Welcome to Bipolar in Focus, I'm Jane Pauley. A key ingredient to success in coping with bipolar disorder is finding a relationship with a doctor. Let's be honest.
This is not always easy. With some guidance for us is Mary Lee Gupta, the Service Coordinator of NAMI-New York and welcome.
Thank you very much.
Oh, when people ask you as I'm sure they often do, "How am I going to find a doctor?" What do you say?
I say, "A great way to find a psychiatrist is to meet with other family members who have loved ones who have bipolar disorder and who have experience with doctors in your area."
Because those people will really know who the best doctors are for bipolar disorder.
There are other resources for beginning this search.
Absolutely! You can go to your insurance company and you can find out who are the psychiatrists that are covered by your insurance company.
And you can get referrals from the American Psychiatric Association.
What kind of questions would you ask a doctor that you were interviewing?
I would ask them, what their experiences with treating bipolar disorder? How long have they've been doing this?
Because some are focused on bipolar and others just --
-- maybe do a little?
Right, right! And some may have a broader range and you really want someone who's at the top of their game specifically around the medications for bipolar disorder.
What are the criteria by which the best doctors become known as the best doctors?
Having access to your psychiatrist any time of the day or night is really important and is an essential component to a really good relationship.
How common is it to find the right doctor on the first try?
I don't think it's all that common actually. I think people generally have to go to a couple or a few even different doctors.
And one doctor that you go to at first who may get you started on medication may not be necessarily the person that you want to continue with for the long-term.
What if the chemistry isn't right?
If it's not a good fit for you, then they're really um -- excellent psychiatrist will be very open to giving you another name.
The first step to finding the right doctor might be finding the people who have been there before.
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is a national organization. It's a wonderful site which is www.nami.org so that you can identify the NAMI in your area.
And therefore, identify a support group where you can meet either other mental health consumers or other family members where you can get some of this information about who's great in your area.
Mary Lee Gupta, thank you for joining us. And thank you for joining us on Bipolar in Focus.