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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Comorbid Mental Health Problems?

 forgetthealamo - Mon Jul 09, 2007 1:26 am

Hi. I am a 22 year old lady. In the past four years I have been diagnosed with a bunch of different mental health problems. These have included Bipolar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depression, and Borderline Personality Disorder. My family doesn't really "believe" in psychology - so no one really admits that they have any mental health issues or seeks help. Though, there is definitely a trend of anxiety, depression, paranoia, and substance abuse in several people. Right now, I am between doctors and insurance companies, so I am not medicated. I have been hospitalized twice: Once for self-injury, the other time for self-injury and suicide attempt.

Is it possible to have all of those disorders at the same time? I know that they all have some symptoms in common, and it can be hard to get an accurate diagnosis sometimes. Not knowing what the problem is makes it hard for me to figure out how to get the best care and advocate for my health. I really don't think I have Borderline Personality Disorder, and got mad when the one doctor I had insisted that that was my problem. But, how can I argue with someone that went to medical school? I guess I just want to know about the likelihood that all of these things could be wrong with me, or if something sounds fishy to you, too. Thanks a lot.
 Dr. K. Eisele - Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:40 pm

User avatar Dear forgetthealamo:

In medicine, we lear something called Occam's razor, which is the simple concept that the simplest solution to any group of symptoms tends to be the best one.

It is not likely that you have all those conditions. You have been given two mood disorder diagnoses (Bipolar Disorder and Major Depression). Bipolar Disorder supersedes Major Depression if the criteria for Bipolar disorder are met.

There is a criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder which says:

The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (i.e., a drug of abuse, a medication, or toxin exposure) or a general medical condition and does not occur exclusively during a Mood Disorder, a Psychotic Disorder, or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (Criterion F).

If your anxiety occurs only during episodes of depression, hypomania, or mania, then Generalized Anxiety Disorder would not be diagnosed.

Borderline Personality Disorder can be diagnosed along with Bipolar Disorder or Major Depression, and statistically, it is not unusual.

To view general information about Borderline Personality Disorder, there is a topic started on the psychiatry forum here at the Doctor's Lounge. For even more information from Psychiatry Online, see:

I wonder if it might be that these diagnoses were actually changed from one to the other rather than added on?

Hope this helps!

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