Our expert says:
How does one know anything for sure ? In recent years much care has been taken to make any diagnosis more sure and useful ; it's no longer good enough for a doc to just scratch his chin and say "Gee, I think it's X "
There are now 2 sets of internationally agree criteria drawn up by large groups of experts and many of them also tested in research, and these criteria say, for instance to diagnose X Disorder, the person should have at least 4 of these 6 symptoms, and 3 of those 4, and none of these 2 factors. So IF the doc has been properly trained, they should be able to make reasonably reliable and useful diagnoses.
Now I am also worried about those shrinks and GPs who prescribe too quickly and readily.
OFten discussion and counselling will solve a problem BETTER than meds, and specific methods like CBT even more so. And it depends on the diagnosis. If there are marriage problems, no drug helps that, but counselling will help.
But in other conditions, like Bipolar Disorder, medicines can make a very major diference in controlling the excessive and even possibly dangerous as well as unpleasant mood swings, which are usually beyond control by purely talking / counselling methods alone.
CBT usually does NOT require very many sessions, though its no quick fix - but in wisely rejecting the quicke prescription quick fix, you'd surely prefer a sure fix, by which you can learn to handle and cope with your problems, to just enduring them ?
Bipolar does ndeed have a large genetic element - some of us are born ( especially if one or more parents had it ) with a higher than average risk of developing such a condition.
If you are Bipolar, it doesn't mean all your children WILL develop Bipolar Disorder, but they wil have a slightly higher risk of doing so than if neither of their parents had the disorder.
Horrible experiences like rape, even though some of us seem to survive it without showing major problems, can easily cause a range of problems including anxiety, depression, and PTSD. THey don't cause bipolar disorder itself, but might encourage it to show itself earlier than otherwise.
Sounds like you're right, and you should indeed see a good local psychiatrist. Don't worry too much about how to talk about all this - if he/she's any good at all as a shrink, they should put you at your ease and help you to talk about it - that's their job.
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