If you have bipolar disorder or symptoms of bipolar disorder, you might feel isolated and alone, but more than two million people in the United States have this condition and it truly can be treated by a bipolar psychiatrist. There is hope, and treatment can help, so here's a quick look at this disease and your treatment options.
What Is Bipolar Disorder?
In the past, bipolar disorder was known as manic depression, but that wasn’t a particularly adequate description. Today, the American Psychiatric Association recognizes several diagnoses that fall under the general category of bipolar disorders, including:
Of course, if you have symptoms of bipolar disorder (which we will talk about in a minute), you probably are more concerned with alleviating these symptoms than learning about all of the different types of bipolar disorders. Still, it’s crucial that your bipolar psychiatrist find the best possible diagnosis. Without a proper diagnosis, your treatment plan won’t be as successful.
It's important to note that some of the symptoms of bipolar disorder exist as symptoms of other disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders and ADHD. All of these disorders are treated in different ways, so for treatment to be successful, that proper diagnosis is essential.
In general, most people are diagnosed with the first three bipolar disorders – Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar II Disorder or Cyclothymic Disorder, so let’s take a look at some of the symptoms associated with each of these.
Bipolar I Disorder
This is the most severe form of this group of mood disorders. People who suffer from this order typically have had at least one severe manic episode. According to the American Psychiatric Association, this episode needs to have lasted for at least a week and includes several symptoms such as a decreased need for sleep, faster speech, racing thoughts, distractibility, increased activity and, often, an increase in risky behaviors. Occasionally, some people even suffer from hallucinations during a manic episode.
People with Bipolar I also might have suffered from hypomanic episodes. These are less severe than the manic episode previously described and tend to last just three or four days. These episodes also don’t tend to cause major daily life problems such as you would experience with a severe manic episode.
Of course, as this disorder used to be called manic depression, a major depressive episode, lasting at least two weeks, is another common sign of Bipolar I. During this episode, the patient might feel intense despair or sadness, feelings of worthlessness, fatigue, increased (or decreased) sleep and appetite, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, slowed speech and frequent thoughts of death or perhaps even suicide.
As with Bipolar I, people diagnosed with this condition must have had at least one major depressive episode and at least hypomanic episode. This is the main difference between these two disorders. With Bipolar I, you will experience at least one extreme manic episode, while Bipolar II usually will have at least one of the less severe hypomanic episodes.
This is a milder form of bipolar disorder, and it can be tricky to diagnose. A person usually will experience brief periods of hypomania (the less severe manic episode) and brief periods of depression. These periods typically only last for a few days at a time, and there may be periods in between where the patient feels generally well.
Because the episodes are brief, many people with this disorder tend to be reluctant to seek help, but as a bipolar psychiatrist, I strongly encourage anyone experiencing any symptoms of any type of bipolar disorder to seek treatment. While severe forms obviously can disrupt your daily life, even mild hypomania and depression can be very upsetting and there’s just no reason to suffer from these disorders if treatment can alleviate the issues.
Finding A Bipolar Psychiatrist
Finding the right psychiatrist is crucial, and these days, with telepsychiatry, it’s easier than ever before. Telemedicine obviously became a crucial service during the pandemic, but providing remote medical services is here to stay. It’s convenient, it’s private and you can select a psychiatrist from just about anywhere in the country.
Whether you need a psychiatrist in Los Angeles or a psychiatrist in Charlotte, NC, or a psychiatrist in a rural area, telepsychiatry allows you to find a doctor that’s a good fit for you. For diseases such as bipolar disorder, finding a psychiatrist is the best first step because, as a medical doctor, we are authorized to prescribe medications, which may be needed as part of your treatment plan. We also can look at any medical issues you might have that could be contributing to your bipolar disorder or simply just making your life less enjoyable. Treating the whole person, mind and body, should be the goal of any psychiatrist.
How Treatment Works
If you’ve tried to find a psychiatrist in the past, you know that sometimes it’s difficult to find a doctor that truly listens to your concerns and provides you with a thorough diagnosis. My strength as a doctor is taking the time to complete a thorough evaluation and this usually takes two or three sessions.
It's important to create a diagnosis that addresses all of the issues you face. For instance, perhaps you have bipolar disorder and an eating disorder. If we treat bipolar disorder but ignore the eating disorder, are you truly going to find peace and happiness? Taking the time to discover all of the issues a person is facing is the only way to determine the correct diagnoses for that patient.
Additionally, as stated above, other disorders can mimic symptoms that often are seen with bipolar disorder. These disorders don’t necessarily follow the same treatment plan you might use with bipolar disorder, so arriving at that exact diagnosis is a huge first step toward helping you find a successful treatment plan.
With bipolar disorder, medication often can be helpful. It is important, however, for patients to understand that finding the ideal medication and the correct dosage can take some time. We also don’t recommend simply relying on medication. Different types of therapy also will be needed, and psychiatrists can recommend the type of therapy that you might need, but typically you will need to find a psychologist or therapist for those services.
People with bipolar disorder also can create a daily routine that helps them better manage this disorder. Creating a daily routine can help you better manage your mood as it makes you feel more secure and reduces stress. Daily exercise also can be a huge help for people with bipolar disorder, and we also recommend eating a healthy diet.
Bipolar disorder can make it difficult to handle stress, and activities such as yoga and meditation are helpful. Setting a sleep schedule also can be particularly important for people with bipolar disorder. To be honest, these tips are good advice for all of us, whether we have bipolar disorder, OCD, ADHD or no mental health issues at all.
To wrap up, an effective treatment plan includes a proper diagnosis and a combination of medication (usually), therapy and a well-planned daily routine. When all of this is in place, bipolar disorder can be managed. Many people with bipolar disorder feel very helpless, but this disease is treatable. There is hope, and I highly encourage you to seek help as soon as possible to improve your quality of life.
As a bipolar psychiatrist, I offer in-person and telepsychiatry services. I also can treat many other disorders, including ADHD, depression, anxiety, OCD and even drug and alcohol addiction. Whether you need a psychiatrist in Los Angeles, a psychiatrist in Charlotte, NC or anywhere else in the country, telepsychiatry makes it easier to get the help you need. Don’t suffer another day, please give my office a call and let’s create a treatment plan that works for you.
If your child is struggling with mental health issues, finding some type of therapy is a priority. However, choosing a type of therapy or deciding whether to use a child psychiatrist, psychologist or another type of therapist can be confusing. Let’s take a look at the different options you may want to consider.
Child & Family Therapists
A therapist, sometimes called a counselor, is a professional that has completed a master’s degree in a mental health-related specialty, such as family therapy or psychology. With children, a therapist might use talk therapy, play therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy to help with issues such as childhood trauma, anxiety, depression, ADHD, eating disorders or other mental health issues.
Psychologists have a bit more education and have completed a doctoral degree. In general, these professionals also provide therapy such as talk therapy, play therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Both psychologists and therapists often diagnose mental health issues and provide non-medical intervention and treatment.
A pediatric psychiatrist or child psychiatrist is another option to consider, and as a child psychiatrist, I often recommend this as a good first step. Psychiatrists are medical doctors and are the only type of therapists that can prescribe medication. However, medication is not the primary reason why I recommend consulting with a psychiatrist as a first step in the treatment of a mental health issue.
As a pediatric psychiatrist, I can provide the perspective of both a medical doctor and mental health professional. It can be smart to take a look at the whole person before deciding on treatment options. In some cases, there may be physical issues that are contributing to mental health issues and opting to meet first with a psychiatrist can be a more balanced approach.
In general, my area of expertise is providing patients with a complete and thorough diagnosis that addresses all issues that are present. Without a proper diagnosis, we can’t create an effective treatment plan. I meet with each patient several times to arrive at a diagnosis and then we discuss treatment options, which may or may not include medication.
While a pediatric psychiatrist can provide you with a thorough diagnosis, prescribe medication and create a treatment plan, they typically don’t provide therapy. You come to us to find out what is wrong, so to speak, and we diagnose, consider if medication is appropriate and discuss different types of therapy that will benefit the patient.
Common Conditions Psychiatrists Treat
There are many conditions that psychiatrists, as well as psychologists and therapists, can treat. These include:
For parents, it can be helpful to watch for signs of these types of mental health disorders. Bipolar disorder, for instance, is rare in young children, but it can occur. Typically, this condition develops during the teenage and young adult years and symptoms might include severe mood swings, aggression, engaging in risky behavior, an exaggerated sense of confidence or worthlessness.
Symptoms of depression include long-term feelings of sadness and hopelessness, changes in appetite, changes in sleep habits (either trouble sleeping or sleep excessively), fatigue, physical issues such as stomachaches or headaches that don’t get better with treatment, inability to concentrate and more. Depression in children can manifest as anger or moodiness, so if your child “acts out,” this could be a sign of depression.
Anxiety disorders have many symptoms, and these can include difficulty with concentration, sleep issues, eating issues, irritability or anger, constant worrying, constant crying, separation anxiety, anxiety about social events or school, constant stomach aches or simply feeling unwell. As you can see, some of these symptoms also are common with depression.
Of course, it’s worth noting that some of the symptoms of disorders such as ADHD also might look like symptoms of bipolar disorder. Symptoms of anxiety also could be an anxiety disorder or a manifestation of ADHD symptoms. In some cases, a person might have multiple mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression or anxiety and ADHD. This is why it is so important to spend much time coming to a correct diagnosis.
The main indicator that your child may have a mental health disorder is not just the presence of one or more symptoms. After all, we all have days where we feel cranky, worried, sad or anxious. When these issues persist for several months and interfere with daily life, then we recognize that steps need to be taken to improve our mental health. Basically, if your child’s issues are affecting their overall happiness, school performance, friendships or family life for several weeks or months, it’s time to get some help.
For some patients, medication may help ease symptoms, although it’s important to note that it can take time to find the best medication and the correct dosage. Medication alone also isn’t the best option. We typically recommend therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, to help a patient manage and alleviate symptoms.
Choosing The Right Child Psychiatrist, Psychologist & Therapist
To be honest, the hardest parts of any mental health journey are deciding to seek treatment and finding a psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist that is the best fit for your child. Every person is unique and what works with one person might not work with another.
For parents, it can be difficult to admit that your child needs help but look at it this way, parenting is hard, and our children don’t come with instruction manuals. Most parents aren’t mental health professionals, either, so there’s really no way they would know the best way to handle issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and so forth.
One thing that parents do understand is that something is wrong with their child’s wellbeing. If your child or teenager is struggling in school, has unusual dietary changes, has severe mood swings or perhaps is frequently anxious or upset or lacks interest in friendships, grooming or any activities they previously enjoyed, talk to your child’s doctor and then consider seeking further professional help.
A pediatric psychiatrist or child psychiatrist can be the best first step to take for the treatment of mental health issues in children and teenagers. As a licensed child psychiatrist, I can provide a thorough psychiatric consultation and come up with a treatment plan that addresses all of the issues your child or teen may be facing.
While I am a psychiatrist in Thousand Oaks, and many of my clients are from the surrounding area, I do offer telepsychiatry services. These days, as we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, this can be the best and safest option for families. It’s simple and easy, and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home, which can be a huge relief to my younger patients.
Whether you need a child psychiatrist in Thousand Oaks, a psychiatrist in Westlake Village or anywhere else in Southern California, we can meet online using a desktop, tablet or even a smartphone. Don’t wait another day to find a treatment plan that works for your child, call us now at (805) 374-1120 and let’s set up a consultation and find ways to help your child or teen live their best life.
The current pandemic has made it difficult for people around the world to access health care, but doctors of all types are adapting to this change and offering telemedicine appointments for many medical issues, including mental health care. As an online psychiatrist, I offer telepsychiatry appointments and most of my patients have found them to be just as beneficial as in-person appointments.
The last few years have been difficult for all of us, but this is particularly true for people struggling with mental health disorders. Contacting an online psychiatrist can be an excellent way to improve the quality of your life, and there are several compelling reasons to consider telepsychiatry, including:
1. Mental Health Care Is Crucial
So often, we simply ignore our mental health needs. We might go to the doctor for a sore throat or high blood pressure or cancer screenings, but we simply put off dealing with psychiatric issues. In general, I find that people neglect their mental health. Perhaps they feel shame about their issues or perhaps they feel as though they should be strong enough to handle issues on their own.
The truth is psychiatric disorders are not a weakness. They are biological diseases that are often treatable. If you’d go to a doctor for asthma treatment, diabetes treatment or high blood pressure treatment, you also should seek medical help for bipolar disorder, ADHD, anxiety, depression and other psychiatric disorders.
When people seek treatment for psychiatric disorders, this isn’t a sign of weakness. This is simply a person who wants to live a better, happier and less stressful life. Don’t we all deserve to live our best lives? I encourage anyone who is suffering from a mental disorder to seek treatment, and an online psychiatrist can help.
2. Telepsychiatry Is Convenient
These days many of us work from home so we truly have shifted to a more mobile society. While some people probably can’t wait to get back into the office, there’s no getting around the fact that working from home and meeting online can be extremely convenient.
There’s no long commute, there are no hassles with traffic, and you don’t even have to wear fancy work clothes most of the time. Additionally, if you want to take off and spend a few days at a mountain cabin or a seaside rental, you can just grab your laptop and go.
The same is true with telepsychiatry. You have far more flexibility meeting with an online psychiatrist. You can meet on vacation or schedule an appointment during work without having to worry about spending extra time away from work driving back and forth from your psychiatrist’s office.
3. Using An Online Psychiatrist Can Be Less Stressful
As a psychiatrist in Thousand Oaks, my patients tend to come from all over Los Angeles and southern Ventura County. While the roads in Ventura County aren’t quite as stressful as an L.A. freeway, driving anywhere in Southern California can be frustrating and stressful.
With telepsychiatry, you can simply relax on your couch or in a comfortable spot in your home and chat with your doctor online. You can wear comfortable clothes, snuggle with your cat, wrap yourself in a blanket and enjoy a cup of tea while we talk over issues. This can make it easier to speak freely and to get to the bottom of issues. You are in a familiar place and able to control your environment.
4. The Level Of Care Remains The Same
Whether we meet in person or remotely, I can provide you with the same level of care. One positive aspect of psychiatry is that we don’t necessarily need to be face-to-face to deal with mental health issues.
Telepsychiatry is approved by the American Psychiatric Association, and there is a growing body of research data that clearly demonstrates that psychiatric treatment via telemedicine can be as effective as when delivered during traditional outpatient appointments.
5. Telepsychiatry Is Private
Privacy is always a huge concern for patients, and it’s just as important as important to your doctor. For our telepsychiatry appointments, we use a HIPAA-approved, secure video conference platform. It’s similar to Skype, but Skype is consumer-grade and not as secure as what we use. Rest assured, that your privacy is just as protected via telemedicine as it is with in-person visits.
How Does Telepsychiatry Work?
When you book an appointment with an online psychiatrist, the process is essentially the same as it would be for an in-person visit. We set up an appointment time and start the process with a thorough psychiatric evaluation.
Keep in mind, a proper evaluation will take several appointments. A psychiatrist should never simply spend a half-hour chatting with you and simply come up with a diagnosis. They might have a good idea of that diagnosis fairly quickly, but in order to truly diagnose which issues are present, your doctor should take some time and be thorough.
As a psychiatrist, I have the unique perspectives of both a medical doctor and mental health professional. In some cases, I might recommend working with your physician to find the best solution to your specific issues as there can be both mental health and physical health issues.
Once we have completed the consultation and diagnosis, we can work on a suitable treatment plan. This usually includes different types of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and possibly medication. Medication can be an excellent tool, but it is important for patients to understand that it might take some time to discover the ideal medication and dosage.
What Can An Online Psychiatrist Treat?
In general, many mental health disorders can be treated with telepsychiatry. In my practice, I focus on the following:
Of course, there may be other co-occurring disorders and I will design a treatment plan that helps to address all of the issues you face, even if they aren’t on this list.
No matter what mental health disorders you have, these are biological disorders that usually can be treated. Even if past treatments have not been successful, I know we can find options that improve your quality of life. As an online psychiatrist, I can provide treatment that is both effective and convenient. Please don’t spend another day in pain. Give us a call and let’s set up an online psychiatric consultation.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a complex neurological disorder that affects people of all ages. While we often think about ADHD as a disorder that affects children, teenagers and adults often also are affected. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have ADHD, working with an ADHD psychiatrist can help.
Telemedicine and telepsychiatry are fast becoming norms in our society. In the past, we almost always met our patients face to face, but the global pandemic has forced us to pivot and provide many online services. What we’ve found is that telemedicine often can be just as effective as in-person treatment, and this is especially true with psychiatric treatments.
Patients who suffer from clinical depression have a lot more options to treat their disorder than what was available 30 years ago. These modalities include biological, psychological and social treatment interventions. There are different professionals that can administer these treatment options and can range from psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, therapists, life coaches just to name a few.
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.