Dear Dr. Archer,
My nephew has been clearly misdiagnosed as a 4th degree bipolar. Since 2005 he has been put on over 10 different medications, which are interchanged on a five week basis. These meds only make him weak, tired, sick, illogical and experience hallucinations.
He will take off for days and weeks at a time without even being aware of it, and will stay gone until he becomes "awake" and returns home.
It appears to me he is not getting better under his present psychiatrist's care, and is only being medicated to make him sleep and do nothing. I feel he is not bipolar; as a young boy he showed signs of being more autistic. His IQ was measured 200, but he cannot relate to the daily world.
What do you think, and where could I take him for a better diagnosis?
I always urge people who are not satisfied with their medical care to get a second or even third opinion. So that’s your first step. And, I must say, Jean, that I've never heard of a "4th degree" bipolar.
Your nephew definitely needs another opinion. I can’t make a diagnosis just based on a letter, but if he had autism as a child then he probably still has symptoms today.
If you're lucky enough to live somewhere that has a medical school teaching hospital with a psychiatry department, take him there. If that is not an option, ask your family doctor for a referral.
Or if you have a friend who is under a psychiatrist's care and are doing well, try that doctor. And, you can always call your state's psychiatric society and get a referral.
Your nephew clearly isn't doing well. The right diagnosis and treatment could turn your nephew's life around, so do not delay. Good luck!