As a parent of a teenager with significant mental health challenges, I am extremely frustrated right now. As you may remember, last week I mentioned that my daughter just got home after her fifth inpatient stay at the psych ward. She was given 5 different psychiatric medications and was sent on her way. This week she had a follow up appointment with her regular doctor who refused to fill some of her medications. I am so beyond frustrated right now.
Her doctor said she wouldn’t fill her ADHD medication because she wanted proof my daughter has ADHD before prescribing. I don’t really have a problem with that although she was diagnosed with ADHD at residential and the medicine they gave her for it really helped her. No one is on the same page or takes the time to get to know her. I am all for doing a psych eval for diagnostic purposes. So far she has been ‘diagnosed’ with 9 different mental health conditions by multiple providers. I know she doesn’t have all the things she has been ‘diagnosed’ with. How hard is it to actually test her so there is no question what she is struggling with so she can have the proper treatment??
She also couldn’t get her prescription for a mood stabilizer. There have been three medications I felt helped my daughter, one is the ADHD medicine and the other is the mood stabilizer they prescribed in the hospital that the doctor refuses to fill. There is one more mood stabilizer that helped which causes weight gain. My daughter also is a binge eater and is considered obese, so although it did help I don’t want her on it.
So we are back to square one. She is not on any of the medications that have historically worked for her. Everyone keeps yanking around her meds. No one can agree on what needs treating and no one is doing the testing that would point to treatment options. Arabella did have a psychiatrist for 5 months. I really liked him and thought he was spot on. But then he dropped the bomb on me by saying he thought she has borderline and schizoaffective with bipolar II. Then he abruptly retired and she has not been able to see an outpatient psychiatrist since. She dropped her regular doctor and psychiatric nurse after she thought I turned them against her.
Now Arabella is splitting with her therapist and her therapist does not want to see her anymore. She really liked this therapist until she didn’t anymore. This was her sixth therapist not counting the inpatient, outpatient, and residential therapists. I want to get involved in her care, but last time it didn’t work out well for either one of us.
I think the system is broken. Part of it is my daughter’s fault for doctor and therapist hopping, although it is not unusual for someone with her mental health struggles. But it is so hard to find someone who will take the time to listen and manage her care. I told her she needs to be forceful about getting the help and medications she needs because her life depends on it.
How hard can it be? It isn’t like this for a medical condition. Oh, you have cancer. Nah, we don’t really need to know where or how bad it is. Here just take these pills and come back in 6 months. Oh, then you probably don’t have cancer, you probably have high blood pressure. Just try these pills instead. We aren’t going to give you the pills that worked in the past because we don’t think you are feeling sick but we are not going to test you. What is your billing address again? Next!
Arabella has an appointment to see a new psychiatrist in July. By then it will be a year and a half since her previous doctor retired. I never would have guessed how difficult it is to get good mental health treatment when you need it. I feel really stuck now in what I can do to help her. The best I can do right now is to encourage her to advocate for her own care. I’m afraid if I help her again and she goes back to hating me again, she will drop her whole care team like she did before.
But most of all, I feel frustrated with the broken system. You can’t help people if you only spent 10 minutes with them before moving on to the next patient.