Psychiatrists for Teens & Young Adults

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi-

    My teenager has a lot going on psychologically and we've brought her to different psychologists/psychiatrists who all say different things (though ADHD is consistent across all diagnoses). I feel like none of the care providers are going very deep- the metaphor I think of is the people blindfolded touching different parts of an elephant and they all think it is something different (a tree! a spear! a wall! a snake!) because they are only focused on individual parts of the elephant and not seeing the big picture. Has anyone come across a very good psychiatric diagnostician who can assess mood disorders, sleep disorders anxiety, etc as well as ADHD? We've had a great neuropsych battery done so we don't need a repeat of that, but we do need someone who is just really sharp at complicated diagnoses and differential diagnosis. We are willing to go Out of Network with regard to insurance. And I guess in addition to this- any suggestions for psychiatrists who are just really good at complicated medication situations and work with teens?

    Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!

    I wonder if you might get a more clear picture of what’s going on by having your daughter in therapy with someone for 4-6 months rather than just looking for a diagnostician. 

    The thing about ADHD (which you’re saying everyone agrees on) is that depression/anxiety and sleep disorders are part of having ADHD for many (maybe even most) people. So it may be there is no other diagnosis to make. But seeing a therapist for a while could help your daughter learn in what ways her specific brain is affected by ADHD and how to cope with it  

    This is harder to find out by seeing a diagnostician for a handful of appointments because that only gives you a snapshot of a moment in time in her life. 

    Sometimes a good psychiatric prescribing nurse practitioner is better at the day to day diagnosis and medication management. We have seen very good PRNs at Children's Hospital Oakland. They will closely review results of the neuropsyche testing, discuss with you in-depth and develop a treatment plan. Good Luck.

  • Hello. My teenage son has been seeing a psychiatrist for depression, anxiety and supposedly ADD. We have a feeling he does not have ADD but can’t focus and has no motivation because of his depression. His current psychiatrist has prescribed TONS of pills that are not really solving any of the issues and cause lots of side effects. I have called lots of other psychiatrists but none are taking new patients. Anyone you know, that you recommend, that is taking new patients?  Any places I can find other doctors to call?  Please don’t suggest Pacific Coast Psychiatric Assoc. They are just a money making machine. I would prefer doctors with their own practice. 

    Have you tried osher center at ucsf? They have an integrative medicine approach and dr. Sanford newmark does both hollistic and medication management. Theres a waiting list but the practice is really good and you can get a fomal diagnosis if your son really has add. My sone was recently diagnosed wiyh ADD (inanttentive) and we have found his approach amazing and its usually coupled with other comorbidities. 

    My husband was late diagnosed add and he started going to mindful health solutions in wC and really likes Dr. HUYN.

    Hi, I'm sorry, I don't have recommendations for psychiatrists for treatment.  However, I want to strongly encourage you not to discount the diagnosis of ADHD, and the possible impact of ADHD on your son's mental health.  My biggest parenting regret is that I refused to accept any indication, suggestion or diagnosis of ADHD for my daughter from the time she was 8 until she was 15.  I said the exact same thing:  she doesn't have ADHD; she is depressed and anxious, has experienced trauma, so of course she can't concentrate!  My daughter continued to struggle until we finally got a comprehensive neuropsych assessment by a professional who educated me about what ADHD actually is, how ADHD impacts all aspects of one's life, and the powerful co-morbidity of ADHD with depression and anxiety.  I SOOOO wish I had learned about ADHD years and years ago; it is SO MUCH MORE than "can't focus".  The mysterious (!!), confusing cluster of seemingly unrelated traits, issues, challenges and talents that my daughter experienced her whole life began to make sense in the context of ADHD.  If you haven't already, I strongly recommend seeking out resources such as ADDitude ( to ensure that you have a deeper, reality-based understanding of the broad impact of ADHD on your child's life.  My daughter, now almost 21, still struggles, but she is doing MUCH MUCH MUCH better in terms of mental health, now that we both understand and have accepted that her beautiful, vibrant "ADHD brain" needs a different approach for dealing with the challenges of daily life. Good luck finding the support you need for your son, and for you and your family.

  • Hi - I am looking for any recommendations for a Kaiser Oakland psychiatrist who would be a better match for my 16 year old daughter. The professional to whom she has been assigned is not a good match - they have been very hands off, and in their extremely infrequent interactions my daughter has not been inclined to share details that could be helpful in her care. My child has been taking the same medication for depression for several years now, and she is not sure that it is effective. Does anyone have a good experience with an Adolescent Psychiatric Services professional within the Kaiser system? Although we are in Oakland, we would be willing to go elsewhere in the area to meet with someone she might have more trust in. Thank you!

    Sabrina Robertson LCSW was a surprising find for a therapist in Oakland Kaiser. My teen says she is the first therapist she has been real with and she has been to several. 

    Dr Menon in Walnut Creek is an excellent Adolescent Psychiatrist. Great listener, transparent about her thinking regarding medical options. My daughter really respects her as do we. 

    We gave up on Kaiser Psych dept for our kid. They can't see them often enough and every other appt is cancelled. We ended up paying out of pocket. Then when our kid went to college we switched to the UC student health insurance, which is much better for mental health.

    My child did very well with Dr. Debra Denherder at Kaiser Richmond. She is thorough and kind, and follows up well. 

    We have found Dr. Denherder at Kaiser Richmond to be very responsive. That said the separation between psychiatry and therapy is pretty strict and the psychiatrists are mainly about prescribing medications and not providing therapy. But given that, we've been happy with Dr. Denherder. 

  • Psychiatrist for Bipolar 2,15 years old

    (5 replies)

    My 15 year old daughter has been struggling with severe mental health issues over the past year and a half.  She is currently in a RTC and was finally diagnosed with Bipolar 2.  She will be discharged in July. We have already tried two psychiatrists in Danville/Walnut Creek.  Both have just changed the doses of medicine other doctors have initiated, or, when I ask a question about a different medication I have researched, they prescribe it for her just based on my desperate hope something new will help.  We are looking for a psychiatrist that is comfortable treating bipolar disorder in teens and actually cares about helping patients feel better.  I submitted a referral request at UCSF Children's Oakland.  Any other suggestions for a adolescent psychiatrist in the East Bay?

    My son is a complicated case and we see Ray Hearey in Orinda. He is expensive, and doesn’t take insurance (sigh) but it has been worth it.  He is thoughtful, kind, deliberate and humble. And he seems to be plugged in to the local mental health experts across the Bay Area. Good luck to you. I know how hard it can be to find the right doc. 

    I am so so sorry you are dealing with this. You are on the right track in terms of finding a good psychiatrist…. It is essential and can change the course of your teen’s experience with bipolar. I can highly recommend Bradley Engwall, but unfortunately the caveat with many great psychiatrists these days is that their caseload is full and they can’t take on new patients. 
    Clearwater clinic in Oakland offers really good DBT therapy and groups for teens struggling with mental health issues and they may have other recommendations for local psychiatrists. 

    My daughter, who is now 24, has had good luck with several East Bay psychiatrists.  The best have been Dr. Raymond Hearey in Orinda, who she she still sees.  When she was still in her teens, she saw Dr. Lisa B. Hardy in Danville (I believe) who is also a psychopharmacologist.  

    In regard to finding the right medication, Dr. Hearey had her do a genetic test (cheek swab) that helps identify the best medication called GenoMind.  There are several other related tests now, but these are becoming quite widely accepted.  I understand even Kaiser is using them.

    I have learned about depression treatments through my daughters long path of suffering from depression/anxiety and learning issues.  If you'd like to talk, feel free to contact me at:lisascimens [at]

    Best of Luck,


    My daughter was 16 when I finally discovered Pacific Coast Psychiatric Associates where we found an excellent and truly caring psychiatrist. Dr. Amber Lerma has since left to begin her private practice in Orinda but not without first transferring my daughter’s care to Dr. Fuller who’s also been excellent. They have a local office in Lafayette. Their website includes good profiles of the doctors which was how I found Dr. Lerma. Good luck and lots of patience and strength as you navigate finding the best care for your daughter.

    Wow, that you HAVE a diagnosis of bipolar II is pretty amazing; it took our family at least three years, four therapists, 12 weeks in wilderness, 9 months in RTC, and more to get to that point of clarity. We were substantially helped in the process by psychiatrist Randy Bloch in Walnut Creek.

    randybloch [at]

    (Don't be put off by the brevity of his emails; I feel like he keeps email communication to a bare minimum to protect patient privacy and prioritize patient appointments.) 

    I'm very sorry for your and your daughter's suffering. I've walked in your shoes. You're in a long, long marathon; try to pace yourself accordingly. Best of luck to you all. 

  • Hi, my 18 year old UC Berkeley student needs a new psychiatrist who takes anthem insurance. He is autistic and a member of the LGBTQ community. Someone in Berkeley/ Oakland would be great. His current provider is too hands off. He’s ready to start reducing his dosage and needs help with that. Thanks! 

    My college age daughter sees Dr. Fuller from Pacific Coast Psychiatric Associates, they take anthem insurance. It’s a very large group with an office in Lafayette. The website has profiles of their physicians. Dr. Fuller is the second psychiatrist my daughter saw because the first one (and she was excellent!) left for private practice. 
    My daughter suffers from clinical depression, ADHD and social phobia. She’s on several meds and Dr. Fuller has been top notch helping my daughter manage her medications. It’s been a long journey and I completely understand/embrace parents concern to find the best psychiatric care for their child. 
    Best wishes. 

  • Teen Psychiatrist

    (4 replies)

    ISO Psychiatrist for teen.  (I have search the files, but they were outdated and very few).  For 13yo daughter with ADHD and anxiety, and beginning to see possible psychotic symptoms.  She has a great therapist.  I am not looking for advise, support or education on the subject, as much as I am looking for recommendations for a psychiatrist for med eval and possible med management.  (we do not have Kaiser, and am willing to pay out of pocket).  Thank you!

    My kid sees Brad Engwall in Berkeley and he is wonderful, makes space to see our kid alone and us to consult. He lays out all the pros and cons for any course of medication and invites us to decide while still letting us know what his recommendation is so he doesn't leave us feeling like we have to be the experts.  My kid's situation is very complicated and Brad has been diligent and responsive to the evolving situation.

    My heart goes out to you. A couple of resources based on my experience with my own daughter who had a psychotic break at 19.

    UCSF has a program called PATH for young people experiencing psychosis. My daughter saw Dr. Demian Rose as well as a therapist, Chris Perry, and participated in group sessions (before Covid) with other young people in the same situation. I think it is a really good program -- they use medication, but as part of a much more comprehensive perspective on psychosis that emphasizes learning to be able to interrogate your own ideas and perceptions (they use a CBT model for this) as well as making connection with others in the group format. PATH was very important for us because my daughter refuses all medication.

    We also have experience with Herrick Hospital (Berkeley), which has a partial hospitalization program. They also employ group therapy and art therapy in addition to medical management. I thought the social workers and psychiatrists on staff were caring and helpful. Unfortunately my daughter was kicked out of the program for refusing to take medication. We worked with Dr Jonathan Manoat there -- liked him very much.

    Psychosis is scary and it's important to have a psychiatrist who understands how it can be the result of many different dynamics. Good luck.

    Greetings, I’ve been in your shoes and struggled finding a good psychiatrist for my daughter. It took having her be seen by three psychiatrists before we found a good fit that helped my daughter with appropriate medications. She’s currently working with Dr. Fuller from Pacific Coast Psychiatry Associates they have an office in Lafayette.

    My daughter was initially seen by Dr. Amber Lerma from PCPA who was excellent but left and works at her private practice. Dr. Lerma  selected Dr. Fuller to work with my daughter and my daughter’s doing great (she’s 21 now—it’s been a long road). 
    Best to you and you daughter as you manage the challenge of finding the best care for your child. 

    UCSF Langley Porter Hospital/Clinics in San Francisco may be able to see her or point you in a good direction.  Here is a link to their web page.

  • I am looking for a psychiatrist whose expertise is in (early or first) psychosis treatment for young adults, addressing THC addiction as well as underlying mental illness, presumably bi-polar disorder. Many thanks for any recommendations.

    I would contact Dr. Tauheed Zaman, UCSF, whose expertise is in addiction and mental health. Dr. Zaman is a popular presenter in my parent education program ("Cannabis and the Young Brain"), and he is also the kindest, gentlest person I have every met. Please feel free to use my name (Charlene Margot) in referral. Good luck!

  • Psychiatric help for teen daughter

    (2 replies)

    I´m seeking recommendations for full psychiatric evaluation and treatment for my 13 yo daughter. She suffers from generalized anxiety (which runs in the family), but she also has symptoms of selective mutism, OCD, difficulty regulating emotions and, when she was younger, occasional repetitive body movements, which make me think she might also be on the spectrum. She has always been very social around her friends, but not around adults or anyone she doesn´t know. As puberty hit, between hormones and tween drama, she is starting to get more anxious and depressed, including self-harm, very low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. My biggest concern is that she will NOT talk to me or any adult about any of her issues (I´ve found through friends and texts), so in addition to a good psychiatrist to evaluate and treat her, I also need recommendations for therapists of types of therapy that would help a child who does not talk to adults to begin with. Any recommendations, advice and support are most welcome.

    Dr. Daniela Owen in Rockridge was very helpful for my daughter’s extreme social anxiety issues. We worked with her (CBT- cognitive behavioral therapy) when my daughter was in 1st-3rd grade and she is thriving as a middle schooler and reminisces happily about Dr. Owen when we drive by her office.

    We were having similar issues with our just turned 13 year old daughter. After searching for months for the proper therapist we discovered Jessica Schild. She is young which I believe makes it easier for our daughter to talk to her She is very respectful of your child's privacy and feelings. Our daughter has become much more relaxed now that she has someone to talk to who isn't a parent or friend(who at 13 can be very judgmental).

  • My daughter has some issues that have escalated recently. Although she has a therapist we recently had a crisis appointment with a cognitive behavioral psychiatrist and she responded very well to the direct and concrete approach.  Her therapist is great but really focuses more on younger kids and I think my daughter has outgrown her.  My daughter is struggling with abandonment issues as an adopted child, emotional regulation difficulties particularly with anger, has some learning differences (and a moderate 504 plan though she’s doing well in school now) and has recently talked of self harm and suicide (hence the crisis intervention).  Given the timing of her most difficult times there is definitely a hormonal component but before treating her for that her doctor recommends an evaluation and treatment plan from a psychiatrist to treat her more holisticly rather than just symptom by symptom. Which I wholeheartedly agree with. So now I need the psychiatrist.  We have Kaiser and because she’s from foster care she also has MediCal.  While of course a covered doctor is ideal, we’re mostly interested in getting her the best care possible and I have family who can likely help with the cost.  We’re in North Berkeley. 

    Her issues are private struggles at home—her school, friends and after school programs would be shocked to know of what happens at home sometimes.  So I feel we are at a good point to get her help before things spiral more out of control.  I am a solo mom with a long term, live out boyfriend who is incredibly supportive of both me and my daughter.  And I have my own therapist so I can focus on my daughter during her sessions.  Even with all this support, and everyone telling me I am doing everything right it is so hard and so scary to see my little girl suffer so much and to carry this emotional baggage. So even if you don’t have a recommendation—any encouragement, words of wisdom and especially thoughts from those who have made it to the other side are appreciated.  

    I'm having very similar issues with my son. We had a neuropsych exam done at Clearwater Counselling in Oakland and are now doing therapy there with Talia Kurland. My son really likes her and looks forward to going. He has not that reaction to other therapists that we've seen. Talia is young and has developed a very nice, trusting relationship with my son. We tried the therapist who is known locally as the leading adoption therapist and there was no connection at all. I've found that my son relates much better to younger therapists than to baby boomers at the end of their careers.

    We pay out of pocket for this. Unfortunately we have never had any luck with therapists covered by our insurance. In my opinion, you can do a lot of damage by trying to force a relationship with the wrong therapist. You don't want your child to hate therapy and be reluctant to attend. If you can get help to pay for this out of pocket, I'd recommend that. We also told our son that he would have input into the therapist and that our goal was to find someone who he liked. Talia has been great. I've not heard good things about Kaiser mental health services. And the Medi-Cal resources that we've tried to use haven't been great either. Unfortunately the age of the therapist is one of the most important things for the fit with my son and the older the therapist, the less likely there is to be a good fit.

    I wanted to write you to tell you I get it. I too am a mom of a tween who was adopted. Have been exactly where you are. So much anger, despair, threats of suicide and running away—and all of it completely invisible to the world outside our home. He behaves like a completely different kid in public. Saves all of his attachment/abandonment rage for his parents. It’s exhausting but I guess, also, maybe encouraging that he has learned how to be socially appropriate and so does not alienate teachers and potential friends. 

    I can can recommend Dr Wymes at Kaiser for a psych evaluation. He doesn’t do cognitive behavioral stuff and he’s not a therapist but he did do a great job for us of assessing danger and figuring out diagnosis and meds. Also—he seems to have a lot of experience with adopted kids. He told us things tend to get even worse through the teenage years (sigh...) before they get better, as the normal teenage search for one’s identity re-ignites all the abandonment stuff. 

    Best of of luck to you mom. We will get through these years eventually. 

    I think I have a pretty good idea of how you are feeling and what it's like to be the parent of a child who is suffering emotionally. Our son entered into a deep depression w/ social anxiety and was suicidal a lot of the time. We found a CBT therapist about a year ago. The CBT person recommended he do the CBT work but also see a psychiatrist. Its been a little less that a year and WHAT A DIFFERENCE it has made. He had to make an effort do the CBT work (visualization, meditation writing, etc) but it paid off. The psychiatrist recommended he should try Fluoxetine, (which we were not in favor of in the beginning) but it REALLY helped. It gave him a break from the depression so he could actually do the CBT work.  By the way Fluoxetine (Prozac) is often recommend for premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which your daughter may or may not have.  I don't mean to imply our son is "happy all the time", but he is himself again, doing well in school, having fun with friends, fighting with his siblings, etc. In his darkest hour (a few weeks into treatment) I did talk to him about my experience with faith, not faith in any particular god or anything, but that sometimes when people are in their darkest hour, faith is the only thing left. We also cried together a few times just hugging and not saying anything. I have faith that you will see your daughter smiling again, brighter than ever!

    My child is a little older and will not commit to the work she was recommended to do through her CBT. DBT is another level you might look into.  Exercise is really all she relies on for calmness. While she is the one experiencing all the confusion of this newly diagnosed condition, if I don't remember to take the time to take care of myself and let myself go I can be of no help to anyone.  So my advice is to be good to yourself,  continue to be a great role model and utilize a spa day once in a while. 

    Yup, the tween, early teen years have been super hard for my younger adopted daughter, the older one seems to be cruising through though. We tried and are having success with 1000mg of omega fatty acids for mood (recommended by a friend who is a child psychiatrist) and also Sam-e which is sold as a supplement in the US, but prescribed for depression in Europe almost as frequently as Prozac. The other suggestion which Kaiser discouraged was having genomic testing to see what antidepressants would be a good match for her. She had a bad reaction to Adderal for ADHD and I didn’t want to put her through anything like that. She’s been attending a girls’ adoption group and will be going to a small high school with a strong mentoring component. Good luck, pick your battles and love your kid unconditionally.

    I am sorry to hear your daughter is struggling.  She has a great support group with you, your boyfriend and the professionals you have ensured she has access to. It is hard to go through this, but know you are doing great. You have support for yourself as well as for her. It's a long haul sometimes, but with continued support for both of you, things will get better. If you think there is a hormonal component, I recommend using the app me v pmdd.Your daughter can easily choose moods, etc to track each month and there is an area to type in a daily journal. The creator of the app encourages positive self talk in the journal to help during the tough times each month. We believe our daughter is suffering from PMDD from 2.5-3 weeks out of the month - anxiety, exhaustion, withdrawal --- each month is a bit different --- some months more mild than others, but way more than PMS. By tracking these moods/emoitions/physical symptoms on the app, we will be able to have a better picture over a few months of what is going on (or not going on if that ends up being the case). The app has helped our daughter track her emotions/physical ailments and thoughts of the day easily. We tried other journaling and it never really got to a point where she would do it every day. The app is simple and helps her remember what to rate each day.  Hopefully, it can help  your daughter too.  Hang in there Mom, you are doing well and all of this hard work and support you are providing her will pay off.  Remember to celebrate the small things, the small wins, when you see them.  Lots of celebration along the way to larger goals helps a lot.  Take care.

    First of all I want to say that I am so sorry to hear you are going through this. There is nothing worse than when your child is struggling - you just want to do whatever it takes to make sure she's okay. Second of all, I want you to know that you're not alone. So many of us on here have been through similar things with our kids. It's just that nobody really talks about it because there's so much shame and guilt (did I do something wrong? Did I mess up as a mom?) and so much fear (is she going to be okay? What do I need to do to protect her?). We had a hard time finding a therapist who was a good fit for our family. We wanted someone our daughter liked, but also someone we could work with as parents. We finally chose Dr Rachel Zoffness in Berkeley. Our daughter at the time was also struggling with chronic migraines that were triggered by stress, and Dr Z was a perfect fit. We loved her. I cannot say enough about how much she changed our lives. There are a bunch of good CBT therapists in this area so you can't go wrong. We did a Google search and interviewed a few until we found one we loved. Don't give up and hang in there. This too shall pass!!!

  • Psychiatric evaluation for 14 year old

    (1 reply)

    Dear parents, Would anyone have a Psychiatrist to recommend to evaluate my 14 year-old son? Preferably at the Peninsula or South Bay. Thank you!

    We looked for one that would take our insurance but there was a huge wait. We then looked to pay out of pocket and also a huge wait. This guy though had openings and is good. He's expensive but it was worth it, as my kid pulled out of a depression rather quickly. He's in Campbell.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

10 y.o. boy poor focus, low confidence

July 2014

My son has just finished 5th grade at a good OUSD public elementary and will be moving on to an OUSD middle school in the fall. I have become increasingly worried about him over the last 18 months: teachers (classroom, band, aftercare) complain that he doesn't focus and easily gives up. He seems increasingly labeled as a kid who doesn't engage and doesn't make an effort academically. His grades, test scores, and marks on reports are all excellent. He is incredibly self-conscious and very easily embarrassed. He is very hard on himself both playing sports and in approaching any new task. At home he is forgetful and spacey, and his father is often angered by this (he feels ignored). I think the problem could be any one (or combo) of the following: ADD (inattentive type), anxiety, low self-esteem, puberty. Where do I start? Talk to a pediatrician? We have a new insurance provider, so need to find a new (non-Kaiser) pediatrician. Ask middle school for a 504 evaluation? Can we do this without any sort of outside assessment? Thanks for any advice. Like my son with a new task, I just don't know where to start. worried mom

I would call Dr. Lester Isenstadt for a consultation to come up with a plan as to how best to address the needs of your son within the insurance and financial and geographical boundaries of your situation. Then you'll have an expert's recommendations as a foundation for charting future plans to for helping your boy. This would be the most cost-effective way to start to build the most effective plan of action for a child who is struggling with depression, self-esteem issues, anxiety, etc.

I can attest to this because Dr. Isenstadt did exactly this for both a friend's child and for mine. We now see someone through Kaiser for ongoing treatment given our insurance and financial limitations though still go back to Dr. Isenstadt periodically for consultations when confusing or tricky new challenges arise in how best to support our child.

Dr. Isenstadt is worth his weight in gold. His phone is 510-848-2170. His office is located in Berkeley near the Claremont Hotel. Wishing you all the best,

Female Psychiatrist for depressed teen girl

Oct 2013

Any recommendations for a female psychiatrist near Berkeley who treats teenage girls who suffer from depression? Looking for someone who is very knowledgable about different medications, approachable, non-judgmental, and ideally also provides talk therapy. I've checked the boards, but don't see any female docs mentioned recently. Thanks for any advice! anonymous

Anna Budayr is a compassionate psychiatrist who doesn't just prescribe meds - she combines talk therapy with medications (if the latter is called for). Her office is in Rockridge (Market Hall Building) (510) 878-4521

She also may recommend Dianne Santas, a psychologist (not psychiatrist) who does very careful assessments.

I heard there is a new female psychiatrist at Berkeley Therapy Institute named Shannon McMaster but there was about a month wait so we ended up going to Dr. Budayr who happened to have an opening. She was really lovely and responsive and helped me, as the parent of a depressed daughter, to feel that she was in good hands during a difficult time.

Oh, another really good psychiatrist is Jeanne Leventhal, who has an office near the Claremont. She specializes in women, but I'm not sure if she is seeing teens currently.

Best wishes - I know how heart-wrenching it is to have a depressed daughter. Things can get better. Keep trying til you find the right person to help her. - Been there

Seeking Psychiatrist for Older Teen

Feb 2013

We are looking for recommendations for a psychiatrist , preferably in Berkeley / the East Bay, who can supervise antidepressant drug therapy for a late teens college woman with now-resolved anxiety & depression. We hope to find a physician who is familiar with genetic variability in drug metabolism, and able to help determine when and how to reduce or discontinue medications. A woman who is skilled in psychotherapy as well as drug management would be ideal. Kaiser or nonKaiser physicians are OK. East Bay Mom

For psychopharmacology (the complicated way of saying medication) I highly recommend Shane MacKay. He's part of Berkeley Therapy Institute on MLK Jr Way in Berkeley. He doesn't take insurance and isn't cheap but he knows his stuff and will talk to you and your daughter about meds, what they do and why they might be appropriate. If something doesn't work or has side effects, he'll come up with an alternative and won't say, ''Why don't you just try it for a month?'' He requires an hour and a half (I seem to recall) introductory session, but later appointments, for check in and prescription review and renewal, are about 30 minutes. mother of another one

Dear East Bay Mom, I know of three Psychiatrists.
1.) Dr. Randy Bloch tel. 925 934 1561. He is in Walnut Creek and actually very easy to get to off of HWY24 Main Street exit. I like him very much and he is very good and right on with medications.
2.) Dr. Lawrence Diller also in Walnut Creek Mt Diablo Blvd Tel. 925 945 6060. Teen Pediatric Psychiatrist.
3.) Dr.Deborah Silver tel.. 510 527 7744 in the Berkeley/Albany area. I don't know her but a friend gave me her number.

HIGHLY recommend Dr. Jeanne Alexander for helping your daughter manage anti-depressant medication decisions. She is a very thoughtful and skilled psychopharmacologist, really understands genetic variability in response to meds (and in fact can order genotyping tests that can help determine appropriate meds - our insurance paid for it!) She is also a really easy person to talk to, made my daughter (whose issues were depression, anxiety, and ADD) feel like she was really understood. Dr. Alexander is both straightforward and compassionate. She used to work at Kaiser but is now in private practice, so if you are a Kaiser member she can also be of some assistance in navigating that system. Her office is near the Claremont Hotel on Domingo. Might be a couple of weeks before she can fit you in, but she is well worth the wait (and the cost). She is exceptional; wish we had found her YEARS ago! Her number is (510) 845-9005.

Psychiatrist for possible mood disorder

July 2012

I have a 13 year old son who has ADHD and a severe language disorder. Lately he has had violent episodes and it's hard to tell if he can control these rages, or not. He's working with a psychologist who recommended my son see a psychiatrist for an evaluation. The psychiatrist he recommended doesn't have any openings until September. Does anyone know of a good psychiatrist who works with adolescents and is knowledgeable about mood disorders, ADHD, meds and teens. I looked at Stanford, but not sure who would be a good fit. Any info would be appreciated. end of my rope

Lynnette Hsu at Palo Alto Medical Foundation 650 853 5711. Takesha Cooper is in private practice 650 322 7117. Ilene

Seeking Psychiatrist/Expert in Antidepressant Drugs

June 2012

I am seeking a psychiatrist highly experienced in antidepressant drug therapy for a second opinion for a 19 year old Asian who has been having atypical reactions to antidepressants for more than 6 months. No substance abuse involved, highly compliant with therapy, seeing a counselor regularly and a psychiatrist, very motivated to get well, but cannot get an effective medication regimen. A psychiatrist with extensive expertise in medication for depression (SSRIs, etc.), adverse responses to medications and metabolic differences in Asians, is essential. Oakland, Berkeley, El Cerrito area if possible, San Francisco OK. Insurance is not an issue. Kaiser or other insurance OK. Anonymous

I highly recommend Michael Lowenstein, MD. He knows that age group well and has a low key and approachable style. He teaches at UCSF and does both med management and psychotherapy. He has offices in Orinda and in SF in the Presidio. His phone number is 415-561-6773. Good luck. Lynn W

Have you tried Asian Mental Health Services? Good luck

Try dr Donald Stanford. He is located near Cal and sees many students. My MD referred me. It was hellpful and check out his yelp reviews. On better meds now

I highly recommend Dr. Lester Isenstadt in Berkeley for expert advice on psychiatric drug options. He is a Psychiatrist who has devoted his professional life to studying brain functioning and chemistry, and the medication options which best address various psychiatric difficulties, especially for youngsters/ teens. He is extraordinarily incitful, experienced (30+ years), and kind. I discovered him when I saw a very depressed and anxious child in my daughter's class blossom in the midst of her parents difficult divorce.

Dr. Isenstadt also completely turned around my daughters depression and treated her anxiety disorder such that neither one of these remains an issue. Further, he did so while elegantly helping my husband and myself find our way through a years-long conflict over whether or not to give our daughter medication.

One other thing. Dr. Isenstadt helped us identify what types of schools/ environments our daughter needs in order to thrive. ''She needs a school where she will not be afraid of the other children.'' As a result of his clarity we were able to find both a Middle School, and now a High School, where our child has been joyously happy.

We are forever grateful and indebted for the gifts Dr. Isenstadt has brought to our family. His office number is 510-848-2170. Wishing you all the best

Blue Cross/Blue Shld Psychiatrist for Teen's Meds

Aug 2011

Hoping for recommendation of an East Bay psychiatrist who accepts Blue Cross/Blue Shield (this is a must) who is good with teens for medication management (archive postings are from 2009 and earlier). Teen seeing psychologist for therapy (yes, I've asked her).

We've been happy with Dr. Kevin White (Berkeley Therapy Institute) for our daughter. He takes Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance. Our daughter started seeing him when she was 16 and likes him a lot. Anon

We've seen Dr. Michael Saal in Mill Valley (near Tam HS), 415-380-0700, for the last 18 months and like him very much. friend

Skilled Psychiatrist who relates well to teen boys

June 2011

We would like a recommendation of a psychiatrist who is very skilled at making a diagnoses in a confusing situation and recommedning medication appropriately. Someone very smart and easy to talk to who relates well to teenage boys, and who is somewhat conservative with medication if the situation will allow for that. Thanks. anon

Paul Abrinko MD (510) 496-6014 East Bay Mom

Dr. Richard Levine, Psychiatrist

June 2011

We are trying to sort out what is going on with our son. Has anyone had experience with Dr. Richard Levine and is he good at diagnosing and figuring out what is going on when it is not very clear? Did you feel good about your experience with him? anon

We had a great experience with Dr. Levine, who had just the right tone and attitude re helping my 16 yr. old daughter through a difficult time re family and school. But when I recommended him to a friend whose son really had some psychological problems, he got it completely wrong, handling it like a drug abuse issue. Another person I know, who is bipolar, thinks he's great. So, like any other relationship, unfortunately, you have to try the person and see if he's right for you. anon.

Dr. Levine works with our son, who was evaluated by someone else and described (I don't want to say diagnosed) with having ADD. Richard Levine has been excellent in talking to our son and to us. He is straightforward, no-nonsense, listens to our son, has good advice about other aspects of teen life, and calms our worries. I really like him. ADD mom

My teenager saw Dr. Levine regarding ADHD-like symptoms. He was very likeable and seemed very smart and we both enjoyed talking to him. But on the basis of half an hour talking to my teenager he was absolutely convinced that teenager didn't have ADHD and definitely shouldn't take medication. We were fine with that but the problem persisted & eventually we went to another psychiatrist who was equally sure that teenager did have ADHD & that medication would help. Teenager did end up taking Ritalin and actually it made a huge difference. So my sense is that he was too quick with the diagnosis and more emphatic than the evidence warranted, although I still found him likeable and easy to talk to. anon

Dr. Levine is very good when it comes to NOT overmedicating. Too many psychiatrists overmedicate and I give Dr. Levine high marks for not doing that. However, Dr. Levine did not find out completely about my partner's medical history and it resulted in a hospitalization. Make sure that you give him EVERY DETAIL about your son's history so he can make an accurate diagnosis. Even after what happened, I still recommend Dr. Levine since he doesn't overmedicate my partner the way the other psychiatrists did. Anon

I imagine there are more than one Dr Richard Levine's out there. The one I know of (and highly recommend) is in Mill Valley and specializes in addiction. Amazing Doctor. Very smart and very helpful. good luck. anon

We had a very unhappy experience with Dr. Levine (the Richard Levine at Berkeley Therapy Institute) when our son was in his teens, and I do not recommend him. Dr. Levine took an immediate dislike to our son after our son was late to appointments and abused the ADHD medication that he (our son) convinced Dr. Levine to prescribe. Our son's behavior was alarming and obviously of great concern to us (parents); when I consulted with Levine about these behaviors and other evidence of addictive tendencies, Dr. Levine responded with arrogant and blatant criticism of me, my husband, and our son. When I asked him for referrals to programs for teens with substance abuse problems, he mentioned Thunder Road (where Dr. Levine was previously associated) but said 'look on the web or ask around' for other possibilities. I was in tears and distraught after my consultation with him, and I asked my husband to accompany me for one more consultation, and Dr. Levine's behavior was 180 degrees different -- he behaved far more professionally in his conversation with my husband (was it my husband's gender? his profession?), though again provided no suggestions for treatment options. Our son needed serious help, and Dr. Levine dismissed us. I do not recommend him. anonymous

Dr. Richard Levine of berkeley helped our family with a challenging 19 year old son. Levine was secure in his diagnosis and in the long run, correct... there was no categorizing my son and 6 years later, thankful no labels were applied.

at the time, we were in crisis... Dr. Levine was a calm in the storm...

unfortunately, drugs were used as part of treatment, rather extensively... even to the point of abuse on the part of my son (not the Dr's fault).

so, as with any 'soft' science, such as mental illness... you need to trust your gut.

i like Dr. Levine. another dad

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Psychiatrist for 26-y-o bipolar daughter

Oct 2009

My daughter is actually 26 but has struggled with bi polar disorder since she childhood. She is now needing to see a psychiatrist and doesn't have one in the area, as she is relatively new here. Any recommendations? A few background items: she's gay, she has IBS and uses a lot of cannibis for this. Thanks! Elizabeth

Dr. Donald Stanford in Berkeley is a gifted psychiatrist. Good listener, very current on research, extremely experienced, respectful, and responsive. I found him after years of working with other therapists, doctors, trying different medications including alternative therapies. First medication he prescribed was right. He takes insurance. 510-540-6235. Grateful

Psychiatrist for daughter's anxiety & depression

Aug 2009

My teen daughter has been seeing a therapist who thinks she (my daughter) might be a candidate for meds for depression or anxiety. Her pediatrician took a look at the list of psychiatrists on our plan (Blue Cross HMO) who work with adolescents and didn't feel she could recommend any of them, either because she didn't know them, or because the ones she knew worked only with younger kids. Does anyone have experience, good or bad, with doctors, particularly for teens with depression? I'm really concerned about finding someone who will do a serious evaluation of my daughter before prescribing anything:

Run, don't walk to see Dr. Michael Friedman, MD. He has helped my teenager and I immensely. He prescribes meds, but the combination of meds and therapy with him has been the key to our success. He is not the type to prescribe meds and send you on your way, he will likely want your daughter to come in regularly. Having seen a lot of different therapists, I can truly say he is one of a kind. help is on the way

My teenaged daughter sees Miriam Gross, who is the wife of Phillip Gross. He is an MD, she is an MFCC. They don't prescribe medication- however, our pediatrician has prescribed medication for my anxious daughter (Zoloft-she is 16 yrs old and has general anxiety) on the condition that she continue to see Miriam Gross (or any therapist really.) I really like Phillip Gross- I see him and my daughter sees Miriam Gross-they act as a team-they are both smart and seem to know teenagers really well. They also 'get' parents and are very real and non judgemental. I wish you luck.... anon

I would highly recommend Dr. Lester Isenstadt. He's a child & adolescent psychiatrist in Berkeley, 848-2170. My teenage son saw him off and on for several years to deal with anxiety issues and he was very helpful. My husband and I also would meet with him and he helped us gain a lot of insight into how to better parent our anxious son - things we really needed to learn. He's patient, respectful and caring. Also, he's not overly quick to medicate - he really takes the time to get to know the person and he's an excellent therapist. My son's preference was to not take medication, and to just do therapy, and Dr. Isendstadt was very understanding and accommodating of his feelings.

I would like to second the recommendation of Dr. Lester Isenstadt (510-848-2170) as an extraordinary child and adolescent therapist/ psychiatrist and human being. I discovered him when I noticed that a previously very anxious child in my child's class was thriving and blossoming in the midst of her parents stressful divorce. (He has something like 30 years experience working with children with anxiety issues.) My daughter has seen him for 3 years, at 1st weekly, now very occasionally. Her talk of wanting to die is long gone and her daily anxiety is 95% reduced. In addition, Dr. Isenstadt is on top of the current research on brain functioning and helps my husband and me plan for and implement home and school support for her learning disabilities. Unlike many Psychiatrists, Dr. I does therapy with youngsters directly and is therefore consistently aware of their progress and response to medications if that is part of the picture (though he is very conservative in their use). Grateful for his gifts to our family

Affordable Psychiatrist for bipolar (?) teen

May 2009

Hi, My younger sister, age 17 (turning 18 in September), needs counseling and psychiatric consultation but our parents do not have health insurance right now and cannot afford it anytime soon. I have my own health insurance through my employer (I'm now 24 and living on my own), but cannot get coverage for her through my employer. So, she is one of the millions in the U.S. without coverage. I think she might have bi-polar or some sort of psychiatric needs that should be addressed. (She has major highs and lows) and is worried about it herself. She expressed to me the interest and willingness to get proffesional help but now the finances are the issue. It's so frustrating b/c she has finally come to the point of being open to getting help but I can't seem to find any affordable or free providers. Berkeley high (she is going into Senior year), has free counseling but it seems to be very basic and they have suggested she see a psychiatrist (which they do not have ''in-house''). Does anyone know of a free or affordable counseling AND psychiatric treatment center or provider in Berkeley or Oakland that can see her (not just a drop in center but someone she can build a relationship with and see regularly), which is especially important for consistent follow- up is she decides to go on any medication. I am so appreciative of any suggestions. Thank you! worried sister looking for resources!

If your parents do not have health insurance, they may qualify for Medi-Cal through the State of California depending on what income/assets they have. This would cover them as well as your sister. Even if they do not qualify for medi-cal, they could apply (or would be directed by Medi-Cal) to Healthy Familes. The income guidelines are less stringent and psychiatric care is covered. If she does get approved, try West Coast Children's center in Oakland for diagnosis and therapy. She could also go to Children's Hospital Psychiatric department and see a Psychiatrist if medication is required. They have therapists also.

If none of the above is an option, try Ann Martin Children's Center in Oakland/Piedmont. They can accept Medi-Cal for therapy but also will work with you on a sliding scale basis. I know they will sometimes go as low as about $15 an hour depending on family circumstances and they do not put you through a lot of paperwork etc. to get assistance.

As a last resource, contact Lifeline Medical center in Berkeley. There is a clinic there that has therapists. Sharlene

Psychiatrist for daughter with aspergers-like symptoms

May 2009

Dear Parents, I am looking for a psychiatrist for my teenager. Does anyone know of psychiatirsts in the East bay who are good with teens? My daughter has Asperger like symptoms. I am looking for someone comfortable and experienced in medication. Also important is someone who can be ''user freindly'' toward me, as mom. I am hoping for someone near Berkeley or Oakland. I am interested in any and all positive exepriences with psychiatrists for teens. Thank you. Mom in search

I can recommend Dr. Rick Trautner. He has been treating my teen for several years. He's patient, interested, and on-call. (But don't be late or forget your appointment!) He has a Central Berkeley office. His number is (510) 649-1592. All the best. anon

Psychiatrist for Behavioural Problems in Teenager

Nov 2008

We are experiencing severe behavioural problems with our 16-year-old son. He does not do drugs (no, seriously). He is sometimes very charming and has a lot of friends, but when challenged becomes extremely aggressive and can be violent. It has come to the point that we are concerned about the safety of our family and he is not welcome in our home anymore. Aside from this, he has almost no motivation (often even with things he enjoys doing) and although he understands consequences when you explain it to him when he is calm, he seems unable to control himself when he wants something.

He was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, but we feel that the problem may be more severe than that (also the meds he was on then turned him into a slobbering zombie so we took him off and he has been doing quite well in a more structured, stable environment until this past year). He has agreed to see a psychiatrist so that we can have him evaluated, but I am very concerned about choosing someone who will automatically assume that he has this or that disorder and throw drugs at him. Convincing him to take medication will be another serious issue and he may not be willing to deal months of serious side effects before finding something that fits (and you really can't force a 16-year old to take pills). On the other hand, we suspect that there may be something quite serious here and do not want someone who will ignore possible danger signs.

Primarily, I think it is important that he have someone who he can talk to and who can evaluate the situation and possibly refer us to another specialist if medication is required. Perhaps even someone who can focus with him on the importance of proper nutrition and sleep. The person must accept insurance - we have United Healthcare. Any recommendations? anon

Dr Richard Levine is an excellent teen psychiatrist, is very conservative on prescribing meds, and is a preferred MD on the United Behavioral Health panel. Anon

African American Psychiatrist for 15-year-old

Nov 2008

I am looking for an african american psychiarist for my daughter who has been exhibiting mood swings and depression. She is 15. We live in San Francisco and are looking for someonw who is culturally sensitive. Any help would be appreciated.

I would highly recommend Dr. Lisa Hardy in San Ramon. You can find her specifics if you google her. Very qualified. anon

July 2001

Can anyone recommend a really excellent psychiatrist or therapist who is a person of color? Especially helpful would be someone experienced in working with adolescents, biracial families and adoption issues.

Lisa Hardy is an outstanding and highly respected Psychiatrist at Children's Hospital in Oakland. She has seen numerous teens and is compassionate, sensitive and, well, magical! I was surprised not to see her name listed on previous recommendations but I know many other parents whose teens have been helped by her, as was my own (not of color). I don't know her experience with biracial and adoption issues but do know she's wonderful with adolescents. Her phone number at Childrens - 428-3571 Joan

Extremely aggressive and violent 16-year-old

Nov 2008

We are experiencing severe behavioural problems with our 16-year-old son. He does not do drugs (no, seriously). He is sometimes very charming and has a lot of friends, but when challenged becomes extremely aggressive and can be violent. It has come to the point that we are concerned about the safety of our family and he is not welcome in our home anymore. Aside from this, he has almost no motivation (often even with things he enjoys doing) and although he understands consequences when you explain it to him when he is calm, he seems unable to control himself when he wants something. He was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, but we feel that the problem may be more severe than that (also the meds he was on then turned him into a slobbering zombie so we took him off and he has been doing quite well in a more structured, stable environment until this past year). He has agreed to see a psychiatrist so that we can have him evaluated, but I am very concerned about choosing someone who will automatically assume that he has this or that disorder and throw drugs at him. Convincing him to take medication will be another serious issue and he may not be willing to deal months of serious side effects before finding something that fits (and you really can't force a 16-year old to take pills). On the other hand, we suspect that there may be something quite serious here and do not want someone who will ignore possible danger signs. Primarily, I think it is important that he have someone who he can talk to and who can evaluate the situation and possibly refer us to another specialist if medication is required. Perhaps even someone who can focus with him on the importance of proper nutrition and sleep. The person must accept insurance - we have United Healthcare. Any recommendations? anon

If your teen is aggressive/violent and you are concerned about the safety of your family, you should have him see someone REGARDLESS of whether he want to or not. You are the parent. Do not give him a choice. Contact Bodin, they specialize in working with teens Good luck with your teen

Dr. John Rosenberg is a psychiatrist who takes some health insurance plans and is a very experienced doctor in the field. I don't know how he works with teens, but I have seen him as an adult and appreciate his intellect and very careful process. He is part of a group of psychiatrists at the Berkeley Therapy Institute, 841-8484

Psychiatrist for teen with depression/bipolar

May 2008

Two doctors have been recommended for my teenage son suffering with depression /(bipolar??) I would like any comments on experiences with 1. Dr. Robert Epstein, Berkeley 2. Dr. Randy Bloch, Walnut Creek

I happen to know both Robert Epstein & Randy Bloch. They are both excellent. I have worked at Alameda Family Services for the past 4 years, where Robert Epstein also works as supervisor for the clinical training program. He is one of the most wonderful people on earth (really). I can't recommend him enough! I also know Randy Bloch as an excellent psychiatrist and I have sent my own client referrals to him. I don't think you could go wrong with either one. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have more questions. suzanne

Psychiatrist for teen's anxiety and sleep problem

March 2008

My daughter is a freshman at Campolindo High. She has a severe anxiety disorder. Campo is very academically demanding and my daughter's anxiety and sleep problems are skyrocketing (4 to 5 hours of homework a night, multiple tests each week, hours of work on the weekends). I know aerobic exercise is good for her. My daughter is in track, which she loves. She may quit due to stress over homework. She is in individual therapy and sees a Kaiser psychiatrist. So far medication is not working, due to side effects. I know my daughter needs help and I am not sure what to do. Can anyone recommend a child psychiatrist who specializes in anxiety disorders and who actually monitors his/her patients/ Also, anyone have ideas for working with the school? My daughter has a 504; it is not worth the paper it is written on. The school is very hard- nosed and resistant to making any accommodations. Finally, I am looking for an advocate. anonymous

I recommend Dr. M. Randy Bloch who practices in Walnut Creek. He is a psychiatrist who specializes in psycho-pharmacology. I think he'd help you and your daughter figure out a good drug regimen to reduce your daughter's anxiety. Monitoring his patients is taken seriously. He is a sympathetic, (very) smart and kind person. I wish you great luck. Carol

Dear anonymous, my teen also has Panic Disorder with onset in 8th grade (I also have had it my whole life). For both of us, the best, most effective and long-lasting treatment (without side effects--I was on meds, too at one point) is cognitive behavioral therapy. My daughter saw Melinda White on Solano Avenue in Berkeley and it worked really well for her. You could also find out more about cognitive at the SF Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy in Rockridge. Good luck. A Berkeley Mom

Dr. Brad Engwall, is a psychiatrist who works with kids with anxiety. We've just started seeing him for my son with an anxiety disorder. He came highly recommended. He's young, friendly, has a great dog and, I'm told, is great at figuring out the right treatment for the situation. He ordered an EEG for my son so he could look at his brain waves and tell whta meds or supplements he needed. His e-mail is bengwall [at] He's in Albany. good luck, anon mom

I can recommend a couple of people. First is a psychiatrist, Dr. Ross Andelman, 510 527 9615. He has an office in Berkeley, but works for Contra Costa County also. He is very attentive and thoughtful.

The second is Maria Antoniadis. She is a psychologist who works with families to negotiate the school maze, public and private. She has a lot of knowledge and experience and forceful. She's a great advocate. She also runs social skills groups in Berkeley. Some of the kids in the groups are from your side of the hills. Her number is 510 649 3399.

Good luck! another mom

Very unhappy 17-year-old son

April 2007

My son is turning 17 yrs old shortly. I see him going through this depression, hopefully not suicidal, but it is affecting him and us a great deal. He is so unhappy and he says he has no purpose in life. He feels bored all the time. He says this feeling of boredom is very serious and me and his dad do not understand. We have been trying to talk to him every day but I am afraid he needs more help than we can give him? I thought of a teen counselor or a therapist, anyone knows a good one? Anyone has other suggestions? Please anything can help! My husband and I are getting deperate and we have 2 younger boys also, one of them is mentally impared! we are spreading ourselves thin!

I'm so sorry for you and your son. Our son went through the same thing when he as about 17. I wore myself out trying to find a therapist for him. He would go once or twice and refuse to go back. He just didn't like all of the ''talking''. I finally took him to a psychiatrist (David Ritvo) who prescribed anti-depressants. I know that they are not always the best route for teenagers, but my son was nearly suicidal. They really helped, and he did not mind ''talking'' with Dr. Ritvo. We really had to pay very close attention to his every mood. You might consider medical intervention. Worried Mom

I would recommend Dr. Rosemary Bower. She is a very gifted therapist--very astute and bright. She is in her 60's and has raised four children and is one of the few clinical psychologists in the area that takes Health Net (MHN, which she does because she does not think therapy is just for wealthy people. She helped me work through some very difficult issues with my family and through some depression I was having difficulty breaking out of. I know she works with a lot of young people as well as adults. Her office is a little out of the way (El Cerrito), but there is plenty of parking. She can be reached at 233-8655. Been there

I thought it was interesting in one reply that they took their son to a psychiatrist and that was successful. We eventually took our teen daughter to a psychiatrist after several tries with other therapists. It wasn't my first choice. turned out to be fantastic. Not just because he gave her antidepressants which have worked so well, but because she started talking to him and has continued to do so. I told her she had to see a psychiatrist to get a prescription, and would have to see him several times to make sure the drugs were ok for her. It turned out to be a way to get her into therapy, kind of through the back door. I just wanted to add this for those who feel like I did, initially not wanting to go the psychiatrist route. anonymous

Psychiatrist for son who is having anxiety attacks

Sept 2001

My son has been experiencing anxiety attacks for some time which now have forced him to drop out of school and are limiting his ability to find and keep a regular job. I would appreciate any recomandation for a psychiatrist who takes Blue Cross, she/he doesn't need to be specialized in teenagers, even though that would be nice. I prefer the Contra Costa area, but anything in the East Bay will work also. Thanks.

My recent experience with both psychiatry and psychology unfortunately has led me to believe that the best ones out there don't take insurance. And, like everything in life, you have to find someone that suits your own style. If you are able to submit a bill to your insurance company I highly recommend Dr. Michael Loose.

We however, use a psychologist for weekly visits, and see Dr. Loose for medication. Sounds like anti-anxiety drugs might be of great benefit to your son.

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

June 2005

My teenage daughter is going to try some anti-depressant meds . We just started seeing Dr. Trautner for this. She is still seeing her therapist so we are not going to Dr. Trautner for ''therapy'' also. (It was hard finding someone in our health plan who both served adolescents and had an appointment in the near future.) He seems nice, sensitive and attentive, but I don't know him from Adam. I was wondering how the follow-up was. Does any one have experiences with him? Thanks. anon

I saw Dr. Trautner several years back for depression medication. I was in my early 30's at the time and also saw a therapist. He was pretty sensitive I thought, and was more than competent in terms of prescribing medication and in follow up. I remember we adjusted dosage a time or two. I've seen a handful or so MDs over the years for depression, and sensitivity is not always their strength. They can be very clinical. As long as your daughter understands that her therapist is her real confidante and the MD is more of a technician. I remember him reassuring me that there would be a time in my life when I wouldn't need meds to get through a depression... He was right.. I've always appreciated that he said that to me. Best of luck

I have worked w/ Dr. Rick Trautner for several years now on the inpatient psychiatric units at the Herrick campus of Alta Bates. My observations of his work w/ patients and families are that he is kind, knowledgeable & responsive. He is one of the medical directors there & often has to make difficult decisions involving policy, staff, patients, & fellow MDs - I feel that he does so w/ integrity & compassion. As a nurse I feel that he has a good understanding of pharmacology & would recommend him to treat one of my family members. Good luck to you & your daughter. RN Mom

2003 & Earlier

Sept 2001

If you are able to submit a bill to your insurance company I highly recommend Dr. Michael Loose, MD. (He does not accept insurance of any kind.) He's in Walnut Creek, very near John Muir Hospital, 925-944-2404 at 177 La Casa Via. Dr. Loose is also on the staff at the Mt. Diablo Hospital adolescent psych unit so he sees lots of teenagers. My child really likes his caring style.