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Bipolar symptoms, what kind of Dr do I need>

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Old 12-08-2011, 06:53 AM   #1
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Question Bipolar symptoms, what kind of Dr do I need>

I'm already on SSD for Lupus, Psoriasis and a few other problems, but I've been avoiding talking to my Dr about my other symptoms besides anxiety, and depression. Do I need to get a referral from my family practice Dr in order to see a Psychiatrist, or do I see a Psychologist? Also what is the difference between the two?

I kind of got myself out of denial and know I need to deal with my ups and down. Of course I'm not talking about the "normal" occasional blues. I'm talking being in bed about and sleeping about 16 hrs a day. I just got out of that. It was a struggle just to get up and eat, and I missed several Seattle Storm basketball games (we are season ticket holders). I didn't cook, didn't go anywhere. With my physical illnesses being depressed made the pain that much worse. I didn't want to be touched.

Then I was up, talkative, stupid ideas that sounded good in my head. All while trying to help my partner get a job. Now that I think about it I probably made it worse. This cycle I'd go from depressed in the am to feeling great in the afternoon. once in awhile I think I see something in off in the corner of my eye.

Now that I've understood something of my mental state I got myself a sketch book, so instead of sitting around mad at the world for what ails me I sketch. I also paint, sometimes it's very hard to do. I've even managed to get some exercise by walking on my treadmill. Still it has to be the right time. I'm sort of lucid for the last couple of days so I got some art work done. Though I didn't work on my art when I was really depressed. Everything collected dust over the summer and into part of the fall.

My brother is bipolar, my big sister was until she killed herself, obviously the medicine wasn't working. I think my Mom dealt with depression, but she was killed when I was 12 so I can't remember much. Lastly my Dad was diagnosed with schizophrenia, he passed away from cancer a couple years ago. I'm not sure how the Veterans hospital in San Francisco missed that when he was there for a heart attack. As you can see mental illness has affected most of my family. One younger sister is on anti-depression meds. I think my youngest sister is the only one that has escaped having a mental illness.

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Old 12-14-2011, 11:42 AM   #2
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Re: Bipolar symptoms, what kind of Dr do I need>

No one has an answer to my question? Or even a "I know how ya feel" it's hard enough coming here and posting about my mental state to strangers, but I figured here I could chat with those that understand. How do you expect people to answer your questions if you don't try and help someone else.

Old 12-15-2011, 09:44 AM   #3
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Re: Bipolar symptoms, what kind of Dr do I need>

With the symptoms you've been experiencing along with the very high amount of neuropsychiatric disorders in your family tree, you should definitely make an appointment with a psychiatrist or therapist to discuss your moods and discuss if you already qualify for a bipolar diagnosis.

I do not believe you need a referral to make an appointment with a mental health professional. Try researching psychiatrists in your area and call to see if you can make an appointment.

For your question, psychiatrists and psychologists are quite different. Psychiatrists are medical doctors. They went to medical school and specialized in psychiatry. The big thing about psychiatrists is that they are able to prescribe medications for you. Psychologists, therapists, counselors, etc. are not permitted to prescribe medication. These professionals are not medical doctors. They usually will have a master's or a Ph.D in psychology and have been licensed to treat patients with non-medication forms of therapy.

Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are the two neuropsych disorders that pretty much have to be managed with medication for proper functioning. But therapy/counseling is always a great treatment to consider in conjunction with medication. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
-Hans Asperger

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