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Psychiatrists for Teenagers

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Health & Medical > Psychiatrists for Teenagers


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2010 - 2014 Recommendations


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.
tracy
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? http://acmhs.org/ 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 http://www.thebodingroup.com/About/index.html 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
Thanks


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@gmail.com 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. However...it 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.


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