fact doctors, they are just specialists. Yes, that’s right, your psychiatrist has all the rights and privileges that any other doctor has and could probably remove your spleen, if the occasion called for it.

Nevertheless, there are some crucial differences between “doctors” in general and “psychiatrists” in particular. And sometimes you need a psychiatrist and sometime any old doctor will do. So how do you know if you need a psychiatrist?

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