Interventional Psychiatry

Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-8300

Interventional psychiatry is treatment that combines brain stimulation with medication for difficult-to-treat mental health disorders. At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our psychiatrists have advanced training and expertise in caring for people with treatment-resistant mental health disorders.

We specialize in the latest advances in brain stimulation to bring relief to people who haven’t had success with traditional treatments.

The Latest Advances in Care for Treatment-Resistant Mental Health Disorders

Interventional psychiatry therapies deliver small electrical or magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in areas of the brain involved in mood, depression, and other disorders.

Traditional treatment for mental health disorders usually begins with psychotherapy (counseling) and medications. In most cases, these therapies provide relief, but some people still experience severe symptoms or might not be able to take certain medications. Our interventional psychiatry therapies provide safe, effective options for these patients.

In UT Southwestern’s interventional psychiatry program, our multidisciplinary team provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment with the latest approved therapies. Our team includes psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychiatric physician assistants, and social work therapists. We have advanced training and experience in caring for people with treatment-resistant mental health disorders.

Our interventional psychiatry program offers noninvasive brain stimulation therapies and advanced medications to address hard-to-treat symptoms. We work closely with each patient to create a personalized treatment plan.

Services We Provide for Interventional Psychiatry

Our team provides outpatient care and services that include:

  • Comprehensive psychiatric and psychological evaluation to confirm a diagnosis
  • Treatment with medications for severe depression and other mental health disorders
  • Individual, family, and group therapy
  • Brain stimulation therapies, including electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) – a treatment related to TMS

Conditions We Treat with Interventional Psychiatry

We offer safe, effective brain stimulation therapies and advanced medications that can help people who haven’t found relief with traditional treatments. The conditions we treat with interventional psychiatry include:

  • Severe or treatment-resistant depression
  • Catatonia (unusual movements, rigidity, self-injurious behaviors, and lack of response) related to autism
  • Severe mental health disorders involving psychosis (psychotic disorders), such as schizophrenia, brief psychotic disorder, and schizophreniform disorder
  • Severe mania related to bipolar disorder

Awareness of Interventional Psychiatry

Interventional psychiatry treatments can help people who:

  • Have tried at least two types of medications for a mental health disorder, but the symptoms didn’t go away or got worse
  • Can’t take medications because they are pregnant or can’t tolerate drug side effects
  • Have had previous successful treatment with brain stimulation
  • Are experiencing severe or urgent symptoms, such as extreme suicidal thoughts

When to See a Provider and When to Seek Emergency Care

Mental health disorders that cause severe symptoms and don’t respond to treatments can become life-threatening. It’s important for people to contact their health care provider or a licensed mental health professional if they experience:

  • Depression symptoms, such as sadness, hopelessness, guilt, or feelings of worthlessness
  • Symptoms of psychosis, such as delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized thinking or movements
  • Mania symptoms, such as agitation, increased activity, racing thoughts, or unusual talkativeness or jumpiness

People should seek immediate emergency care if they have thoughts about self-harm or suicide.

Interventional Psychiatry Treatments

Our interventional psychiatry team works closely with each patient to conduct a thorough evaluation, beginning with a:

  • Discussion of symptoms and previous treatments
  • Review of personal and family medical history
  • Psychological assessment to discuss feelings, thoughts, and behaviors
  • Psychiatric evaluation to assess cognitive and social functioning and screen for mental health conditions

We then create a personalized treatment plan to manage each patient’s specific needs and relieve their symptoms. Our treatment options and other services include:

  • Individual psychotherapy (counseling), such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), to develop coping skills, emotional regulation, and healthy beliefs and behaviors
  • Family counseling to build a support system for the patient
  • Support groups for patients and families to share experiences
  • Medications to treat severe depression, anxiety, psychosis, and other symptoms
  • Esketamine (Spravato®), an antidepressant nasal spray that provides fast relief for people with treatment-resistant depression
  • Brain stimulation therapies that include:
    • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a painless procedure that sends magnetic pulses into the brain without the need for anesthesia
    • Intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) – a treatment related to TMS
    • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a procedure to deliver electric pulses through the brain while the patient is under general anesthesia