On the subject of neurological and general medical conditions, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual acknowledges that both “may cause personality changes.” The text goes on to reference “physical examination findings, laboratory findings, and patterns of prevalence and onset,” which would imply that the psychiatrist or other doctor making the diagnosis actually does perform physical exams and lab work. My experience indicates this rarely occurs.
Out of control blood, sugar levels and hypothyroidism caused depression in one of my diabetic patients. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, I should have diagnosed her with “Mood Disorder Due to Diabetes and Hypothyroidism.” Instead, I adjusted her insulin and thyroid medication.
Once her blood sugar and thyroid normalized so did her mood. An antidepressant would only serve to dull all the feelings and in this case, might prevent the woman from being fully alert to the symptom of low blood sugar or to the response of her other problems to medication. Symptoms are red flags that signal us when something is wrong. If the symptoms are covered up, the signals don’t get through. Depression is a symptom, not a disease.
IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD IS ALREADY TAKING A PSYCHIATRIC DRUG, DO NOT STOP IT ABRUPTLY. ALWAYS DISCONTINUE IT SLOWLY AND UNDER A DOCTOR’S SUPERVISION!