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Adult Psychiatry

Most mental health problems are conditions that have their root in the biological processes of our body. These conditions can influence our mood, thoughts, and behavior. While every person experiences feelings such as sadness, anxiety, and anger, if the feelings continue for a long time they may start to disrupt our everyday lives. It's the disruption of our every day lives that signifies the conditions may benefit from treatment.

People often mistakenly assume that mental health disorders are a normal part of living and never realize they have a condition that can be treated. People also fear that they caused their symptoms, or they believe the symptoms are due to a weakness or character flaw. Mental health disorders are often medical problems caused by a combination of hereditary factors and life stresses. These problems are NOT a natural part of life and you CAN get better.

Learn more about our adult psychiatric services:

Inpatient psychiatric care

Inpatient psychiatric care means that you're admitted into our hospital to receive mental health services from our psychiatry specialists.

We provide 24-hour diagnostic and therapeutic treatment for all acute psychiatric problems with the goal of attaining your safety and stabilization. Our approach to treatment is through medication and group therapy, and arrangements for appropriate follow-up care.

The disorders we address include:

View our Adult Inpatient Psychiatry team

Outpatient psychiatric care

Outpatient psychiatric care means that the mental health services you receive from us won't require an overnight stay at one of our facilities. Your care begins with a comprehensive evaluation to get a clear understanding of what you are seeking, to understand your situation, and to settle on a shared plan of action.

View our Adult Outpatient Psychiatry team

We offer many adult psychiatry outpatient services, including the following.

Anxiety Disorders Service

Anxiety Disorders Service is devoted to clinical care, research, and training in the treatment of anxiety and related disorders. We contribute to the advancement of treatments for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders through clinical research, evidence-based practice, and excellence in training of scientist-practitioners in the field.

Behavioral Medicine

Behavioral Medicine offers treatment for problems related to pain, headache, chronic illness, stress, and insomnia. Our primary approach to treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This approach involves collaboration between you and your clinician to understand and address the behavioral and psychological factors that are causing you distress and physical symptoms.

Geriatric Psychiatry

Geriatric Psychiatry provides mental health support for older adults. Our geriatric psychiatrists conduct comprehensive outpatient evaluations and, along with supervised trainees, offer inpatient consultations and a memory disorders clinic. These services are designed to identify psychiatric illnesses across the spectrum, from mild to severe.

Mood Disorders Service (Interventional Psychiatry)

Our Mood Disorders Service (or Interventional Psychiatry) specializes in the evaluation, treatment, and study of mood disorders. The most common forms of these illnesses are major depression, bipolar disorder, and dysthymia (persistent mild depression). We offer advanced treatments for treatment-resistant depression, such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive treatment for stimulating neurons in the brain using a magnetic stimulator to relieve symptoms.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is approved for the treatment of severe, treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder under a Humanitarian Device Exemption from the FDA. DBS involves surgically implanting electrodes into a specific part of the brain to provide highly focused electrical stimulation to that brain region. Stimulation is controlled by a computer/battery implanted in the chest wall, and connected to the electrodes by wires that run under the skin. The goal of DBS is to change brain activity for therapeutic benefit in patients with severe, treatment-refractory neuropsychiatric disorders. DBS is currently also approved for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, essential tremor and dystonia.

Referrals should be communicated to the Physician Connection Center. Phone: (866) 346-2362. Fax: (603) 676-4080. DHMC Outpatient Referral Form (PDF)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is offered at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. ECT is one of the oldest and most effective treatments for patients with severe depression. ECT may be effective for other conditions as well. ECT involves using a small amount of electricity to cause a generalized seizure that lasts about 30-60 seconds in most cases. A series of treatments are performed over 3-4 weeks. During the treatment, anesthesia is used to ensure that the patient is completely asleep with all muscles relaxed to minimize any discomfort that might occur. Common side effects include headache, nausea and muscle aches. Memory problems can also occur, though these are usually mild and not permanent. More serious memory problems are uncommon, but can occur. In rare cases, there can also be serious side effects of the anesthesia on heart and lung function. The risks of ECT are discussed in detail with patients before they are asked to consent to the treatment.

Watch our video about ECT

Please view these links for additional information:

  • For a general overview of ECT along with common questions and answers, please refer to this article on our Dartmouth-Hitchcock Healthwise® Health Encyclopedia website.
  • Detailed information is included in our consent form (PDF).

Referrals should be communicated to the Physician Connection Center. Phone: (866) 346-2362. Fax: (603) 676-4080.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an outpatient procedure that generates a magnetic field that penetrates the scalp resulting in the production of very small electrical currents in the brain. These currents stimulate areas of the brain that may be involved in depression or other mood disorders. This method of stimulating the brain may offer a viable alternative to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) without the seizures or other risks, including those of general anesthesia. Common side effects of TMS include mild to moderate pain at the stimulation site (this usually goes away over time) and headache. In very rare cases, TMS can cause an unintentional seizure. A careful medical evaluation and the use of established safety guidelines greatly reduces the risk of seizures with TMS. Each TMS treatment takes about an hour, and treatments are given up to 5 days per week over three to six weeks.

Referrals should be communicated to the Physician Connection Center. Phone: (866) 346-2362. Fax: (603) 676-4080.

Neuropsychological Testing

Neuropsychological Testing is a way of measuring different kinds of abilities, such as problem solving, attention, memory, language, and motor skills. Testing can often benefit those with Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders, head trauma, nervous system infection, attention deficit disorders and learning disorders.

Psychopharmacology Services

Psychopharmacology Services uses medication to treat people experiencing psychiatric difficulties. Knowledge in this field is expanding at a rapid rate allowing psychiatry to offer more and more research-supported options for people experiencing psychiatric difficulties. In particular, many more medications are available and more is known about their potential benefits and risks.

Psychotherapy Services

Psychotherapy Services offers several types of therapy services, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, supportive therapy, and family therapy. Our team brings a range of skills and talents to help you learn to cope with thoughts and feelings, and to make helpful behavioral changes. Therapists work as a member of a team, which includes a psychiatrist, and medical treatments (such as medications) are available if indicated.

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