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Mental Health Evaluation?

Old 07-19-2018, 10:00 AM
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Mental Health Evaluation?

I've been quite concerned lately with some things... wild mood swings, feeling really down, etc. Not sure its part of being sober... or I have something loose upstairs. I made an appointment to see a therapist. Our local facility is backed up almost three weeks! Is that normal?

Anyways, I wonder if my depression is back or if its something else. I am seeing signs of bi-polar in our son, and as I think back, I wonder if my dad didn't struggle with it as well. Guess that leaves me in the middle!

Has anyone gone through an evaluation? What can I expect the first time? Thanks!
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Old 07-19-2018, 02:40 PM
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I would start with a visit to a psychiatrist and let him or her decide whether to send me to a therapist.

If there is a chemical component to how you presently feel, a psychiatrist can address it, even though therapy may be indicated as well.
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Old 07-19-2018, 03:48 PM
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I get some pretty big mood swings at night. Mostly when I get tired. Sometimes, the OCD comes back with obsessive thoughts but nothing like what it was when I first got clean.

I have noticed I get more moody if i'm stressed or tired. Even low blood sugar. It's kind of draining some days when I just don't pick up on it until i've let it ruin half the day.

I'm not sure how much time you have, but around anniversaries or milestones too, i was always a wreck.

The first year was tough on me mentally, for sure. It gets a lot easier after that though.
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Old 07-19-2018, 03:55 PM
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At least from my own experiences, on your first visit they will ask you a bunch of questions, possibly the first 2 visits depending on how long your session is so they can get an evaluation.
From there then the regular therapy sessions start.
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Old 07-19-2018, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by SoberCAH View Post
I would start with a visit to a psychiatrist and let him or her decide whether to send me to a therapist.

If there is a chemical component to how you presently feel, a psychiatrist can address it, even though therapy may be indicated as well.
I've never heard of things working this way. Every experience I've had you see the therapist, and if the therapist feels medications are needed, then they send you to the psych.
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Forward12 View Post
I've never heard of things working this way. Every experience I've had you see the therapist, and if the therapist feels medications are needed, then they send you to the psych.
In many cases, both work in the same office. But yes - most times people see a therapist or counselor first.
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post
I've been quite concerned lately with some things... wild mood swings, feeling really down, etc. Not sure its part of being sober... or I have something loose upstairs. I made an appointment to see a therapist. Our local facility is backed up almost three weeks! Is that normal?

Anyways, I wonder if my depression is back or if its something else. I am seeing signs of bi-polar in our son, and as I think back, I wonder if my dad didn't struggle with it as well. Guess that leaves me in the middle!

Has anyone gone through an evaluation? What can I expect the first time? Thanks!
Yes - counseling clinics are busy places so a 3 week wait is certainly not out of the norm. I've been through the eval before, it's nothing to worry about at all. They will ask you a whole host of standard questions that everyone gets asked ( are you suicidal, have you been abused, do you take drugs, all that stuff ) and then they will likely ask why you came and if you have any specific concerns.
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:45 PM
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You can go straight to a psychiatrist. Get a referral from your GP and request one with an addiction specialty.

Bipolar disorder strongly runs in families and usually responds well to medication.

Alcoholism and/or cocaine use is a marker for bipolar disorder, a huge percentage of people with BPD have comorbid substance use disorder.
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Old 07-19-2018, 05:10 PM
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As I understand it, our system is a three-step process: first visit is like an interview, second is by the doc, and final (if warranted) I start regular weekly therapy sessions. That's what I am told.
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Old 07-19-2018, 05:12 PM
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Someone through my church went through the same system and that's how he described it. A three week wait is common here.


Originally Posted by ScottFromWI View Post
Yes - counseling clinics are busy places so a 3 week wait is certainly not out of the norm. I've been through the eval before, it's nothing to worry about at all. They will ask you a whole host of standard questions that everyone gets asked ( are you suicidal, have you been abused, do you take drugs, all that stuff ) and then they will likely ask why you came and if you have any specific concerns.
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Old 07-19-2018, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post
Someone through my church went through the same system and that's how he described it. A three week wait is common here.
I'm glad you made the decision to get an appointment, mental health is just as important ( if not more so ) than physical health. So it only makes sense to get an expert opinion if you think something might be wrong, just as you would if you had a medical issue. And it likely doesn't really matter who you see first ( psych vs counselor ) as they complement each other.

It took me a couple of counselors before I found one that I was comfortable with, and I still see that person about once a month. Their office is almost always booked at least 2 weeks out even for current clients. They do make room for "emergency" appointments though too.

One of the misconceptions I had when I first went was that they were going to "fix" me, or give me a list of tasks/exercises/practices that would make everything all better again eventually. That's not really how it works I found - they are more of a guide to show you what to change your life and make your condition more manageable. For example, I am diagnosed with GAD. I can't remove anxiety from my mind completely, because it's a natural/built in response our bodies have to danger. Rather, I learned techniques and was to live my life and change the way I respond. Back then I over-reacted and the anxiety built and built, eventually resulting in panic sometimes. Now I have techniques to recognize the signs of impending anxiety and let them just happen without overreacting. I've also made changes to my lifestyle that help - diet, exercise, sleep, avoiding too much caffeine/sugar, mindfulness and meditation, etc. There's no one "magic bullet".

I wish you the best of luck in exploring help for your depression.
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ScottFromWI View Post
One of the misconceptions I had when I first went was that they were going to "fix" me, or give me a list of tasks/exercises/practices that would make everything all better again eventually. That's not really how it works I found - they are more of a guide to show you what to change your life and make your condition more manageable.
This is what I am gathering from the people that I know that went through this facility. I'm told that addressing the situation is half the battle.
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Old 08-01-2018, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ScottFromWI View Post
In many cases, both work in the same office. But yes - most times people see a therapist or counselor first.
I don't know whether I did things right, so to speak, it's just what I did.

My psychiatrist knows me extremely well and believes that my depression and anxiety are the result of a chemical imbalance and not other deep-seated psychological issues.

Perhaps he thinks that I lack the intellectual depth to have those types of issues - just kidding.

But his diagnosis and treatment plan have worked for 19 years now.

I wish I had sought help from him earlier in my sobriety.
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Old 08-01-2018, 07:41 AM
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I admire what you're doing, Steve.

So much of my recovery has been based on my willingness to seek help.

Keep us posted, amigo.
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