New Opportunities for Mood Disorder Treatment Embrace Youth in Transition and Challenging Cases

Photo of Melissa DelBello, MD, by Cindy Starr / Mayfield Clinic.

It is well known that the transition from childhood to adulthood can be a vulnerable time for young people with mood disorders. While parts of the post-adolescent brain are still rapidly changing, the prefrontal cortex, the seat of wisdom and reason, takes its time. New responsibilities beckon: an apartment, the military, a job, college. And just as these momentous changes are occurring, young adults are beginning to age out of the pediatric healthcare system and its safety nets.

Helping to fill the void is the Mood Disorders Center at the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute, one of four institutes at the UC College of Medicine and UC Health. The Resident Mood Medication Clinic, scheduled for Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, will be staffed by a psychiatrist and two junior physicians who are in psychiatric residency training. The clinics, which begin next week, are open to patients with Medicaid and any form of insurance that is accepted at the UC Medical Center. In addition, sliding scale fees are available through the UC Medical Center.

Appointments can be requested
by new patients or their physicians

by calling a new number(513) 558-MOODand pressing 1.

For Melissa DelBello, MD, Co-Director of the UC Mood Disorders Center, the new clinic could not come at a better time.  “Many patients at Cincinnati Children’s are getting older,” says Dr. DelBello, Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at UC. “They can continue to be seen at Children’s, but it’s not ideal. We’d like to focus on independence. Our clinic will provide a new resource for these transitional-age youth, the 16- to 25-year-olds who are at high risk for worsening of their mood, non-adherence, and developing substance use disorders.  In addition, many adults in our community are reporting poor access to psychiatric care. This clinic will hopefully help fill that gap.”

Challenging Cases Practice

The UC Mood Disorders Center is also launching a Faculty Mood Specialty Practice, which will bring a collaborative approach to the treatment of patients with more complex mood disorders. A faculty review panel will meet regularly to discuss treatment options for patients who may not be responding to treatment. Caleb Adler, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at UC and Co-Director of the UC Mood Disorders Center, notes that there is a wealth of experience in treating mood disorders at UC Health. “We plan to bring together the expertise of a multidisciplinary team to provide cutting edge care to patients with mood disorders.”

Enhanced training for residents

The Resident Mood Medication Clinic will do more than just help patients. It will also provide a new kind of training for psychiatry residents at UC. “In the past we have not had hands-on training that focused on mood disorders,” Dr. DelBello says. “This clinic will give residents the opportunity to learn about evidence-based pharmacological treatments while under the supervision of an attending psychiatrist.

“Medication management of mood disorders should be evidence-based,” Dr. DelBello says. “We will be addressing and managing each patient’s medications, with a focus on keeping medications to a minimum. There has been a rapid expansion of treatments for mood disorders over the last few years, creating an opportunity for personalized treatment approaches.”

The clinicians involved in the UC Mood Disorders Center also will strive to educate patients about maximizing their opportunity for good mental health. “If we can educate patients about the importance of making good lifestyle choices and give them some ownership of their mental health,” Dr. DelBello says, “we’ve taken a giant step forward.”

— Cindy Starr

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