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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Are You Buggin?


Not sure if you need to see a psychiatrist? I find most of patients really don't know. I find most therapists and medical doctors that my patients often see don't know either. My patients are busy trying to do what it takes to be better but something is still "buggin".

The most common undiagnosed mental illnesses I see are anxiety and mood disorders. In fact anxiety is so common 1 out of every 4 people suffers. You might be that one. Even with intensive psychotherapy you will still be symptomatic. Never fear, psychiatrists have "skills" rather, tests that you can do on your own that can tell us a lot. Listed below are my quick and easy faves.

The PHQ-9 is a standard self test questionnaire. This test has great reliability (sensitivity and specificity) for picking up depression. If you score 15 or more on this test, see me-or see any psychiatrist for that matter. I even suggest you start with your primary MD. Word of note though, if your regular doctor starts something and you don't get relief, see a psychiatrist. It just saves time, energy and the exhaustion of suffering.

My next goody is the MDQ which is my new go to for diagnosing more complicated mood disorders like Bipolar Spectrum Disorders. I've enclosed in the link how to score but it might be best to do this test, then take it to your psychiatrist (me) for a clear possible diagnosis. Again the specificity of this exam is greater than 95%.

Another great test is the GAD-7 which is good for generalized anxiety disorder but also for panic disorder, social phobia and post traumatic disorder. Again reliability is over 85%. These ARE the most common disorders I treat. Go ahead take the exam and score. Greater than 10? Score an appointment with a psychiatrist (me) while you are doing therapy.

Last but not least is the CAGE questionnaire for substance abuse and dependency. 4 simple questions can make all the difference between life and overdose death. 

OK, cool-you now know what's real and what we shrinks look for and use. Take these short tests and let me know what you think. Treatment is easy (seriously) and effective.