Fact Sheet (PDF)
Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorders ProgramDost Öngür, MD, PhD, Medical Director
Catherine Coakley, MS, RN, Nurse Director
Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, some of the most challenging of all psychiatric illnesses, can be stabilized and effectively treated to make significant improvements in an individual's functioning and quality of life. The Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Program at McLean Hospital offers a comprehensive range of services for patients who suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar or other psychotic disorders. Staff members have special expertise in treating psychotic patients and in supporting family members with much-needed education.
Contemporary research is clarifying the biological basis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other psychotic disorders. This work promises more precise diagnosis, better treatment and more accurate predictions of the course of these conditions. Successful treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar and psychotic disorders involves a combination of elements, including:
- psychopharmacology, the use of medicine, to manage symptoms and restore a patient's functional abilities;
- psychotherapy and patient education, to improve understanding of the illness and strengthen coping skills;
- family education, to improve the patient's social support system and manage the inevitable stress on family members;
- rehabilitation and social supports in therapeutic living environments that offer graded levels of independence designed to meet changing individual needs.
Staff members at all levels are highly skilled in dealing with the patient's individual needs, including psychopharmacology, management of acutely agitated states and education and counseling of patients and their families. A knowledgeable, involved approach to crisis intervention and management helps patients and their families to move through difficult episodes in a way that promotes healing and growth.
As their condition requires, patients can move smoothly to levels of care that provide an appropriate level of intensity and structure. The program is committed to continuity of services during these transitions, coordinating care with community clinicians, social service agencies, families and other social supports.
Program and Services
Inpatient hospitalization is reserved for periods of acute crisis or severe exacerbation of illness where safety or self-care are seriously compromised. Care is provided on our highly structured and expertly staffed 28-bed unit that specializes in the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar and other psychotic disorders. Efforts are made to limit time at this level of care and to transition patients to the least restrictive environment consistent with personal safety and clinically sound care.
Outpatient services provide psychiatric care, individual and group psychotherapy, as well as case management and rehabilitation, to support continuing recovery and address a wide variety of needs.
The Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Clinic offers a variety of services, including diagnostic evaluations; medication management; and consultations to patients, families and clinicians.
New and experimental psychiatric medications, many of which are not yet generally available, are tested in clinical trials. Most patients meet with staff regularly for individual visits and to monitor their medications.
While an effort is made to offer less restrictive options, the hospital also provides a longer-term residential environment. The Appleton Residence at McLean provides a unique combination of structure and autonomy, allowing patients to test independent living skills and build peer support systems while preserving access to the hospital's clinical and medical resources.
The program is staffed by multidisciplinary teams of psychiatrists, psychologists, registered nurses, psychiatric social workers, mental health counselors and rehabilitation therapists. Consultations are also available with psychopharmacology specialists, ECT service, neurologists, internists and other medical specialists as required.
For further information, please call 1-800/333-0338, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Medicare covers most treatment costs. Other insurance, including Massachusetts Medicaid, is accepted. Supplemental insurance may cover remaining costs. Hospital staff can assist patients and their families in determining coverage.
About McLean Hospital
U.S. News & World Report ranked McLean Hospital first among all freestanding psychiatric hospitals. McLean Hospital is the largest psychiatric facility of Harvard Medical School, an affiliate of the Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of Partners HealthCare.