The visit to my MD and essentially getting diagnosed with “drug damage!!”

Yes, it’s legit now. On record by a board certified MD!!

Understanding this post in it’s entirety may depend on having read this one.

I’ve edited a couple of comments I made after my doctor’s visit in order to make this post. I’m generally too tired to write much original stuff lately, but I’d like to give a little update. I went to my general practitioner seeking a referral for home health as stated in the above linked post.

My general practitioner does play by the book but he is also a really nice guy who BELIEVES my tale!! And that is amazing in this world where docs think psychotropics are just dandy in general. The great thing about this guy is I don’t believe he’s ever spent less than an hour with me. He is totally old school and I don’t really know how the heck he does it except I always have to wait for at least 2 hours to see him once I get there on time.

I’ve been seeing him since before I started withdrawing. He knows me pretty well and trusts my judgment and has an open mind, in spite of pumping pharma ads in his office on two large screens. I’ve decided he must do this because the practice he is a part of is Christian and in the spirit of true Christianity they often do not require payment from the uninsured or under insured. I suppose this is why I don’t totally bail. The guy is a good man.

In any case the most awesome thing is that he did indeed come up with a diagnosis that included language that did amount to meaning “psychiatric drug damage!!!” He could do nothing else having ruled out all other possibilities for all my varied, diverse and severe physical complaints. He’s ruled out MS, Lupus, Lyme Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis among that which I can remember.

Talk about feeling vindicated and validated. This will be on my medical record now. I can use this, instead of the bullshit bipolar diagnosis to plead my case when my disability is again reviewed. The drugs are, after all, what took me out of work. My facetious diagnosis creation from my last post has actually come to fruition! I suggested perhaps diagnosing myself with:

1. Psychiatric Drug Damage

2. Chemical Injury

3. Iatrogenic Illness

4. Mitochondrial Damage

The diagnosis he gave me was something akin to “muscle weakness and atrophy secondary to chronic medication usage.”  He also documented the severe nausea, the convulsive/neurological like symptoms, the migraines, the noise and light sensitivity, the severe flu-like aches and pains, etc.

He also told me I had great courage and said he realized that most people with my history ended up with deadened spirits. He seems to really get what I’m up to and truly appreciate it. He understands that the psychiatrized often end up not believing in themselves and he clearly sees my fighting spirit and acknowledges it in a profound sense.

He thinks the diagnosis will fly with Medicare and I will find out next week when the home health people visit to do an assessment.

If  this diagnosis does not fly he is willing to revisit other possible alternatives like “chronic fatigue syndrome”—as I do have the Epstein Barr Virus, but I’ve had it since I was 16 and while it may be playing a part in the picture my extreme history with extreme over-medication is very well documented and therefore he thinks this diagnosis is better for my ongoing medical records because he has been documenting my reports for several years now.

My disability was suppose to be reviewed last March but never was, so it could happen at any time. So now this documentation will help me as I have no intention of being on record as mentally ill anymore. I suppose the psychiatrist I now see can say whatever he wants, frankly it’s unclear to me what he thinks of me—he calls me his “recovery gal,”  but I imagine he’ll still be using my old label. I sure as hell, however,  will not use the term bipolar when I’m filling out my paperwork. It’s clear it was the drugs that disabled me and the withdrawals that continue making me ill.

There is no question in my mind about that and I’m glad it’s on record.

I said in my last post why this trip to the doc was going to be so difficult. I’ve completely avoided going back there since my last visit:

I’ve planned the trip to the doctors so I don’t have to go in the office, because even though my doc is nice his practice puts big ol’ pharma screens in the waiting room pumping out pharma commercials. Last time I went I swear I was totally traumatized by the time I went into the exam room. I wouldn’t go to a regular doc of this nature at all but I need him for Medicare. If I could I’d never walk into a traditional doctor’s office again in my life.

I will wait in the car and Daniel will come get me when they call me into the exam room.

Then I’m coming prepared with a small fold up futon to lay on the floor in the doctors exam room because the table I had to lay on last time was excruciatingly uncomfortable and I waited in there for two hours in pain.

So a futon and some blankets on the floor. Don’t know what the heck he and his staff are gonna think of me camping out on his floor, but frankly I don’t give a damn. I refuse to go through what I went through last time. And this society does nothing to accomodate the seriously physically ill and so I’ll do what I need to do to make myself comfortable.

So when he saw me on the floor on the futon he smiled and said, “this is a first.”

I raised my fist in the air and said, “self-advocacy!!” and told him how awful my last visit there had been because I was so uncomfortable. He was very nice.

Anyway, I was going to wait to write this post until the home health people had come by and assessed me and gotten verification from medicare, but I’m low on stuff to post so I thought I’d just go with this now. The home health people should be here this week sometime hopefully and I’ll let you know how it goes.

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34 thoughts on “The visit to my MD and essentially getting diagnosed with “drug damage!!”

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  1. I’ve found it.
    I’m not being able to do it now.
    I’m starting to scare that I’ll have disabilities because of the use of these drugs.
    I’ve just remembered that you have a good psychiatrist.

  2. My doctor also feels that what I am going through is related to psychiatric drug damage, but my doc also hates psychiatric medicine with a passion. He’s a great guy and I wish I had listened to him sooner… a lot sooner. He is a wise old man and I respect him more than ever. I just wish he could give me some kind of magic pill to make the damage repair itself. Like he said to me, it will heal, it just takes time… lots and lots of time… 🙂

  3. intriguing…

    I also met people who believed me, understood me…The ones who tend to be helpful treat me as a human being, not a diagnosis…We are such complex creatures…I still don’t know what came first: the egg or the chicken…

  4. I’ve actually had a lot of people listen to me and be respectful and believe me…

    Integrative doctors, therapists, and acupuncturist, even psychiatrists…

    I’ve met good people who have helped me along the way and many who continue to.

    BUT, this was a diagnosis…that is now part of my record…

    but I’ve not actually had much difficulty finding people who believe me…the difficulty has been finding people who know what the heck to do to help me.

    And that remains a problem.

  5. Hi Gianna,
    I linked to your blog from Philip Dawdy’s. I read your response to what he wrote about you and I really didn’t take it that way at all. This coming from someone who has never seen your blog but will now read it. I am so happy that there are people like you guys out there chronicling your efforts and giving a voice to the voiceless like me who are too depressed and downtrodden to write about ourselves. As I said in my response to Philip’s post, thanks to people like you I now feel more empowered to say to my docs I am not going to put up with some of the side effects caused by these drugs because we just don’t have the evidence about long term damage- and now, thanks to you, we are starting to have some of that evidence. I am going to print out some of these posts to take to my docs. If they ignore or downplay what I am trying to say I will know that I have to keep looking for someone who will listen.

    1. yes, Eve,
      never give up…and believe in your experience until you find people who support you…I’m lucky to have a handful of different professionals helping me out…but getting that diagnosis was rather key.

  6. Oh, honey — there are tears of gratitude in my eyes as I type this. I am so relieved and happy for you … you are so deserving of help and respect and someone in the medical profession to finally freaking listen to you.

  7. Great News, Gianna. You’ve done a great job with your activism and self-advocacy…. and doesn’t it feel great when they finally get it?!

    My current doctor believes me… I don’t know to what extent she really gets it but I am now her third patient with serious protracted antidepressant withdrawal issues and she’s treated me with nothing but respect. A friend just told me that a person from the company that is helping her apply for SSD said that they had lots of claims based on iatrogenic damage from psych meds. I’ve hear lots of other anecdotes about comments from other professionals and slowly but surely I believe they are starting to see the light.

    Keep up the good fight…


  8. I’m so happy!
    “This is a first.”
    Yes! I hope this is a first.
    I’m feeling terrible. I guess I have tapered too much Effexor.
    But it made me feel happy.

  9. thank you everyone,
    I am simply not up to the task of answering people individually today…while I did seem to get a burst of intellectual energy last night when I wrote this, I also made a cut in the Klonopin last night and an increase in the Valium…

    I’m royally out of it today…so excuse me for not participating in this comment thread, but thank you so much for all your support!!

  10. Doctors too often cover for psychiatrists and claim that psychiatric drugs are “good”. However, psychiatric drugs usually cause damage too people. It is good that you found a physician who is honest enough to admit that. His knowing you from childhood might also have been helpful, because many doctors, when they hear that someone is taking psychiatric drugs, are biased towards dismissing that person as “crazy”. The doctor’s knowing you in the past might have prevented some of that bias.

    Gianna responds:
    I have only known this doctor for a few years but he has known me since I was on the full cocktail.

  11. We shall overcooome…
    we shall overcooome…
    we shall overcome one da a a a ay,

    Deep in my heart…
    I do believe…
    that we shall overcoome…
    one day

  12. Good for you Gianna-
    Pretty cool. Horrible though that you have to go through this. I did a short stint working at a very fancy psych hospital in NYC where the “humane” psychiatrists POISONED a person I worked with (I was the therapist) by prescribing so many psych meds to her at once that she had an ultra-toxic reaction and it sent her into a coma for several months. And the funny thing was, they didnt even care. They STILL blamed the “mental illness.” (And the funny thing was, I didn’t even think she was “mentally ill,” but extremely emotionally confused for VERY legitimate reasons!! As if almost all “mental illness” isn’t that!!!)


  13. My doc was a saviour G. He believed in me and when presented with evidence, he did his own research and stopped prescribing Seroxat to new patients… I wasn’t the first to complain about it to him.

    I love the term ‘syndrome’ – Chronic back pain syndrome, withdrawal syndrome etc. It’s basically saying, yeh, you have what you say you have but if we [docs] add the word ‘syndrome’ then we aren’t at liberty to help you because we don’t know how to!

    I’m pissed off today


  14. Hoo-ray!!!! So glad you have such a wonderful, compassionate and understanding doc and that you have an accurate diagnosis and are very likely on your way to receiving home care. You are a victor, Gianna, and it’s so good to see that your spirit has not been deadened and that he also recognized that. WOW!

  15. Your symptoms could be from a mycotoxin exposure, get an ERMI test ( and test your living space. I had the same thing and really wanted to get better – hardly any docs know about this – good luck, JD

  16. So glad to know you have a supportive doctor. Reading your posts gives me the strength to continue on with my own weaning off process. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  17. It’s late but feel I must say something. Most doctors offices have chairs. What’s a really sick person to do if they must lay down?? My current neurologist have several waiting room sofas and I laid on them flat out or fetal position. When I started infusions I was too ill to sit in the recliner for 6-9 hours so I got down on the bare floor and curled up. The second time I said either get me a cot or goodbye. Next visit there was an ancient child’s bunk bed 2 inch mattress. It looked like heaven to me and I laid there with a blanket over my head.
    I’m so sorry your doc said it was drug damage. I call it Drug Toxicity Damage. Your system was overloaded. Not monitored. What other medical specialty gives this much drugs. None. None at all of this intense powerful magnitude.
    The neurologist that diagnosed me with drug toxicity wouldn’t go on record as such. I had to force his hand to get his medical notes about me through HiPPA 2003 federal paperwork. He called it Akathisia-drug reaction.
    Am glad you have a decent primary care doctor. That are still a few good guys out there.

  18. Gianna, this is good news, because validation is key and just knowing that your doctor supports you is extremely important. Thanks for sharing. cheers for self-advocacy!

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