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Everyone would vote for accuracy in psychiatric diagnosis…unfortunately accuracy isn’t running. Often patients are in various therapies—yet can’t maximally benefit from their therapy and continue to not function to their best potential—due to a co-morbid, unrecognized, misdiagnosed or mistreated brain chemistry imbalance.
Accepted statistics indicate that 2% of individuals on the planet will develop Bipolar Disorder at some point in their lives – and another 10-12% will experience symptoms of “Bipolar Spectrum”. This statistic applies to the general population – it is far higher in the percentage of individuals receiving mental health services.
Astoundingly, even with full-spectrum Bipolar Disorder, clinicians misdiagnose adults 70% of the time. This misdiagnosis rate is higher yet in children, seniors and people with any form of organic brain disease. Bipolar Spectrum (aka “Soft Bipolar Disorder”) diagnoses, which are five to six times as prevalent as full-spectrum Bipolar Disorder, is missed far more often. As the mood symptoms can be subtle, they are often missed entirely or attributed solely to character or family pathology. Even if a Bipolar Spectrum disorder is recognized as being present, it is often incorrectly diagnosed and the patient is treated for “depression” or “anxiety”.
It is critical, therefore, that all clinicians have the tools to assess when a chemical imbalance—however subtle—is present. As well, we have to know when a co-morbid mood disorder is treated to remission as opposed to just being palliated or “covered-up” by medication. As well, clinicians must consider the significant impact of misdiagnosis, mistreatment—and undertreatment—on substance use and abuse. Self-medication is almost always a sign of one of these errors…
In this presentation we will strive to go beyond thinking of a psychiatric consultation for “medication management” and, instead gain the familiarity that will allow clinicians to collaborate integratively with the psychiatric provider. We will review the symptoms (often obvious and occasionally subtle) that can promote the recognition of a co-morbid mood disorder as well as inform an accurate diagnosis. We will cover all the classes of medications that might be best used for effective treatment and review how to distinguish between palliation of symptoms versus treatment of a disorder to remission.
Identify subtle symptoms of bipolar spectrum mood disorders that may otherwise go undetected by the therapist or their family – resulting in an actively ill patient who is less than optimally available for the therapeutic process.
Understand the thinking among experts in mood disorders that symptoms such as amplified anxiety / worry / irritation / obsessing, etc. (not only out of context, but even when they are disproportionate) may be part of a bipolar spectrum disorder.
Recognize when a patient may be receiving medication treatment that either only palliates symptoms – or may even be increasing them – rather than treating a co-morbid psychiatric syndrome to remission.
Dr. Steve Weisblatt, MD, FAPA is a former Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and held a similar position at Downstate Medical Center. In addition to being the past author of the “Clinician’s Corner” Column in Bipolar Magazine, he has spoken widely in the US, Canada and Europe on the subject of accurate diagnosis and effective treatments for patients with mood disorders.
He has consulted for the U.S. Department of Justice, the New York State Attorney General and the New York Department of Education. He maintains a private practice in Stanford CT. and consults widely within the Tri-State area. For more information please visit drweisblatt.com.
Please update your browser to the most current version in order to use our online registration site.This program has been approved for CEU credits by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work. Adelphi University School of Social Work is an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0032. New York State Office of the Professions (NYSED) regulations require that participants must be present for the entire approved educational activity in order to receive a certificate for continuing education credits. There is no accommodation in the State regulations for late arrival, late return from lunch or breaks, or early departure. At present, there is no procedure for granting partial credit for approved continuing education events. If there are any changes in State regulation, this policy will updated accordingly.
Audrey Freshman, Ph.D., LCSW, CASAC
Director, Office of Professional and Continuing Education
Social Work Building, Room 235
p – 516.877.4339
e – firstname.lastname@example.org