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Diagnosed with manic depression. Should I consult a psychiatrist?

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Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 2189 Questions
i would like to obtain a doctor's note to keep my dog in my building. I was diagnosed with manic depressios?ionn when I was 16 ( I am 33 now) and had an episodic attack about 6 years ago, when I then got the dog about a year and half later and have remained healthy but have not seen a doctor recently. I would like to find a psychiatrist/psychologist doctor in the NYC area that would be willing to review my mental health background and determine if I am a candidate to receive a note. Do you have any recommendations?
Posted Fri, 16 Nov 2012 in Mental Health
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 9 hours later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

Having a pet has been found to have positive effects mental health of people. I'm glad that you have been feeling better since you've got a dog in your home.

First, if you’ve had your pet more than three months, you may be able to safely keep your pet under the New York's Pet Law, which can be easier than proving the need for an emotional support animal. If you do not think you are able to keep your pet under the Pet Law, then you need to consider the pros and cons of asking for permission to keep your pet as an emotional support animal. If you get permission from your landlord to keep your pet as an emotional support animal, then you don’t have to worry about being threatened with eviction.You will also have the peace of mind of knowing that you will never have to risk surrendering
your pet. So, the easier, stress-free way out would be yo ask your landlord for permission and try explaining and convincing him / her to allow you to keep the pet. his is because not everyone with a mental illness will qualify to have an emotional support animal. You must XXXXXXX the following requirements:
a. You must have a disability.
b. You must be qualified to live in the housing.
c. You must be reasonable in the type of animal you want to keep.
d. You must need the animal in order to live in the housing.

Now, regarding getting a recommendation letter from a doctor, the psychiatrist needs to evaluate you and be convinced about the following things:
- that your disability limits a major life activity; and
- that you need an emotional support animal in order to fully use and enjoy your apartment.
The letter should also include details about your diagnosis and how long the clinician has been treating you.

So, what I'm trying to convey to you is that it is difficult to convince the doctor unless you have been on regular treatment and follow-up with him. So, you would first need a proper psychological assessment and the doctor needs to be sure that you are will be taking regular teatment, in order to give you this recommendation. I would also like to remind you that manic-depressive disorder (or Bipolar disorder) is a chronic-relapsing illness and needs regular medication on a long-term basis , in order to prevent further episodes. As you would already be aware, having a relapse can cause a lot of trauma - psychological, social, occupational, financial, etc. and hence it is better to prevent any further episodes.

Dr. XXXXXXX H. Levine(MD) and Dr. XXXXXXX Lehman(MD) are psychiatrists based in New York City, who you can approach for further help.

Wish you all the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
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