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ROSSIV46 06-16-2012 04:14 PM

Psychiatrist vs DR. Psychologist regarding BP Diagnosis
I had a therapist since 1994 and she had me go see a Pschyiatrist because she felt I had depression. It's been so long since I saw my Pshyciatrist and don't ever remember him giving me a diagnosis or filling out any questionaires. I just took meds he gave me. I'm 38 so I didn't have a computer until 2001 or so, and thats when I started looking up info on the meds i was taking. Some were said to be for bipolar, or schizo meds. (Seroquel, Abilify, Geodone, Depakote). So I just figured I had bipolar.
Fast forward to last year when I wound up in the hospital, I had to see a Therapist before they let me out and she happens to have her doctorate. She diagnosed me bipolar II and also had me test for ADD, and it came back positive for ADD too.

My Psychiatrist had changed my meds to Lithium 1200 and we tried Respierdol but he had me diagnosed as MDD, Major Depressive Disorder.

Later I told him I was confused because He and my Therpaist don't agree diagnosis and I feel lost. Has anyone had this problem and who should I believe. I like them both but confused.
Thanks any help

TinoRock 06-17-2012 01:23 AM

Re: Psychiatrist vs DR. Psychologist regarding BP Diagnosis
Hi there! I can appreciate your dilemma. Although anyone in the health field is capable of making a mistake, I can say without reservation, that your psychiatrist is the person to listen to. There are plenty of reasons why psychologists can't write prescriptions, first and foremost, they didn't go to medical school. They don't receive extensive training as diagnosticians.

They get their bachelors degree, and their PhD work is often in some narrow part of the psych world. Compare that to an MD with 4 yrs pred-med, 4 years medical school, 1 year internship, and another 3 years of a rugged residency in psychiatry, which prepares them to take on this difficult specialty. I'm sure your therapist/psychologist was well-intentioned, but if they even diagnose you with great assurance or certainty, they are over-stepping professional boundaries. They can make their best guess, but they aren't qualified as diagnosticians, period.

A lot of MDs I know would just dismiss their Dx, and even find it insulting. If you feel you are bipolar and not MDD, I suggest you present your bipolar symptoms to your physician again, along with your ADD symptoms, and ask very directly why he has Dx'd you as MDD, and not Bipolar II. I hope he will clear things up for you, he owes you that answer. If he is unwilling to answer such an important question, certainly of great importance to you, then it might be time to shop around for a doctor with whom you have better chemistry. **Never let a PhD diagnose you and call it the final word. Good luck to you. :angel:

katlin09 06-17-2012 03:15 AM

Re: Psychiatrist vs DR. Psychologist regarding BP Diagnosis
HI. Sorry you're having such a tough time.

It's not completely unheard of for Pdocs (psychiatrists) to come up with different DX's for the same patient. When you start looking at the DX's you notice they're not all that different.

Your Pdoc DX'd you Bipolar Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder

BiPolar Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder are the same thing. MDD is the Unipolar Depression if your took the Mania away from BiPolar Disorder. When you have Mania and Depression you get BiPolar Disorder. Nowdays this is treated with all types of meds antidepressants, ant-seizure meds, anti-anxiety meds, mood disorder meds, anti-psychotics. The type of med used to treat BiPolar Disorder is not as important as the Cocktail of different meds and what works.

The Therapist w/Doctorate added in ADD

BiPolar Disorder patients having a DX of ADD tossed in is also not that unusual. So don't be too alarmed by this.

It all boils down to what and who your most comfortable with. If you like your pdoc and he is taking well care of you and generally your able to stay in a stable state while on your meds, then stay with your pdoc. Every therapist, counselor, pdoc, inpatient.

Take care,


lynnlee 06-17-2012 07:40 AM

Re: Psychiatrist vs DR. Psychologist regarding BP Diagnosis
Well, im Bi polar II and take Lithium because its the only one that works for you are on at least 1 med that works for Bi polar by the guy who said your MDD....See if the meds work then if they do, dont worry about it...if they dont , then ask him to work with your therapist to find the right meds.

Toby706 06-17-2012 06:27 PM

Re: Psychiatrist vs DR. Psychologist regarding BP Diagnosis
hi there, my experience with mental health is that psychiatrists are medical doctors who diagnose and prescribe medications for bipolar and such. Psychologists diagnose and administer tests for diagnosing mental disorders along with planning for therapy with social workers, case workers, and the like. I was diagnosed BP by a psychiatrist, but was diagnosed ADHD by a PhD. BUT I can only get meds from my psychiatrist-an MD.

TinoRock 06-18-2012 03:04 AM

Re: Psychiatrist vs DR. Psychologist regarding BP Diagnosis
Bipolar II may primarily have depression, but the mania takes on specific forms when it comes on board, and it will, or they are not bipolar. For instance, rapid cycling is a hallmark of BPII. MDDs stay in the depression. The medication cocktails given are usually different, even though they often overlap. Please do not confuse the two for they are Different Diagnosis!

katlin09 06-18-2012 10:24 AM

Re: Psychiatrist vs DR. Psychologist regarding BP Diagnosis
I have had both Pdocs (psychiatrists) and Tdocs(psychologists). The main difference between the 2 is that a Pdoc is an M.D. as to where a Tdoc is not.

Pdocs do talk therapy as well as prescribe medication, they also do testing and diagnose.

Tdocs to talk therapy and can do some testing.

That pretty much breaks it down. There are many, many forms of psychiatric therapies, i.e. CBT, DBT, ECT, ect.

Therapists have different styles of psychiatric therapy i.e. insight-oriented, holistic, goal-oriented, psychodynamic, etc.

Many people think that Psychiatrist only prescribe medications and Diagnose, but do not offer therapy, this is incorrect. Psychologists can offer therapy and suggests diagnosises.


ROSSIV46 06-18-2012 11:17 AM

Re: Psychiatrist vs DR. Psychologist regarding BP Diagnosis
Thanks for all of your answers. It helps to hear from other people with these issues.

I think my only other question or concern would be that I see my DR> THERAPIST WEEKLY, SO SHE SEES ME OFTEN AND NOTICES SHIFTS IN MOODS.

I have been seeing my Pshychiatrist for over 13 years, but as many of you know, its maybe 15 minutes and we chit chat like two businesspeople making a transaction.
Thanks again all for your input.

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