Bipolar disorder is a complicated mental health condition, and if you are one of the millions of Americans with some form of this disease, you are likely well aware of how difficult it can make life. As a bipolar disorder psychiatrist, however, I have seen many success stories with patients who can manage symptoms with effective treatment options. Let’s take a look at the types of therapy and treatments that may help.
Medication has long been prescribed to individuals with bipolar disorder, and many people successfully navigate life once the correct medications and the correct dosage have been established. This process can take some time, and it’s not always a quick fix, but it can be very beneficial for many patients. Some of the drugs we might use include:
In general, the best approach always includes some type of therapy. As a bipolar psychiatrist, I can prescribe medication and recommend a course of treatment, but you will want to find a psychologist or therapist who specializes in bipolar disorder for your therapy.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT):
For severe episodes or when medication and psychotherapy do not work, ECT can be effective, particularly for depressive episodes and, in some cases, mania. ECT was formerly called shock therapy and it has a rather dubious reputation throughout the psychiatric community. However, multiple studies illustrate its success with major depression, severe bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Another option to consider might be Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS. This option is less invasive and, for lack of a better word, a bit less scary. The FDA has allowed its use as a treatment for bipolar depression as well as for treating major depressive disorder, OCD and even issues such as migraine headaches. As a side note, migraines are extremely common in patients with bipolar disorder, and TMS might be an option to treat both your depression and migraines.
What About Psilocybin?
Psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, as they are sometimes called, are gaining interest as a treatment option for some psychiatric disorders. However, because this substance has long been illegal federally, there have been few studies undertaken to gauge its safety or efficacy. It’s also worth noting that psilocybin is illegal in all but two states – Colorado and Oregon.
Having said that, there are a few studies that suggest psilocybin might be a good treatment for depression as well as PTSD. As a psychiatrist, I am intrigued by the idea of using psilocybin as part of therapy and look forward to more studies and research as I believe it may yield positive results.
However, it is important to understand that even in the states where it is decriminalized, it is being used at licensed facilities and not simply sold over the counter as you might purchase cannabis. People with bipolar disorder often self-medicate to alleviate symptoms, but I don’t recommend trying psilocybin on your own.
With bipolar disorder, there also is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that psilocybin might activate a manic phase, which is not a good outcome. Again, more research needs to be conducted, specifically with bipolar patients before I would feel comfortable recommending this as a treatment option although I truly feel it has great promise to help those with treatment-resistant depression and PTSD.
Additional Treatment Options
As a psychiatrist specializing in bipolar disorder, I recommend trying a multi-treatment approach to this disease. A combination of medication and different therapies tends to elicit the best results. However, the following tips have been shown to be helpful for patients with bipolar disorder as part of a combination approach.
Lifestyle Modifications Can Help
Changing your lifestyle can make more of a difference than you might think. For instance, regular exercise can help improve your mood and reduce depressive symptoms. A healthy diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids also has been shown to help. It is recommended that you avoid red meat and foods high in saturated fat and trans fat, such as “junk” food.
Creating a healthy sleep schedule is crucial, as sleep disruption can trigger both manic and depressive episodes. This is hugely important, and one step you can take is to create a sleep journal. Write down what you ate and when, and what you drank and when, as well as when you took medications, went to sleep, woke up, etc. This can help identify triggers that lead to poor sleep. I also recommend creating a sleep ritual that includes turning off electronic devices and perhaps winding down with some meditation, a warm bath and some relaxing music.
Try The Mindfulness Approach
These days, meditation is easier than ever before. For instance, many phone meditation apps can help you clear the mind and relax and de-stress, as well as classes in meditation and mindfulness. Deep breathing exercises also can be helpful and reduce stress and regulate your mood.
Consider A Support Group
Many people with bipolar disorder struggle with feelings of isolation and feelings that no one truly understands what they are going through. Finding a support group can be a great way to feel less alone and isolated.
Need A Psychiatrist for Bipolar Disorder? I Can Help
If you’ve been searching for a bipolar psychiatrist near me but have yet to find someone who is a good match for you, feel free to contact our office at any time. While I work as a psychiatrist in Thousand Oaks and serve the greater Los Angeles area, I also offer telepsychiatry and this can be a good option to consider if you can’t find a good fit in your immediate area.
I have extensive experience working with patients with bipolar disorder as well as co-occurring disorders. I can create a diagnosis and treatment plan that addresses all of the issues you face and help lead you on a journey to a brighter, happier future. If you need a bipolar disorder psychiatrist, please don’t wait another day to seek treatment. Help is available, and bipolar disorder can be managed successfully and long-term.
While feelings of anxiety affect all of us at certain points in our lives, if you are living with an anxiety disorder, this issue isn’t just an occasional problem, it’s a chronic condition that impacts every aspect of your life. Finding a qualified anxiety psychiatrist can be the first step toward taking control of your anxiety and starting the journey to a happier life.
Understanding Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders encompass a range of mental health conditions characterized by excessive fear and anxiety. Here's a brief description of the different types:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): People with GAD experience persistent and excessive worry about various aspects of daily life, such as work, health, or finances, often disproportionate to the actual source of worry.
Panic Disorder: Involves recurrent panic attacks—intense periods of fear or discomfort accompanied by physical symptoms like heart palpitations, chest pain, and dizziness.
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia): Features an intense fear of social situations and being judged or negatively evaluated by others, leading to avoidance of social interactions.
Specific Phobias: Involve an irrational fear of a specific object or situation, such as heights, flying, or spiders, that leads to avoidance behavior.
Agoraphobia: The fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or help might not be available, often resulting in avoidance of places like malls, public transportation, or even open spaces.
Separation Anxiety Disorder: While commonly thought of as affecting only children, this disorder also can affect adults, causing distress when separated from home or from individuals to whom there is a strong emotional attachment.
Selective Mutism: A complex childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child's inability to speak in certain social situations, such as at school or in the community, despite speaking in other settings.
Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder: Anxiety or panic that is directly caused by taking or withdrawing from certain drugs or medications.
Each of these disorders can impact daily functioning significantly, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, individuals can manage symptoms and lead fulfilling lives. Keep in mind, that many people with an anxiety disorder also have a co-occurring disorder such as depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, etc.
The Role Of An Anxiety Psychiatrist
My first goal as an anxiety psychiatrist is to spend time with a patient to determine a thorough diagnosis. As a psychiatrist, I am both a mental health professional as well as a medical doctor, and this unique perspective allows me to look at all of the facets of a patient’s life to determine what disorders and health conditions are reducing the quality of life.
As stated above, in many cases, a patient will have multiple diagnoses, and potentially even physical health conditions that are contributing to a decline in mental health. We must address all of these issues to truly improve a person’s life. Once we’ve completed a thorough evaluation and determined the correct diagnosis, we can begin to plan treatment.
There are many different treatment options for those suffering from anxiety disorders. There are medications available as well as different types of therapy that can help patients manage their anxiety. While medications can be very beneficial, I typically recommend a combination approach that includes some type of talk therapy in addition to medication. Let’s take a look at some of the options.
Several different types of medications might be prescribed to a patient with an anxiety disorder. These include:
Keep in mind that there is not a one-size-fits-all medication solution and, if a patient has co-occurring disorders, some of these medications might not be the best match. Additionally, many of these medications take time to work and with some medications, you cannot simply quit taking the medication at any given time but will need to taper on and off the medicine.
It is also crucial that you let your doctor know about any other medications and supplements you take, including any recreational drugs that may or may not be legal. Your doctor truly needs to understand all of the substances you use to find the best possible options for your needs. Keep in mind, if you are struggling with substance abuse, your anxiety psychiatrist often can provide you with the services of an addiction psychiatrist, as well, if that is an issue.
A psychiatrist for anxiety can provide you with a diagnosis and provide you with prescriptions for medication management, but these professionals usually don’t also provide you with psychotherapy or talk therapy. A therapist or psychologist is the professional you will need to contact for these services. Here are just a few types of therapy that could be beneficial to treat anxiety disorders as well as many other mental health issues.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is highly effective for anxiety disorders and focuses on identifying, understanding, and changing thinking and behavior patterns. Techniques often include exposure therapy to gradually face feared situations in a controlled manner.
Exposure Therapy: A subset of CBT, this involves systematic exposure to the source of fear in a safe and controlled environment, which can help reduce the anxious response over time.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Initially developed for borderline personality disorder, DBT has been adapted for other conditions including anxiety, focusing on skills like mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT helps patients accept their thoughts and feelings rather than fighting or feeling guilty for them. It encourages commitment to actions that enrich one’s life.
Alternative Treatment Options
While the aforementioned medications and therapy options have been utilized for many years, there are also some alternative treatment options to consider. In many cases, you might mix one of these treatments with talk therapy and/or medication to provide you with the best possible outcome.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): This originally was designed to treat PTSD, but EMDR has been found to help with anxiety by changing the way negative memories are stored in the brain.
Esketatmine: Ketamine is a drug that, for many years, served primarily as an anesthetic. However, in the last few years, this drug has been used to help those with treatment-resistant depression. Ketamine is not FDA-approved for the treatment of depression, although it is still utilized as an alternative treatment. It is imperative that ketamine be used only in a medical setting by trained medical professionals.
Esketamine, is a form of ketamine that is administered as a nasal spray. This option is FDA-approved for those with treatment-resistant depression. However, there is some evidence to suggest that this drug can be used to treat anxiety, OCD and other mental health conditions.
Exercise & Yoga: Exercise can be beneficial for anyone with a mental health condition. Regular physical activity has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety due to the release of endorphins. Yoga, because it combines breathing exercises and medication, can be particularly beneficial.
Mindfulness & Meditation: These practices focus on present-moment awareness and have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress. In addition to anxiety, meditation can be beneficial for many other mental health disorders including depression and ADHD.
Biofeedback: This therapy method teaches control over certain bodily functions, such as heart rate and breathing as well as promoting relaxation.
Again, a combination approach is typically the best course of action, and it can take time to find the best treatments and the best doctors and therapists to suit your individual needs.
Contact Dr. Jesalva Today!
If you need an anxiety psychiatrist, this is one of my areas of specialization. As a local psychiatrist, I provide in-person care as a psychiatrist in Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks and the surrounding areas. However, if you live outside that area or simply prefer to use an online psychiatrist, I also provide telepsychiatry services. In addition to treating anxiety, I also treat bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, eating disorders, PTSD and more, and I can provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan that drastically improves the quality of your life.
Finding a local psychiatrist that truly fits your needs can be tough and, to provide patients with the best possible options, I embrace both the warmth of in-person care and the innovative convenience of telepsychiatry. Whether you need an in-person psychiatrist in Westlake Village or an online psychiatrist, I provide accessible, compassionate care.
As a psychiatrist in Westlake Village, I offer treatment for patients throughout southern Ventura County and north Los Angeles County, including Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Agoura Hills, Newbury Park and other nearby cities, but if you live outside of these areas, I can still help you as a virtual psychiatrist.
Using an online psychiatrist can be a great option for some patients, especially if they live outside my treatment area or perhaps have limited access to transportation. Telepsychiatry ensures that you get the treatment you need without having to leave the comfort of your home.
Telepsychiatry also helps provide continuity of care. For instance, if you are out of town for business or vacation, you can still access your doctor when needed. Keep in mind, if you do use my services for in-person visits, but need occasional telepsychiatry visits, that can be a workable option.
Meeting virtually also can be a more cost-effective option, allowing you to reduce the costs associated with travel, including time off work, childcare and fuel expenses. Telepsychiatry also can be a good option for people who prefer more privacy, and this option can help one bypass the stigma often associated with visiting mental health facilities.
As a psychiatrist, I want to assure patients, though, that mental illnesses are not a sign of weakness. They are simply biological diseases that need to be treated, just as we would with heart disease, diabetes, asthma or any other health issue. An illness is an illness, and I am to make seeking help as easy as possible for my patients.
My Areas Of Specialization
I specialize in the treatment of adults and can provide care for many different mental health disorders. For instance, if you need a psychiatrist for anxiety or a psychiatrist for depression, these are two of my areas of specialization.
I also serve as an ADHD psychiatrist and as a psychiatrist for PTSD, bipolar disorder eating disorders, borderline personality disorder and substance use disorders. Of course, many of my patients struggle with multiple disorders. It’s also incredibly common for people with mental illnesses to suffer from a substance use disorder, which is why it makes sense to work with an addiction psychiatrist.
When it comes to co-occurring disorders, it’s not uncommon for patients to experience both anxiety and depression or perhaps anxiety and an eating disorder, etc. Treating all of these conditions is crucial, and my goal is always to find the best possible diagnosis as this leads us to the best treatment plan.
Do You Need A Psychologist?
In general, I would say utilizing the services of a licensed therapist or psychologist as well as a psychiatrist in Westlake Village or a psychiatrist in Thousand Oaks is your best option.
Psychiatrists are both medical doctors and mental health professionals, but they don’t often provide different types of talk therapy. Psychiatrists typically provide comprehensive diagnoses as well as prescribe medication but will recommend that their patients seek additional support from a psychologist or therapist.
These professionals also can provide diagnoses, but they cannot prescribe medication and, because they are not medical doctors, it is possible that they won’t look at your physical health as well as your mental health. It is important to look at the whole person to determine all of the issues being faced, and some of these might be physical issues that impact your mental health.
Psychologists and therapists can provide you with an abundance of helpful talk therapies and other types of therapy. Depending on your conditions, this might include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), eye movement and desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and other types of therapy.
Do All Patients Need Medication?
Medication can be a helpful tool for patients with a wide range of mental health disorders, but not every patient will need medication and other types of therapy can be just as beneficial. Generally, even with medication, I strongly recommend talk therapy and other types of therapy, as well, as this combination of treatments tends to yield the best results.
Medication generally takes time to work, and it can be a complex process to find the best medications and the best dosage for each patient. I always encourage my clients to stick with the course of treatment and give it time to work and time for us to adjust the dosage and truly find what works best.
Don’t Put Off Treatment – Call Today
If you are struggling with mental illness you are not alone, and effective treatments are available. Whether you are searching for a local psychiatrist in Westlake Village or a psychiatrist in Thousand Oaks or prefer telepsychiatry, I can help. Please give me a call so we can schedule a consultation and get you a path toward a brighter, healthier future.
It is estimated that as much as 9% of the U.S. population suffers from some form of eating disorder and sadly more than 10,000 people die each year from these disorders. While these statistics are alarming, the good news is that with proper treatment, one can recover from an eating disorder. It’s not easy, but with the help of a qualified eating disorder doctor, there is hope for a brighter, healthier future.
Finding an eating disorder psychiatrist or therapist can be tricky, but before we provide some tips to help you find the best doctor for your needs let’s discuss some facts and myths about eating disorders in general.
Types Of Eating Disorders
The American Psychiatric Association recognizes several different eating disorders in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). With all of these disorders, the patient is afflicted by distressing thoughts regarding food and body image and, of course, eating behaviors also are affected severely. Here’s a quick summary of each type of eating disorder recognized in the DSM-5.
Anorexia nervosa is a serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation, an intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted body image. This disorder is characterized by the following:
Anorexia Nervosa Subtypes
Physical & Psychological Complications of Anorexia:
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by inappropriate compensatory behaviors to prevent weight gain. This disorder is characterized by the following:
3. Frequency: The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least once a week for three months.
4. Self-Evaluation Influenced by Body Shape & Weight: Self-worth is excessively influenced by body shape and weight.
5. Distinction from Anorexia Nervosa: The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of anorexia nervosa.
Physical and Psychological Complications:
Binge Eating Disorder
While Binge Eating Disorder (BED) may seem similar to Bulimia Nervosa (BN) in that people with either disorder will engage in binge eating. However, with Binge Eating Disorder, the individual, while concerned with weight gain, does not engage in actions to restrict this weight gain, such as vomiting or using laxatives. This disorder is more common than BN and is characterized by:
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), previously known as Selective Eating Disorder, is a relatively new diagnosis that was introduced in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It's characterized by restrictive eating patterns that are not associated with concerns about body shape or weight. Here are some characteristics of this disorder:
1. Restrictive Food Intake: An eating or feeding disturbance manifested by persistent failure to meet appropriate nutritional and/or energy needs, leading to one or more of the following:
4. Not Attributable to Another Medical Condition: The eating disturbance cannot be better explained by another medical condition or mental disorder.
Individuals with ARFID might have a limited range of preferred foods and may be highly sensitive to the texture, smell, or taste of certain foods. The disorder can lead to social isolation, as individuals might avoid social situations involving food or may experience anxiety around meal times. Unlike other eating disorders, individuals with ARFID do not have a distorted body image and do not engage in behaviors to lose weight.
Rumination Disorder is a feeding and eating disorder characterized by the repeated regurgitation of food, which may be re-chewed, re-swallowed, or spit out. This regurgitation is not due to a medical condition but is rather a repeated behavior that can be voluntary or involuntary. Here are some characteristics of this disorder:
What Causes Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders are complex and there’s no single reason why a person might develop an eating disorder. In some cases, it might be genetic, and if there is a family history of an eating disorder, one may be more likely to develop an eating disorder. For others, low self-esteem or dissatisfaction with their body might be the initial trigger and social and cultural pressures can have a huge impact on the development of eating disorders.
Others develop eating disorders as a result of a traumatic event, abuse or bullying. Sometimes a person in a dysfunctional relationship or a dysfunctional family can develop an eating disorder. There is no single reason why these disorders develop, and for each person, determining the root cause can be beneficial for recovery.
Signs A Loved One Has An Eating Disorder
While we typically think of eating disorders as afflicting young women, any person can develop an eating disorder at any age and from any walk of life. As with just about any mental or physical issue, early intervention is key, but what are some signs that loved ones should watch for? Here are a few signs that a person may have some type of eating disorder:
Behavioral and Emotional Signs:
Other Signs To Watch For:
Psychological, Emotional & Social Indicators:
Choosing An Eating Disorder Doctor
If you suffer from any of these eating disorders, finding an eating disorder psychiatrist can be a good place to start. A psychiatrist is both a medical doctor and a mental health professional, which means that this type of doctor can diagnose both your eating disorder as well as any physical conditions that might be contributing to the disorder or caused by the eating disorder.
Many people with eating disorders also suffer from co-occurring disorders such as anxiety or depression, and a psychiatrist can provide you with expert care and a complete diagnosis that includes all of your physical and mental health conditions. An eating disorder psychiatrist also can create a treatment plan, that may or may not include medications, but will address all of the issues you are facing, including co-occurring disorders.
Typically, the treatment for eating disorders is intense psychotherapy. This might include cognitive-behavioral therapy and nutritional rehabilitation. Sometimes medications such as antidepressants also can be an effective tool for patients, and an eating disorder psychiatrist is the only mental health professional who can provide you with a prescription for these medications.
The best approach is to find both an eating disorder psychiatrist and a psychologist or therapist who provides care for those with eating disorders. The therapist or psychologist can provide you with talk therapy and other types of therapy to help aid in your recovery.
Talking with a nutritionist also can be an excellent idea, especially one that specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. Sometimes joining a support group also can be beneficial. In severe cases, it can be wise to seek long-term care in an inpatient or intensive outpatient eating disorder program.
In some cases, patients will be limited to finding eating disorder doctors that are covered by their insurance. If this is not an issue or you can submit an out-of-network doctor bill to your insurance provider, you have a bit more flexibility. This allows you to meet with multiple doctors and find a provider that truly seems to fit your needs and comfort level.
If you find that a provider makes you feel uncomfortable, I highly recommend searching for a new doctor. It can take time to find the best fit, but when you have an excellent support team, your journey toward recovery will be more successful.
As an experienced eating disorder psychiatrist, I offer both in-person treatment and treatment via telepsychiatry. Using a virtual psychiatrist can be a great option to consider because it expands your options beyond your local area and allows you to find the best possible match.
An online psychiatrist or therapist also can meet with you from anywhere you have an internet connection, which means you don’t necessarily have to skip appointments if you are out of town or perhaps not feeling well enough to attend in-person meetings. I can meet with patients either virtually or in person, or a combination of the two, depending on their needs.
Contact Our Office Today
Eating disorders take a huge toll on your mental and physical health, but there is hope and treatment can be successful. Millions of people have courageously and successfully recovered from eating disorders and live happier, healthier lives. The path might not always be easy, but your journey to wellness can be successful. If you need an eating disorder psychiatrist, please don’t hesitate to give us a call and set up an initial consultation.
It’s estimated that as many as five million Americans have borderline personality disorder, although that number could be higher, as many people with this condition go undiagnosed and untreated. As a borderline personality disorder doctor, I know that this mental health condition is often misunderstood and I also know that this disorder can be treated successfully, despite myths to the contrary. Let’s take a look at this mental health condition and some of the current treatment options.
What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?
In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is produced by the American Psychiatric Association, borderline personality disorder is listed among 10 distinct personality disorders.
In general, a person with a “personality disorder” will experience different patterns of thought than most people. This includes how they perceive themselves as well as others, and how they respond and relate to other people. These disorders also affect behavior and emotional response. Most importantly, these disorders often cause distress and problems with daily life and relationships.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is characterized by a pattern of unstable relationships, self-image, and emotions. People with BPD often have difficulties regulating their emotions and thoughts, suffer from severe mood swings and they may exhibit impulsive and reckless behavior. Here are the primary symptoms of borderline personality disorder:
As a psychiatrist in Westlake Village who often treats patients with BPD, I find that It's important to note that BPD is a complex disorder, and not everyone with BPD will exhibit all these symptoms. The severity and manifestation of symptoms can vary widely among individuals. If someone suspects they or someone they know may have BPD, it's essential to seek a professional diagnosis and appropriate treatment from a borderline personality disorder doctor, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist (or ideally, both).
Common Myths About This Disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex mental health condition that is often misunderstood. Several myths and misconceptions surround BPD, which can contribute to stigma and make it harder for those with the disorder to seek help and support.
Myth: People with BPD are just seeking attention.
Fact: BPD is a legitimate mental health disorder with specific symptoms. It's not about seeking attention but rather a struggle with emotional regulation, self-image, and interpersonal relationships.
Myth: BPD isn't a real psychiatric disorder.
Fact: As stated above, BPD is recognized by major medical institutions and diagnostic manuals, such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The Americans With Disability (ADA) Act also recognizes BPD as a disability.
Myth: Only women have BPD.
Fact: While BPD is diagnosed more frequently in women, men can and do suffer from it as well. The presentation of symptoms might differ between genders, leading to potential underdiagnosis in men.
Myth: People with BPD are manipulative.
Fact: While individuals with BPD might exhibit behaviors that seem manipulative, it's essential to understand these actions often stem from an intense fear of abandonment or rejection rather than a desire to manipulate others.
Myth: BPD is a result of bad parenting.
Fact: While childhood trauma or neglect can be risk factors, BPD's exact cause is unknown. It's believed to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors.
Myth: BPD and bipolar disorder are the same.
Fact: While both disorders involve mood disturbances, they are distinct conditions. BPD primarily affects interpersonal relationships and self-image, while bipolar disorder affects mood in terms of mania and depression.
Myth: People with BPD are violent and dangerous.
Fact: While some individuals with BPD might have aggressive outbursts, it doesn't mean they are inherently violent. Often, the anger is directed inward, leading to self-harm rather than outward violence. Self-harm, such as cutting, and suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts are extremely common with BPD.
Myth: Individuals with BPD can't have healthy relationships.
Fact: While interpersonal relationships can be challenging for those with BPD, with therapy and support, many can and do have fulfilling, healthy relationships.
Myth: People with BPD are just being dramatic.
Fact: The emotions and reactions of someone with BPD are very real to them. Labeling them as "dramatic" invalidates their experiences and struggles.
Understanding and dispelling these myths is crucial for reducing stigma and providing appropriate support and care to those with BPD.
Myth: BPD is untreatable.
Fact: BPD is treatable, and many individuals with the disorder experience symptom relief and improved quality of life with appropriate therapy, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).
Psychotherapy is the most common treatment option for people with BPD. There are several different types of psychotherapy that a borderline personality disorder doctor might suggest including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), mentalization-based therapy (MBT), schema-focused therapy and other types of talk therapy.
While there are no FDA-approved medications available specifically to treat BPD, a borderline personality disorder doctor (a psychiatrist) can prescribe medications to treat some issues related to this disorder, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers or antipsychotic drugs. There is also some evidence to suggest that ketamine might be a treatment option to consider.
Ketamine’s original purpose was as an anesthetic, but eventually, it was found to have a positive effect on reducing suicidal ideation as well as in patients with treatment-resistant depression. Ketamine must be administered in a doctor’s office; it cannot be used at home like other types of psychiatric drugs. However, for many patients, only a few treatments might be necessary to achieve a significant lessening of symptoms.
In general, the best approach with any mental health disorder is a combination approach that includes talk therapy and, possibly, medication. A therapist or psychologist can help with talk therapy, and a psychiatrist can help with both diagnosis and medication management. As a psychiatrist also is a medical doctor, they also can consider whether any physical issues might be contributing to your mental health issues.
In many cases, a person with BPD also will have a co-occurring disorder, such as anxiety, depression, an eating disorder, addiction or another type of mental illness. Your care team must address all of the issues you are facing for the treatment to be successful.
I find that many of my patients suffer from multiple mental health disorders and it’s crucial to dive deep and find a diagnosis and treatment plan that accounts for all of these issues. I recommend finding mental health professionals who specialize in personality and mood disorders to ensure that all of your needs are being met.
Borderline personality disorder can be overwhelming for patients, as well as friends and family. I highly recommend friends and family members learn all that they can about this disorder and how to help a loved one with this condition. Talk therapy also can be a helpful outlet for loved ones. This helps you discuss worries, hopes, and frustrations in a safe place and find strategies to help your loved one.
For patients, maintaining consistent therapy sessions is crucial. Opting for doctors who provide teletherapy or telepsychiatry is an excellent option. This allows you to keep a consistent therapy regimen even if you are away from home or unable to drive to an appointment, etc. A virtual psychiatrist or psychologist treat borderline personality disorder from anywhere you have an internet connection.
For some patients, skipping the occasional therapy session isn’t always a problem. However, for people with borderline personality disorder, consistency is crucial and helpful, so an online psychiatrist or therapist can be a good option.
I also recommend keeping life as simple as possible, maintaining a daily schedule that includes exercise, a healthy diet, a good sleep schedule and some mindfulness exercises, along with techniques you learn in therapy. Keeping a mood diary also can help you understand what types of events trigger emotional responses and help you to see these situations in a more detached way.
For instance, you might look through your mood journal and notice that certain situations consistently trigger feelings of fear, rejection or abandonment. You can discuss these situations with your therapist and come up with strategies that help you work through these issues.
BDT is a complex mental health condition, but it is absolutely not untreatable. I firmly believe that with consistent treatment people with BDT can enjoy happier, more successful lives and see a significant reduction in symptoms. The key is to seek treatment and stay consistent with therapy and medications.
Despite what you may believe about yourself – you are a worthy human being, and you deserve to have a better life. Not one of us humans is perfect, and we all must work to become the best versions of ourselves. With BPD, it can be tough because you are struggling with a mental health disorder and that’s not your fault, but it’s not impossible to treat and help is out there.
If you are searching for a psychiatrist in Westlake Village, I treat patients in person from all over the Los Angeles area. If you live outside of this area or prefer telepsychiatry, I can provide diagnosis and treatment plans via telepsychiatry. In addition to BPD, I also work as an ADHD psychiatrist, addiction psychiatrist, and bipolar psychiatrist and treat anxiety, depression, eating disorders and many other mental health conditions. Give me a call today and let’s get you on a path toward wellness and a better life!
Depression is a complex and pervasive mental health condition that can significantly impact a person's emotional well-being and overall quality of life. While feeling down or sad occasionally is a normal part of the human experience, it becomes a cause for concern when these feelings persist, intensify, and interfere with daily functioning. If this is the case, it might be time to seek the services of a psychiatrist for depression.
Recognizing the signs of depression is crucial for early intervention and seeking appropriate help. In this article, we will explore five key indicators that may suggest it's time to consider consulting a psychiatrist for professional support and guidance on the journey to healing and emotional well-being. Understanding these signs can be the first step towards regaining control over your mental health and embarking on a path toward recovery.
1. You Are Experiencing Severe Depression
You've experienced deep, persistent sadness, fatigue, lack of motivation, and other symptoms that are really impacting your daily life and ability to function. Even if you still manage to get through the day and complete some daily tasks, if depression has been reducing your quality of life, it’s always best to seek treatment. We will dive deeper into the symptoms of depression later in this article.
2. Previous Treatment Has Failed
You've tried therapy, medication from your primary doctor, lifestyle changes, etc., but have not experienced relief from your depression symptoms. A psychiatrist for depression can evaluate other types of medication as well as alternative treatment options such as ketamine.
3. You Have Co-Occurring Disorders
If you have been diagnosed or suspect you may have an additional mental illness such as an anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, OCD, PTSD, etc., a psychiatrist can provide specialized treatment. Many people with depression also have a co-occurring disorder and while that can make it more difficult to find the best treatment options, an experienced depression psychiatrist can help.
4. You Are Having Suicidal Thoughts
Having recurring thoughts of suicide or feeling at risk of harming yourself are huge red flags, and you should consult a psychiatrist. (NOTE: If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call 911 or call the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. There is always support available for anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts or severe distress.)
5. Sudden Depression
Depression that occurs abruptly without an obvious cause may indicate a mood disorder that requires psychiatric expertise. Your physical health might also be a factor with sudden depression, as some illnesses can trigger depression as well as childbirth or a traumatic event. Some medications also can cause or exacerbate depression, and a depression psychiatrist can evaluate both your mental and physical health.
6. Family History
Genetics can play a role in depression, so a family history may mean you need more tailored psychiatric treatment. Your psychiatrist also can look at your medical history and that of your relatives to determine whether or not that has any impact on your mental health issues.
The right depression psychiatrist can help identify the roots of your depression through diagnosis and provide comprehensive treatment including therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
Symptoms of Depression
When you think about depression, you might conjure up an image of a person curled up in their bed, crying or feeling sad. While that certainly can be one manifestation of depression, many other symptoms can indicate a person is depressed.
Physical Pain: Depression can be associated with unexplained physical pain, such as headaches, stomachaches, backaches, or muscle pains, without any apparent underlying medical cause.
Changes in Appetite: While a decrease or increase in appetite is common in depression, some individuals may experience specific food cravings or aversions, leading to unusual eating patterns.
Hypersomnia: While insomnia is a well-known symptom of depression, some individuals may experience hypersomnia, where they sleep excessively and have difficulty staying awake during the day.
Psychomotor Slowing: In some cases, depression can lead to psychomotor slowing, which involves slowed physical and mental activity. This can make everyday tasks feel arduous and lead to sluggish movements and speech.
Cognitive Impairment: Depression can affect cognitive functions, leading to difficulties with concentration, memory, and decision-making, often referred to as "brain fog."
Irritability or Anger: Instead of appearing sad, some people with depression may express their emotional distress through irritability, anger, or even aggression.
Loss of Emotional Expression: Known as "flat affect," some individuals with depression may exhibit a lack of emotional expression, appearing emotionally blank or indifferent.
Social Withdrawal: While some people with depression may isolate themselves, others may engage in social situations while feeling detached and emotionally distant from others.
Fixation on Death or Existential Themes: Unusual preoccupation with death, dying, or existential themes may be present in some individuals experiencing depression.
Physical Self-Neglect: Depressed individuals might neglect their physical appearance and personal hygiene due to a lack of motivation and self-care.
Self-Destructive Behavior: Some individuals may engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse, reckless driving, or self-harm, as a way of coping with their emotional pain.
It is crucial to remember that depression affects individuals differently, and some people may experience a combination of these unusual symptoms alongside more common signs of depression. If you or someone you know is struggling with any of these symptoms or suspect depression, seeking help from a mental health professional is essential for proper assessment, diagnosis and treatment.
Mild Depression? What Should You Do?
Even if your symptoms aren’t impacting your ability to get work and personal tasks accomplished, mild depression reduces your quality of life, and seeking treatment can be a great option. In some cases, mild depression is common after an illness, a trauma or a life-changing event or perhaps due to changes in seasons. Many people experience some level of depression during the winter months when sunlight is at a minimum.
Talking with a therapist or a depression psychiatrist can be a great option to consider. Additionally, regular exercise and going outdoors can be helpful. Meditation and mindfulness exercises can help, as well. It also is recommended that you eat healthy foods and avoid alcohol and drugs, as these can worsen depression.
Do You Need A Depression Psychiatrist or Psychologist?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors that can prescribe medication and diagnose mental health disorders as well as other health issues but typically don’t provide talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. A psychologist can diagnose mental health issues, but not physical health issues and these mental health professionals cannot prescribe medication. However, a psychologist can provide you with talk therapy and other types of therapy.
In many cases, I recommend that you enlist the services of both a psychiatrist and a psychologist or therapist. Multi-faceted treatment plans with therapy and possibly medication tend to yield the best results when it comes to many mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
There are many treatment methods available for people with depression. Some medications can help reduce symptoms, although it is important to note that it does take time to find the best medication for each patient as well as the best dosage.
In some cases, if medication doesn’t work, we can look into alternative treatments for depression such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), ketamine treatments or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
If you do opt for medication, I also recommend finding a psychologist for talk therapy and also making some lifestyle choices to ensure that your physical and mental health is as strong as possible. This might include anything taking up a new hobby, art therapy, dance therapy, charity work, etc. Daily exercise, creating a daily schedule, minimizing stress and creating a soothing night/sleep schedule all can help reduce symptoms of depression.
How To Find A Psychiatrist For Depression
Finding a depression psychiatrist can seem like a huge challenge, but with telepsychiatry, you can expand your search field beyond setting for a “psychiatrist near me.” A virtual psychiatrist not only allows you to find the best possible match for your needs, but you can meet from the comfort of your own home or meet with your doctor when you are on vacation or on a work trip with ease.
When searching for a psychiatrist for depression, you can ask for recommendations from your primary care physician or friends or family members, as well as looking at patient reviews. Read over the website of each doctor carefully to see gauge whether or not their treatment philosophy feels comfortable to you. It can take time to find the right psychiatrist for your unique needs, but, in the end, finding the best care providers can ensure that treatment will be as successful as possible.
As an experienced psychiatrist for depression as well as many other mental health disorders, I strongly encourage anyone battling depression to seek treatment. My philosophy is that psychiatric disorders are not a weakness, they are a biological disease that is often treatable.
I offer both in-person psychiatric treatment and I also work as a virtual psychiatrist. In addition to serving as a depression psychiatrist, I also am a PTSD psychiatrist, bipolar psychiatrist, anxiety psychiatrist, addiction psychiatrist and an adult ADHD psychiatrist. Feel free to contact my office at any time to schedule a consultation and let’s get you on a path toward a happier, healthier future.
Dr Jesalva is a psychiatrist. He is in private practice in Thousand Oaks, CA since 1989. He successfully treats very challenging patients with varying co-occurring disorders with medications.