The average patient with bipolar disorder takes approximately 10 years to get a proper diagnosis. About 56 percent are first diagnosed with unipolar depression. I imagine the stats for depression and other diagnoses aren’t pretty either. Working with a good doctor can save you 15 years of pain and misery. Trust me, I know. I went through seven doctors before finding the one who saved my life. Not only was I diagnosed incorrectly for more than 10 years of my life, once I did get the right diagnosis, I was treated incorrectly—with about 15 different kinds of medication in the time period of four months. No wonder I was emitted into the ER to detox.
When folks ask me how to find a good doctor, I tell them to seek a physician that is affiliated with a teaching institution. Because that is where the most current research is done. Typically doctors from a teaching hospital or university are more conservative with medication, disseminating the older (less lucrative) meds that have been researched longer and are more reliable. They also have been vetted by that institution, which is worth something.