This post kicks off Depression Overawareness and Overmedication Week.
Two weeks ago, CLPsych and Gianna, among others, celebrated Bipolar Overawareness Week. To cap off Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ve declared this last week of May Depression Overawareness and Overmedication Week. Use this checklist to identify whether you may possibly be “overaware” and “overmedicated” for depression:
- If you’re on Zoloft because you’ve never been sad or anxious.
- If you get a prescription for Lexapro on Thursday because you had a bad day on Tuesday.
- If you take Paxil because you’re never restless or irritable.
- If you are on Pristiq as a result of sadness and guilt over your Wii-related injury (eg, throwing your shoulder out or tripping over the coffee table).
- If you are on Celexa because you hate the job that you disliked anyway before you began the medication.
- If you are on Cymbalta because you are tired after normal long, exhausting days at your job(s).
- If you are on Effexor only because you overate during the holidays.
- If you take Prozac because you’ve never had passing thoughts of suicide.
If you meet any of the criteria above, this is a medical emergency. You are overaware and overmedicated. Go see your doctor immediately and discuss treatment options that involve non-medication and/or talk therapy.
Now, the disclaimer.
The checklist above is satire. It is not intended to poke fun at those who suffer with real clinical depression (of which I am one). It is intended to mock the extremely high number of people in the U.S. who are diagnosed with depression and medicated with antidepressants. This is not a medically based checklist for anything. It is not a professional recommendation or intended for professional use. It is not intended to be serious. In fact, it is not intended to be seriously serious. If you take this to your doctor, he or she will probably diagnose you with something other than depression. If you have been offended by this post, don’t be; you shouldn’t come close to meeting the criteria above. And if you do, then you really should go to a doctor. While I meet the criterion for sadness over my Wii-related injury, I don’t take Pristiq for it. If you have something nice to say, click on the Comments link below. If you don’t have something nice to say, click on the Comments link below.
(comic from problogs.com)
In all seriousness, I have wondered about the BPD diagnosis but in my mind, have somewhat fallen short. I don’t think my symptoms are strong enough to be plastered with a BPD label.
To conclude my several-post rambling, I should answer the question that I initially posed. Do I think bipolar disorder is overdiagnosed?
Many of my fellow bloggers will likely disagree with me. Zimmerman’s study at Rhode Island Hospital took into account whether those “diagnosed” with bipolar disorder had a family history of the diagnosis in the family. Maybe I’ve turned to the dark side. Just because I don’t have a family history of bipolar doesn’t mean that I can’t suffer
from the disorder. However, I have a family history of schizophrenia: one father and two aunts. Does this put me at a higher risk for schizophrenia? Definitely. Does this mean I could suffer from bp and have the schizo gene pass me by? You bet. I don’t think that I need a first-degree relative to suffer from bp to make me a classic diagnosis for bp.
For instance, when it comes to my physical appearance, I’m the only one on both sides of the family who suffers from severe eczema to the point where my dermatologist suggested a punch biopsy. Does that mean that I need to have a family history of eczema to obtain the malady? Not necessarily. Why is bipolar disorder any different?
Continue reading “Thoughts on Bipolar Overawareness Week: Part III”
Ok, so I’m incredibly late on this bipolar overdiagnosis week thing (one week, of course) but a bunch of blogs that I know of have already blogged about it. In fact, there have been so many posts on it that I haven’t been able to read and keep up on them all. All I know is that a recent study came out saying bipolar disorder is overdiagnosed. In the meantime, read blogs that have commentary on the matter (most of the links from Furious Seasons):
Furious Seasons — Study: Bipolar Disorder Overdiagnosed
Furious Seasons — Making Sense of Bipolar Disorder Overdiagnosis
Furious Seasons — Major Researchers Support Bipolar Overdiagnosis Study
Furious Seasons — Mental Health Month Meet Bipolar Overdiagnosis Awareness Week
PsychCentral — Bipolar Disorder Overdiagnosed
Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal and Recovery — Celebrating Bipolar Overawareness Week
Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry: A Closer Look — Bipolar Overawareness Week Starts on Monday
I’ll give many of these posts a read before I say anything about it. But as of right now, I’m sitting here with a contrarian view, believe it or not.