Diagnosis changed to "high-functioning bipolar.." majorly apprehensive

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    • #109101

      I’m very much second-guessing a Bipolar II diagnosis I just recieved. Something about it feels like it’s missing the big picture. To me, it feels like I live daily with ADHD and sometimes I feel depressed when my level of disorganization or inattentiveness or hyperactivity get me in some kind of trouble. Because this is being interpreted by my provider as “having highs-and-lows,” they’re thinking that my ADHD symptoms are actually hypomania. This is based on a 30 minute skype conversation with a provider who’s never met me. I’m mistrusting of the diagnosis. Anyone have any advice or assurances?

    • #109179
      Penny Williams

      If you don’t feel like it fits, get a second opinion elsewhere. You know yourself better than anyone. Trust your instincts. Treatment is different for ADHD vs. bipolar, so the right diagnosis is important.

      The Physician’s Guide for Distinguishing Bipolar Disorder and ADHD

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #109315
      Dr. Eric

      There is no quick or easy way to do this. It requires a good job reviewing everything. Bipolar is often misdiagnosed as something else a couple of times before it is seen for what it is…

      About 10 years ago, I saw a big spike in questionable bipolar diagnoses, but it has seemed to have subsided in my corner of the world.
      When I saw them, there was a definite reliance on the “ups and downs” or moodiness conversation.
      Generally, the ones that I disputed as still being explained by ADHD followed a very predictable pattern in how their morale, frustration, workload, etc. cycled throughout a semester. You could see a very clear cause-effect on how ADHD symptoms impacted their life and, therefore, their mood, feelings of helplessness, etc.

      The one time that I have pushed for a bipolar diagnosis over ADHD, I was clearly able to charter on a graph what looked like manic and depressive episodes on a timeline with labels on what was happening at school and home. The ups and downs were very clearly unrelated to what was going on externally.

      Ask a million questions as to the rationale and differentiation. Is the clinician ready, willing, and able to answer your inquiries with patience and plain English? Is it “because I am the professional”?

    • #109426

      If you feel strongly that the diagnosis is wrong, seek another opinion.

      I had the same exact thing happen to me, with a Nurse Practitioner ignoring my previous history of hyper-activity disorder and re-misdiagnosing me as bi-polar. She put me on Trileptal (Oxcarbazepine) a mood stabilizer and the results were terrible. That medication made me feeling like I was drowning in mud. I couldn’t even drive to work on that medication, because it is the exact opposite of what I need.

      I found a good doctor, he reviewed my history and recognized my ADHD and put me on Adderall. So far the results are fantastic. Never felt so calm and balanced in my life.

      So don’t let them do that to you. Find a different practitioner, and get a second, and if need be a third opinion.

      Bottom line is don’t let a medical practitioner push a diagnosis on you that you know doesn’t fit you and your history. The wrong medication is worse than doing nothing when it comes to ADHD in my humble opinion.

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