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Getting a formal diagnosis via NHS ... how long does it take?!!

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bluebell24

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Aug 7, 2009
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I've been going around in circles for nearly four months now trying to get a referral for a formal assessment and still don't appear to be getting anywhere.

My GP has been okay but it's apparent he doesn't pay too much attention to the things I tell him (he's signed me off work 4 times now even though every time I visit him I tell him I've been made redundant!!) and I don't think he's taken it too seriously when I've asked to be referred.

The GP gave me a phone number of a local NHS mental health service, who asked me lots of questions and then decided I needed an assessment ... then told me I'd have to speak to my GP to get it, who in turn said they the service should be referring me ... now the mental health service have called to say they might be able to do it (but haven't spoken with my GP) but that it could take up to 6 months before I'll get an appointment.

Is this usual? It seems like an eternity and in the meantime I'm worrying that perhaps I'm not doing the right things for well being as I'm not exactly sure what I'm dealing with. The reason I believe it is bipolar is not based on self-diagnosis despite the past year's events ticking every box, but down to a psychiatrist telling me this years ago when I had a similiarly crazy year that ended up with me overdosing. It seems however that there is no record of this suggestion on file, and I'm getting a tad frustrated to say the least.

I'm not sure if I should be expecting anything to happen quicker or whether 6 months is pretty standard? I know it may depend on health authorities but I wondered generally what everyone else has experienced, and that to do while I'm in limbo?

Help! : )
 
dib4uk

dib4uk

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Hi there !!!

6 months can be the bog standard amount of time for a referal to the pscyhiatrist- however I believe that it all depends on other factors. Someone i knew saw one very quickly because they was admited to a hospital for overdose.

Everyone is different, me i had to wait since march-april this year, and had a report done after my last appointment in july.

The thing is that you as crazy as it sounds needs to go back more than once- and doctors have this thing where they probably have to turn people away and tell them to come back in a couple of months/weeks.
 
DiagnosisBipolar2

DiagnosisBipolar2

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There was a 6 month waiting list where I live so I had to go and see a private psychiatrist in the end.
 
intelgal

intelgal

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unfortunatly it seems to be the case that unless your in complete crisis.. you pretty much have to wait... Total rubbish I know
 
S

*Sapphire*

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That's terrible! Six months??! I have never had to wait that long. Maybe it's because i have gone into crisis quite quickly, I don't know. Don't they realise that mental health problems can escalate quite quickly without treatment and things can go down hill quite rapidly?

I know it's not the psychiatrists fault, I wonder if they only ever deal with crisis because of a shortage. Makes me wonder if most of those getting the appointments were on that six month waiting list and getting into crisis from lack of appropriate and timeliness intervention?
 
dib4uk

dib4uk

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Yes the process is a lot quicker if you have to be admitted by the A & E or you present yourself to a psychiatric hospital for assesment.
 
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GrizzlyBear

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Yes the process is a lot quicker if you have to be admitted by the A & E or you present yourself to a psychiatric hospital for assesment.

I would agree with this. It is maddening, but complete crisis was what got me the help that might have prevented said crisis.
 
intelgal

intelgal

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I bubbled along forseveral years .. given anti d's and told to go away unitl wham bang in crisis .. haveing to use more expensive resourses such as A and E, crisis support etc etc... you d think they would realise
 
dib4uk

dib4uk

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I think as well it also depends on the serverity? and the problem presented to the GP.

GrizzlyBear Yes and the fact is that if you think about this too much i mean the process- it could make your symptoms worse.

Its a weird thing the NHS mental health system- and I've only been in it a few monhs lol.

:scared:
 
DiagnosisBipolar2

DiagnosisBipolar2

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I think as well it also depends on the serverity? and the problem presented to the GP.


:scared:
Not always the case i'm afraid my GP cannot get suspected schizophrenics who have currently lost touch with reality in for an appointment in less than 6 months! which I find ludicrous.

The only way to get seen quicker is to present yourself at casualty and say you're in crisis. I know many people who are now doing this (even if they are not in crisis) just so they can be seen.
 
dib4uk

dib4uk

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Not always the case i'm afraid my GP cannot get suspected schizophrenics who have currently lost touch with reality in for an appointment in less than 6 months! which I find ludicrous.

The only way to get seen quicker is to present yourself at casualty and say you're in crisis. I know many people who are now doing this (even if they are not in crisis) just so they can be seen.
Well eeek, all I can suggest is that if you think its schizophrenic then sometimes its best to do what we've all suggested.
 
J

jamesdean

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F**kme 20years in themh service n I've onlyjust got a bit of a diagnosis n they cannot agree that within my team not that I ever wanted one though then I was told I'm tryingto hangon to it .
 
B

bluebell24

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Aug 7, 2009
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106
Thanks everyone ... at least now I have a realistic idea of what to expect ; ) The CBT therapist I'm seeing did suggest to me 1) going along to A&E to hurry things along, and in fairness this was when I was having suicidal thoughts literally every minute of the day (and I'd convinced myself I'd be sectioned so I decided not to do this!!), and 2) a private referral. Unfortunately I've already spent most of my redundancy pay on the CBT so that's a no no.

I think I'll have to grit my teeth and wait then by the sounds of things. It does seem ridiculous ... I needed a minor, non-life threatening op on my hand and it took about 4 weeks to get that taken care of. I'd sooner have the psych referral though ; )
 
G

GrizzlyBear

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Thanks everyone ... at least now I have a realistic idea of what to expect ; ) The CBT therapist I'm seeing did suggest to me 1) going along to A&E to hurry things along, and in fairness this was when I was having suicidal thoughts literally every minute of the day (and I'd convinced myself I'd be sectioned so I decided not to do this!!), and 2) a private referral. Unfortunately I've already spent most of my redundancy pay on the CBT so that's a no no.

I think I'll have to grit my teeth and wait then by the sounds of things. It does seem ridiculous ... I needed a minor, non-life threatening op on my hand and it took about 4 weeks to get that taken care of. I'd sooner have the psych referral though ; )
I'm not sure being sectioned is a totally terrible thing. If you are sectioned for 'suicidal' intentions they may keep you for 72 hours during which time you are assessed. If you no longer say you are suicidal you will be released, no?

That was what happened to me anyway. I'm not saying it's fun - but it got me some treatment and support.
 
markaj

markaj

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Aug 22, 2009
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I was taken to A+E by the hospital that looks after my HIV care when I was parasuicidal, the Liaison Psychiatric Nurse at A+E cut through all the red tape and I had an assessment at the CMHT the following day, this was without being admitted to a psychiatric ward. Even though this sped things up, I still have only just been diagnosed, nearly 12 months after being taken to A+E. I've had countless appointments with an NHS Psychiatrist and still had to wait a few months for CBT. Only after months of this I've been diagnosed with Bipolar by the Psychiatrist and BPD by a Clinical Psychologist. It may be worth presenting yourself at A+E in crisis, sectioning doesn't necessarily follow, well that was my experience anyway. Good luck.
 
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