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    Includes Expert Content
    Bipolar or alcoholic?
    Deannie64 posted:
    My husband seems to think I am bipolar and has told me I have to get treatment or he is leaving me. The only problem is, I don't think I am. I know I suffer with depression although I have never been diagnosed and I self medicate with alcohol. Every now and then I black out and go into rages and or become suicidal. This only happens when I drink and never when I am sober. I do not have any manic symptoms that I can identify. I love my sleep,I am less impulsive than my husband, I don't have racing thoughts or feelings of elevated self confidence, etc. I strongly believe that I have a drinking problem and depression. I am scared to death that he is going to talk to the Dr and make the Dr believe I am bipolar and I am not going to get the right meds. Is he right? Can I be bipolar and only exhibit signs when drinking or am I right and I have a drinking problem that needs to be addressed with counseling? I am just really confused right now.
    ddnos responded:
    Hi Deannie, and welcome to the board!

    Your husband can suspect that you have bipolar, but he's not qualified to diagnose you as such. The kind of doctor who is qualified is a Psychiatrist, which is who you should see to be properly diagnosed. The Psychiatrist (pdoc) is not going to prescribe any medications to you or "make the doctor believe" that you have bipolar based on your husbands suspician of bipolar (unless he/she doesn't know what he/she is doing).

    So if I were you, I'd go to a qualified doctor, i.e. a Psychiatrist, and be very clear and honest about what you are and have been experiencing. To make things a bit easier for you and the pdoc, make a comprehensive list of your sypmtoms, when/if there are more common times you experience them, how long you have been feeling this way, etc. The more information you can provide, the better.

    Regardless of what you may or may not be diagnosed with, therapy should be part of your treatment because meds alone cannot make the kinds of behavioral and thinking/emotional changes that need to take place for your overall mental/emotional health. Also, if you are prescribed any medication, know ahead of time that sometimes it can take a while before either they start to work and/or you get the right med(s) for you - so be patient (if prescribed meds). And, very important if prescribed meds is that you communicate with your pdoc about how the meds are or are not working and any side effects you may be experiencing. You need for the medication(s) to be working and with tolerable side effects, but if that's not the case, your pdoc can't do anything if you don't let him/her know. I'm just saying this now ahead of time just in case you go on meds.

    So address your confusion by seeing someone who can help clear things up for you, yes?

    I hope to see you around here again.

    Be well
    Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different --Unknown
    lexismom11 responded:
    Debbie is right. For a proper diagnosis you would want to see a psychiatrist. If you have never been to one before, they will probably do an assesment and ask you a lot of questions. This is so they can properly diagnose you. You have to be completely honest and open about everything you are going through including the drinking.

    Your husband cannot sway the doctor one way or another because it will be you that the doctor is talking to during the assessment. It is hard for anyone here to say what the problem may be because we are not doctors at all. You can ask you primary care physican to refer you to a psychiatrist if you are not sure where to go.
    Joseph F Goldberg, MD responded:
    Dear Deannie64,

    You are describing mood and behavior changes during intoxication states, which certainly would be consistent with a diagnosis of alcoholism. If, in addition to that, there were times when your mood was unusually elevated or irritable and you were going without sleep and thinking and talking faster than usual, you might in addition have a mood disorder such as bipolar illness. I would agree with others' comments that the way to get a diagnosis is to have a proper evaluation by a psychiatrist, but in the presence of active alcohol use, nothing can get diagnosed besides intoxication. If you yourself were wondering or concerned about a mood disorder, stopping drinking for an extended period would be a necessary first step for any professional to be able to make that determination.

    Dr. G.
    Deannie64 replied to Joseph F Goldberg, MD's response:
    Thank you so much! What you all have said makes me feel better. I have been sober for 7 days now and am getting a referral for a Psychiatrist. I have told my husband that I will abide by whatever diagnosis the Dr. makes and asked that he do the same.

    I will report back here and let you know what happens

    bpcookie replied to Deannie64's response:
    Im so glad that you have stayed sober for a week. Good job. Keep up the good work.
    The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning. ~Ivy Baker Priest
    Deannie64 responded:
    This is getting SO frustrating! I have been sober for 22 days now. I have been trying to find a Dr that will see me for an evaluation and if they are accepting new patients, I can't get in until September! Why is it so difficult to get an appointment with a Psychiatrist?

    This sucks so bad.
    Anneinside replied to Deannie64's response:
    September is not that far away. I have been waiting for an appointment for a gastrointestinal doctor since June and the appointment is in September. I have to make appointments 6 months in advance with my psychiatrist (I always have one 3 months away and 6 months away) as she is booked that far out. It is common to wait 3 months or more for an intake appointment. Why is it so difficult to get in? There aren't enough psychiatrists to meet the demand.
    alcwkat replied to Deannie64's response:
    Most primary care docs have the tools to do basic evaluation, and could begin a mild mood stabilizer if bipolar's likely. Just be wary of an antidepressant w/o one. A good PCP can team with a therapist and get started quickly.
    tmcgrath112 responded:
    id seek conseling for the drinkin, then let the dr. concentrate on your symptoms, I too self medicate with alcohol while on my meds it is awful disease if u black out thats not a good sign, try stop drinking, I know its hard but if you want to feel better its the only way, if ur depressed alch. just makes it worse in the long run, hope this helps....

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