Getting the Correct Diagnosis

by Dr. Lorin Bradbury

Question: I have a situation. I am a Single mom and my daughter who is now 26 years old suffered childhood trauma that she is still struggling to overcome. She presents with symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Her late father suffered from the same condition. In the past a specialist prescribed medication for depression, however she did not cope well on the medication, so she was advised to go off medication. Over the years her condition has worsened. She has become aggressive and moody and seems depressed. She tells me that she wants to be well and live responsibly. I have read about this disorder and realize that I would also need to get thyroid tests done. This is really taking a toll on our lives. Much gratitude and Blessings.

Answer: I empathize with your situation and no doubt your daughter needs help. Since her later father also had Bipolar Disorder, there is an increased likelihood that the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder was correct. But if I understand correctly, she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and treated for Depression. Given that information, I would recommend another evaluation by a psychiatrist. I am a psychologist and not a medical doctor, so I would recommend returning to a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication. Also, it sounds like you have done a bit of research on your own and recognize that disorders of her thyroid need to be ruled out. So, you may want to get her an evaluation with an endocrinologist and then get a referral to a psychiatrist. Getting the correct diagnosis or diagnoses is of utmost importance.

Concerning her issues of childhood trauma, she may very well benefit from a mental health professional that has training and experience working with childhood trauma. I hope this is of some help.

Lorin L. Bradbury, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethel. For appointments, he can be reached at 543-3266. If you have questions that you would like Dr. Bradbury to answer in the Delta Discovery, please send them to The Delta Discovery, P.O. Box 1028, Bethel, AK 99559, or e-mail them to [email protected]

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