I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist every few weeks for a couple of months now, but only to regulate my ADHD medication and not for any sort of therapy. I am extremely attracted to him, and I think he is too, but I know there are ethical issues with this. Is there any way I can see him outside of our sessions, or is some sort of sexual or romantic relationship completely out of the question? I can’t stop thinking about him…
It is unethical for a psychiatrist or other mental health professional to have a romantic/sexual relationship with a patient, even outside the treatment. It is and should be out of the question. However, that’s not the major issue involved in your question.
You describing seeing the psychiatrist for only ADHD medication and seeing him “every few weeks” for only a couple of months. This is considered “medication consultation” and is typically a brief contact in the office, focusing on medications, side effects, symptoms, etc. In reality, this is a very limited contact with the psychiatrist and provides little opportunity for you to personally know him or develop a social relationship.
Based on this these very brief and medication-focused contacts, you describe how you are “extremely attracted”, “can’t stop thinking about him”, and are considering some kind of romantic and/or sexual relationship. You are also feeling he may have similar feelings. Combining these reports, you are exhibiting symptoms that suggest a clinical condition beyond ADHD.
I sense you may be experiencing what we call “hypomania“. Hypomania is more than ADHD, with symptoms including:
- inflated self-esteem,
- decreased need for sleep,
- thought racing,
- distractibility and inattention,
- increased focus/energy on goals, and
- excessive interest and involvement in pleasurable activities that involve poor judgement (DSM-IV).
In a hypomanic state, individuals become hypersexual, engage in excessive spending, and/or make bad business judgements. They very frequently make huge mistakes of a romantic/sexual nature.
Hypomania can be very harmful if not dangerous. While you feel elated and “on top of the world”, this is an artificial feeling created by changes in your neurochemistry. It may cause you to become obsessed with the psychiatrist which will interfere with your treatment as you will be unwilling to report true symptoms and concerns — being too busy trying to impress him.
What do you do? If hypomania is present, and I suspect it is, it’s an extremely important treatment concern. I would recommend reviewing the symptoms of hypomania and bringing these symptoms to the attention of the psychiatrist. I would do this immediately. Hypomania can be caused by medications you are prescribed, changes in medications, or can be part of an approaching Bipolar Disorder.
Your romantic interest, considering the very limited time you have know him, if far above a “crush” or infatuation. You are at-risk to make some very bad judgements here. Protect yourself by taking a clinical look at your feelings and behaviors — then discuss them with your psychiatrist.
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