Conditions We Treat

The Center for Interventional Psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC specializes in conditions that do not respond to usual treatments.

For some conditions, few treatments exist, and for others, standard treatments have not improved the patient's symptoms.

Some patients are unable to take the medications they need because of side-effects, or may also refuse to take the medication that is prescribed.

In many cases, a treatment such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may offer the quickest relief from severe symptoms of certain psychiatric disorders.

The Center for Interventional Psychiatry cares for patients who have already received a diagnosis, and for those who are being diagnosed for the first time. We specialize in treating these conditions:

​Hard-to-treat depression

The symptoms of depression in most people may include:

  • Sadness that does not go away
  • Lack of energy
  • Not being able to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Loss of appetite
  • Not being able to find pleasure in activities that are usually enjoyable

Severe or persistent depression is typically treated with antidepressant medication and counseling with a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. If a major depressive disorder does not improve, becomes worse, or does not respond with these treatments, you may be experiencing hard-to-treat depression.


​Catatonia is a syndrome or state that can result from either psychiatric or medical disorders. A person in this state may be:

  • Mute
  • Not interacting with other
  • Not eating
  • Immobile

This condition is especially dangerous because the person affected can be dehydrated, malnourished, or develop pressure sores from staying in the same position.

​Hard-to-treat mania

​Mania, or being in an extremely excitable or agitated state, is usually found in bipolar disorder.

Mania is often treated with medicines. However, some patients may not be able to take the medicines or do not respond to medicine. This makes their mania hard-to-treat.

​Hard-to-treat schizophrenia

​Schizophrenia is a chronic condition that has no cure and will usually need lifelong treatment. The condition itself is not treated, but instead, the symptoms are treated.

Some symptoms include:

  • Psychosis
  • Auditory or Visual Hallucinations
  • Sometimes catatonia

Typical treatment for schizophrenia is a combination of medication and specialized programs that may help with interacting socially and coping with daily life. Patients who do not respond well to these treatments, or whose symptoms are severe, may have difficult-to-treat schizophrenia.

​Neuroleptic malignant syndrome

​This is a rare condition that can occur as a reaction to treatment of certain medications which are often used to treat psychiatric disorders or can happen in response to discontinuing other medications abruptly.

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome can be very serious, even life-threatening, and should be treated as a medical emergency.

The symptoms are mainly caused by the autonomic nerve system, and can include:

  • High fever
  • Sweating
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Extreme confusion, almost unconscious (stupor)
  • Muscle stiffness

Contact Us

For more information or to schedule an appointment with the Center for Interventional Psychiatry, please call 412-246-5063.

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA |