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Freaked

Horrible Psychiatrist

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Before I had my TTT, I didn't know what was wrong with me and ended up in hospital a lot, where of course they never found anything to explain my heart rate and other symptoms. I've also had pain in my chest, jaw and neck when i run, for as long as i can remember, that no one's ever found a cause for. I was getting very freaked out by it all cos i could barely walk, and eventually they got a psychiatrist to see me. A psychologist was sent in to ask me if I'd ever had health problems, and I had nothing major to report, just mild stomach problems and occasional inner ear vertigo. Anyway, then the psychiatrist came in and said I had a somataform disorder. That's where your mind creates symptoms. He was a very rude, disheveled man and I just told him he was wrong. But I saw the psychologist now and then, who was nice, and eventually my TTT proved I had POTS and vasovagal syncope, though here (Ireland) they just sort of call it autonomic dysfunction and most doctors won't diagnose POTS. But the psychologist accepted that I had something wrong with me and said this would change our treatment approach to just dealing with the stress of the illness, and my lingering worry over the exertional pains I always got.

But to my surprise, when the psychiatrist met with me two weeks later, he was unwilling to change his diagnosis, and said he wouldn't be letting me see the psychologist unless I let him write to every doctor I'd seen basically telling them not to treat me or do any more tests cos it was making me worse. Obviously I refused, and that was the end of that.

But recently I was in hospital for five days cos I couldn't stop vomiting, which was starting to get bloody, and my POTS had gotten very bad. They didn't really know anything about autonomic dysfunction, and asked if it would be okay with me to see a psychiatrist. I stupidly said yes, and of course it was the ******* again. He was suggesting my TTT results were from deconditioning, and had nothing to say when I pointed out my symptoms were why I couldn't exercise in the first place. I asked him if he thought I'd been somaticising from when I was 4 years old and knew nothing about the heart, let alone that it could cause pain in the jaw, and he had no answers to that either. When I told him that the falls and black outs unit in a big hospital didn't think I just had deconditioning, he responded 'well they don't know about your history of mental illness'. I don't know WHAT he was talking about as I'd never had any issues or been to a mental health professional before all this. I also don't know what symptoms he implies I'm somatacising, and he won't give any answer. My discharge sheet listed three diagnoses: 1 autonomic dysfunction, 2 gastritis, 3 somataform disorder. What?

So he wrote to my GP (PCP) essentially telling her not to treat me, and I'm afraid he's told her to say that to my two specialists, who call my condition autonomic dysfunction to me but don't seem to use that term in letters, probably becuase it's not a very respected diagnosis here. They mostly just talk about the symptoms they're treating me for. But I'm afraid to tell them anything about my predicament and lose credibility.

I don't know what to do. My parents are talking about sending a lawyer's letter to the psychiatrist for his treatment of me, or reporting him to the medical council. It seems like he just doesn't want the stigma of misdiagnosis and is determined to make sure I don't see anyone else; he was really annoyed to find out I'd went to a private psychologist (who of course didn't think it was all in my head). I've never encountered a doctor like him, and unfortunately he's sort of a bigshot. I don't know what to do or what doctor will back me up enough when POTS isn't diagnosed by any doc I've found. I feel like I'm in a nightmare. Sorry for the essay.

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I agree with your parents. I would report the Psychiatrist to the medical board. Would it help if the psychologist referred you to a different Psychiatrist, for a "second opinion" but to actually get that diagnosis off your record. Does your GP or other doctors believe the Psychiatrist?

Your whole situation makes me angry. I can't imagine how upsetting this must be for you.

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I don't know what to say other than this is so horrible! I honestly cannot even imagine being treated like this. He clearly doesn't even know what he's talking about because I'm fairly certain a diagnosis of somataform can only be made if there's no other physical explaination for the symptoms. It doesn't matter what he or anyone else thinks the positive tilt is caused by, you can't cause it with your mind and therefore your symptoms are not solely based in your head as with a somataform disorder. You have testing to prove this fact. Please if anything, do not take his words to heart. He is just simply wrong.

I would definitely file a complaint with whatever board he has to answer to. That behavior is out of line and honestly he doesn't belong in practice.

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Freaked,

I actually read that three times to make sure I was reading it correctly. What in the world?? I would suggest making an appointment with your primary doctor to talk about this horrible experience. The fear of the unknown and wondering if your specialists are going to get a report from your primary dr is probably something that's weighing extremely heavy on you.

This "psychiatrist" should have his license taken away.. I also recently had a consultation with a psychiatrist and it was nothing like that at all. He also specialized in neuropharmacology, difficult diagnoses, & complex clinical cases. If you agree to see someone in that field again, it's always okay to ask for a second opinion or just flat out decline seeing a certain doctor. Did you sign a disclosure to release the psychiatric consult notes to specific doctors? I was asked specifically which doctor, if any, would I like the report sent to. I was also asked by the psychiatrist if anything he and I discussed not be mentioned in the report. Did he offer you any of that?

I'm really sorry you've had to go through that not once, but twice. It sounds like that psychiatrist already had decided that he wasnt going to trip over his ego and change your diagnosis or back down before he even walked into the room. Let your parents hire that lawyer -- he shouldn't be practicing. Dangerous :angry:

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Sorry about your experience, there's those " kind" in every specialty that cross the line....I think the pychs point was to get you not so focused on your health problems because compulsing on any aspect makes things worse overall.But he just went about it all wrong. I hope you feel better and try not to hold onto this experience just learn from it, and records are only released at your authorization.....so exclude that one and never let someone dismiss your medical concerns based on a POTS diagnosis. Good luck:)

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A well worded letter from a lawyer may go a long way; you can also request that the psychiatrist's somataform diagnosis be removed from your records. I report to the medical board wouldn't hurt either.

In my opinion, what the doctor has done is unethical--and in addition to that, his actions threaten to cut you off from the treatment by doctors who are willing to learn. Sadly you've learned the hard way that a doctor is no different from other people, he just has more schooling--and that doesn't make him good at what he or she does. One of the biggest failings of doctors I have encountered is that huge ego you've run into with this one--and an unwillingness to learn or to risk being wrong.

Sad.

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Thanks for the replies.

No I specifically didn't give him permission to write to my specialists, so hopefully reports won't find their way to them. It's so frustrating, my cardiologist calls my condition POTS to me but he doesn't put that in his letters. Another thing that weighs on my mind is the fact that I'm a psychology student and I was intending to be a psychologist one day, so I'm very uncomfortable about having a 'disorder' on record. Not sure what do about him; thinking about meeting him again with my parents or boyfriend and asking him to justify himself, and if he still refuses to explain his reasoning or change the diagnosis then taking further action.

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Was reading an article the other day http://abcnews.go.com/Health/somatic-syndrome-disorder-mislabel-sick-mentally-ill/story?id=18606406%C2'> criticizing the DSM- 5 which has come under heavy criticism for it's potential for more of this kind of behavior happening.

Anyway I was struck at one point in the article when I read that "somatization disorder is associated with sexual abuse and has 37 symptoms". Was wondering if you doctor documented all those 37 symptoms when he made his rash diagnosis or if he just pulled this out of his hat as they frequently do. Might be another avenue you could explore in fighting this?

So sorry you have had to endure this on top of being so ill. The LAST thing you need when you're already sick is having to deal with the additional stress caused by people like this!!

Hugs!

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Does the word "quack" come to mind???? - talk about utter nonsense! I would definitely complain to the medical board. No telling how many complaints this one has had lodged against him - guarantee you are not the first! I would also check your medical records and diagnoses - especially the ones turned into insurance companies and other agencies - you need to be sure you have accurate information on your records. I checked mine recently and was surprised to find multiple incorrect diagnoses.

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I was horrified to read all this. But he is just one doctor, an unethical one at that, and I would have him reported to the board. If you did not sign anything giving permission to release your records to other doctors, then he cannot, at least here, legally release any of his 'findings' to other doctors. I wouldn't worry about school. This should not affect it. You have enough substantial findings from your other doctors, it seems to be, but if he remains as intrusive, get a lawyer to write a very strong letter. Many of us have come across doctors who say it's 'psychological' and then we hopefully find enough support to discredit that doctor. I hope he gets discredited soon -- quack sounds like a good word, yes.

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Have you asked your for a second opinion to somewhere that has experience with POTs like London. You have a right to a second opinion and somewhere that understands pots and can give you the correct diagnosis may help. i think you are also allowed to add information to your own medical notes. i had some similar experiences - nowhere nearly as bad - but i couldn't get a correct diagnosis because of the preponderance of doctors to claim what they don't know as psychological. i got a second opinion and then I saw someone privately in the end.

Good luck - yo don't deserve to be treated like this.

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Hi Freaked,

I was wondering where you lived because seeing this psychiatrist sounded like you had little choice in who you saw. Looking up your profile leads me to believe you have British NHS health service -- am I right? I'm in Australia and can choose our equivalent or see someone privately. I see a psych privately and he has no right to report to other docs unless I give him permission. He would always ask if he saw the need and he never asks. Although some of my other specialists send their letters detailing findings of my phsyical health to him - with my permission.

About 6 years ago, a couple of years after I'd been diagnosed with POTS I was having a very bad time physically and emotionally. I rang my psychiatrist one day and asked him if he thought I had a somatoform disorder? I was wondering if this was all in my head and if so, could I work on my head and change the physical stuff.( I'd rationalized to myself that it would be better to have a somatoform disorder because then I could do the mental work and be well, voila!) He replied that he'd need to think about it for a few days. A few days later he rang me back and was emphatic that I did not have a somatoform disorder.

Of course, I recognise that there are emotive aspects to how well I deal with many of my symptoms sometimes. But mostly it's the ****** pots stuff that can become so overwhelming at times - physically and psychologically.

My psychiatrist pats me on the back most times I visit him, just as I'm leaving. He recognises my physical struggle and the emotional toll it takes on me. He understands and empathises with the brick walls I'm forever hitting. The circles I go round -- trying to fix one symptom (albeit temporarily) only to make another symptom worse. I'm lucky to have him. I just wish you had one like him and not the **** who's obviously got too much power and too great an opinion of himself to want to take a look at the fact that he could be wrong. I shake my head at anyone who is so determined that they are 100% right. There is no such thing as a sure thing in this life, as far as I'm concerned.

I'd send letters complaining about him. Make a lot of noise. Try to keep all correspondence as rational and unemotional as possible. Get the medical board questioning him by being straight forward and calm as possible yourself. Present your case. Or as you mentioned, let your parents to do it.

A friend of mine was married to a psychiatrist. He was a very bad man in a profession full of good people. After ruining a number of lives he was finally struck off and is no longer allowed to practice. When my friend was married to him he was still able to practice but when she left him she told me that he should not be. She was not a wife scorned, but rather a now-wise-to-him woman. None of us were surprised, some years later, when we heard he had been struck off.

blue

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I can empathize with this. I saw my oncologist of 15 years and discussed my current situation. she said I have had all these tests including a month long holter monitor that showed nothing but normal and was making me feel like I was making it all up and discounting my ttt saying even her heart rate speeds up when she stands up. I came out of the 6 hot appt. with no answers feeling violated by some one I trust my life with. I feel sicker now than when I had cancer and wad on chemo 15 years ago but since my tests are normal they won't believe me.

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Wow I can well understand your concerns!

This big shot psych seems to have a bit of an issue with his ego, while I am in little doubt that somataform disorders are real, I feel they are incredibly rare and have a much more complex interrelationship with mind and body than any professional has to date come up with.

The issue you have here is an arrogant 'professional' that feels the need to empower himself by going around basically telling other professionals they are wrong and he is right! If this chap genuinely had your well being in mind he would have requested to consult with your other Dr.'s in view of putting together some kind of care 'support' package into place. Telling the other Dr.'s to stop treating you shows how this chap is so convinced he is right even though physical evidence is there to explain your symptoms on a medical basis. I would be looking at his mental health and his ability to make a good diagnosis when he is displaying all the signs of a person with some form of personality disorder.

We as a group of people with complex medical conditions are up against this very scare development in money saving tactics by many governments, lol I know I am now sounding like I have a complex he he.

Have a look at this and you will see what I am getting at:

https://spiral.imperial.ac.uk/bitstream/10044/1/10361/6/I%201%20Somatoform%20high%20IACAPAP%20Final.pdf

http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/43/5/672.long Money makes the world go around!!

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So sorry to hear of your horrible experience. A few months ago someone else from Ireland posted a really similar story on here - I can't remember his name - I think it was here. I wonder if it was the same psychiatrist? You certainly seem to have trouble in Ireland with acceptance of this condition.

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Had a very similar experience in Ireland. Psychiatrists are very keen to spout woo-woo like "Anxiety" and "Depression" and "Psychosomatic" whenever they need to fill the Gaps. (God of the Gaps/argument from ignorance)

Doctors aren't much better. That's why your specialists won't use proper terms in their correspondence. There is no regulation here in Ireland (except a guideline by the Medical council in 2011 but it's just a guideline) that doctors continue to educate themselves. These terms will never be on their radar, and any nuanced meaning behind them will certainly never be developed in their understanding, given the current state of affairs.

I sent you the name of a good specialist. Good luck.

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