Bipolar Disorder: Real Life Answers for Real Life Questions
Today we’re starting a new series on real-life answers for real life questions—today’s topic is bipolar disorder.
I’m Angela Howard and my passion is to break the stigma of mental health issues among fellow Christians. If you’re new to my channel be sure to subscribe and follow so you don’t miss out on any of the new content!
When a family member faces a mental illness life can seem like one crisis after the other. Here’s a common question I’ve received from viewers like you:
Real Life Question: “My husband is taking an anti-depressant, but he seems to be getting worse, not better. Could it be bipolar disorder? How do I make sure he gets an accurate diagnosis?”
Real Life Answer: Yes, it could be, but you need a diagnosis from a psychiatrist or a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Be careful not to label your loved one. Here are some tips for getting an accurate diagnosis:
3 Tips to Get an Accurate Diagnosis:
- Provide the doctor with a detailed history. This means a history of the patient as well as relevant family history. You don’t need to write a 10 page paper. Think of presenting a timeline with significant information that you and your loved feel applies to the situation. You can also add a list of symptoms that you’ve observed. In addition, I often recommended a short paragraph from a friend or family member that has also observed the situation and can speak to the symptoms and incidents that are a concern. If the current medication is causing and uptick in erratic and new concerning behavior, be direct about that.
- Go to the doctor appointments with your loved one. This isn’t infringing upon a counseling sessions. A psychiatrist or PNP is there to diagnose and prescribe medication. It can be very helpful to have a second person to take notes, add details the patient might not remember, and offer perspective. You don’t need to be present for the entire appointment every time, but in the beginning, it can be a game changer.
- Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion or even fire your doctor. These are often life and death situations. If you aren’t getting the care you need, it’s time to move on. Your doctor is not your friend. They are providing care and if it’s not helping and potentially hurting, get another opinion. My husband Michael and I were in this very situation and had to fire his psychiatrist. We later found out that he was administering a psychiatric test that he was not trained to evaluate. Go with your gut, and don’t give up on getting further treatment.
Getting appropriate mental health care can be difficult, so our loved ones need an advocate. Remember what it says in Galatians 6:9…
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
What real life questions about mental illness do you have? I’d love to hear from you today, comment below.
No more confusion or wondering how you’ll face the roller coaster of life with mental illness. Mental Health Academy is here to take the mystery away, and give you the knowledge and the tools you need to have relationships that last! The time is NOW to get our first course: Trauma.
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