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Tamara, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1073
Experience:  20+ yrs Private Practice; Cert. Master Therapist; National Board Certified; APA Board Certified
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My 20 y.o. old daughter was recently diagnosed with bipolar

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My 20 y.o. old daughter was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but we believe it may be a misdiagnosis until we get additional information and symptoms. She was on sertroline when depressed and went into a manic episode where they put her on haldol, seroquel, depakote, but she hated what it was doing to her and after 2 weeks decided to get off those. She was feeling a little melancholy and has decided to go back on the sertroline 50mg. The psychitrists at Kaiser only seem to want to dispense meds without wanting any input from the patient or parents. We will tell the psychiatrist that we want them to monitor her just on the sertroline to see what happens. Can you see any flaws in that course? What type of questions should I ask the psychiatrist? What symptoms should I look for in case she is truly bipolar? The depakote made her gain about 30# XXXXX a month, so we will try an exercise program with good nutrition (I hope she can stay on it) to try to produce dopamine and serotonine that will help ease the depression. Is there anything else I can do to guide my daughter through this potentially difficult period in her young life?
Hi. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm pleased to try to help you today.

I'm sorry to hear that you are having these problems with your daughter. I can certainly appreciate you wanting to get her the best care possible and to make sure that she is properly diagnosed. Unfortunately, however, antidepressants can trigger a manic episode in people who are susceptible to it, so the fact that it did so for your daughter does point to the possibility that she is indeed bipolar. Treating the manic episode with haldol, seroquel and depakote does seem to be a lot of medication, and I can certainly understand that she did not at all like how those medications made her feel.

If you want to proceed with just the sertoline, just be aware that if she is bipolar, the sertraline may trigger another manic episode. So talk with the Dr. about what the possibilities are for handling that if and when it happens. What are the medication options, including the side-effects. Ask if she can be treated with just one medication at a time if she has another manic episode (e.g. just depakote instead of all 3). Listen to what they tell you, and why, and make your decisions accordingly. This is unfortunately going to be a matter of trial and error in order to find the best combination of medications for your daughter. I know this is frustrating and scary, but please know that if she is bipolar, she is likely going to need something more than just an antidepressant. It is always a good idea to try to have a good diet, exercise, etc. But that may not be enough to keep her from having symptoms. So the best thing you can do is to educate yourself as much as possible, and be her advocate through this process. Try to help her accept that medication may be necessary for her, but that you are going to do your best to make sure that it is the appropriate medication, and that it is no more than it needs to be

Best wishes, and please let me know if I can answer any further questions. Tamara
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