As an experienced bipolar disorder psychiatrist, I am often asked how often does ADHD co-occur with bipolar disorder? While this is quite common, many disorders can co-occur with each other, and all of these issues need to be addressed in order for any treatment plan to be successful.
According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 3% of all adults in the United States have some type of bipolar disorder so this mood disorder is much more prevalent than you might think. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is even more common, and it is estimated that about 5% of adults have this disorder and perhaps as many as 9% to 10% of children may have ADHD.
But, how often does ADHD co-occur with bipolar disorder? This question is difficult to answer definitively, but one thing I’ve found is that many of the symptoms of each disorder are quite similar. As a psychiatrist, my goal is to discover if a patient has bipolar disorder or ADHD or a combination of the two, which certainly could be the case.
Both ADHD and bipolar disorder often include symptoms such as irritability, restlessness, hyperactivity, increased energy and impulsivity, but there are some key differences. For instance, with bipolar disorder, a person will experience severe mood swings, ranging from elation to extreme depression and these mood swings can last for days or weeks.
People with ADHD may be quick to anger, but these mood changes tend to be more appropriate to the situation and they have less difficulty calming themselves than a person with bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder also might actively seek out problems and dangerous situations that might cause them to act out in anger or express rage. With ADHD, these are isolated moments of strong emotion usually reacting to a specific situation rather than episodes of mania or depression that last for a long time and have no identifiable trigger.
Additionally, with both ADHD and bipolar disorder, you might see symptoms such as distractibility or inattention. With ADHD, these are symptoms that tend to always be present, while a person with bipolar disorder might only experience these issues during a manic phase.
Likewise, both disorders can cause sleep-related issues. With ADHD, a person might be experience discomfort and fatigue due to sleep deprivation. With bipolar disorder, there also might be a lack of sleep during a manic phase, but without fatigue or a lack of energy accompanying this sleep deprivation.
While these conditions have many similarities and differences, it is not uncommon for a person to experience both disorders concurrently. Some studies have shown that more than 60% of people with bipolar disorder also have ADHD. Because of this comorbidity, it’s not uncommon for a doctor to miss one of these diagnoses.
A proper complete diagnosis is crucial for treatment to be effective. With bipolar disorder, medication is a common treatment option and while many people with ADHD often take medication, as well, we tend to use different medications to treat ADHD than we would for bipolar disorder. Additionally, both patients benefit from other types of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and other strategies.
Additional Co-Occurring Disorders
When we talk about how often ADHD co-occurs with bipolar disorder, we often forget that many other disorders also can be present. For instance, many people with ADHD or bipolar disorder also have an anxiety disorder or depression. A substance use disorder also can be a common co-occurring disorder with either ADHD or bipolar disorder.
Additional co-occurring disorders might include obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder or even an eating disorder or body dysmorphia. It also is important to take into consideration other possible physical diseases that may have an impact on treatment for mental health disorders. For instance, if a person has diabetes, stabilizing insulin levels could have a positive effect on lessening some of the symptoms of a mood disorder.
Psychiatrists should, and must, in my opinion, take the time to truly assess each patient’s physical and mental issues. As an example, if a patient came to you with bipolar disorder, a substance use disorder and suffered from chronic pain, you need to address all three, including the chronic pain, as this can be a reason why people turn to alcohol and drugs and chronic pain has a distinct impact on our mental health.
Finding A Diagnosis
The first step to finding a diagnosis is a thorough evaluation and for this, you will need to start with a bipolar disorder psychiatrist or ADHD psychiatrist, although most will treat both conditions. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that specializes in mental health disorders. Not only is a psychiatrist the only mental health professional able to prescribe medication, but they also have the medical expertise necessary to look at all physical and mental issues and arrive at a complete diagnosis.
Once we’ve arrived at the diagnosis, the next step is to create a treatment plan, and this often includes medication, but it also typically includes different types of therapy. Psychiatrists don’t typically provide this therapy and you will need to find a therapist or psychologist to help you with this portion of your treatment.
Achieving Long-Term Success
In addition to working with a psychiatrist and therapist/psychologist, I do have some additional advice for those seeking treatment for bipolar disorder, ADHD and other co-occurring disorders. These include:
1. Have Patience
It takes time to identify the treatment options and the best medications as well as the ideal dosage. It takes time for medications to work in general, but we often start with a low dose and alter the dose after a few weeks or months. There’s no magic cure that will delete all of your symptoms overnight, so you need to be committed to taking your medication and attending therapy sessions and understand that it takes time to find the best fit for your needs.
In some cases, such as with substance-use disorders, we might need to address that issue first and then work toward a solution for the co-occurring mental health disorders. While it takes time, in the end, you can live a much happier, healthier and more fulfilling life, which is always our goal.
2. Avoid Online “Experts”
While it can be very helpful to learn all you can about bipolar disorder and ADHD, the internet is full of misinformation. There are hundreds of so-called psychiatric “experts” on social media sites such as YouTube, Reddit, Tik Tok and other sites that will tell you all about bipolar disorder or ADHD and how to “diagnose yourself” or promise all-natural cures. While there is helpful information out there, too often, these postings are filled with half-truths and not with the information that you need.
It’s also important to keep in mind that what works for one person might not work for another. Head to any message board about a specific drug and you’ll find 100 people who it helped and another 100 who it did not help. Every human is unique and needs an individualized treatment plan to ensure the best results.
When you look for information on the internet, search for sources that include people with degrees in psychiatry and psychology and scientists that have studied ADHD and bipolar disorder in-depth as well as pharmacology. Look for long-standing publications with solid reputations for accuracy.
3. Take Care Of Yourself
Medication and therapy are helpful, but they aren’t the only steps that you can take to alleviate the symptoms of bipolar disorder or ADHD. With both of these issues, some studies show that sticking with a healthy diet and a daily exercise routine can be very helpful. Some people often find that activities such as meditation can be beneficial.
It can be smart to create a manageable daily schedule for yourself that includes planning healthy meals, time for exercise and maybe some time spent outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine. Create a nightly routine to help yourself relax and more easily transition into sleep. A structured daily plan can make it easier to achieve stability and lower stress levels.
For those who need psychiatric help, I specialize in the treatment of bipolar disorder, ADHD and other co-occurring disorders. While I have offices in Thousand Oaks, I also offer telepsychiatry services throughout Southern California, so we can meet securely and virtually from just about anywhere. In fact, many people prefer using the services of an online psychiatrist because you can relax in the privacy of your own home.
If you have been wondering how often does ADHD co-occur with bipolar disorder or another psychiatric disorder, I hope this blog has helped you understand a bit about co-occurring disorders and treatment options. If you are suffering from any psychiatric disorder, please give me a call and let’s find a treatment plan that works for you.
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.
Living with bipolar disorder can be challenging to say the least and many people mistakenly believe that there isn’t a quality treatment for this condition. However, a good bipolar disorder psychiatrist can help, and successful treatment is possible. However, before you contact a bipolar disorder psychiatrist, read the following facts.
1. Bipolar Disorder Is Treatable
Most of my patients have tried various treatments for bipolar disorder with limited success, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a treatment that can work for you. Too often, doctors use a one-size-fits-all approach to treating bipolar disorder, but what works with one person might not work with another.
A good bipolar disorder psychiatrist dives deep to understand the whole person. For instance, our patient might have additional mental health disorders or physical issues that also need to be addressed. A psychiatrist is both a mental health professional and a medical doctor and we have a unique ability to study each patient from both a mental and physical perspective. In order for bipolar disorder treatment to be successful, we also need to address any other co-occurring disorders or medical issues.
2. Take Some Notes
Before you contact a bipolar disorder psychiatrist, it can be helpful to take some notes about how you feel each day. These notes should include your moods, what you ate or drank, what medications you took and your sleep patterns. It’s often difficult during that initial consultation to remember all of the details about your life, so writing it all down can help your bipolar psychiatrist come up with the best diagnosis and the best treatment options.
It also is smart to continue this notetaking after we begin treatment. Write down your moods, any side effects from medication, how you slept, comments about your appetite, etc. This can help us gauge how the medication is working and if we need to adjust the dose or perhaps try a different type of medication.
3. Patients Need To Have Patience
So often, I find that a patient will try out a new medication or perhaps cognitive behavioral therapy for a week or two, and then when they don’t see instant results, they become frustrated and stop the treatments.
Medication can be an excellent tool to help patients control symptoms of bipolar disorder, but these medications do not work overnight. It takes several weeks, sometimes even a few months, to discover the ideal medication and the ideal dosage of that medication. I know that you are frustrated living with bipolar disorder, but if we are to find a truly effective treatment plan, it’s important to be as patient as possible while we work with medication and other types of treatment.
It's important to understand that it takes time for the medication to work, and these medications do sometimes have unpleasant side effects. Usually, the side effects will dissipate after a few weeks, but it’s important to understand that some side effects are normal (albeit unpleasant), and others are more serious. We will discuss all of this in-depth when we talk about your treatment options.
4. Research Is Important
There are many bipolar disorder psychiatrists out there, but, as you probably have discovered yourself, they aren’t all a perfect match for you. Before you contact a psychiatrist and make an appointment, learn a bit about them to decide if they are a good fit for your needs and personality.
Most of us have websites that discuss our philosophy and how we treat patients. From my perspective, the initial consultation is crucial and if a psychiatrist only spends 30 minutes with you and just writes you a prescription, this is a red flag.
Typically, my consultations involve several sessions where we dive deep to explore all of your symptoms as well as talking about your physical health. In some cases, we might want to consult with your personal physician and complete bloodwork and other tests to ensure that we find treatment plans that address all of your issues.
Multiple consultation sessions also are necessary to ensure that we reach the correct diagnosis. There are a few different types of bipolar disorder, and these require different treatment plans. Additionally, you may have a disorder other than bipolar disorder, or you might have co-occurring disorders.
It can be tricky to find the best psychiatrist to fit your needs, but I recommend that if you feel uncomfortable with a doctor and you don’t feel as though your doctor is truly listening to you and doing all they can to address your issues, find another psychiatrist.
5. You Don’t Need To Find A “Psychiatrist Near Me”
Many people will do an internet search for a “psychiatrist near me,” when they begin looking for a doctor, however with telepsychiatry, you can find a great psychiatrist without ever even leaving your home. Telepsychiatry makes it easier than ever to find a bipolar disorder psychiatrist that fits your needs. A virtual psychiatrist visit can be just as impactful as an in-person appointment.
Obviously, telepsychiatry became necessary during the pandemic, but many patients prefer this option to a face-to-face meeting. It is often more comfortable and comforting to stay in your home for our sessions and it saves you the time and hassle and stress of driving to a doctor’s office. Additionally, if you need to be out of town, we can still meet from just about anywhere on the planet with internet access.
For telepsychiatry sessions, an online psychiatrist uses a HIPAA-compliant secure video conferencing platform to protect your privacy and we can handle many general psychiatric services via telepsychiatry. This includes assessment, diagnosis and medication management.
I love telepsychiatry because it provides flexibility for my clients in the Los Angeles area (driving in LA traffic can be stressful, to say the least), but it also allows me to expand my services to just about anywhere in the country. Whether you need a psychiatrist in San Diego or a psychiatrist in Charlotte, NC, with telemedicine, I can help. Telepsychiatry also is a huge help for patients that live in rural or remote areas as driving to a doctor could take several hours.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the past and just never found the treatments to be successful or you suspect that you have bipolar disorder and need help, I highly recommend that you contact a bipolar disorder psychiatrist as soon as possible. With proper treatment, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be reduced and managed.
I understand how frightening, exhausting and frustrating it can be to deal with bipolar disorder, but with patience and perseverance, this disease can be managed. As a bipolar disorder psychiatrist, I can provide you with a solid diagnosis and treatment plan that can help you live a better, happier and more fulfilling life. Give me a call today and we can set up an appointment in person or online.
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.
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.