Clinical diagnoses are the lens through which we, as patients, are perceived.
We changed insurance companies. They didn’t cover my psychiatrist. So…new one. Guess what? Forty minutes into the new “relationship” I came away with two new diagnoses for major mental illnesses. ON TOP OF BIPOLAR. Because yeah, my previous two psychiatrists and my various therapists over the past 15 years somehow missed those two?
Anyway, I of course went directly into a tailspin until I was able to get to my therapist’s office the next day. He very carefully and repeatedly assured me that the psychiatrist was basically ill-informed and clearly had spent zero time with me. Definitely not enough to hand off these new diagnoses. He agreed I had PTSD, but we’d already talked about that before, so as an official diagnosis it shouldn’t have been hard to slap a label on me.
So, here’s the rub. I’ve gotten approval for a second opinion (because apparently the diagnoses from my last psychiatrists aren’t enough) but the diagnoses the doc placed on me – will never, ever, ever – be removed from my medical record. They are permanent. Accurate or not.
To understand the implications imagine I’ve gone into an ER for suicidal ideations and even, possibly, an attempt. Guess what? Now, rather than thinking it’s a chemical imbalance, they are ALSO going to consider these new diagnoses. This is not a good thing.
See, these diagnoses change treatment plans, they guide the next doctor who sees you. That impacts your success in treatment and that, my friends, influences the choices one has available to them when required to make one.
Wish me luck on the second opinion and thank the gods for my therapist.