expert type icon EXPERT

Ranjan Patel

Psychologist

Dr. Ranjan Patel is passionate about doing excellent psychotherapy and has unwavering commitment to her specialty. She's honored to help people change their lives in ways they want. She hopes to embody the values of communication, safety, and trust when dealing directly with her clients. She works exclusively in private practice and welcomes the opportunity to do a phone consultation--650-692-5235. For more information, please visit: www.DrRanjanPatel.com
32 years Experience
Ranjan Patel
  • Burlingame, CA
  • CIIS
  • Accepting new patients

My father started hallucinating. What can we do to help?

Please make an appointment with your PCP or internist — he/she will assess whether to refer him to a neurologist and/or psychiatrist, who will administer a series of cognitive READ MORE
Please make an appointment with your PCP or internist — he/she will assess whether to refer him to a neurologist and/or psychiatrist, who will administer a series of cognitive tests and brain imaging — this is in order to pinpoint a diagnosis, e.g., it could be anything from a side effect of his meds, to a form of dementia. It is also possible that he is not actually visually “seeing” his dead relatives, but imagining them in his mind — this is not an actual hallucination, and may inform his subsequent diagnosis. A diagnosis is necessary for proper treatment. It’s also key that you take him ASAP because a baseline is important for the doctor to establish — this will help track the effectiveness of his meds and also monitor his decline or lack thereof.

Are panic attacks while taking anti depressants normal?

Though anxiety and panic attacks occur with depression, if you notice that your panic attacks started after your anti-depressant medication, it’s possible that though the med is READ MORE
Though anxiety and panic attacks occur with depression, if you notice that your panic attacks started after your anti-depressant medication, it’s possible that though the med is treating your depression, it also has a side effect. Please see your prescribing physician and report this — there are other meds that treat both anxiety and depression. Because we do not currently have a blood test to accurately predict what you will respond best to, you may need to take anti-depressants on a trial-and-error basis, until you find one that you respond to, with minimal side effects. You definitely should not have to suffer from panic attacks. If your prescribing physician is not a psychiatrist, I suggest going to one in that they have expertise with this class of medications. Also, seek out the help of a psychologist/therapist, who will help you develop skills to better manage both your depression and panic attacks.

Can weight loss become an obsession?

You are right to be concerned. Being preoccupied with losing weight (especially if she’s objectively a normal weight) is a serious mental health problem—she may have anorexia and/or READ MORE
You are right to be concerned. Being preoccupied with losing weight (especially if she’s objectively a normal weight) is a serious mental health problem—she may have anorexia and/or body dysmorphic disorder, in which her body image is distorted to the point, she obsessively controls her eating portions and quality. It’s very important that you take her to both her PCP and a psychiatrist, as well as a psychologist, especially one who specializes in food related issues. This is often a symptom of another underlying issue, which needs to be addressed and treated. If this is done, you can avoid serious health problems manifesting from being seriously underweight.

Would I be able to cure my depression with just exercise?

Congratulations on discovering exercise as a natural anti-depressant! Many research studies have shown that for mild depression, regular cardiovascular exercise is as effective READ MORE
Congratulations on discovering exercise as a natural anti-depressant! Many research studies have shown that for mild depression, regular cardiovascular exercise is as effective as anti-depressants for elevating mood—an increase in endorphins, neurotransmitters such as dopamine, and adrenaline—all of these are responsible for an increase in well-being, higher locus of control, feeling more equipped and empowered, with an uplifting in mood. The key factor is to do your exercise regularly, preferably daily. If you have physical ailments of any kind, please consult your physician first.

Is OCD a disease or a habit?

OCD is a disease where habitual and ritualized behaviors are symptomatic. It is a manifestation of underlying anxiety and is a source of great suffering for the person who lives READ MORE
OCD is a disease where habitual and ritualized behaviors are symptomatic. It is a manifestation of underlying anxiety and is a source of great suffering for the person who lives with OCD. Even though you feel irritated by her habits, challenging yourself to show empathy for her will help yourself and her. Encourage and support her to get professional help--she should consult a psychiatrist for medication assessment and also see a psychologist who can work with her on managing her symptoms. There are many tools and skills she can learn to cope better and live a more fulfilling life.

Should I take my son to a psychologist to remove the fear of exams from his mind?

Yes, a psychologist can help him both with his generalized anxiety and his situational trigger of exams. We have many effective treatments for your son's situation, e.g. psychotherapy: READ MORE
Yes, a psychologist can help him both with his generalized anxiety and his situational trigger of exams. We have many effective treatments for your son's situation, e.g. psychotherapy: exposure and systematic desensitization, as well as medications to reduce or eliminate his panic. Exams are a necessary part of schooling and he shouldn't have to needlessly suffer.

How can one identify the signs of depression?

Though you may have a mild form of depression that is continuous, you seem to be describing an emotional upset that is borne from hormonal changes, e.g., premenstrual. Please consult READ MORE
Though you may have a mild form of depression that is continuous, you seem to be describing an emotional upset that is borne from hormonal changes, e.g., premenstrual. Please consult with your ob/gyn for advice on dealing with this -- this is from the medical perspective. It would also be wise to see a psychologist -- you can learn ways to deal with this time of the month, helping you prepare for days when you're more likely to feel off kilter. What you're going through is a common issue that many women face, and with the proper treatment, you'll be able to manage it effectively.

Do antipsychotic medicines cause weight gain?

It's unusual to be prescribed an "anti-psychotic" medication for OCD. Though weight gain is a very common side-effect of anti-psychotic meds, there are other meds who can achieve READ MORE
It's unusual to be prescribed an "anti-psychotic" medication for OCD. Though weight gain is a very common side-effect of anti-psychotic meds, there are other meds who can achieve the same result with less weight gain--unfortunately, she will have to go through a period of trial and error with other meds, to see which one will work for her, with minimal side-effects. Please consult with the prescribing physician, who should be a psychiatrist, and report the weight gain. If her symptom is simply OCD, she can try other meds.

I feel hungry all the time. Is it a psychological problem?

The best strategy is for you to consult with your gp or internist and get a physical including blood work. It’s important to rule out physiological causes. It’s also a good idea READ MORE
The best strategy is for you to consult with your gp or internist and get a physical including blood work. It’s important to rule out physiological causes. It’s also a good idea to make an appt. with a psychologist who will help you explore emotional reasons for over-eating, e.g., efforts to self soothe, etc. We distinguish between appetite and hunger, and over-eating is a complex interplay between psychological, physiological, and social cue. This is why seeing both your gp and a mental health professional is a solid, comprehensive strategy.
I wish you the best.

Are certain mental illness treatments more effective than others?

Everybody requires an approach that fits with who they are, their history, needs, and goals. This is the larger context that therapists consider when deciding on the treatment. READ MORE

Everybody requires an approach that fits with who they are, their history, needs, and goals. This is the larger context that therapists consider when deciding on the treatment. The best therapy is collaborative (not prescriptive), e.g. your therapist consults with you, the client, and advise you about what to expect and what you think and feel about using an approach or technique. Four examples below:
1. For a phobia, research has shown that systematic exposure and desensitization, coupled with cognitive therapy, is best.
2. For panic attacks, a combination of a mindfulness approach coupled with breathing exercises and cognitive/behavioral work may provide a more rapid solution.
3. If you’ve been experiencing life-long problematic patterns of feeling/thinking, manifesting in many contexts, et.g. work, relationships, etc. a psychodynamic approach with a relational and developmental framework might be a sound platform. Upon this, you and your therapist may build more behavioral work.
4. If you’re in couples therapy, the therapist will want to assess for your specific dynamics of relating with your partner, and offer communication skills, and more emotionally vulnerable ways of interacting. Your therapist may also feed back to you his/her observations of your attachment patterns and give homework exercises to practice outside of sessions.
In sum, psychotherapy is not based on the medical model, where one type of antibiotic lends itself to a class of infection. Rather, therapy requires your you and your therapist to look closely at the entirety of who you are: your history, your temperament, your needs and goals … as you begin working, your situation evolves, which requires your therapist to adapt to your growth. If your therapy is going well, you are transforming--and the ‘treatments’ are evolving with you.

How do I get over the loss of my father?

While it’s normal to want to “get over” the pain as quickly as possible, the best way for you to heal is gradually. Please give yourself time. You had a relationship with your READ MORE
While it’s normal to want to “get over” the pain as quickly as possible, the best way for you to heal is gradually. Please give yourself time. You had a relationship with your father spanning more than three decades, and it’s too much to ask of yourself to bounce back in thirty days. It’s okay and good and healthy to take your time. Acknowledge your loss and let yourself feel your pain, hurt, sadness. As you do this, also open yourself up to remembering good memories you had with him, the qualities you loved about him … let the light and sunshine of your father into your soul. Open your arms to the full spectrum of emotions about your dad and about the two of you together. Anticipate that every day will be different, e.g. some days will be relatively quiet where you go through your day feeling okay, other days may be much harder, where you’re overwhelmed with the unbearable permanence of your loss and that you’ll never see or talk to your dad again. Other days you may float through feeling numb. And some days you might go in and out of many different feelings. Just when you think you’ve settled into a new normal, a tide of grief may wash over you. All of this is completely normal—grieving the death of your parent is in many ways a lifelong process, and one which will change quality over time. Be patient with yourself and do not succumb to the message so ubiquitous in our culture, namely that we have to move quickly; please do not put pressure on yourself to “get over it” quickly. Trust yourself that you will heal in your own time on your own terms. Identify things you can do to act in meaningful ways, e.g. do whatever fills your heart, e.g. play with your child, hang out with a buddy, spend time with your partner, volunteer, play sports, anything to engage on a deeper level with yourself and with others. Be sure to allow yourself to feel little pockets of joy, take comfort in your positive memories—and also find solace in the good things in your present life—your relationships and connections, your work, your charity. Cultivate kindness—to yourself, and to others. If you find yourself having a hard time functioning, difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, self medicating with alcohol and/or drugs, acting out your grief with anger, if you feel you want to hurt yourself, etc. please seek professional help either by reaching out to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or your internist, who can refer you to a trusted mental health practitioner.

Is bipolar disorder treatable?

We currently have more than one classification for “Bipolar Disorder,” e.g. ‘I’ and ‘II,’ each varies in severity. Regardless of the type, we do not have a cure for the disease, READ MORE
We currently have more than one classification for “Bipolar Disorder,” e.g. ‘I’ and ‘II,’ each varies in severity. Regardless of the type, we do not have a cure for the disease, but the symptoms can be managed effectively with both medications and psychotherapy. The latter teaches coping strategies for recognizing when you’re about to go into a spiral of depression, mania, or hypomania. Therapy also helps you to practice skills, e.g. ask for help from your support system, regulate maladaptive cognitions and behaviors, etc. Seeing a psychiatrist is also essential: some trial and error may be involved while searching for a medication and dosage that works for you; sometimes a combination of meds works best--the optimal strategy for treating bipolar disorder is a combination of psychotherapy and medication. The first step is to acknowledge you cannot do it alone and need support from a medical team, as well as friends and family. Though it may feel overwhelming to enlist multiple mental health specialists, you can start with your internist or gp, who can refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist, whom in turn, can refer you to the appropriate doctor. This is not a journey you need undertake alone; you’ll slowly build a medical team who will guide and support you.

Is my daughter dependent on paracetamols? Could it be a psychological problem?

From your specifying "paracetamol," I'm assuming you are outside of the U.S. You are right to be worried about your daughter, and the best doctor to take her for a consultation READ MORE
From your specifying "paracetamol," I'm assuming you are outside of the U.S. You are right to be worried about your daughter, and the best doctor to take her for a consultation is your primary family doctor, internist, or GP. The doctor will assess for whether your daughter is using it for pain relief and the other options for treatment. It is likely there's a psychological component to your daughter's situation, but her family doctor should first assess for what she's going through physically, and if warranted, your doctor may refer her to a psychologist. If your doctor does not refer her to one, please initiate an appointment with a psychologist for your daughter. It's best to approach this issue from both physical and emotional angles.

I wish you and your daughter the best.

Is my daughter dependent on paracetamols? Could it be a psychological problem?

From your specifying “paracetamol,” I’m assuming you are outside of the U.S. You are right to be worried about your daughter, and the best doctor to take her for a consultation READ MORE
From your specifying “paracetamol,” I’m assuming you are outside of the U.S. You are right to be worried about your daughter, and the best doctor to take her for a consultation is your primary family doctor, internist, or GP. The doctor will assess for whether your daughter is using it for pain relief and the other options for treatment. It is likely there’s a psychological component to your daughter’s situation, but her family doctor should first assess for what she’s going through physically, and if warranted, your doctor may refer her to a psychologist. If your doctor does not refer her to one, please initiate an appointment with a psychologist for your daughter. It’s best to approach this issue from both physical and emotional angles. I wish you and your daughter the best.