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.
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.