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Psychiatrist Views: Collaborating on Patients with Bipolar Disorder

Psychiatrist Views: Collaborating on Patients with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder (BPD), along with other mental illnesses, is a complex disorder with several types to better define the experiences of individuals. Collaborative care is considered the most cost-effective, with improved mental and overall health outcomes; in working alongside clinical care managers, patients, and other healthcare professionals, psychiatrists have a unique role, with a responsibility to ensure that the patient receives medication best suited for their mental and physical health. Understanding the perspectives of psychiatrists in this collaborative effort can shed more insight into the field itself, with both strengths and barriers to providing optimal treatment.

A 2014 study published in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry conducted a focus group with nine psychiatrists working in primary-based, collaborative care in Washington State. Researchers identified the following themes from participants:

Importance of working as a team

  • Most participants emphasized the importance of providing high quality care to those with BPD, with many reporting providing clinical care managers with education on BPD on a weekly basis.
  • Psychiatrists expressed a need for developing a standard technique for assessing BPD as well, further highlighting the importance of working in collaborative care.

Strengths of collaborative care for treating BPD

  • Repeated observations were said to enhance quality of care for patients with BPD, which included follow-up care visits, reviews, observations and more.
  • Patient registry was said to be helpful in tracking and outreach efforts of patients.

Adapting specialty psychiatric skills to primary care

  • Many psychiatrists expressed the belief that BPD is considered a “specialty” disorder, which is best treated by a collaborative team specialized in this area of mental illness.
  • Participants noted the need to learn techniques for working with those who have BPD, as well as being able to care for them appropriately.
  • Understanding how other components of the collaborative team worked (such as what occurs with a primary care physician) helped some psychiatrists to provide better assessments and treatment recommendations that were more consistent with the patients’ primary care physician.

For psychiatrists, collaboration can become a very complex yet important component of treatment for those with BPD, in order to provide the highest quality of service possible. More communication efforts are needed in this field to promote further integration of these fields as they work together to provide care while also bettering their own mental, physical, and spiritual health.

If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about programs to best suit your needs. Optimal recovery is possible, and you are not alone in your pursuit for happiness, health, and wellbeing.

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