Archives for Q&A

Bipolar Disorder Q&A

Please check out "Q&A: Dr. Candida Fink on Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder" conducted by writer Suelain Moy for MedShadow Foundation.
Do more women than men suffer from Bipolar Disorder? At what age is it diagnosed? Can it be faked? We asked psychiatrist Dr. Candida Fink, a leading expert on Bipolar Disorder and the co-author of The Ups and Downs of Raising a Bipolar Child and Bipolar Disorder for Dummies these questions and more.
Please check it out and let us know what you think.

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Bipolar Medication

How to Deal with Mail Order Prescription Delays

Maggie asks...
I've messed up my meds by going cold turkey due to difficulties with insurance and lack of funds. Now I have to wait for the mail order prescription and I have not had any lithium for a month. This week I started noticing some of my early signs of my hypomania returning. Tonight, I'm not sleeping.

I don't have a psychiatrist right now since my insurance wouldn't cover his $300 office visits. I've just started with a new primary MD.

What are my options until I get the meds and get them to a therapeutic level? I really want to sleep! I start struggling with anxiety, agitation, and irritability that can escalate to rage. I'm more than a little nervous at this stage. Can you advise?
Dr. Fink answers...
Your best option at this point may be to contact your primary care physician and explain your situation. Your doctor may be able to provide you with samples or a short-term prescription you can have filled at your local pharmacy to carry you through until your mail-order prescription arrives along with something for the short term to help you sleep.
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Helping Loved One

Bipolar Disorder Q&A: Son with Bipolar Disorder Not Getting Treatment

Maggie asks...
My 21-year-old was diagnosed with Bipolar I after an extreme manic episode (he was hospitalized). It was a long and difficult few months (awful treatment, bouncing around to different doctors, etc.) during which his mania tapered down, and then turned into a deep black depression, which he is out of now.

No one can persuade him to take medication. Now that he's feeling normal again, he seems to think that he doesn't need medication. So no meds, no therapy, no treatment of any kind. And I am quite sure he's self-medicating with "other" substances. (He lives with us – me/mom, younger brother, step-father.)

Advice?
Dr. Fink answers...
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Anxiety

Son Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 5th Grade Now Adult

Gwen writes...
My son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the 5th grade. He is now about to turn 21. He cuts and he cannot hold a job or finish a class at the local community college.

His bipolar disorder seems to be more depression-based than manic, or maybe the lithium and Abilify he takes helps the mania but doesn't treat the depression.

Are there any medications recently developed which can help the depression? I know there is a study underway looking at this problem, but I can't find out much about it. Sam took the initial test and they said that he qualified, but is no longer interested in participating in the research.
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Advocacy

Bipolar Disorder Q&A: How Should Parents Help Child with Serious Problems and Multiple Diagnoses and Meds?

Cathi asks...
My friend's 9 year old has had severe behavioral problems and several alternating diagnoses. The Dr. has prescribed Focalin, Trileptal, Lamictal, and Seroquel. She has no concentration, violent outbursts, hallucinations, etc. She has been diagnosed, at present, with ADHD, Bipolar, ODD, and PDD. She will not do work at school; instead, she sits and picks at her skin. She has been violent and tried to choke other individuals. Mam says she can't even leave the house with her.

My friend has no money. The state has removed an older child due to DMH reasons. She is afraid of the state agencies, but has nowhere to turn. Court appointed attorney said to call if she won the lottery. What happens to these children? These medications seem excessive and risky considering her age, the possibility of adverse interaction, and off label usage. Any advice or help. We are desperate. Thank you.
Dr. Fink answers...
This is an all too common situation in children with multiple levels of developmental, emotional , and behavioral symptoms, especially when the family's resources are limited. The first place to start is with the current doctor to get a clearer picture of the reasons for the current medications and to express clearly the ongoing symptoms that are not being addressed.
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Diagnosis

Bipolar Disorder Q&A: Can Long-Term Acute Pain Lead to Bipolar Disorder?

Chris asks...
Can long term (decade+) acute pain from an artery joining a vein directly in the spine that causes legs to not work very well lead to bipolar? Person has master degree in Mech Engineering and a MBA. Started to make poorer decisions which led to job loss, went on disability, divorce, severe ruminating, depression, possible suicidal thoughts, inability to think things through, sense of being lost and blaming one's self for all that has gone wrong, fear or what is going to happen and impulsive behavior that cost his life savings.

He knew what to do but didn't do it to prevent such a large loss of savings. He is seeing a therapist for mental health reasons and a regular doctor for his physical impairments. A lot of his symptoms I've seen in several bipolar individuals who I am familiar with. He asked me if he could be bipolar. Therapist thinks pain.
Dr. Fink Answers...
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