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.
As an adult psychiatrist, I fully understand the trepidation many young adults experience when transitioning from meeting with their child psychiatrist to using a psychiatrist that specializes in psychiatric care for adults.
Do You Need To Switch?
If you have an excellent psychiatrist that treats children, teens and adults, it probably isn’t necessary to make any changes. If your doctor does focus their practice on children and teenagers, however, it is best to find someone that specializes in adult psychiatry.
Some health plans also will require that you make the transition to an adult psychiatrist, although this transition usually doesn’t have to occur on the day of your 18th birthday. It’s often recommended to make the switch before you turn 19 or in some cases, the plan will allow you to keep your psychiatrist until you turn 21.
As you get older, your psychiatric needs can change, especially once you’ve completed puberty and your body and brain become fully developed. Adult psychiatric treatment plans can be different than those for children, and a psychiatrist that specializes in helping adults can be beneficial as you head into adulthood. Here are a few tips to help make this process a bit easier.
1. Start Early
Don't wait until the last minute to start the transition process. Begin discussing the change with your child psychiatrist well in advance, ideally a year or more before you'll need to switch.
2. Ask for Recommendations
Your child psychiatrist likely knows of trusted adult psychiatrists to whom they can refer you. They can help guide you to someone who will be a good fit for your needs. You also could ask your primary care physician or even trusted friends or family for recommendations.
3. Involve Parents or Guardians
If you're comfortable doing so, involve your parents or guardians in the process. They can provide emotional support and help manage the logistics of the transition. While you are becoming more independent, complete independence doesn’t have to end after you blow out the candles on your 18th birthday cake. Trusted adults can offer excellent advice and support if you need it.
4. Understand Your Diagnosis and Treatment
Make sure you have a clear understanding of your diagnosis, treatment plan, and medications before you transition. Ask your child psychiatrist to explain anything you're unclear about. I am a huge advocate for educating yourself about any mental or physical health issues – knowledge is power, and it helps you advocate for yourself and your needs.
5. Get Copies of Your Medical Records
Request a copy of your medical records, including mental health diagnoses, treatment plans, and medication histories. Provide these to your new psychiatrist to ensure continuity of care.
6. Prepare for Your First Appointment
Before your first appointment with your new psychiatrist, make a list of questions, concerns, and any symptoms you want to discuss. It’s always a good idea to compile a list of questions when meeting with any healthcare provider and be sure to take some notes during your appointment.
7. Be Open & Honest
During your initial appointments, be as open and honest as you can about your feelings, symptoms, and any concerns. This will help your new psychiatrist understand your situation and provide the best possible care.
8. Be Patient
Building a new relationship takes time. It might take a few sessions for you to feel comfortable with your new psychiatrist. As you move from adolescence to adulthood, your physical body changes and this can necessitate changes in your psychiatric care. When it comes to trying out new treatment options, it’s also wise to keep in mind that it does take time for treatment to work, so try to be patient with this process as well.
9. Stay Consistent
Keep up with regular appointments and follow the treatment plan laid out by your new psychiatrist. Consistency is key in managing mental health conditions. Stay consistent with any medications as well, as changing your dosage on your own or stopping medications can have serious consequences. If you have concerns about your medications, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
10. Advocate for Yourself
If something doesn't feel right, speak up. You know yourself best, and it's important for you to be active in your treatment plan. This can be tough for young adults, but always keep in mind that this is your life and your health. You have a right to proper care and a right to ask questions and voice concerns.
Do You Need An Adult Psychologist?
Again, the same criteria may apply as to whether or not you need to transition to using an adult psychologist or therapist. Psychiatrists are medical doctors and the only mental health professionals that can provide you with prescriptions for medications to treat mental illnesses.
However, while medications can be highly effective at treating mental health disorders, I find that the best treatment plans are those that also include regular visits with a therapist or psychologists. Learning strategies to help cope with symptoms is essential and talk therapy can help make day-to-day life and the transition into adulthood much easier.
Need An Adult Psychiatrist? Contact My Office
I provide adult psychiatric services for a wide range of mental health conditions. If you need an anxiety psychiatrist, addiction psychiatrist, ADHD psychiatrist, depression psychiatrist or bipolar disorder psychiatrist, these are just a few of the issues I treat.
Additionally, I also provide telepsychiatry services, which can be a convenient option for many patients. Using a virtual psychiatrist can be less stressful and save time, but it also can be extremely convenient for young adults. If you are attending college away from home, for example, we can still meet and continue treatment without waiting until you are home for vacation or breaks.
Remember, transitioning to an adult psychiatrist is a big step towards independence and self-management in mental health. While it may be challenging at times, it's an important part of your journey.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, finding a psychiatrist specializing in bipolar disorder can be the first step toward an easier, happier life. There are many treatment options available, and while it can take time to find the best options for you, help is available, and treatment can be successful. Let’s take a look at this illness and share some tips that can help you manage this condition.
Bipolar Disorder Is Stigmatize
Bipolar disorder tends to be one of the most misunderstood psychiatric disorders, often portrayed unrealistically in TV shows and movies. One of the biggest misconceptions is that people with this illness are dangerous and violent, although this is rarely the case.
Typically, when a person with bipolar disorder exhibits violent or aggressive behavior, there are many factors in play, such as childhood trauma, that feed into that behavior and it's not simply caused entirely by bipolar disorder. Additionally, these issues tend to manifest far more in patients with untreated bipolar disorder. When treated, people with bipolar disorder are no more violent than anyone else in the general population.
It's also important to understand that people with bipolar disorder are not always experiencing either mania or depression. When well-controlled, a person may not experience any severe symptoms at all. That’s perhaps the most important fact about bipolar disorder to understand – treatment can be successful and people with bipolar disorder can enjoy a successful, fulfilling life. But, there’s no one size fits all treatment, so it can take time to create a plan that truly helps reduce your symptoms and allows you to live a better life.
What Is Bipolar Disorder
There are several types of bipolar disorder, which is classified as a mood disorder. Symptoms of bipolar disorder vary based on the type of bipolar disorder you have, but people often will experience these symptoms differently.
In general, mood and energy levels are affected to some extent with any type of this disease, often severely. Mood stabilizers and other medications often are prescribed to reduce these symptoms; however, bipolar disorder treatment also should include additional types of therapy.
Bipolar I Disorder
With a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder, the patient will experience both severe episodes of mania and depression. The manic episodes will last at least a week, while the depressive episodes will last at least two weeks. A diagnosis of Bipolar I also can be made if these episodes were shorter in length but required hospitalization.
There also may be episodes of hypomania, which is a milder type of mania. In some cases, a patient with Bipolar I also will experience symptoms of psychosis, such as confusion, delusions and even hallucinations.
Bipolar II Disorder
With this type of bipolar disorder, a patient will experience the same long periods of depression, but without the manic episodes, although they do typically experience some hypomanic episodes. In general, most people with Bipolar II will not experience psychosis or extreme mania as this is generally milder than Bipolar I.
This is the mildest form of this mood disorder, but it still can cause brief episodes of hypomania and mild depression that can be quite upsetting. If you experience mood swings that seem more severe than others, cyclothymic disorder is a possible diagnosis, especially if these mood swings continue for at least two years. Typically, people with this disorder will only have brief periods where they experience normal moods.
5 Tips For People With Bipolar Disorder
1. Find A Specialist
Ok, easier said than done, right? Most of my patients with bipolar disorder have seen a myriad of psychiatrists specializing in bipolar disorder, not to mention psychologists, therapists and other health professionals. It can be tough to find a psychiatrist with whom you feel comfortable and to find a doctor that truly meets your needs.
However, these days, with telepsychiatry, you do have more options than ever before. In the past, we were often limited to finding that elusive “psychiatrist near me,” but an online psychiatrist can provide you with comprehensive treatment and the best part is that you can meet with your doctor anywhere you have an internet connection.
With bipolar disorder, you do need to find a psychiatrist and not just a psychologist or therapist. Psychiatrists are medical doctors, and they can assess all of your health issues and determine if any physical health conditions are impacting your mental health. They are also the only mental health professionals that can prescribe medication, which can be a highly successful treatment option for people with bipolar disorder.
That said, I highly recommend that you also find a psychologist or therapist that specializes in bipolar disorder. Talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and other therapies can greatly reduce symptoms and help you better manage your life. A combination of medication and therapy tends to yield the best long-term results for any mental health condition.
2. Be Honest With Your Provider
Trust me, your bipolar disorder psychiatrist has heard it all so there is no reason not to share all of the symptoms you are experiencing. It’s also crucial that you share everything with your doctor so that they can provide you with the most accurate diagnosis. After all, many people with bipolar disorder have co-occurring disorders and we need to treat everything, not just bipolar disorder.
For instance, if you have an anxiety disorder or ADHD and bipolar disorder, both of which are quite common, we need to be careful about any medications that are used. There are ways to treat all of these disorders concurrently, but we need to diagnose them properly to find the best treatment.
I am often asked how often does ADHD co-occur with bipolar disorder? Some studies suggest that as many as 1 in 6 people diagnosed with bipolar disorder also have ADHD. ADHD symptoms can be similar to some bipolar symptoms, so we need to be very careful during the diagnostic phase to ensure that we know precisely which disorders a patient is experiencing.
When it comes to anxiety disorders, some studies suggest more than 40% of people with bipolar disorder also suffer from an anxiety disorder. I also find that many people with bipolar disorder suffer from addiction disorders, often as a result of trying to sort of self-medicate and reduce their symptoms. All of this needs to be addressed during treatment.
3. Stay Active & Eat Healthy
Regular physical activity and a balanced diet can help manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Exercise has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety and improve mood. Similarly, a healthy diet can support overall well-being and energy levels. Avoiding alcohol and drugs also are crucial as these can interact dangerously with your medications or trigger and exacerbate mood episodes.
While a consistent daily routine will not cure bipolar disorder, it can be helpful to create a workable, easy daily schedule. Don’t try to pile too much on your plate, so to speak and create a restful nighttime routine that allows you the best chance of enjoying a good night’s sleep. It’s also smart to keep a daily mood journal. Track your sleep patterns, as well, as sleep disruptions can lead to a manic or depressive episode.
4. Join A Support Group
You are not alone! Many people have bipolar disorder, and it can be great to talk to others with this disorder. Not only will you feel less isolated, you will likely find it beneficial to share your experiences and will probably find some good strategies to help you cope with bipolar disorder.
If you are the loved one of someone with bipolar disorder, I recommend educating yourself about this disorder and also perhaps seeking support as a caregiver. Both people with this disease and those that love and care for them need support!
5. Take Your Medications & As Prescribed
Medications can greatly reduce or even eliminate symptoms of bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, once those symptoms abate, many patients decide now that they feel better, they don’t need to take their medication.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic disease, and that means it’s always there, it’s simply being controlled by medication. Let’s compare it to asthma for a minute. This is also a chronic disease but when controlled by medication, the symptoms often go away. However, this doesn’t mean a person should stop treatment. Once you quit using your daily asthma meds, the symptoms will simply reappear.
It's just the same with bipolar disorder except that while it can be relatively easy to get your asthma back under control, it’s not nearly as easy to get bipolar disorder back under control. Additionally, with some bipolar medications, you cannot simply just stop using them, you must gradually taper off these medications.
Taking your daily medications and taking them exactly as prescribed is always the best option. If you do have concerns about your medications, contact your psychiatrist and discuss these concerns with them. They may be able to adjust the dosage or try a different medication, but it is never a good idea to simply stop taking your meds or alter the amount of your meds without professional medical advice.
Call Dr. Jesalva Today
If you need a psychiatrist specializing in bipolar disorder, I am always here to help and I offer telepsychiatry services. I also work as an anxiety psychiatrist, depression psychiatrist, addiction psychiatrist and can treat PTSD and other co-occurring disorders you may be facing. Don’t suffer another day with bipolar disorder, help is out there, and treatment can be successful. We will work together to come up with a treatment plan that truly transforms and improves your life.
Everyone suffers from anxiety from time to time, it’s simply a part of the human condition. However, if constant feelings of anxiety are impacting your life and making it difficult for you to complete daily tasks and enjoy relationships, it’s probably time to seek the services of a psychiatrist for anxiety.
Why Seek Treatment?
Some people mistakenly believe that chronic feelings of anxiety are “normal,” and while we all do feel nervous or anxious once in a while, millions of Americans suffer from daily feelings of anxiety, and this is a serious mental health issue that affects your ability to function and live your life to the fullest.
For many people, chronic anxiety makes it difficult for them to work or handle school or even complete daily tasks. Anxiety can impact your social life and have a negative impact on your relationships. The good news is that there are many treatment options available, and while it can take time to find a treatment plan that fully meets your needs, anxiety can be lessened, and you can live a happier, healthier and much easier life.
Too often, people with anxiety disorders feel ashamed about seeking treatment for anxiety, mistakenly believing they are weak or should just be able to handle their problems. The truth is millions of people suffer from chronic anxiety. In fact, it’s estimated that about 30% of adults suffer from an anxiety disorder at some point in their life.
An anxiety disorder is nothing to be ashamed of, it is simply a medical disorder just like diabetes or high blood pressure or asthma. Just like the latter three diseases, there are many ways to successfully treat anxiety. If you seek medical help for your high blood pressure, seeking medical help for anxiety is truly no different.
Why A Psychiatrist?
People with anxiety have the option of working with therapists and psychologists, and while this is always an excellent option, you may also need to contact and work with a psychiatrist for anxiety and there are several reasons why.
1. Psychiatrists Can Evaluate Your Medical Health
Unlike therapists or psychologists, psychiatrists are medical doctors, which gives them a unique perspective. Unlike a psychologist or even a primary care physician, we can diagnose and treat both mental health issues as well as other types of health conditions that may be affecting your mental health.
There are many physical health conditions and medications that can cause anxiety disorder symptoms. If we can work to improve your physical health, this often can help reduce your anxiety, as well.
2. Psychiatrists Can Provide Medication
While psychologists can diagnose mental health conditions, they cannot prescribe medication, which is why you likely will need the support of a psychiatrist. Several different types of medications have been shown to reduce or eliminate symptoms of anxiety disorders and this can be an approach to consider.
Keep in mind, treatment for anxiety disorders should include more than medication. Medication can be hugely beneficial, but it is even more beneficial when we also provide patients with cognitive behavioral therapy and talk therapy. Behavioral therapy can provide you with helpful tools to help you manage stressful situations and reduce anxiety and talk therapy can help you work through problems.
It’s also important to note that medication takes time to work, and it can take time to find the right dosage for each individual. Some medications also have side effects, such as nausea, dizziness and fatigue. While this may resolve after a few weeks of taking the medication, it’s important for patients to have realistic expectations about medication.
3. Psychiatrists Can Help With Co-Occurring Disorders
Many patients with anxiety disorders also suffer from other mental illnesses, such as depression or PTSD or OCD or perhaps bipolar disorder. My focus is always on getting to the root of all of the issues and illnesses is facing to create the best possible treatment plan.
We can treat your anxiety, but if you also have an eating disorder or perhaps ADHD or bipolar disorder, we need to treat those as well to ensure that all of your health needs are met.
While mental health professionals such as psychologists and therapists can provide many types of behavioral and talk therapy for people with co-occurring disorders, a psychiatrist also can help with medication management for co-occurring disorders. This can be tricky as certain medications can interact and we must find the best possible combinations of medications and therapies for each patient.
In addition to my services as an anxiety psychiatrist, I also offer services as a depression psychiatrist and PTSD psychiatrist. I also treat bipolar disorder, ADHD, addiction and any other co-occurring disorders you may have along with an anxiety disorder.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Treatment for anxiety disorders often varies based on the type of anxiety disorder a patient might have, and there are several disorders recognized by the American Psychiatric Association and listed in that organization’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), including:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Persistent and excessive worry about various aspects of life, such as work, health, family, or finances.
Panic Disorder: Recurrent and unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear or discomfort, accompanied by physical and cognitive symptoms.
Agoraphobia: Fear and avoidance of situations where escape might be difficult, or help might not be available in the event of a panic attack or other incapacitating symptoms.
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia): Intense fear of social situations in which the individual may be scrutinized, judged, or embarrassed.
Specific Phobia: Marked fear or anxiety about a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, animals, receiving injections, or seeing blood). Exposure therapy often can be a helpful treatment for some phobias.
Separation Anxiety Disorder: Excessive fear or anxiety about being separated from attachment figures, typically in children but can also occur in adults.
Selective Mutism: Consistent failure to speak in specific social situations despite the ability to speak in other situations, usually affecting children.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): In the DSM-5, PTSD is classified as a trauma- and stressor-related disorder, but it often is associated with anxiety disorders. We have many new treatments for PTSD that can be quite helpful including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and possibly ketamine treatments.
Telepsychiatry For Anxiety
During the pandemic, telepsychiatry became one of the easiest and safest ways for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to treat patients. While we are back to meeting face-to-face, many patients have come to prefer using a virtual psychiatrist over in-person meetings.
Many people feel comfortable meeting virtually and it can be more convenient. After all, meeting online allows us to meet from anywhere you have an internet connection. You also don’t have to fight your way through traffic, which can be very stressful, and you save time because no commute is necessary. Telepsychiatry also allows you to choose a psychiatrist that truly meets your needs rather than simply settling for that “psychiatrist near me.”
Contact Dr. Jesalva Today
If you are suffering symptoms of anxiety, don’t wait another day before contacting a psychiatrist for anxiety. I can meet with patients virtually or in person and have been successfully treating patients with anxiety, depression, PTSD and other mental health conditions for many years. There is always hope, and we can find a treatment plan that truly reduces your anxiety and improves your life.
Psychiatrists can treat a wide range of psychological conditions, and while you might think more of psychiatric disorders such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety or depression, many psychiatrists also can treat addiction. An addiction psychiatrist is a medical doctor that specializes in helping patients with substance use disorders.
Is Addiction A Disease
There’s a lot of debate about this, and I think it’s important to truly dive in and understand why most medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, classify substance use disorders as a disease.
Let’s compare substance use disorders with another medical disorder – diabetes. While lifestyle choices can be reasons why a person develops diabetes, there are other factors that come into play including genetics, biology, psychology and even environmental factors.
We can look at two people with virtually identical lifestyles and body types and see one develop diabetes and another person never develop this disease so it’s not all about diet and exercise, although those certainly can be an issue. Additionally, while dietary choices might contribute to diabetes, those choices don’t take away the fact that diabetes is a disease.
When it comes to substance use, many people are able to drink alcohol or use drugs such as marijuana without ever becoming addicted to these substances. In many cases, a person’s biology, genetics and psychology all contribute to both using drugs or alcohol and becoming addicted to these substances.
It’s also important to keep in mind that substance use actually changes our brains. While we might make that initial choice to use a drug, if we continue using drugs or alcohol, this can alter the brain and once that occurs, a person has far less control of their ability to stop drinking or using drugs.
For those suffering from addiction, it’s important to understand that addiction is a disease and a chronic disease just like diabetes or asthma. And just as with those medical conditions, we can treat the disease and help a person live a healthier life. As an addiction psychiatrist, I have seen firsthand that substance use disorders can be treated and recovery can be successful.
How An Addiction Psychiatrist Can Help
While there are many therapists, counselors and psychologists in the field of addiction counseling, an addiction psychiatrist is uniquely qualified to help with addiction treatment, especially during the initial phases of treatment.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors as well as mental health professionals, and while they typically don’t provide talk therapy or behavioral therapy, they can provide you with a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan as well as diving into your medical history and psychological history to determine all of the issues you might be facing. It is important to identify any and all mental health disorders and medical issues before creating a treatment plan.
While a general psychiatrist certainly can be helpful, if you are suffering from substance abuse, it can be wise to select a psychiatrist that specializes in addiction psychiatry. Addiction psychiatrists treat more than substance use disorders, but they have additional training and keep up with the latest developments in addiction treatment.
Of course, many of their patients will have co-occurring disorders and an addiction psychiatrist can help with other mental health issues. For instance, a patient might have a dual diagnosis of depression as well as substance abuse or perhaps bipolar disorder or chronic pain.
In order for addiction treatment to be successful, we must address all of the issues and not just substance abuse. This is why I spend so much time on reaching a thorough diagnosis because it’s not just about helping someone to stop using drugs and alcohol. It’s getting to the root of all of the problems and finding ways to address each issue.
As a patient, it is also highly recommended that you also seek the services of a therapist or psychologist. A psychiatrist can provide you with a diagnosis and prescribe medications for medication-assisted addiction treatment, but it’s also crucial to utilize the power of talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. This combination approach tends to yield the greatest rates of success.
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment
For some types of substances, there are medications that can help people maintain long-term sobriety. These medications do not cure addiction, but they can reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and reduce the craving for drugs or alcohol.
It might seem counterintuitive to use medications to prevent drug and alcohol abuse, but it’s important to remember that medications are used to treat many common diseases and the medications used to treat addiction have seen very high rates of success.
For instance, medications such as naltrexone and methadone have been shown to help alleviate cravings for people addicted to opioids. Naltrexone, acamprosate and disulfiram all have been used to help patients addicted to alcohol. Again, these aren’t cures, but they reduce the need for substance use and allow people to live better, more successful lives.
What About Telepsychiatry?
As a psychiatrist in Thousand Oaks, I see patients throughout the Los Angeles area, as well as in southern Ventura County. If you live outside that area, I can provide you with the services of a virtual psychiatrist.
Telepsychiatry allows you the freedom to select an addiction psychiatrist that truly fits your needs, rather than simply trying to find a local psychiatrist, which might put limits on your search. Additionally, many people prefer meeting with a doctor from the comfort of their homes and you can save time and avoid the hassle of dealing with traffic.
Call Me Today!
Even if you’ve tried multiple times to stop using drugs or alcohol, there truly is hope for a long-term recovery. Addiction is treatable, and I can help. If you need an experienced addiction psychiatrist, please contact my office today and let’s get you on a path toward sobriety and a happier, healthier 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.