The problems with my wife’s treatment of bipolar disorder did not stop with her misdiagnosis as in my first article. Her condition continued to decline for the next 2 years resulting in a hospital stay and near death. The doctors here in Portugal are to blame. Today my wife is still suffering the result of their mistreatment and misdiagnosis.
Recommended Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder can be controlled in most cases. The standard treatment is medication and psychological counseling. Medication varies depending on the type and the phase of treatment. The initial phase is treated with a stabilizer. Anti depressants may be prescribed for the depressive phase and anti psychotics for the manic phase. After about six months most patients are stable and medications can be reduced or only taken as needed.
What Went Wrong with My Wife’s Bipolar Disorder Treatment
- The number one fault of my wife’s treatment was that she wasn’t prescribed a stabilizer until 2011, five years after her diagnosis. Then her 5th psychiatrist gave her a prescription for Lithium.
- The second problem was the severe side effects to the medications. She suffered from swollen glands and legs, weight gain, shortness of breath, lethargy, and dizzy spells. During her third emergency room visits in 2006 her heart stopped and CPR was given. A smart ER doctor noticed her swollen extremities and diagnosed a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs). She received a round of blood thinners that saved her life. All the other doctors did nothing and said she was just having a reaction to the medications.
- The third problem was a prescription for diazapam which he said was a mild relaxant. We trusted him but she continued to feel lethargic and depressed. This psychiatrist was fired after my wife attempted suicide. I Googled this medication and discovered diazapam is the generic name for Valium! It is highly addictive, and should only be taken for a week or two and rarely for bipolar disorder. My wife is still taking this six years later because she has become physically addicted.
- The fourth problem was the wrong dosage for the anti depressant Effexor (venlafaxine). The fifth psychiatrist correctly prescribes lithium but also prescribed 300mg of Effexor. After about a year my wife had a physical exam and the blood tests results for her liver were at the levels of an alcoholic. We consulted her psychiatrist about this and he said that it was not caused by any of her medications. I researched and found out the recommended dosage is 75mg. Her sixth psychiatrist changed her dosage. She stated that she would only prescribe 300mg for extreme depression and only for a short time.
- The fifth problem was no psychological counseling was given by any psychiatrists.
In conclusion we are still having problems because of her addiction and bad state if health. This could have been avoided if my wife had been properly diagnosed and treated in 2005.
Please read the first part of my story here:
Bipolar Disorder: My Story of Misdiagnosis