Areas of Expertise
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Due to my strong expertise in ADHD, I created a specialist ADHD clinic within the East London NHS Foundation trust. I believe there are many stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding ADHD, so my goal is to help people with ADHD symptoms to regain their confidence and better understand how their mind works.
I don’t believe that a diagnosis of ADHD should be seen as a disadvantage. People with ADHD have a unique way of approaching the world that is often excited, passionate and innovative. I don’t want to stop my patients from being creative or unique; my goal is to help them streamline their creativity and productivity to allow them to flourish.
Due to the lack of understanding surrounding the condition, people with ADHD may struggle with depression or anxiety as they’re unsure how to manage their symptoms. Sometimes managing the consequences of their symptoms is actually more time-consuming than the ADHD itself. Once these symptoms are addressed, my patients often find they have time for things they never thought possible, and their self-esteem and emotional wellbeing are all significantly improved.
I also have clinical experience helping people with skin disorders who are also suffering from mental health problems. For example, people suffering from eczema are at an increased risk for depression and anxiety, so finding a healthcare professional who understands both the physical and mental complications arising from the condition is essential.
Similarly, I also help people with skin disorders that have a psychological origin or arise due to a mental health condition. For example, it’s common to see skin problems that correlate with the severity of mental health symptoms due to the physical stress response of the body. Another example is delusional infestation, whereby it might feel like something is infesting the skin (rashes or scratches), but there is no physical trigger for the symptoms.
I have published in the field of psychodermatology, and as a member of a wider group we are developing guidelines for the management of delusional infestation for the British Association of Dermatologists which is due to be published in 2021. I have written a chapter in a psychodermatology book and I have taken part in a cross-parties parliamentary report on skin disorders and mental health. I’m also a guest lecturer on psychiatry and skin disorders for a Masters course.
My approach to mental health
As a psychiatrist, I don’t believe in trying to change people. Instead, I want to help my patients understand and overcome the restrictions imposed by their mental health difficulties. When a patient comes to see me, I want to hear their stories and experiences so that I can assist them with problems that they may have been unable to talk about before.
When it comes to creating a treatment plan, I’ll listen to you and incorporate standardised assessments where needed so that I can understand how to help you function better. I always follow international guidelines while integrating my knowledge of evidence-based approaches and your personal preferences. The treatment plan will be created specifically for you by combining the right tools and approaches for your specific symptoms. Together we can decide on the best approaches, and the treatment plan can always be adjusted based on your feedback and how your symptoms improve.
I believe that psychoeducation is a crucial component of any treatment plan because knowledge is power. Not only is there a need to understand the condition and associated symptoms, but also how this fits in with the context of their life and understand what the diagnosis means for you. This understanding will give more meaning to the treatment plan and therapeutic process, while also enabling you to have more control over your behaviour and emotions.
Regarding psychotherapy, I will integrate aspects of psychodynamic and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) approaches when trying to understand and help patients. However, suppose a patient would benefit from a course of sessions in a specific psychotherapy. In that case, I have an extensive network of psychologists that I regularly refer patients to and work in close collaboration with them.
My approach to medication
I believe that medication should only be used when needed. Taking medication for a mental health condition is not an easy solution or an answer to the problems. Medication is only one part of the whole approach, how and when to use it will be in agreement with the patient depending on what they feel comfortable with.
If you do decide to go ahead with taking medication, the benefits and possible side effects will be discussed in detail so you can make a fully informed decision. I’ll explain your options in a simple and straightforward manner, combining the latest scientific evidence with my professional opinion on your unique symptoms and circumstances.
Training and education
I’m currently working as a Consultant Psychiatrist for the East London NHS Foundation Trust and in private practice in Harley Street. I’m registered as a specialist in General Adult Psychiatry, Liaison Psychiatry and Substance Misuse Psychiatry by the General Medical Council (GMC). I have been running a specialist ADHD clinic within the NHS for several years. I have been in a Consultant Psychiatrist position since 2014, so I have a rich and varied clinical experience helping people with all types of complex mental health conditions.
Regarding my education, I completed my Medical degree (MD) at Damascus University in 2001, before going onto continue my specialist training in psychiatry in the UK. I became a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (MRCPsyc) in 2008 and completed my core training in psychiatry in 2009. I also have a Certificate in Learning and Teaching (CILT) from Queen Mary, University of London, and a Clinical Certificate in Psychopharmacology from the British Association of Psychopharmacology in 2012.
I’m a member of the Cochrane Collaboration and have authored and co-authored publications in the fields of psychodermatology and psychopharmacology.
I’m also an Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London, guest lecturer at Hertfordshire University and examiner for the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
My personal interests
I love teaching, which is why I’m heavily involved in teaching students at several institutions in the UK. I also combined my love of education with the outdoors by becoming a Scout leader.