How Can Psychiatrists Help Eating Disorder Recovery? Meet San Diego Physician Dr. Heather Mak, M.D.

Struggling with anxiety and depression in your eating disorder recovery? Seeing all the people frolicking in the sun and surf in San Diego, wondering when the heck you will feel like participating in life again? Working with an eating disorder psychiatrist may help! There is research on how mood disorders such as anxiety and depression are more frequent in people with eating disorders when compared to the general population. If that is the case, it can be helpful for your eating disorder recovery to work with a psychiatrist as well as an eating disorder therapist. I prefer to refer people to psychiatrists rather than their primary care physicians, as psychiatrists are specialized in psychopharmacology. They know the nuances and can manage any side effects of psychotropic medications (medications that can help with moods, etc.). One amazing psychiatrist in San Diego is Dr. Heather Mak, M.D. She is a very kind person who does great work with people in eating disorder recovery. Plus, she loves dogs (like me!). :) I’m excited for you to get to know her!

Why did you choose to become an eating disorder psychiatrist in San Diego? 

I have always been interested in treating eating disorders, but throughout my career was never able to do it until I worked for Center for Discovery.  It was a steep learning curve for me, but it was a great experience and gave me a good foundation to be able to help others in the outpatient setting.

What kind of treatment do you provide? 

I primarily do medication management, but I also provide supportive therapy for my patients.  I also coordinate with treatment teams (therapists, dieticians, primary care providers) to help ensure that the patient is getting what they need.

Do you work with only eating disorders? 

I see all mental health disorders, not just eating disorders.

How long have you been working with eating disorders overall, and how long have you been in San Diego? 

I have been in San Diego for nine years and initially moved here to complete my psychiatry residency at Naval Medical Center San Diego, as I was active duty in the United States Navy.  I got out of the Navy in 2018 and started working with Center for Discovery. I have worked with eating disorders specifically for about a year.

How can psychiatrists help with eating disorder recovery?

Psychiatrists help support the rest of the eating disorder treatment team to help the patient succeed in treatment.  Not all patients with eating disorders need medication.  Psychiatrists can help diagnose other mental health disorders that may require treatment with medications.

What happens during a first appointment with you? 

During an intake appointment, I try to get to know the patient and any symptoms they may be having.  There are a lot of questions in trying to understand what is going on with a patient and after that, I let you know of the treatment recommendations I may have and what would be most helpful for that patient.

What do you wish people knew about getting treatment for eating disorders? 

I wish people knew how much work was involved in getting treatment for anything.  You will get back what you put into your treatment, and it is always a great idea to seek outside help and support when needed.

How can people learn more about and contact you? 

I currently work in an outpatient clinic, the San Diego American Indian Health Center.  We are located in Banker’s Hill and this is where I primarily see all my patients.  Our phone number is 619-234-2158 to make an appointment.  Or you can visit their website to learn more about me and the clinic.

Share one fun fact about you that many people don’t know.

I have a dog named Mindy the Morkie and she is the sweetest dog you will ever meet!

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Hey everyone, I really appreciate you reading my blog!  Have a wonderful day. :)  

Marianne 

If you are struggling to find eating disorder treatment in San Diego, give me a call for your free 15-minute phone consultation at (858) 699-3754, and I will help you get where you need to be! 

You can find more information about me on Instagram @drmariannemiller or on my Facebook page