When we conduct an internet search, we often use the variable “near me” to find restaurants, shops, plumbers, electricians and so forth. Many people often search for a bipolar psychiatrist near me or a psychiatrist near me. However, these days, with telepsychiatry, the location of your doctor’s office is not as important as it has been in the past.
What Is Telepsychiatry?
Telepsychiatry or telemedicine is simply providing health care services using technology and it’s become more and more popular as the years have passed, especially during the pandemic when it became a necessity to ensure public health.
But telemedicine isn’t as new as you might think. In 1959, the University of Nebraska established a two-way television to provide instruction to students and within a few years, this system was used for video consults from the university to state hospitals. In fact, the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute linked with the Norfolk State Hospital to provide psych evaluations via television.
NASA also had a huge impact on the development of telemedicine in the United States and abroad. The NASA program began out of necessity, as a way to provide health care to astronauts while they were in space. Eventually, however, NASA expanded their telemedicine efforts to help people in rural areas, particularly on Native American lands, gain better access to health care and even in areas such as Armenia, after a catastrophic earthquake.
While telemedicine isn’t new, it’s taken off during the pandemic and many people prefer telepsychiatry to traditional in-person doctor visits. There are several reasons for this, including.
1. Telepsychiatry Can Be Less Stressful
My offices are based in Thousand Oaks, just north of Los Angeles, and we are famous for our traffic. Driving around LA freeways can be stressful, to say the least, and with telepsychiatry, you don’t have to leave your home and worry that you won’t make an appointment on time due to an unexpected accident or roadwork.
Many people also feel more comfortable meeting with an online psychiatrist in the privacy of their home. They can find a cozy, comfortable spot, grab a cup of tea and feel secure in their home. Many of my patients say this is a huge reason why they enjoy telepsychiatry.
2. Telepsychiatry Is Convenient
Telepsychiatry only requires an internet connection to work, so you can meet with your doctor from just about anywhere on earth. This makes it easier to schedule appointments, even if you are out of town. It also reduces the time needed for appointments because you won’t have to drive back and forth from the doctor’s office. This tends to make it easier to schedule appointments around work commitments, school and other obligations.
3. You Can Pick The Best Doctor For You
In the past, if you needed a bipolar disorder psychiatrist, you were pretty much limited to finding that “bipolar psychiatrist near me,” and that doesn’t always provide you with the best match for your needs. With telepsychiatry, you can find a doctor that matches your needs and one with whom you feel in sync, even if you live in another county or state.
Treating Bipolar Disorder
Treating bipolar disorder is one of my areas of specialization, but I also treat co-occurring disorders that often accompany bipolar disorder. To provide you with effective treatment, we must properly diagnose all of the issues you face and come up with a plan that not only treats bipolar disorder but any other disorder you might have.
There are many co-occurring disorders common with people who have bipolar disorder. For instance, you might also have an anxiety disorder or perhaps ADHD. Many people with bipolar disorder also have substance use disorders, such as alcohol addiction or drug addiction. Additionally, there may be physical ailments that need to be addressed or perhaps eating disorders.
While the presence of a co-occurring disorder can make it more challenging to find a proper treatment, it is by no means impossible to find solutions for bipolar disorder as well as other mental health disorders you might have. The first step is to come up with a comprehensive diagnosis that truly gets to the bottom of what’s going on with you.
In many cases, it often seems like psychiatrists rush this process, but my philosophy is that diagnosis and treatment planning takes time. It’s not something we can solve in a single appointment. I usually spend several sessions with a patient before planning out treatment. This provides us with time to look at all of the issues you face and find a plan that can help you manage it all.
Treatment often includes medication, and this is another reason why a proper diagnosis is so important. A medication that might work for one type of mental health issue might not be the best fit for another disorder. We also want to come up with additional aids such as cognitive behavioral therapy and even changing your dietary habits and adding exercise or meditation to your daily schedule to help reduce stress and keep your body as physically healthy as possible.
In the end, I provide the diagnosis and treatment plan, including medication if needed. But we also will find additional resources for you, such as a good therapist, psychologist or even a support group, depending on your needs. And I can help with all of this online using a HIPAA-secure telepsychiatry platform.
The most important fact I can leave you with is that bipolar disorder can be treated and there is hope. Our philosophy is that psychiatric disorders are not a weakness. They are a biological disease that is often treatable.
But rather than searching for a “bipolar psychiatrist near me,” I highly recommend that you consider telepsychiatry instead. This can open up your options and result in better treatment for your bipolar disorder and any co-occurring disorders you might have. Take a look around my website to see if my philosophy seems to match what you need and then give my office a call to set up a consultation.
Bipolar disorder is a complicated disease and while it can be difficult to treat, it is by no means impossible to find a psychiatrist and find a treatment plan that alleviates the symptoms of this disease and allows you to live a better life. As a psychiatrist, bipolar disorder is something I have treated for many years, and I have helped many patients successfully combat this disease.
There are several types of bipolar disorder, all of which cause severe disruptions in mood and energy. Most patients experience periods of mania as well as periods of deep depression. During some severe manic episodes, it is not uncommon for patients to engage in risky behaviors, while during depressive episodes, patients often have little to no energy, have difficulty sleeping, experience deep sadness and often have suicidal thoughts.
Most people, in general, have some disruptions in their mood. We might feel sad or irritated or even a bit manic, but these disruptions usually resolve quickly. With bipolar disorder, these periods of mania and depression can last for days or weeks, greatly disrupting a person’s daily life.
The most common type of bipolar disorder is known as Bipolar I. In order to be diagnosed with Bipolar I, the patient must have experienced at least one severe manic event or period lasting at least one week. Typically, during this severe manic episode, the patient has little need for sleep, racing thoughts, faster speech, an increase in activity and an increase in risky behavior, such as driving too fast, engaging in unprotected sex, etc.
People with Bipolar I also will experience hypomanic episodes, which are periods with less severe mania that don’t necessarily interfere with daily life. Additionally, with Bipolar I, a patient will have experienced at least one major depressive episode lasting for at least two weeks.
Bipolar II is another type of bipolar disorder that is less severe than Bipolar I. With this type of bipolar disorder, the patient will experience hypomania, but not the severe manic episodes that people with Bipolar I experience. However, those with Bipolar II, typically will experience a major depressive episode.
Cyclothymic disorder is a third type of bipolar disorder, and people with this disorder will experience frequent mood swings from hypomania to depression, but the symptoms are not as severe as with Bipolar I or Bipolar 2. No matter which type of this disease you might have, a psychiatrist for bipolar disorder can help.
What Causes Bipolar Disorder?
We don’t really know what causes bipolar disorder, but we do know that there is a genetic component. If your parent or a sibling or even a grandparent has or had bipolar disorder, you may be at a higher risk for developing this disease. More research is needed, but some research also does indicate that people with bipolar disorder may have a different brain structure than those who do not have this disease.
Many people with bipolar disorder often have co-occurring disorders, such as an anxiety disorder or depression. Drug and alcohol addiction also are common in people with bipolar disorder. While the symptoms of bipolar disorder are scary, as are the symptoms of the co-occurring disorders, the good news is that bipolar disorder (and co-occurring disorders) can be treated by a psychiatrist and other mental health professionals.
Why Do You Need A Psychiatrist For Bipolar Disorder?
While a therapist, counselor or psychologist can provide useful services for people with bipolar disorder or any other type of mental illness, a psychiatrist is the only one of these professionals that can provide you with any medication that you might need.
Medication often is one of the most helpful tools we use to alleviate the symptoms of bipolar disorder. There are several medications authorized for use with bipolar disorder, and while these can be effective, it’s important that patients understand that the medication does not solve all of the problems overnight. Not only does it take time for the medication to work, but it also can take time to find the ideal dosage.
With any type of therapy or medication, patience is crucial, although I certainly understand the frustration you feel dealing with bipolar disorder on a day-to-day basis. Still, we will be working toward a solution, and using the services of a bipolar disorder psychiatrist can be your best first step.
I begin the process with a careful evaluation of each patient. This isn’t simply a 30-minute visit, this is a multi-session evaluation where I dig deep to ensure that we make the correct diagnosis and come up with a workable recovery plan. Too often, psychiatrists rush this process and don’t address all of the issues their patient is facing.
As stated above, people with bipolar disorder often have co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety or perhaps an eating disorder. Additionally, there may be medical conditions that need to be addressed, and as a medical doctor that specializes in mental illnesses, I have the unique ability to study the whole person and find solutions that address both mental and physical issues.
While I can provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan, as well as writing prescriptions for medications, I do recommend that you work with a psychologist or therapist, as well. Cognitive behavioral therapy and other types of therapy should be part of your treatment plan, and these professionals can provide you with the therapy you need to live a happier life.
How To Find A Psychiatrist For Bipolar Disorder
Finding professional help can be tricky. Not only do you need to find a competent psychiatrist that specializes in treating bipolar disorder, but this needs to be someone with whom you feel comfortable and secure. In the past, most people have been restricted to using a local psychiatrist in their general geographic location, but with telepsychiatry, you should have a much easier time finding someone who is a good match for you.
During the pandemic, telepsychiatry became a necessity as did telemedicine, but many patients love the convenience of using an online psychiatrist. You can stay comfortable in your home, and you don’t have to deal with the stress of driving or traffic. Telepsychiatry saves time and it allows you to access help from anywhere you have an internet connection. You don’t have to miss an appointment if you are on a work trip or away for vacation.
Additionally, telepsychiatry allows you to find a psychiatrist that matches your needs and personality. You don’t have to find that elusive “bipolar psychiatrist near me,” so whether you’ve been looking for a psychiatrist in Los Angeles, or perhaps San Diego, or even a psychiatrist in Thousand Oaks (my neck of the woods), finding an online psychiatrist might be the best option.
I can meet with patients from anywhere in the country using a secure online video conference platform. It is similar to Skype, but Skype is a consumer-grade conferencing platform and telemedicine must be done over a HIPAA-secure platform to protect a person’s privacy.
How do you find the right online psychiatrist? Bipolar disorder is a complicated disease, so you will need to find someone who specializes in treating bipolar disorder. In my practice, I treat all types of bipolar disorder, as well as depression, anxiety, ADHD and even drug abuse and alcoholism.
You also need to find a bipolar disorder psychiatrist with a philosophy that matches your needs. In my opinion, doctors often rush the diagnostic and evaluation process, which is crucial if we are searching for a long-term solution for bipolar disorder. As I tell my patients, psychiatric disorders are not a weakness. They are a biological disease that is often treatable.
It takes time to evaluate a patient and it takes time to create the ideal treatment plan. Once we create that plan and move forward, you should see a huge, positive change in your life. We can treat bipolar disorder, and you can live a happier, less stressful life. There is always hope, and we can find a solution for bipolar disorder and any other mental health issues you face.
If you need to find a psychiatrist for bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, ADHD or other mental health issues, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I offer both in-person and telepsychiatry appointments. Take a moment to read some of the information on my website to gauge whether or not my approach seems to fit your needs. Mental illness can be treated, there is hope, and you deserve to live a better life, so get started on the road to treatment today.
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.