September 07, 2004

Misdiagnosis of Schizophrenia

The following story is about a rare event where a person was diagnosed with schizophrenia but actually ended up having a brain tumor.

It is very common for people who have schizophrenia to not understand that they have schizophrenia (upwards of 50% of people who have schizophrenia don't understand that they have schizophrenia) but occasionally the reverse it true. The lesson for all here is to make sure the psychiatrists do the proper medical diagnosis before you or someone you know is diagnosed with schizophrenia. Generally this is true - psychiatrists typically take quite a while to diagnose schizophrenia because they need to do tests to make sure the problem isn't something else like a brain tumor. Learn as much as you can about the disease and always work to get the best possible treatment for someone who has schizophrenia.

For three hellish years I was treated for schizophrenia. But a simple blood test could have revealed the real problem.
A True Story By LUCY LAING

WHEN Kaye Asquith was told she was suffering from schizophrenia, she was a bright young student getting top grades at school. A year later, it was revealed that a terrible mistake had been made. Kaye, now 22, who lives in Barnsley with her mother Janet, 45, a nurse, was suffering from a life threatening brain
tumour . . .

MY NIGHTMARE began when I was 14, in the summer of 1995. I'd been a happy person - I loved going to school, had lots of friends and was getting A grades at school. My ambition was to go to university.

But I started feeling miserable and depressed - I didn't want to go out and yet I didn't want to stay inside either. It was as if I was drowning in the middle of the ocean with no one to help me.

I went to see my GP several times but he said I was suffering from depression and gave me antidepressants to take. But they didn't make me feel any better.

My periods also stopped altogether - although I wasn't pregnant. After six months they still hadn't restarted so I went to see my GP again and again he put my problems down to depression.

During the next few months, things got worse. I smashed objects in my room because I felt so angry. My mother Janet was at her wits' end - she didn't know what to do to help me.

I was so angry, violent and depressed that my family didn't even want to leave my newborn nephew in the same room as me. I took several overdoses of painkillers because I felt so depressed.

Fortunately I didn't take enough to do myself any lasting damage.

Eventually, my GP referred me to a local psychiatric nurse, who was based at a nearby health centre. I went for counselling with her and she told me to stand in front of a mirror, look at my reflection and tell me that I loved myself.

But that didn't work - I still felt terrible.

I was referred to the Department of Psychiatric Medicine in Barnsley and saw a psychiatric doctor once a week. In the summer of 1997 I was diagnosed as having schizophrenia and I was given a cocktail of medicines to take.

...They made me feel like a zombie. I had to stop going to school because I couldn't cope. Mum had to help me get dressed in the morning and help me in and out of the bath.

... In March 1998, things came to a head. I'd been treated for mental illness and depression for nearly two years but I felt no better.

...COINCIDENTALLY , Mum took me to the doctor the next day and when he pulled my sleeves up they both saw the cuts on my arm. Mum was devastated and burst into tears.

She insisted there must be something physically wrong with me - that I
couldn't be schizophrenic. But her protests were brushed aside. I just felt numb inside. Eventually they decided not to section me and I was allowed to go home.

My weight had ballooned from a size eight to nearly 19st - I was enormous.

Yet my appetite had disappeared. Mum had to force two Weetabix down me at breakfast and persuade me to eat a sandwich at lunchtime, but every mouthful was difficult to swallow.

Mum gave up her job as a seamstress to look after me fulltime because I couldn't be left on my own.

Finally, in August 1998, Mum had had enough. She could see what a terrible state I was in and knew that the medication I was being given wasn't helping at all.

She wasn't convinced that I had schizophrenia - and she thought the time had come to get some proper answers.

She decided that taking a different route might be more beneficial.

So she took me back to the GP and this time demanded that I be referred to a gynaecologist as I hadn't had a period for three years. I was referred to Barnsley Hospital - but this time to a consultant gynaecologist. The first time I saw him, he performed a blood test. The results showed that I had a major hormone imbalance. So he sent me for scans.

The consultant said that the good news was they had found a reason why I was feeling so bad.

Then he said that the bad news was that I had a brain tumour.

I ran out of the room sobbing. I thought I was going to die.

I was referred to a specialist at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in
Sheffield where they did more tests and discovered that the tumour wasn't

When I saw the consultant he reassured me that he wasn't going to let me die, even though the tumour was lying close to my brain. He said it was the size of a plum and was on my pituitary gland.

THIS gland lies just below the brain, close to the optic nerve. It is known as the 'master' gland of the body as it controls the functions of many other glands.

The tumour had damaged it so badly that it caused a major hormonal
imbalance. That is why I'd been experiencing all the terrible mood swings and depression.

I was furious. Nobody had done a blood test in three years.

A test would have revealed the hormone imbalance, a classic sign of a brain tumour like mine.

I began daily medication to reduce the size of the tumour and balance my hormone levels. Within a month I felt much better - more like my old self.

After eight years I finally feel as though I'm getting my life back on

...Mum still feels very bitter about what happened, but I've put it behind me and I'm finally enjoying myself.

Source: London Mail

Posted by szadmin at September 7, 2004 04:27 AM

More Information on Schizophrenia Personal Story


how much time duration u required to come out from Schizophrenia???..

Posted by: riya at September 27, 2004 07:22 AM

this goes to show you, doctors are loads of crap

Posted by: stupid doctors at October 11, 2004 12:41 AM

There is nothing worse in the world than the saying... "How can so many be wrong."
Especially when you know they are!

There is nothing so bad as having no proof that you are right and they are wrong.

In life;

Some people in positions of authority over others, are,
or so it appears to be,

no longer concerned with the individual person they are treating,

It seems to be about how long they can keep you on their drug list in order to make money from you.

It doesn't matter wether your ill or not!

that's not what is important.
It's if they can get away with fooling the relevant people that you are!

Because that's what brings in the money.

Thank God for your mum!
Thank God she's got a mind of her own!
Thank God she's not led by the blind1!

Posted by: Jacqueline Carrie at October 11, 2004 11:54 AM

that is so sad that this happened to you. I cannot believe that a doctor would be so careless with your life!
But I want to remind people that there are lots of GREAT doctors out there, hopefully more than the careless ones.
please do not lose hope!

Posted by: Mindy at October 14, 2004 04:10 AM

Tremendously sorry about ur case...yrs of ur life taken from u but incredibly back on track...thank God ur mom has a mind of her own...this is unfortunately my case 2...not entirely though...the difference here is that mine was a religious experience confused by atheist psychiatrists to be schizophrenia...this is so damn appaling that they r not recognizing/respecting religious barriers...although here in my case my mom is against me, on the same side as the me the medication is keeping me from my books...i pray to God this is corrected asap...any insight on this?... please do help...i'd much appreciate it...i need this corrected to get my life back on track...

Posted by: jasmine at July 13, 2005 06:17 PM

I wanted to say that your story has helped spark the fire that will help me in battling my drama. The docs recently diagnosed me as schizophrenic after I had a very personal mystical experience, which does not apply in their western books as something plausible. After doing some research on this, I have found that many people who have had what they refer to as shamanic journies are often described as mentally ill. The natives have been taking these journies for hundreds of years, and use them in their spiritual quests.

I am trying to look for more information on this( spiritual journies being misidentified) and would like to contact people who have had these experiences and have been misdiagonosed. If anyone has a personal story or experience that they would like to share or contribute, please let me know. I think this is a big issue that has not been addressed yet, and I would rather see people being understood instead of medicated.

Sincerely and with Love,


Posted by: Ami at September 15, 2005 01:09 PM

I was a visiting friend to a young, schizophrenic girl at a mental institution.After a few months she came to live with my family as a foster child.I was thoroughly into nutrition and spoke to the owner of the health food store I frequented, about her. This was in the '70. He was at that time a consultant to doctors and mental health workers. He suggested that it could possibly be a chemical imbalance that produced such symptoms as schizophrenia and prescribed a 100% natural diet and a formula of mega vitamins. I have forgotten the formula to my great regret. The girl lost 90 pounds, having formerly been addicted to starch sugar etc. and within 6 months she made a complete turn around and emerged as a healthy, reasoning individual. I am writing a novel on her life which will be available in September '06.
"Sophia Theresa Leone" journey of a schizoprhenic.

In her case she was misdiagnosed in the seventies.

Posted by: Katinka at March 25, 2006 04:19 AM

I paid for my own MRI scan after being 'diagnosed' as a paranoid schizophrenic, and discovered i'd actually had 112 strokes in the white matter of my brain - my dr. said I didnt need a brain scan. Worse still, the two types of drugs that most 'schizophrenics' are forced to take (ie phenothiazines and benzodiazepines) are actually the two that you should never give when managing an acute stroke, as they actually cause more strokes. heat stroke and insomnia both cause hallucinations and delusions - the two symptoms you need to have to be diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia - they never even take your temperature or ask whether you've been sleeping well recently. Also, some people get delusions and hallucinations on Temazepam! Also epilepsy particularly the parietal/occipital lobe types, can cause both symptoms. Hearing voices is a sign of Temporal lobe epilepsy and/or Temporal lobe stroke damage! You should refuse to accept a Pscyhiatric diagnosis until youve had an MRI scan and EEC to eliminate strokes or epilepsy - and by the way, if youve been medicated before speaking to a doctor, the interview is invalid anyway, as Largactil/Chlorpromazine/Thioridazine and most major psychiatric drugs CAUSE symptoms like hearing voices and seeing things etc. If you get any brain malfunctions at all SEE A CLINICAL NEUROLOGIST NOT A PSYCHIATRIST - they are duffers the lot of them!

Posted by: nita at June 11, 2006 01:04 PM

An unfortunate story. I'm glad things turned out for the better.

I have been recently diagnosed with schitzophrenia, due to symptoms that i know come from multiple different sources. I did this as a test, however did not lie during the interview. Health proffessionals need to be more proffessional! I have been given a drug, Risperidone, which can cause symptoms that are treated by Risperidone!!!?? (no thanks!)

Posted by: Andrew Newman at April 25, 2007 07:11 PM

Wow, reading all these comments have enlightened me. I have recently begun an investigation in to the problems of mental illness diagnosis, and these true stories have blown me away at how badly our health system fails those people who may have a mental illness.

Posted by: Claire at May 3, 2007 04:33 AM

One very difficult problem that I've encoutered is that once you have a mental illness such as Schizophrenia or Bipolar recorded on your medical history it is nearly impossible to find a doctor that will not attribute new symptoms to that illness without even bothering to test.

I have suffered for many years of unexplained nausea and vomiting. It was all attributed to schizophrenia every time a doctor looked at my history. Finally I went to an ER without the physician having my "medical history" available and two nuclear imaging studies confirmed a Dx of gastroparesis (which causes nausea and vomiting because the stomach is paralyzed)!

I still battle other neurological symptoms daily in my life (limb pain, numbness, etc.) that an orthopeadic surgeon attributed to possible MS, but once back at my normal doctor is once again dismissed as mental illness.

In the United States if you see a new doctor for new symptoms, I recommend NEVER disclosing former mental illness diagnosis (which is hard to do if they see your medication list sometimes). It is all too easy for the new doctor to just brush off everything on "you must be crazy".

Posted by: DK at August 24, 2007 09:55 PM

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