Ask the Doc

Do you have a question for a mental healthcare provider? We will be accepting questions for our clinical panel and will publish a select question and answer in each of the DBSA monthly eUpdates. Submit your question here for future eUpdates.

I believe my daughter’s psychiatrist is going to be prescribing an antidepressant. What are the most important questions I should ask him about taking an antidepressant?
View Dr. Karen Wagner's Answer

What proven strategies—in addition to medication—help improve morale for people who live with bipolar disorder?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

About 14 years ago I was diagnosed with treatment resistant depression—and then bipolar disorder. I take a number of meds. In the past few years I've felt better than I have in a long time, but I still also don't enjoy the things I used to. All I want is to get these things back. Is this as good as it gets?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

I've taken different antidepressants over the years, and now my body seems to reject medications that helped before. Any suggestions?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

A relative of mine, recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, has been displaying disorganized thinking, exercising poor judgment without knowing it, overstepping boundaries, with hyper-religiosity. She does not see these things, but her loved ones do. I want to let her know our observations so she can get the right help. How do I gently tell her this without upsetting or alienating her?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

Do treatment plans ever include getting off of medication? I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 17 years ago. I’ve tried—unsuccessfully—to get off medications in the past. Now I am seeing a psychologist and changing my thinking and the people that I hang around with. I've been off medication for three months and feeling fine.
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

What advice would you give to a dually diagnosed person about stopping drinking at the cost of increasing symptoms of depression or bipolar disorder? I stopped drinking 10 years ago, and 6 months later a living hell of bipolar disorder was exposed.
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

My husband and I really want to have children, but I have a family history of mental illness, and I have bipolar disorder. I'm afraid to pass it on to my future kids. My husband worries about this, too. What are my chances of passing this on, and could it potentially get worse?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

I have severe depression, but I've often wondered if I have bipolar. My mood constantly changes. One minute I'm fine, the next I'm crying my eyes out. I snap over things I shouldn't get mad over.
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

Is there a cure for depression? I have been taking medications for over two decades. I exercise, pray, and have changed my lifestyle. There will always be some stress in my life, as I am the sole caregiver of two adult children with special needs. I have literally tried all I possibly can and I just don't seem to get a breather. Can I get well one day?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

I’ve heard claims about nutritional supplements helping with depression or bipolar disorder. Are any of these supplements actually effective? Could any of them be harmful?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

Is depression during pregnancy different from depression at any other time? Is treatment for depression safe or effective for pregnant women?
View Dr. Susan L. McElroy's Answer

I've heard that natural lithium is available at health food stores and online. It's supposed to have fewer risks and side effects than prescription lithium. Should I try switching from prescription lithium to the natural kind?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

How would I know which type of talk therapy is appropriate for me? I've suffered abuse both as a child and as an adult. I've had problems with amnesia all my life, so never talked about any abuse. Therapists don't want me to go back to the past. What should I do?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

My son is 9 and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ADHD, and OCD. When he is having one of his meltdowns, do you have any suggestions to help him get through it and if he needs to be disciplined, what's the best way?
View Dr. David Miklowitz and Tara Peris's Answer

Two years ago I ended a long-term relationship that wasn't healthy for me. My mood has been much more stable, and I feel happy for the first time. Can a life circumstance actually change the chemistry in someone's brain to the point where they are no longer bipolar?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

I am exercising and eating well and still can't seem to shed the pounds. I am on antidepressants. What can I do?
View Dr. William Gilmer's Answer

I have suffered with depression and fatigue for over 40 years. Is there anything that will help the 'flatness' and 'no motivation'? I cannot make myself do anything. I also sleep pretty much 18 hours out of 24.
View Dr. Gary Sachs's Answer

Sometimes I get angry and mean and completely lose control. I am alienating my kids, and I fear they will never want to visit me when they leave to go out on their own. What can I do to control my outbursts?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

When I saw a doctor about weight loss surgery, he said I had to have a mental health evaluation from my psychiatrist. What is that for? If I did go ahead with the surgery, how might that affect the medications I take? Is there anything specific I would have to watch out for?
View Dr. David E. Kemp's Answer

Is it valuable to have a brain scan even if clinical symptoms are consistent with bipolar disorder prior to assigning the diagnosis of bipolar disorder?
View Dr. Mark Bauer's Answer

I've been reading that ketamine can help with severe depression when other treatments haven't worked. Should I ask my doctor to try it?
View Dr. Joseph Calabrese's Answer

What are some ways to get over the fears of trusting others? I suffer from depression and borderline personality disorder. I have issues with being around people I don't know because I am afraid I will say or do the wrong thing. Do you have any coping skills or suggestions?
View Dr. Holly A. Swartz's Answer

My husband has chronic joint pain and is clinically depressed. To help him with his discomfort he became licensed to use medical marijuana. Can the use of pot intensify depression? I feel uncomfortable with his use of marijuana, especially since we have a teenager with bipolar disorder in the house.
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

I've been through ECT treatments for 2 years. I worry about the treatments causing long-term damage to my brain. Can any of the current or upcoming treatments replace ECT for treatment of medication-resistant medication illness?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

Is there any evidence in support of fish oil supplements to help depression in bipolar disorder?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

I got really depressed in April and have been off work. The depression has just started to lift, but now I am phobic. I find going out and socializing hard work. Is this the tail end of the depression?
View Dr. Greg Simon's Answer

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