Hello and welcome to my website! This page was developed as a way to introduce myself and provide patients with helpful information. I am a general psychiatrist in private practice in Birmingham, Alabama. Although I help people with a broad range of issues, I also have a special interest in depression and adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Education and Training: I graduated from Colorado College with a B.A. in sociology and then attended medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I completed my residency in psychiatry at UAB hospital in June of 2004.
Philosophy: First and foremost, I work for you. That means that ultimately it is the things that you want us to accomplish that matter most. While I have a professional responsibility to practice within a certain standard of care and bring things to your attention that you may not have considered, in the end the success of our relationship depends on whether our time has been of value to you. Although I may recommend a certain option, medication or therapy I don't impose that on you.
Most people who come to a psychiatrist are interested in medication or at least open to the possibility. My general approach to medication is to go slowly, using as few medicines as possible, at the lowest appropriate dosages. Often I am able to use medication on a short-term basis, to help someone through a difficult crisis or relief of a specific symptom. Many medicines may have side effects that are best minimized by a slow and careful approach. If you have had a bad experience with medications (or psychiatrists) in the past I encourage you to let me know about your concerns in advance. Sometimes people are just looking for information about what types of medication might be helpful to them and want to take their time considering their options. I never insist that my patients take medicines that they don't feel are helpful, and ultimately you are the best judge of what is right for you.
I welcome close communication with my patients and their other doctors or therapists. It is much easier to be of help to you if I am part of a team effort. Another clinician can offer a valuable perspective. Because I value good communication I am easy to reach by phone or email. I return my own telephone calls and schedule my own appointments. This helps you get the answer you need with as little interference as possible. If you have any difficulties with medications or other urgent concerns I encourage you to let me know as soon as possible, often we can work through these problems by telephone without you having to wait until your next appointment.
In addition to prescribing medication, I also practice psychotherapy. I have come to appreciate that medicine ultimately treats symptoms, not problems. Many times I am able to reduce the amount of medication a patient takes after a successful course of psychotherapy. I've found that usually a combination of medication plus psychotherapy is most helpful to people. For a variety of reasons though, this may not always be practical or desirable to patients. My own background in psychotherapy is a traditional psychodynamic approach combined with elements of cognitive behavioral therapy.
How to Reach Me: The best way to reach me is by cell phone or email. I use my cell phone as my main office phone. For routine concerns or appointments please call me during normal business hours Monday - Friday. In case of emergencies for current patients you may call me at anytime. On weekends or when I am out of town I may only check my messages once a day. During the weekday I may sometimes be only able to return phone calls at the end of the day. In many cases it may be easier for me or you to use email to reschedule an appointment or to address your questions. I check email every weekday. It may take several days for me to get back to you if you are a new patient requesting an appointment depending on how busy I am but I do my best to be as prompt as possible.
Thad F. Ryals, MD 2305 Arlington Ave. Birmingham, AL 35205 cell (Office) phone: (205) 901-8408 fax: (205) 933-9280 email@example.com