Home Depression Why Hasn’t My Diagnosis Changed?

Why Hasn’t My Diagnosis Changed?

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I was diagnosed with major depression with psychotic features about 5 years ago. I was originally under the care of an early intervention team but eventually needed to be hospitalized for about 3 months. After 3 years with this team things started to improve for me and I was passed to a more general team but I have never particularly got on well with them and I never get to see the same doctor twice consequently I feel it is really difficult to talk them. Despite this I’m doing amazingly wel and no longer feel I suffer from depression and no longer take anti-depressants. However i still take an antipsychotic, quetiapine slow release 500mg, every day. I hear a number of negative voices most of the time and often see things (my dog turned blue!!) that others cannot. I am starting to find it easy to rationalise these things and can quickly conclude that they aren’t real. My question though is, is it possible that my diagnosis is going to change? Doctors try to blur over the question especially when I ask whether my psychosis will be with me for a long time. I haven’t suffered from depression for 18months, but my psychosis is still there and I keep having new/different hallucinations. What could the diagnosis be if it is not psychotic depression? I am abletoget on with life eat/sleep/work. So does thisrule out schizophrenia? What could my diagnosis be? PleAse could you give me some suggestions as I find talking to medical people so difficult!!

It’s very difficult to answer the question about your diagnosis and why your doctor won’t give you a straight answer about changing your diagnosis. Those questions would be best answered by the professionals treating your case. I can only speculate, but perhaps they haven’t changed your diagnosis because they don’t see it as important or they don’t think a diagnosis change is warranted. Perhaps it’s an insurance-related issue. There could be other reasons as well.

Typically, I discourage people from focusing on a diagnosis. That’s because receiving a diagnosis is not always very helpful. This is especially true because mental health diagnosis is not an exact science. There are studies that show that two people can have the same set of symptoms yet receive different diagnoses from different mental health professionals.

You can try speaking to your doctor again and explaining your reasoning behind your inquiry. Perhaps then he or she may be more forthcoming about why they haven’t changed your diagnosis. You may also want to consider seeking a second opinion. It might help to clarify your diagnosis. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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