Teaching my psychiatrist about Asperger's

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Stellian
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23 May 2007, 1:30 am

I went to a psychologist two weeks ago. After half an hour of conversation, she started asking things like "Why don't you make eye contact? Are you hiding something?", "You're doing those movements with your fingers, are you nervous?". Finally, she said I had some "obsessive behaviours", "autistic traits", she was "totally puzzled" about me and had "no clue of a diagnosis". In other words, she noticed every aspie trait in me, but didn't know it was called Asperger's Syndrome. :?

I was dying to explain it to her. She had a DSM-IV on her desk; I could have shown her the page about Asperger's right away. But the last time I tried to explain Asperger's to a professional, she labelled me as a hypocondriac. So I kept my secret and she sent me to a psychiatrist.

I have to say that I live in Chile. We don't have any autism awareness campaigns. As far as I know, Asperger's has only been mentioned twice on TV. I seem to know more about psychology than several chilean psychologists I've met (it's one of my obsessive interests, by the way).

Given these circumstances, do you think I should tell my psychiatrist about Asperger's, if he doesn't find out by himself? Has anyone had similar experiences?



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23 May 2007, 1:34 am

Stellian wrote:
I went to a psychologist two weeks ago. After half an hour of conversation, she started asking things like "Why don't you make eye contact? Are you hiding something?", "You're doing those movements with your fingers, are you nervous?". Finally, she said I had some "obsessive behaviours", "autistic traits", she was "totally puzzled" about me and had "no clue of a diagnosis". In other words, she noticed every aspie trait in me, but didn't know it was called Asperger's Syndrome. :?

I was dying to explain it to her. She had a DSM-IV on her desk; I could have shown her the page about Asperger's right away. But the last time I tried to explain Asperger's to a professional, she labelled me as a hypocondriac. So I kept my secret and she sent me to a psychiatrist.

I have to say that I live in Chile. We don't have any autism awareness campaigns. As far as I know, Asperger's has only been mentioned twice on TV. I seem to know more about psychology than several chilean psychologists I've met (it's one of my obsessive interests, by the way).

Given these circumstances, do you think I should tell my psychiatrist about Asperger's, if he doesn't find out by himself? Has anyone had similar experiences?


If your psychologist mentioned that you seemed to have "autistic traits," she might be open to the idea of Asperger's, once she knows what it is. Dunno about the psychiatrist- has he mentioned anything about your behavior?



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23 May 2007, 1:40 am

Most doctors are real a$$es and would not like you mentioning you think you have aspergers.

I read that Chile and the US are the only countries where methampethamine is available
for ADHD treatment. So maybe that might mean Chile as whole has a better acceptance
of medical science. So hopefully you will get a good diagnosis from the psychiatrist.



tomamil
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23 May 2007, 2:05 am

just don't try to insist. only mention it and drop it...



Stellian
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23 May 2007, 2:14 am

LostInSpace wrote:
If your psychologist mentioned that you seemed to have "autistic traits," she might be open to the idea of Asperger's, once she knows what it is. Dunno about the psychiatrist- has he mentioned anything about your behavior?


I don't see the psychiatrist yet, I'm trying to get some feedback before seeing him. What should I do if he does mention my behaviour?



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23 May 2007, 2:19 am

Stellian wrote:
LostInSpace wrote:
If your psychologist mentioned that you seemed to have "autistic traits," she might be open to the idea of Asperger's, once she knows what it is. Dunno about the psychiatrist- has he mentioned anything about your behavior?


I don't see the psychiatrist yet, I'm trying to get some feedback before seeing him. What should I do if he does mention my behaviour?


I would ask him if he's heard of Asperger's. If he has, try to suss out how he feels about it. If he is clearly part of that group that thinks that if you weren't diagnosed in childhood you can't have it, or something similarly stupid, I would drop it. If not however, I would explain to him how you think you fit the diagnosis. If he hasn't heard of it, offer to educate him- give him materials and so forth. That's my advice anyway.



tomamil
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23 May 2007, 2:27 am

LostInSpace wrote:
I would ask him if he's heard of Asperger's. If he has, try to suss out how he feels about it. If he is clearly part of that group that thinks that if you weren't diagnosed in childhood you can't have it, or something similarly stupid, I would drop it. If not however, I would explain to him how you think you fit the diagnosis. If he hasn't heard of it, offer to educate him- give him materials and so forth. That's my advice anyway.

i think that he would not like to be educated by a patient. but mentioning it, just simple mentioning, not insisting on it, would make him interested enough to have a look and read something about it, he has enough materials to find it out. if he asked you why did you mention it, say that you think that you may have it, but don't try to explain why. let him do the diagnosis. otherwise he might focus on finding flaws in your diagnosis, so to proof that he is the professional...



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23 May 2007, 3:54 am

It can be difficult. I am in the UK and I find that doctors here THINK they know about AS, but actually they don't have a clue.

For example - one psychiatrist told me that because I have feelings I couldn't have AS! So people with AS don't have feelings? For goodness' sake!

As tempting as it is to re-educate the entire medical profession, they might be a little offended (or their egos might be 'bruised') which could lead them to defensive and maybe even say you are a hypocondriac again, which wouldn't be helpful.

As others have suggested, it is certainly worth mentioning. And also, prepare what you want to say before the appointment - even write things down if this helps. List all the traits and behaviours that are relevant and also give examples of this behaviour. AS is something you're born with, so think of examples from when you were very young as well as more recent examples.

Are there any AS support groups in your area? If so, it might be worth contacting them for advice as some may already have had this conversation with psychiatrists so may be able to give you some guidance as to how they managed to make them listen.

Also, is it possible to have someone come with you to the appointment? When I went alone, I wasn't taken seriously at all. I was actually laughed at - even when feeling suidical was mentioned, which I found very hurtful.

Now one of the support workers from my support group comes to EVERY psych appointment with me, which has made a huge difference to the attitude of medical staff that I see.

If there is no support worker available, could you bring a parent or relative or family friend? Preferable someone who has known you since you were little so who can verify that you had AS symptoms from very early on in life.

Good luck!



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23 May 2007, 4:21 am

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For example - one psychiatrist told me that because I have feelings I couldn't have AS! So people with AS don't have feelings? For goodness' sake!


I had the EXACT same thing told to me. My granny died when I was 12, and my shrink told me that I couldn't possibly have AS because I was sad that she had died and I showed a little empathy! Another thing is that I too have been called a hypochondriac, my mum accused of having Munchausens by proxy (where a parent basically wants their child to be ill all the time) and I was given the label of personality disorder! :evil:

Finally, I met a neurologist who confirmed my quadrupal diagnosis of AS, TS, ADD and OCD. Basically, what I am saying is that no matter what country you live in, the service for neurological disorders is abysmal.


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tomamil
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23 May 2007, 4:30 am

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For example - one psychiatrist told me that because I have feelings I couldn't have AS! So people with AS don't have feelings? For goodness' sake!

i am actually amazed that a professional could say that. even stupid wikipedia says that 'individuals with AS have difficulty understanding their own feelings', it's like they didn't read anything about it, just heard some colleagues talking about it.



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23 May 2007, 4:36 am

I'd take in some written material to give to the psychiatrist.

I'm a health professional and am open to learning new things from my patients - in fact I think I learn more from them then from textbooks.

Some health profesionals are open, and some think they're God's gift.

You never know, you may have a good psychiatrist who is very interested and will go and do lots of research on his own.



girl7000
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23 May 2007, 5:50 am

Smelena wrote:
I'd take in some written material to give to the psychiatrist.

I'm a health professional and am open to learning new things from my patients - in fact I think I learn more from them then from textbooks.

Some health profesionals are open, and some think they're God's gift.

You never know, you may have a good psychiatrist who is very interested and will go and do lots of research on his own.


That's the problem. Some medical professionals are very good at what they do and really do care. However, there are also many pretty arrogant people out there and not only do their patients suffer, but they also make the entire profession look bad because people will assume that ALL health professionals are like that.



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23 May 2007, 6:28 am

She or he better pay you if you’re the one who educates her on a condition or disorder that she should know how to recognize and diagnose due to her profession.... I haven’t really gotten past the thread title sorry, but...ah, isn’t the professional supposed to be teaching you about the autism spectrum disorder from his or her observations of how it applies to you?

I just said the same thing twice from two different perspectives; that's how confused I am.... :?



Stellian
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24 May 2007, 12:14 am

girl7000 wrote:
It can be difficult. I am in the UK and I find that doctors here THINK they know about AS, but actually they don't have a clue.

For example - one psychiatrist told me that because I have feelings I couldn't have AS! So people with AS don't have feelings? For goodness' sake!

As tempting as it is to re-educate the entire medical profession, they might be a little offended (or their egos might be 'bruised') which could lead them to defensive and maybe even say you are a hypocondriac again, which wouldn't be helpful.

As others have suggested, it is certainly worth mentioning. And also, prepare what you want to say before the appointment - even write things down if this helps. List all the traits and behaviours that are relevant and also give examples of this behaviour. AS is something you're born with, so think of examples from when you were very young as well as more recent examples.

Are there any AS support groups in your area? If so, it might be worth contacting them for advice as some may already have had this conversation with psychiatrists so may be able to give you some guidance as to how they managed to make them listen.

Also, is it possible to have someone come with you to the appointment? When I went alone, I wasn't taken seriously at all. I was actually laughed at - even when feeling suidical was mentioned, which I found very hurtful.

Now one of the support workers from my support group comes to EVERY psych appointment with me, which has made a huge difference to the attitude of medical staff that I see.

If there is no support worker available, could you bring a parent or relative or family friend? Preferable someone who has known you since you were little so who can verify that you had AS symptoms from very early on in life.

Good luck!


:shock: What kind of psychiatrist laughts at a patient? He's the one that should go to a psychiatrist.

There's an organization called ASPAUT (Association of Parents of Autistics) in Chile, but I'm hesitant to ask for their help because I don't agree with their ideas (they are pro-cure and stuff). Furthermore, my problem is not directly related to AS. I went to the psychologist I mentioned because I have trouble concentrating at school (I'm easily distracted by some sounds), not because I can't cope with AS.

I'll think about it anyway. If the psychiatrist humiliates me, I'll probably seek some help from a support group to defend my rights.

My father is the only one I trust, but If I bring him with me, I'm sure he will do all the talking and interrupt me all the time. He's done it before. We used to go to a psychologist together; he answered all the "serious" questions and left the small talk to me. Since I suck at small talk, I end up looking like a complete retard. I've mentioned Asperger's to him several times, but he doesn't pay attention because he's too attached to the idea that I'm "special". He's a good person, though.

I'm sorry if these questions sound a little silly, but what does the support worker do at your appointments? What is he/she supposed to do? When does he/she talk?

Thank you for your advice. ;) Writing things down is a great idea, I'll do it. That way I won't forget everything if I get nervous.



Stellian
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24 May 2007, 12:49 am

(EDIT: Sorry, I double-posted) :oops:



Last edited by Stellian on 24 May 2007, 1:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

Stellian
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24 May 2007, 12:52 am

Smelena wrote:
I'd take in some written material to give to the psychiatrist.

I'm a health professional and am open to learning new things from my patients - in fact I think I learn more from them then from textbooks.

Some health profesionals are open, and some think they're God's gift.

You never know, you may have a good psychiatrist who is very interested and will go and do lots of research on his own.


I admire your attitude. I guess it's what makes the difference between simple practitioners and true investigators.

I like the idea of bringing him written material, but I'll take the "hit and run" approach first; that is, mentioning Asperger's as a possibility without insisting too much. Thank you. :)