Narrowing Down Our Diagnosis and Does Bipolar II Mean Disabled?
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Q:  Narrowing Down Our Diagnosis and  Does Bipolar II Mean Disabled?

I, my daughter, or my Sister have been told we have nearly everything on your website.  I have always thought our mood problems stem from our hormones.   We are all overweight, and depressed, my sister is hypothyroid, and has dramatic mood Swings. I get Hypomanic on Anti depressants and my daughter has PCOS, ADHD, and I've been told possibly bipolar, and/or a personality disorder.  We both have PTSS.  

What steps can we take to coordinate, the Phychiatrists, Endocrynologists, Counselors, MD's, (and yes the legal system,) to narrow down our diagnosis'?  

Also, is being Bipolar II the same as being disabled, and can people discriminate against you for it?

Dear Ms. R' -- 
If you take that Mood Disorders Questionnaire and it's "positive", then by the simplest little test we know of, you have "narrowed it down".  Beyond that, you're into that realm where the diagnosis is by it's nature a fuzzy entity which shades gradually all the way to "normal" (i.e. no symptoms), and there's no "cut-off" point at which we can say yes or no.  

Similarly, the diagnoses you've listed (PTSD, ADHD, PCOS, thyroid) all have similar symptoms, as you are now quite aware, so it just stays a messy diagnosis to make in that context.  You end up just having to try treatments accordingly, probably starting with the most likely diagnosis and it's treatment, or sometimes with the treatment that has a the lowest likelihood of causing more trouble, or the simplest one.  Thyroid hormone is worth looking at from that point of view.  

All sorts of people have pretty severe BPII and are not disabled, they're working just like anybody without the illness, when their symptoms have been successfully treated.  Others without such good treatment responses have ended up disabled, but I try hard to keep people from ending up there because disability is definitely not good for mood in the long run.  It makes people take on their illness as their "profession" often, which really doesn't turn out well for most people. 

And yes, people discriminate against folks for mental health symptoms all the time, still, though it's getting better.  

Dr. Phelps  

Published August, 2001


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