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The Bipolar Spectrum Diagnostic Scale

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SirSamVimes

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Jan 7, 2009
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14
Location
Leicester
Hello, I've just joined this forum tonight after using the 'self assessment tool' on the Bipolar Organisation website to test to see if I am Bipolar. I answered truthfully and I'm afraid I scored 24 out of 25. This means the Likelihood of me having bipolar disorder is a, quote, "High probability." I have also looked at both the ICD-10 and DSM-IV criteria and to be honest it's like reading my diary!

In 1995 I was hit by a car, knocked off my mountain bike and my back was damaged. Since then I have been involved with various people in the mental health 'arena' and have been sectioned once, way back in 1996/97. Last year I had the crisis team out after I was put under a fair amount of stress but they didn't do anything constructive and I have also had a social worker and a CPN for about 5 years, ever since I started to be a carer for my parents. I no longer have to care for my parents.

Anyway I've seen psychiatrists, cognitive therapists, CPN's and many doctors and I've NEVER had a 'proper' diagnosis (It's been mentioned that on average it takes 10 years to get an accurate diagnosis). I really do believe I am bipolar and would like to know how I go about getting somebody to actually confirm my convictions.

I don't work so I can't afford to go private.

Thanks in advance.
 
D

Dollit

Guest
When I got my bipolar diagnosis I had just read the Anthony Clare/Spike Milligan book and it was a lot like reading about me. I went to an MDF meeting (the phone number was in the back of the book) and found it strangely comforting being in a place where they knew what I was talking about. Up until then I'd had a diagnosis of depression and I went to my GP and told him what had happened and how I felt that I had bipolar disorder. I had a specific set of appointments set up with a consultant to assess whether I had or not and the diagnosis was confirmed.

The length of time you quote is an average but that's because you can't be diagnosed if you have an active drug or alcohol addiction (or you shouldn't be) and that some people cycle so infrequently that they may only cycle once. I think you have to exhibit at least two cycles (sorry long time since I was diagnosed but it is in DSM IV which is at the bottom of a pile of books right now) for diagnosis.

But I'd say to start with your GP.
 
S

SirSamVimes

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Joined
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Messages
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Location
Leicester
This is all totally confusing? I stopped drinking and taking drugs totally 18 months ago because I really thought I was going to snap. I've eaten about 4 substantial meals since Christmas day. I've alternated from sleeping all the time, for example staying in bed for 3 days solid except to go toilet and get water, to being awake 24 hours for 2 days.

My GP is rubbish. He recently stopped my buprenorphine patches because I hadn't collected my prescription for a month. In fact I was too frightened to leave the house, and they were too weak a dose. I had to go to my surgeon to get some new, stronger ones in the end. This meant I had to go into Leicester. It really made me feel wrong!
 
D

Dollit

Guest
If you stop collecting prescriptions the doctor would think that you're refusing medication and would stop issuing them. Did you ring the GP and explain how you felt?

Apart from give us meds and listen to us GPs aren't experts in mental health, they supplement the specialists and (ideally) offer support in whatever way they can. But you do have to talk to them.

I know how difficult it is to be undiagnosed or to feel that you know what is wrong with you and no one else can see it but that does happen to an awful lot of people with physical illnesses too.

Talk to your GP or another one in the practice.
 
Lozzi_1004

Lozzi_1004

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Jun 28, 2008
Messages
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Location
Yorkshire, UK
Hi :)
Sounds like you're having a real tough time of it lately. I think every diagnosis is pretty different, I was only diagnosed with bipolar before Christmas and before that my diagnosis was depression. The last episode of depression I had was very bad and luckily I'd been given a new GP (mine had left) and she was brilliant, she referred me to CMHT straight away, who then referred me to the service I'm with now; Insight and I have a keyworker (rather like a CPN I suppose, but J isn't a nurse, she's just there as a point of support) and after looking into my background and saw I'd been to CMHT the previous year because I was severly depressed and then "hyper" afterwards made an appointment with the services pdoc and I was diagnosed.
It must differ from area to area and doctor to doctor!

Could you maybe ask your GP to refer to you the MH services, like Dollit did? If you feel something isn't right you should speak up and if your GP won't help, could you ask to see another doctor? Or change surgeries?

Take care
:flowers:
 
S

SirSamVimes

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Messages
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Location
Leicester
Dollit, to be honest my GP is rubbish. We don't get on as he is also my mothers GP (something happened to my mum in the care home she is in and he basically said to stop over-reacting). The thing is about be undiagnosed is that I'm afraid that if I mention that I may believe I am bipolar then 'they' will think I've researched it and I'm trying to 'swing the lead'.

Lozzi_1004, I'm going to see a psychiatrist next Thursday and I am going to try to talk to him about it. The thing is I've been in the 'system' since 1996/7 when I fractured my back and was sectioned soon after, and I think somebody should have realised by now that I'm 'not quite right.' I think I may have to change surgeries, never mind doctor!
 
D

Dollit

Guest
If there's not decent rapport between you and your GP it's always just going to put more strain on you. I'm really lucky with my GP and my consultant and I have a good support network. And I've been diagnosed quite a long time so I'm past those early stages of not knowing and being scared if it is and scared if it isn't.

I was once registered with a GP and when you went to register they gave you a selection of cards with a brief synopsis of the GP's experience, specialist areas and their hobbies, marital status, children's ages so you could choose a GP you felt you could get on with. Never seen that system since but it helped me find the right GP out of a practice of 6.
 
S

SirSamVimes

Member
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Messages
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Location
Leicester
I think your right. When I see my psychiatrist I will tell him that I can't see my GP anymore as I can't trust him to take me seriously.
 
Lozzi_1004

Lozzi_1004

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I hope everything goes well with the pyschiatrist :)
That's quite shocking, if you've been in the system that long and sectioned once and they haven't picked up on anything? Very strange.
 
S

SirSamVimes

Member
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Location
Leicester
I hope everything goes well with the pyschiatrist :)
That's quite shocking, if you've been in the system that long and sectioned once and they haven't picked up on anything? Very strange.
Well I've been told I'm depressed. But I think It's my own fault as I tend to pretend that I'm coping whenever I have an appointment. Also It's the stigma of being mentally ill, and how it's perceived that frightens me.
 
Lozzi_1004

Lozzi_1004

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You aren't alone with being scared of the stigma. Even though there is legislation on place to cut down on the stigma it's still around as many people don't understand it. Same old, same old - people are scared of things they don't understand. However, you don't have to tell anyone you don't wish. I've only told people I can totally trust and have no intention telling anyone else and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Don't be too hard on yourself, I'm sure it's not your fault at all :)
 
D

Dollit

Guest
I don't hide my health status from anyone. Most people haven't a clue, one person uses it to harass me - but it's actually classified as a hate crime and he's a tenant in my flats so I have protection from him in law.

I've just been accepted as an (official) volunteer with the local police and have been vetted to the same standard as a warranted officer and that includes health and they had no second thoughts about accepting me. I get a tremendous amount of support from everyone I work with - incredible amount of support.

I also do some work with the Fire Service and they are aware of my health problems and have said it's my talents they're interested in.

The more people become aware the less stigma there will be.
 
jax

jax

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Nov 23, 2008
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Belfast, N.Ireland
Hello there,
I do hope that your Pdoc can listen to what you say and see if he thinks he agrees.
I have had mental health problems for 21 years. I have had numerous diagnosis. :confused: I was diagnosed with Bipolar in the States when I was 21. Then lost the diagnosis. I was re-diagnosed Bipolar in 2005 when I had a massive manic episode. It was clear I was manic - but not to me. I just thought I was feeling very happy. My Pdoc put me into hospital after I did a lot of out of character and dangerous things - to list a few.
Before the 2005 diagnosis - I was in and out of hospital about 3 times a year. I have been out for 3 years now and believe that it is due to my medication.
Can you not go to see another GP in the practice? That is what I did when my GP kept blowing off what I told her.
Oh and ... :welcome:
Jacqui
 
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