Finding a psychiatrist
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Finding a psychiatrist

Q: How Can I find a doctor in my area (Tampa, FL) that knows about bipolar patients and their medications? I feel that I am getting worse by not being able to find a psychiatrist that can help me. The doctor I am seeing now is the Department Chair for the Psychiatry Department at one of the local universities in town, and I am not sure how much he knows about bipolar disorder. I was unable to find a doctor on your search site in my area. Thanks for your help and also for the great service you provide to everyone who are looking for straight answers about this condition which are hard to find.

Dear Elisabeth --
I'm sure there must be several good candidate doc's in your area.  You might try posting on a local bulletin board, if you can find one; or even posting on BipolarWorld and seeing if someone's in Florida who can help give you a steer.  Otherwise, it's phone book time: one shrink at a time, asking each (their voicemail or secretary):  "is your main interest medications or psychotherapy?" If it's the latter, keep going: the mainstay treatments of bipolar disorder are still med's, for now.  If she/he says "both", that's ok.  In fact, those people may deserve top-of-the-list position; someone who only does med's can be a little narrow, sometimes at least.  Plan on seeing 2 or 3, if you can bear it, unless you find somebody you like right off.  And try that ask-your-primary-care doc' approach too: they know who's out there; they can probably tell you who's really good, but often such a person is "full", not taking new patients.  Remember, if you were going to buy a car, you'd probably drive at least a few first...

Dr. Phelps
 

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