View Full Version : Finding a QUALITY psychiatrist? (in San Francisco)


psychinsf
04-14-09, 02:13 AM
Hello,

I live in San Francisco, California. I have a psychiatrist, but he isn't very good. I feel as though I am doing all the work (researching medications, supplements, side effects, tolerance, etc.) while he just signs the prescription (for whatever I propose).

I am learning more and more about my ADHD, OCD, and depression. I think it is very important that I continue to educate myself about my conditions or disorders and the biological and chemical mechanisms occurring with regards to my symptoms and the pharmacological treatment.

However, I am far from an expert, and it angers me that I had to decline so badly before finding an effective medication (despite having sought regular and various psychological and psychiatric help for about 6 or 7 years).

I just know that there are pharmacological stones still to be turned in my situation.

Since psychiatrists here seem pretty booked, I feel as though the handful from the list of providers are just not that great. Should I try to find a leading expert in my conditions in the area (perhaps someone who practices and does research) and be pushy to get an appointment, or perhaps pay out of pocket for a consultation?

Unfortunately, in finding my psychiatrist, I must have called about 50 other psychiatrists in the area, and only gotten responses from a handful. Psychiatrists here seem to be pretty booked.


How do I go about finding better care and treatment? Or do I have to figure this all out myself and just ask my puppet p-doc to sign the Rx? My primary care physician is pretty ignorant about mental health care.

I currently take Wellbutrin and Adderall IR.

muldoon
04-14-09, 03:24 AM
I wouldn't be too quick to judge your psychiatrist. I've had the same one for over 11 years, and when I first started seeing him I knew nothing about nothing. He asked questions back then. Now, I have learned to do my own research on my own symptoms, because, quite frankly, I know what's going on in my head best. He now tells me that he is glad that I have started to take notice about how I feel and using available resources to try to pinpoint the problem. He says I am "well-read & trustworthy", and my visits are much like yours. I do the research, make a proposal about a med or adjustment, he agrees or disagrees (w/ a valid reason), and signs the scripts. 15 mins in & out. He says I make his job easier because most people come in and are very vague and are indecisive about what they'd like to try. I never push the limits and am always honest w/ him. He returns the favor by being open to new meds or doses.

The fact that it's hard for you to find a psychiatrist is not area specific. It's pretty much that way everywhere. There are 3 total in my town, none of which take new patients, and I drive 30 miles to see mine who I've seen the last decade. There is an 8 month waiting period for new patients at his clinic, which has 7 psychiatrists.

I am glad to have a psychiatrist who trusts MY judgment & doesn't think he knows what's better. Basically, he's the gatekeeper to a med which may or may not help me: the script must be approved by him so there's no way around it. I don't mind doing the research myself. It saves alot of time w/ trial & error on meds he'd be prescribing on guesswork only to find out I'd like a different one because of side effects, lack of efficacy, etc.

By "quality psychiatrist", do you mean one who's going to insist on something & not budge, or one who knows an informed patient when he/she sees one and is liberal w/ prescribing practices?

wsmac
04-14-09, 03:52 AM
I see Laura Davies, M.D. on Union St.
I don't have her number right now, but maybe you can find her in the phone book or an online listing?

psychinsf
04-14-09, 04:38 AM
I wouldn't be too quick to judge your psychiatrist. I've had the same one for over 11 years, and when I first started seeing him I knew nothing about nothing. He asked questions back then. Now, I have learned to do my own research on my own symptoms, because, quite frankly, I know what's going on in my head best. He now tells me that he is glad that I have started to take notice about how I feel and using available resources to try to pinpoint the problem. He says I am "well-read & trustworthy", and my visits are much like yours. I do the research, make a proposal about a med or adjustment, he agrees or disagrees (w/ a valid reason), and signs the scripts. 15 mins in & out. He says I make his job easier because most people come in and are very vague and are indecisive about what they'd like to try. I never push the limits and am always honest w/ him. He returns the favor by being open to new meds or doses.

The fact that it's hard for you to find a psychiatrist is not area specific. It's pretty much that way everywhere. There are 3 total in my town, none of which take new patients, and I drive 30 miles to see mine who I've seen the last decade. There is an 8 month waiting period for new patients at his clinic, which has 7 psychiatrists.

I am glad to have a psychiatrist who trusts MY judgment & doesn't think he knows what's better. Basically, he's the gatekeeper to a med which may or may not help me: the script must be approved by him so there's no way around it. I don't mind doing the research myself. It saves alot of time w/ trial & error on meds he'd be prescribing on guesswork only to find out I'd like a different one because of side effects, lack of efficacy, etc.

By "quality psychiatrist", do you mean one who's going to insist on something & not budge, or one who knows an informed patient when he/she sees one and is liberal w/ prescribing practices?

I wasn't really looking for your philosophical stance on my complaint. More looking for real, concrete suggestions as to how I can accomplish a goal (finding a psychiatrist more up-to-date on my specific disorders and innovative treatment methods) in wake of specific obstacles (the psychiatrists listed under my insurance in my area are very booked, and the ones involved with research are probably the most busy).

Calix
05-21-09, 12:00 AM
I'm with you. It's really hard to find a good psych, even in the bay area where you'd expect to find someone good. When I first started looking, no one would call me back. It was very frustrating. I finally got a referral from one psych who didn't have room for me and that made the difference. If you're willing to come to Berkeley, my psych may be worth talking to. His manner is a bit odd, but he really gets the pharmacological stuff. You can PM me for his info.

suzannahscott
07-08-09, 05:34 PM
Hello,and thank you for your valuable message...I'm in Napa,with ADD/ADHD,and without resources for obtaining Adderall,which I have taken in the past with tremendous success...I would greatly appreciate the Name and phone number of your psychiatrist in Berkeley..how often does he/she require visits?..how many months supply can he/she write for Addersll at a time?..thank you soooooo very much for your kind reply! I know that Adderall will make all the difference in my daily functioning..by the way..what strenth does your doctor feel comfortable prescribing ?..thanks again for your time..
God Bless,
Susan

iittaa
07-14-09, 03:35 AM
I just started going to Dr. Donald Stanford in Berkeley. He's close to UC Berkeley and so very close to BART. I couldn't get anyone to return my phone calls when looking for a psychiatrist. My mom found out about him somehow and he is so available and easy to get an appointment with. Not only that, but he has been practicing for almost 40 years and is very knowledgable. He's not the one to go to if you are looking to spill your heart out - very curt appointments. But he is adept at determining proper treatment via medication, which has been my main concern. He accepts many insurance, I think even HMO. Other than him, I would try UCSF medical center. They have a lot of experts in everything and are very accessible as well. Good luck finding someone.

flexigoat
09-10-09, 05:36 PM
I would hesitate to go to UCSF, mostly because they are super booked and the Doctors take a very long time to get back to you, probably due to the volume of patients they see there.

I have Kaiser through my job now and although I hate Kaiser for everything else I've found their Psych. department to be pretty good. Mostly because my Dr. is super fast at getting back to me whenever I have questions or concerns. The only "bad" thing is that they'll make jump through flaming hoops before getting stimulant medication.

blackhound
12-04-09, 03:09 PM
Dr. Israel is a UCSF prof, I got first appt within a week. as another addforum poster put it, he is the best
http://www.joshuaisraelmd.com/

peripatetic
12-04-09, 09:52 PM
i can recommend a fantastic SF kaiser psychiatrist. he certainly didn't make me jump through any hoops for stimulant medication. however, i was diagnosed long ago and have been on meds for years, so getting diagnosed there might be a totally different story.

best wishes:)

Trooper Keith
01-06-10, 12:15 AM
How do you define quality, in this case?

DCadult-Inatt
04-05-10, 12:21 AM
I'm trying to figure out how to negotiate away from my Dr. at Kaiser Oakland. I'm willing to drive to any Kaiser hospital for someone who know a a bit more about ADD/ADHD. Anyone ever drop a Dr. and get to another one in the Bay Area?

chowmein67
09-26-11, 11:50 AM
I see Dr. Israel, he's been great! (joshuaisraelmd.com)