Columbia University Medical Center
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and Patient Care
U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals
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NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell

Helping other doctors help their patients

Helping patients and families help themselves

Despite continued advances in psychiatry, some patients do not fully recover from their illnesses; others have complex problems that are difficult to understand. Psychiatric illnesses often are complicated by interactions between factors unique to each person, such as physical makeup, longstanding patterns of thinking and emotion, issues related to family, education or work, and other medical problems.

Columbia Psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital is ready to help make sense of these problems, whether at the first appearance of a psychiatric disorder or further down the road for individuals who have already made many efforts to find effective treatment.

Who can benefit from evaluation?

Individuals who have developed new symptoms of emotional distress are often evaluated and treated initially by their primary general physician or by a psychotherapist. However, a more complete diagnostic evaluation by a psychiatrist may be warranted in the case of severe depression, anxiety, agitation, or seriously disturbed thinking and behavior. Many research studies have shown that most patients with depression do not receive adequate treatment even after seeing a doctor; and other studies show that most patients with bipolar disorder are improperly diagnosed for an average of 8 years before the finally receive the right medication.

Experts at Columbia provide a careful diagnostic evaluation and make detailed treatment recommendations to insure that medications are prescribed appropriately when needed, or avoided if not needed or potentially harmful; and that psychotherapy has been tailored to full range of the patient's needs. An initial evaluation at Columbia can prevent these kinds of outcomes. We can recommend psychiatrists to assist in ongoing care to help bring about the quickest and safest response to treatment.

Who can benefit from consultation or second opinion?

There are many well-established medication treatments for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other major psychiatric disorders. However, a significant minority of patients do not respond adequately, or cannot tolerate, the most common first-line treatments. In addition, exclusive reliance on medication, without fully addressing emotional problems in psychotherapy, may be a cause of incomplete response.

Another kind of problem may be the need to re-evaluate the initial diagnosis if treatment is not progressing as expected. Often re-interviewing the patient from a fresh perspective, and talking with family members, can bring out additional information that places the patient's problems in a new light. Diagnosis strongly influences the choice of medications as well as the approaches taken in psychotherapy.

Columbia Psychiatry specializes in reviewing ongoing treatment, often at the request of the doctor and other therapists already working with a patient. We can provide constructive, innovative suggestions that help break stalemates in psychopharmacology and psychotherapy, restoring hope and morale.
Consultation or a second opinion is available whenever treatment is not providing the results that had been hoped for.

For further information, please call: 212-305-6001.


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