Behavioral Health

Our Services

Mount Sinai psychiatrists who specialize in working with patients with psychotic disorders offer compassionate, comprehensive, multidisciplinary care. We provide expert treatment for schizophrenia and psychotic disorders through:

  • Outpatient Services: Offering a range of treatment options, including psychotherapy and medication management on an outpatient basis
  • Inpatient Psychiatric Service: While staying in hospital, patient care includes individual psychological therapeutic medication (psychopharmacology), as well as individual and group psychotherapy.
  • Psychiatric Emergency RoomDedicated psychiatric emergency room doctors provide immediate evaluation and stabilization for patients in crisis.

When working with patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, the main goal of our team of specialists to provide the type of treatment that will help by:

  • Controlling symptoms: Improves patients’ coping skills and mental function associated with perception, judgment, and processing emotions
  • Maintaining physical well-being: Requires constant attention and advice about diet and healthy lifestyle choices as well as regular (at least annual) general medical examinations
  • Minimizing disability: Supporting behaviors in personal and work situations through interventions designed to help patients in re-engage in their various roles, thus reducing the effects of the disability

Treatment for these disorders typically involves the use of prescription medications. 

Antipsychotic Medications

Antipsychotic medication is currently the most effective intervention for controlling symptoms and preventing relapses for patients with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. There are several medications that our psychiatrists prescribe, both first generation (antipsychotics originally used and still in use)  as well as newer second generation antipsychotics. These medications work by reducing psychotic symptoms caused by excess dopamine neurotransmission that affects how the brain works in regulating certain behaviors.

Each patient may respond differently to an antipsychotic medication. Our psychiatrists prescribe the medication that is most effective in reducing symptoms while causing minimal side effects. We determine the right medication through careful monitoring of the patient’s reaction.

The most common side effects of first generation antipsychotics are muscle rigidity and endocrine problems related to menstruation in women and sexual dysfunction in both women and men. For second-generation antipsychotic medications, the most common side effects are weight gain and abnormalities in blood sugar and lipids. Some antipsychotic medications tend to cause drowsiness, increased heart rate, and reduced blood pressure, particularly when first starting to take the medication. We do all we can to help minimize side effects. In most cases, we are able to find acceptable alternatives should these problems occur.

Psychosocial Interventions

We treat patients with a combination of modalities and psychosocial interventions ranging from basic support with housing and finances to more structured and targeted therapies. The psychosocial interventions that are effective include:

  • Medication Management: We adapt medicines to help the patient adhere to the medical regime
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Structured therapeutic sessions that help patients develop strategies for coping with distressing symptoms
  • Cognitive Remediation: Structured sessions involving mental exercises that help improve patients’ brain function
  • Psychoeducation: Structured sessions that provide information about the symptoms of schizophrenia and help promote acceptance and problem solving, available in individual or group settings and involving both the patient and the family. 

Research

At the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, our researchers are working to uncover new risks, preventions, and therapies for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Our goal is to improve outcomes of treatment for our patients.

The School’s Division of Psychiatric Genomics, and other research programs are conducting ongoing studies to identify the genetic origins and the biology behind schizophrenia and related affective psychotic disorders. Such research could advance treatment options and improve the lives of patients and families struggling with psychotic conditions.