Working with your primary care provider

Table of Contents

Primary care providers are generally not well trained in handling complicated mood problems. Some have gotten really good at it, often because they were forced to: no one else was available. Some are still avoiding it.

Please understand that many doctors will not wish to be “led” into territory in which they do not feel comfortable.  They may be making a wise judgement, focusing on areas of medicine in which they can be effective, and leaving other areas to specialists.  That’s practicing good medicine, ok? It’s their choice, it’s a very legitimate choice, and it may well be the best thing for you, if they chose to say “no” to your requests to be evaluated or treated by them for “bipolar disorder”.  Here’s a short essay on How to Talk to Doctors if you need some help with that step.

If you simply cannot find, afford, or get to a psychiatrist who is experienced in bipolar disorders, you will find a letter here you can take to your doctor.  It will explain that you have begun to wonder about bipolar disorder as an explanation for your symptoms, and introduce her or him to my site.

Careful, though. Be prepared to be dismissed. Some primary care providers will think they don’t have time for this.  In many cases that’s true. Their frustration may fall on you. It’s not your fault. You didn’t ask to have your symptoms, you’re just trying to do something about it. But be prepared for their frustration and try to be ready to help them with it (ironic, isn’t it).  They didn’t ask to be put in this situation (so many patients, so little time) either.


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