For people with mental health conditions, telepsychiatry can be an excellent option to consider. These days many healthcare services, including psychiatric care, are handled virtually and there are many advantages to opting for a virtual psychiatrist rather than receiving care in person.
What Are The Advantages of Telepsychiatry
There are several advantages to telepsychiatry, and for patients, the main advantages include the convenience factor and the ability to choose the best possible psychiatrist for their needs and not simply rely on finding “psychiatry near me.”
Many studies have shown that telepsychiatry does not reduce the accuracy of diagnosis nor the quality of care of psychiatric services. We also use a secure platform for each session, so patient privacy and confidentiality are protected.
Telepsychiatry also has been approved by the American Psychiatric Association and many of my patients prefer it to traditional face-to-face meetings. After all, as a psychiatrist in Thousand Oaks, I know only too well how stressful it can be navigating L.A. traffic.
Telepsychiatry allows us to meet without forcing patients to drive to a mental health center or medical center or take extra time out of their day for travel. With telepsychiatry, we typically see reduced wait times for health services, which is another advantage.
Are There Disadvantages?
Some patients do respond better in a face-to-face setting, so while telepsychiatry services were the norm during the pandemic, this was probably not the best option for these patients. Many patients love the convenience, but for those that prefer meeting in person, it might be wise to find a local psychiatrist instead.
Some treatments also cannot be accessed virtually, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or ketamine treatments. EMDR can be an excellent option for patients with PTSD, and ketamine can be an option for patients with treatment-resistant depression, but they do need to be provided in a medical office setting.
What Can Be Treated Via Telepsychiatry?
Many mental health issues can be treated with telepsychiatry services. For instance, I offer services as an ADHD psychiatrist, depression psychiatrist, anxiety psychiatrist and bipolar disorder psychiatrist. I also treat patients for alcoholism and drug addiction.
Behavioral health care is truly just as important as taking care of your physical health. Mental illness can take a huge toll on your happiness and enjoyment of life, and, too often, people resist getting mental health services.
Psychiatric disorders are not a weakness. They are biological diseases that often are treatable. Seeking psychiatric treatment is no different than heading to your primary care doctor to deal with issues such as strep throat or asthma or heart disease. Whether you are suffering from one or more mental health disorders, I strongly urge you to seek psychiatric care and move toward a happier, healthier life.
Whether you opt for virtual psychiatry or in-person services, the best advice I can give is to find a doctor that provides you with a thorough diagnosis that addresses all of a patient’s mental and physical issues.
For instance, if you are suffering from addiction and chronic pain, both of these issues need to be addressed in order for treatment to be as successful as possible. Likewise, if you suffer from anxiety and an eating disorder, a doctor shouldn’t just focus on anxiety and ignore the eating disorder. Co-occurring disorders are extremely common, and it’s crucial to find ways to treat every issue you are facing.
Telepsychiatry Vs. Telepsychology
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor and, as such, these doctors are the only mental health professionals able to write prescriptions for psychiatric medications. Additionally, as a medical doctor, a psychiatrist will approach each patient from both a physical and mental health perspective.
Often, a psychiatrist will want a patient to undergo certain tests beyond diagnostic testing. For instance, we might want to check your blood for any indicators of health issues or perhaps even consider scheduling an MRI or EEG to study a patient’s neurological health. In some cases, physical ailments can be causing mental health issues or contribute to these issues. If we can alleviate physical health issues, this can decrease or eliminate symptoms of mental health issues.
Additionally, it is important that you provide your psychiatrist (or any doctor) with a complete list of the drugs and supplements you take, including recreational drugs such as marijuana, MDMA, etc. Sometimes drug interactions also cause or exacerbate mental health issues.
Keep in mind, we are not here to judge you, we are here to help, so you must be completely honest about all substances that you take, even vitamins and other health supplements so that we can provide the best possible mental health care.
While a psychologist cannot provide you with prescriptions for medication or evaluate your physical health, these professionals serve as a crucial part of any successful treatment plan, and they also can diagnose mental health disorders. Psychiatrists typically focus only on diagnosis and treatment but don’t actually provide talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy or other types of non-medication-related therapies.
In many cases, medication can help patients, but the most successful treatment plans also incorporate different types of therapy. Talking to a psychologist or therapist can be hugely beneficial, and, often more beneficial than simply relying on medication management.
Therapy can provide you with an outlet for your emotions as well as providing you with helpful strategies to manage your day-to-day life. Even those without mental health disorders can benefit from therapy and there are many therapists and psychologists out there offering virtual services these days.
Contact Dr. Jesalva Today!
If you are suffering from mental health issues, I can provide you with quality telepsychiatry services. If you prefer to find “psychiatry near me,” my offices are located in Thousand Oaks, and I can serve patients face-to-face throughout the Los Angeles metro area.
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.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a complex neurological disorder that affects people of all ages. While we often think about ADHD as a disorder that affects children, teenagers and adults often also are affected. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have ADHD, working with an ADHD psychiatrist can help.
Telemedicine and telepsychiatry are fast becoming norms in our society. In the past, we almost always met our patients face to face, but the global pandemic has forced us to pivot and provide many online services. What we’ve found is that telemedicine often can be just as effective as in-person treatment, and this is especially true with psychiatric treatments.
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.