If you follow Dr. Itzkoff’s blog, you know this space is usually reserved for mental health news, psychiatry resources, and articles related to the services she offers at her practice. This month, we decided to change things up a bit by conducting an interview with Dr. Itzkoff so her followers have a chance to catch-up with her and hear about what she’s been up to recently. Still have questions? Submit them below and Dr. Itzkoff will try to respond to them in her next interview!
What’s the most exciting development to take place at the practice in the past year?
Well, many people want to discuss my ketamine practice, an infusion treatment I am currently offering for treatment resistant depression, as well as Anxiety, PTSD and OCD. The treatment is very exciting -as it does not rely on the same pathways that our oral medications utilize in treating depression, and the response rate can be as high as 70 – 80%.
I’m involved in some partnerships, including one in a VR / serious games tech space that may be able to study behavior to help predict negative outcomes and assist in preventing those events — but any more about that is in the top secret file for now.
I often want to discuss how much remains the same — I’m still seeing all of my own patients for 50 minutes. While some of my patients are the most complex patients, many of my patients are those continuing in productive talk therapy and taking no medication at all. Regardless of the case, we have not adopted the “15 minute med management” appointment at my office. All of my patients see me for an appropriate amount of time, they’re able to reach me on the phone (not a phone tree that routes them to medical records, or a message that says I’ll be returning calls on Monday) and I continue to work with my patients to find the best treatment for them.
I’ve always enjoyed and continue to enjoy my expanding reproductive psychiatry practice. Stay tuned for a new mom’s group, as well as an ART (Assisted Reproduction) group, as well.
What would you say are the key challenges facing the psychiatry industry right now?
How can we do better? How can we achieve better outcomes? Very few developments have come our way in psychiatry — and there is a strong push to make advancement. At the same time, we have to beware of “advancement” made too early. All that pressure to do better and find something “new” has lead psychiatry as discipline astray in the very recent past.
What’s the biggest professional lesson you’ve learned?
Two things stand out to me:
One has been with me a long time, but continues to be true — do the right thing for your patients, always. That will work out best for everyone, in the end.
The other is simpler — maintaining active connections to your peers in the field remains as important, if not more important, than ever. While there are so many pulls on a psychiatrist’s time attending to patients, their family, their academic interests, their friends and personal interests — it’s important to push to maintain that group that you learn with and from, and draw support from: it’s the best way to learn and enjoy learning, in my experience.
Any new treatment options you’re offering patients? Any trends in the psychiatry industry are you paying attention to right now?
While I offer all of the new treatments and testing available in psychiatry at my office, including ketamine, an infusion treatment being offered to patients with treatment resistant depression, and genetic testing, which is hardly new anymore, I don’t think medicine should ever be following a “trend” and emphasize that things stay much the same at my office — because excellent, proper care will best any “trend” 100% of the time.
So what’s your next ambition for the practice?
Simple: Keep helping our patients get the best care and achieve their goals. I hope that’s every doc’s ambition.