When your doctor says he feels ineffective, HE'S RIGHT.
December 11, 2010 3:48 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a good sleep doctor in NYC, please?

I'm fatigued! It's very sad. I fall asleep fairly easily, never nap, fall back asleep pretty easily whenever I wake up in the night (as I am wont to do), but still, way more tired and ineffective than I ought to be. I did a sleep study which showed that I have lots of brief awakenings but no sleep apnea, though there remains the possibility that my fatigue is caused by non-sleep-related issues.

The sleep doctor I'm currently seeing is driving me nuts. He has me on a cognitive behavioral therapy program that has a bunch of factors but ultimately centers around the idea of sleep deprivation as a way to condense sleep, leading up to re-expanding time spent in bed once the sleep is less broken up. He's the doc, not me, so sure, I'm willing to give it a try.

Problem is, this doctor is having me come in once every few weeks, and when I come in, instead spending twenty minutes to discuss where I'm at and whether/how I need to change my behaviors to move along in this project, he spends two hours going on and on about how I need my head in the right place for this, and it's probably largely caused by my purported anxiety, and he needs me to trust him and take a leap of faith and believe in this, he wants to persuade me and feels like I remain unpersuaded, he keeps asking me why I think I'm tired and then gets frustrated with me when I reiterate that I'm here seeing him because I don't know and am seeking help from a professional OMFG, and I'm too negative and argue too much and woe woe woe thus I make him feel ineffective.

To be fair, yes, I'm cranky and I do tell him how I'm reacting to the various behavior changes he's instructing me to make - because he asks me! and because, surprise surprise, restricted sleep leaves me even more exhausted and cranky than usual. As expected. As he warned me would happen. He says most people find this difficult at first. Reasonably. So why is he taking it so personally when I do?

Anyways. When I went in last time (which was my second time with him), I interrupted him to ultimately say: "Let me blunt for a moment here. I'm not interested in my feelings. I'm not interested in your feelings. I'm not interested in being persuaded - like I told you, you don't have to persuade me of this! I'm already willing to give it a real try! I just want you to give me my homework, discuss progress, and let's move this thing along. If you're more interested in talk therapy, this office is not a good fit for me, no hard feelings, and I'll just go somewhere else. Just let me know."

He finally shut up at that point and started getting to the damn point, and then, just like our last appointment, he brought in a second doctor whose job seems to be reiterating what he just said but in a more accusatory tone.

I'm fed up. I do want to feel less tired, and I'm willing to test sleep as the likely problem first, and I'm even willing to go through the painful experience of this sleep reduction thing if that's the way to do it. But I am entirely unwilling to spend hours talking about my feelings with some dude when that's really, really not what I signed up for, and he's just going to take them personally and get offended by them anyway.

TL;DR - Can you recommend a sleep doctor in NYC who is efficient, rational, straightforward, and more interested in concrete advice than in spending hours on rambly bullshit?
posted by Eshkol to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I saw Dr Liberatore at Lexington ENT. She was very practical and very nice.

posted by merocet at 5:20 PM on December 11, 2010

Ooops link
posted by merocet at 5:21 PM on December 11, 2010

Dr. Burschtin was pretty practical and straightforward when he treated me in early 2010. The one thing I didn't appreciate at first was that he declined to prescribe medication for an involuntary muscle movement I was having during sleep. Instead, he said that we needed to wait and treat the sleep apnea first. Now, I appreciate his approach: I don't need medication for the muscle movements now (they were a result of the sleep apnea not a separate thing).

So, yeah, hopefully he's not the one attempting to talk you to death.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 9:09 PM on December 11, 2010

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