xi. My diagnosis!27 November 2005 at 04:22 | Posted in Circadian rhythm | 7 Comments
Tags: Depression, Diagnosis, Doctors, DSPS, Light box, Light therapy, Melatonin, Sleep diary
(No, this isn’t my sleep specialist, but he does look like him :-))
Through a 15 year period, my present doctor had tested me for thyroid etc., sent me to a neurologist for overnight sleep analysis with all the attached equipment, sent me to a series of time-consuming and useless psychologists, had my throat operated (probably unnecessarily) for apnea and put me on a pill for depression.
Finally, he said he wanted to send me to a specialist to see if the depression diagnosis was correct. The specialist he chose is a professor of psychiatry and the co-founder of a sleep clinic where he works one afternoon and evening a week. I feared, and fully expected, a new and expensive round of psychologist-type time-wasting.
Dr. Holsten asked the many questions you’d expect to get from any new doctor: health, job, living arrangements. A great many questions, very quickly. I should have taped the interview so I could analyze at what point it dawned on me that these aren’t questions to just any and every patient — this guy is circling me in! He asked unexpectedly about several things which applied to me, but which I’d never connected to sleep problems. It was rather exhilarating, like the experience some people rave about after having their fortunes told.
Unlike most doctors today he wasn’t staring at a computer screen, but he wasn’t looking at me either. He was placing dots on a tiny grid about 8×10 cm. Suddenly he looked up and said “You have DSPS!” Of which I’d never heard. He drew curves showing the timing of normal sleep related to body temperature, said he’d have my regular doctor put me on 100% sick leave for two months, gave me a sleep diary form to fill out every day, wrote the application and prescription for melatonin, arranged for me to borrow a light box, gave instructions (NO naps!), said it wouldn’t hurt to keep taking the depression medication and made an appointment for the first follow-up three weeks later. I was out of there within 30 minutes with my head swimming.