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Mood Disorders: Treatment and Research

Edward S. Friedman, MD
Director, Mood Disorders Treatment Research Program
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC

The difference between depression or major depression and bipolar disorder is that people with bipolar disorder, in addition to having depressive episodes, have manic episodes. So this was formerly called manic-depressive disorder. 

During a manic episode, people have a period in which their mood is either very elated and grandiose or irritable - they don’t need to sleep, they have too much energy, their speech is pressured, people have to tell them sometimes to slow down, and their thoughts are racing or going too fast so that they’re very distractible and actually getting very little done, or just focused on minutia rather seeing the bigger picture and functioning well.

Research Goals

One of the major goals of our doing research and doing studies is to find information that are going to help doctors and ultimately help patients determine what are the best treatments  what we now call personalized treatments. How can we personalize the medications we have, and how can new medications help patients to get better and to stay better over the long term.

Study Participation

We’re very pleased to be participating in one of the largest comparative effectiveness studies that has ever been done. 

We’re looking at whether an older versus a newer medication has more risks or benefit for patients living in the real world who suffer with bipolar disorder.

We try to make it very easy for folks to get into our studies. All they have to do is call our office, the Mood Disorder Treatment Research Program, and one of the staff will get back to them with a short questionnaire that will help us define what their problem is.

At that point, if we have a study that’s available, we’ll make an appointment for them to come in and have an in-depth research evaluation. 

  • If they still are interested in the study, we’d be glad to enroll them at that time.
  • If they’re not, or if they’re not eligible for a study, we’re very happy to refer them to another program within Western Psych that does treat people with that diagnosis.

Study Benefits

One of the benefits of our doing research in bipolar disorder over the last decade is that we at Western Psych have developed one of the leading clinics for the treatment of bipolar disorder in the country.

Furthermore, the studies we are currently conducting are going to help us learn about the comparative effectiveness of drugs for patients with bipolar disorder who live in the real world.

Through this we hope to help them to feel better and function better in their day-to-day lives.

For more information, contact us at 412-246-6111.