Encino Psychiatrists
Encino Psychiatrists Karen L. Vause and Ramzi Kiriakos
Encino Psychiatrists
16550 Ventura Blvd.
Suite 212
Encino, CA 91436
Direct Contact Information
Karen Vause, MD (818) 995-0640
Ramzi Kiriakos, MD (818) 881-8208
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Frequently Asked Questions


Should I hold myself responsible for my illness?

Psychiatric illness is like any other medical condition (for example diabetes). We don’t always know what causes a person to develop a particular illness. We should however take responsibility to treat the illness and seek help. Leading a healthier lifestyle, minimizing stress adds quality to one’s life and also helps to control psychiatric illness.  Having regular treatment, understanding your illness and taking psychiatric medications, if needed, will help keep your illness in remission.

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How long will it take to treat my psychiatric illness?

There are no exact predictions of how long it takes to treat a psychiatric illness or bring it into remission. The longer you have had the illness untreated, generally speaking, the longer it takes to bring it to remission. The sooner you seek help, the better the outcome. Some conditions require treatment for a longer period of time. Some illnesses require maintenance treatment or may recur during a lifetime. An example of these may be: major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, bulimia, anorexia, substance abuse disorders, alcohol addition, gambling, sexual addiction, compulsive shopping and explosive personality. The best approach to the treatment of psychiatric illness is: as soon as you identify a psychiatric problem, take care of it by seeking professional advice.

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How much does it cost to treat my condition?

Our rates are comparable to other psychiatrists in the San Fernando Valley who treat adolescents and adults. You should contact one of us directly to discuss the fees and cost of treatment. The total cost of treatment is determined by the frequency of treatment, the complexity of treatment and the duration of treatment.  The severity and the nature of the psychiatric illness determines the frequency and the duration of treatment.

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Will my health insurance plan cover the cost of treatment?

Each time one of us sees you for treatment, we will provide a statement for you to submit to you health insurance company for partial reimbursement. Many non health maintenance organizations (Non HMO) may reimburse you between 50% and 80% depending on the specific health insurance policy you have with them. Payment for our professional services is requested at the completion of each session, and may be in the form of cash or credit cards.

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Will my treatment and my condition be kept confidential?

We will not disclose any information about an adult or an adolescent without a written authorization and consent from you. Exceptions to this rule, as required by law, when you are in danger of ending your life or someone else's life.

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What are the chances to have a recurrence in the future?

Recurrence of mental illness depends on many variables.

  1. Diagnosis: Many psychiatric illnesses are known to recur. To list some:  bipolar disorder, unipolar depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), alcohol addiction, drug addiction, gambling addiction, schizophrenia, bulimia, anorexia
  1. Age of onset: generally speaking the earlier the age of onset, the more likely the condition will be recurrent. Examples of mental illness appearing in adolescence and either recurring or persisting are: ADHD, phobic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, major depression, addictions, eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia, and psychosis.
  1. Concurrent life stresses: Many times a mental illness will subside into remission, only to reappear with concurrent stresses. For example: starting a new school or college, starting a new job, getting married, having a child, losing a loved one.
  1. Complexity of life style: a mental illness may be in remission but in some individuals their life becomes progressively more complex. They may assume additional responsibilities in the form of a new spouse, business partner, children, financial responsibilities, and a loved one with special needs or a new medical illness. These increases may lead to a breaking point.

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How can I prevent recurrence of mental illness?

Take your medications as prescribed. See your therapist regularly. Avoid life stresses as much as possible. Have a good balance between occupational interests and recreational activities. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Make sure to have significant others who will help you when you need them. Avoid excesses in life style e.g. excess eating, drinking smoking etc. Make sure not to delay seeking help when you feel that your mental illness is coming back, the longer you wait, the longer it takes to recover.

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When do I bring my teenager to treatment?
  • School problems, academic, social or recreational
  • Cannot cope with problems
  • Changes in appetite, sleep and activity
  • Frequent physical complaints
  • Mood becomes pessimistic, thoughts of death, complaining that life is empty or worthless
  • Sexual acting out and promiscuity
  • Frequent and recurring nightmares
  • Thoughts of self-harm or harm to others
  • Self-destructive habits and behaviors (cutting, smoking, alcohol or drug abuse)
  • Outbursts of anger and /or aggression
  • Runaway behavior or threats to run away
  • Setting fires, torturing animals and destroying property, theft, vandalism
  • Aggression, violation of rights of others
  • Defiance of authority, school truancy
  • Strange thoughts, responding to internal stimuli, unusual feelings, unusual beliefs and strange behavior

Your teenager may have a treatable condition such as: depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), alcohol addiction, illicit drug addiction, prescription drug addiction, OCD, and identity issues.

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What can a psychiatrist do for me or for my teenager?

A psychiatrist is a physician specialist in diagnosing and treating mental illness, psychological problems and interpersonal conflicts.

A psychiatrist is an individual who attended medical school.  After completing medical school, a psychiatrist has at least four (4) more years of academic and clinical training to become a psychiatrist.

A psychiatrist can diagnoses mental illness by clinical examination. Sometimes laboratory tests are needed for diagnosing and /or monitoring treatment. Of all the mental health professionals, only a psychiatrist can prescribe medications. Psychiatrists are also trained to give psychotherapy. Each psychiatrist may have their own interests or preferences for therapeutic techniques. Some psychiatrists have the skills to provide different modalities of treatment tailored to the diagnosis and condition of their patient.

In order to treat adolescents, the psychiatrist should have at least two additional years of training.

In order to treat chemical dependency, two additional years of diagnosing and treating substance abuse disorders are necessary.

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