Psychiatry

Behavioral Health Services in Washington, DC

We are now offering online virtual health visits. Please contact us at (202) 741-2888 to request an appointment.

 

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The GW Medical Faculty Associates specializes in comprehensive evaluations, diagnosis and treatment for patients with psychiatric disorders. Known for its emphasis on doctor-patient communication, the Department’s reputation for excellence in teaching and research can be seen reflected in each consultation, diagnosis, and treatment program offered.

Patients are given the time they need to ask questions and talk about their concerns, working with board-certified clinicians to uncover not just adequate answers to their problems, but the very best solution for their specific needs and aspirations. Highly trained psychiatrists approach each patient's care with special consideration of his or her cultural and socioeconomic background, ensuring a thoughtful and thorough treatment program.

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences treats the entire spectrum of psychiatric, emotional, and chemical dependency disorders, including:

  • Depression and anxiety disorders
  • Addictions and other drug and alcohol related problems
  • Bipolar disorder and manic-depressive illnesses
  • Schizophrenia
  • Panic disorder
  • Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender mental health
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • Women's mental health issues, including psychiatric disorders related to pregnancy and post-partum state
  • Emotional problems and psychiatric disorders related to the diagnosis and treatment of physical conditions including heart disease, cancer, weight loss surgery, pain, and HIV/AIDS

In addition, our practitioners have diagnostic and psychiatric expertise in the following areas:

  • Neuropsychological testing
  • Group, couples and individual psychotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Medication evaluation and consultation
  • Legal issues and court cases

Reflecting an awareness of the richness of the diversity here in the Washington, DC area, our practitioners approach each patient's care with consideration of his or her cultural and socioeconomic background, thus ensuring a thorough and carefully considered treatment program.

Program Overview

Our program consists of our Outpatient, Inpatient, and Research divisions. 

More information about our program

Depression Treatment

Mood disorders include depression and bipolar disorder, and can lead to serious disruptions in people's lives. Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Sadness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Sleep problems
  • Appetite or weight changes

The GW Medical Faculty Associates Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences offers a program of comprehensive evaluation and treatment that treats each patient as a unique individual and addresses all aspects of their lives including their physical health, emotional functioning, the roles they play within their family, the quality of their relationships and ability to work at their full potential. Our faculty and clinical staff are experts in the newest medications (including antidepressants and mood stabilizers) being tested, effective alternative therapies for mood disorders, and diverse therapeutic approaches including cognitive-behavioral therapy, exploratory therapy and interpersonal therapy.

Our Team

Each member of the GWU MFA psychiatry faculty is highly trained and skilled in the evaluation and treatment of depression, mood and anxiety disorders. Of particular note, Amir Afkhami, MD has additional training in, and is a teacher of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Please see the other faculty listings for specialized expertise in depression presenting in women, LGBT individuals, patients with general medical and neurological conditions (including HIV/AIDS and cancer) and patients with alcohol or substance use problems.

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Uncontrollable tearfulness
  • Feelings of guilt or low self esteem
  • Anxiety, excessive worries, dread
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
LGBT Mental Health Services

A Safe Space for People Struggling with Mental Health Issues

The GW Medical Faculty Associates Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is committed to the comprehensive mental health services of the LGBT population. Specializing in humanistic and individualized care, we offer services for individuals ages 16 and up that not only address general psychiatric conditions (such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar), but also conditions specific to the LGBT population. Common issues that we address include:

  • Exploring one's sexual attractions, sexual behaviors, and emotional attachments
  • "Coming out" to friends, family, and colleagues
  • Challenges overcoming stigma, experienced homophobia or bullying
  • Social anxiety
  • Dating and relationships
  • Sexual behaviors and dysfunction
  • Being diagnosed or living with HIV/AIDS
  • Family planning, including adoption and surrogacy
  • Addiction - including alcohol, drugs, gambling, and sex
  • Trauma (sexual, emotional, physical)
  • Gender identity and transitioning (including evaluations for surgical candidacy)
  • Integrating one's sexual identity into their cultural, ethnic or racial identity

To make an appointment, please call (202) 741-2888.

Forensic Psychiatry

Professional & Unbiased Opinions for Legal Questions

Professional services are available to attorneys, judges, government organizations, law enforcement, business organizations, disability and general liability insurers, professional licensing entities and individuals with professional licensing issues. The Forensic Psychiatry Service offers sophisticated and unbiased professional opinions across a wide range of legal questions. Dr. Eindra Khin Khin, who completed a fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry at Georgetown University Hospital, performs evaluations and provides expert witness testimony for various forensic issues such as civil commitment, civil competency, malpractice, criminal competency, criminal responsibility, violence risk assessment, psychiatric disability, fitness for duty, and workers’ compensation.

Psychiatric civil evaluations could include the following:

  • Independent Medical Examinations (Psychiatric)
  • Fitness for Duty Evaluations
  • Return to Work Evaluations
  • Psychiatric Disability
  • Worker's Compensation
  • Social Security Administration disability
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Personal Injury
  • Psychiatric Malpractice
  • Testamentary Capacity
  • Guardianships
  • Suicide Risk Assessments
  • Violence Risk Assessments
  • Employment Cases
  • Medical Ethics
  • Capacity to Make Medical Treatment Decisions
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Substance Abuse
  • Civil Commitments

Psychiatric criminal evaluations could include the following:

  • Competency to Stand Trial
  • Criminal Responsibility
  • Sentencing Evaluations
  • Competency to Waive Miranda rights
Wellness Program

The multidisciplinary Wellness Program treats the emotional and psychological factors that affect physical health. Individuals who suffer from pain, heart disease, cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, women’s reproductive health issues, HIV/AIDS, neurological illnesses, obesity and other medical problems are at high risk for developing emotional problems. Surprisingly, these mental factors usually lead to greater disability than the medical illness itself, and can seriously diminish the quality of a person’s life.

More information about the Wellness Program

Women's Mental Health

We offer women comprehensive treatment tailored to their unique needs. We specialize in treating psychological and psychiatric problems that arise in the context of premenstrual syndromes, infertility, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Our psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers share a common commitment to understanding women's mental health needs. Our aim is to provide comprehensive care that relieves distress and promotes well-being and social functioning. To this end we provide a range of psychiatric and psychotherapy/counseling services, including evaluation, medication, couples treatment, group treatment, individual therapy and supportive care.

In collaboration with our colleagues in other specialties, we provide women's mental health services for the following:

  • Complications of infertility treatments
  • Depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder during pregnancy and postpartum
  • Menopause related disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance use disorders
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Migraine headaches
  • Evaluation for egg donors
  • Mental health support during pregnancy – Five trimesters clinic

Five Trimesters Clinic

The Department of Psychiatry offers a range of services to support women’s wellness during pregnancy. Our faculty includes three women psychiatrists with special expertise in advising women about the use of medication during pregnancy or while breast feeding, mood and anxiety disorders while pregnant or after birth, and support for fathers and partners. Our weekly Five Trimesters Clinic offers evaluations, brief treatment and referral by psychiatrists in training at reduced rates. Although we do not accept direct insurance payments for psychiatric care, we provide all necessary documentation for accessing out of network benefits. Our motto is: Healthy moms. Healthy babies. Happy families.

Neuropsychological Evaluations

The department’s psychological assessment service provides a full range of psychological and neuropsychological evaluation and consultation services. Neuropsychological evaluations are comprehensive evaluations that consists of an interview and standardized testing with norm-referenced scores to best understand brain and behavior relationships. Often these evaluations help with diagnostic clarification and treatment optimization by assessing cognitive and emotional functioning. The length of the evaluation usually varies from a half to a full day in part because the specific procedures and tests are tailored to the purpose of the evaluation and the patient’s presenting difficulties.

Anxiety Disorder Treatment

There is a Way Out of Anxiety

The Doctors of the Anxiety Disorders Program at The GW Medical Faculty Associates specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxieties related to terrorism, disasters, or trauma.

Many people with anxiety disorders think they are the only ones who experience these feelings, or that nothing can be done to help them. In fact, anxiety disorders are highly responsive to treatment. The clinicians of the Anxiety Disorders Program are experts at prescribing the most appropriate and effective treatments based on a patient's unique symptoms and situations.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Though among the most common psychiatric problems, anxiety disorders often go untreated. Worry and fear are a constant and overwhelming reality for people with anxiety disorders, and they can be quite crippling. They constantly respond to certain things or situations with fear and dread. The also often experience a pounding heart, sweating, and other physical signs of anxiety.

Common symptoms of anxiety disorders may include:

  • Fear and avoidance of social situations in which a person is exposed to unfamiliar people
  • Fear of performance situations
  • Constant worry about minor matters
  • Periods of intense fear or discomfort accompanied by a pounding heart, sweating, trembling, or difficulty breathing
  • Recurrent and persistent thoughts that are intrusive or cause anxiety and distress
Stress Management

The Behavioral Medicine and Stress Management Program at The GW Medical Faculty Associates specializes in stress management treatment programs to help patients attain a balanced, healthier life. The Program's experienced psychologists and medical specialists recognize the relationship between psychosocial factors and sometimes-debilitating medical conditions, and help integrate stress management into an overall treatment program, in order to promote physical, mental and spiritual wellness.

The Stress Management Team offers specific treatment for persons with stress-related symptoms or disorders, including:

  • Tension and Vascular Headaches
  • Hypertension
  • Chronic Pain
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety, Panic Disorders, and Phobias
  • Habit Disorders, such as Weight Control, Smoking
  • Problems with Stress Within Relationships and at Work

 

Personalized Treatment Plans

Research-based treatment programs are prescribed based on the individual patient's needs and situation. The medical staff offers multiple levels of intervention, and treatment plans that include biofeedback, relaxation training, hypnosis, behavior modification, education, cognitive-behavioral psychotherapies, and structured, problem-focused group treatment. The aim is to complement conventional medicine in order to achieve general wellbeing.

Stress is a natural and normal part of life, whether a person is healthy or not. Negative stress, however, can diminish a person's quality of life, both emotionally and physically. The aim of stress management is to develop positive strategies for dealing with trigger situations and relationships, channel the emotions in a favorable manner, and advance to positive growth, action, and change.

Mood Disorders

The Mood Disorders Program at The GW Medical Faculty Associates specializes in treating patients for whom depression or bipolar disorder significantly affects daily function or personal safety. Staffed by an experienced team of psychiatrists and rehabilitation professionals, the Program's treatment approach is designed to help patients diminish the symptoms of their mood disorder, become more confident, and once again be able to function.

Treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy, exploratory therapy, interpersonal therapy, effected alternative therapies, and pharmacologic interventions. A team of medical experts trained in mood disorders directs treatment, with partners and family members actively encouraged to participate. The Program offers education, family support, occupational therapy, guidance in goal development and, when needed, help planning for life after treatment.

Diagnosing Mood Disorders

Each patient undergoes a comprehensive evaluation addressing medical, emotional, behavioral, social, recreational, vocational and nutritional needs. The medical faculty then prescribes an individualized care plan designed to addresses all aspects of the patient's life, including physical health, emotional functioning, roles played within the family, the quality of relationships, and the ability to work at full potential. The plan serves as a motivator, providing hope on what often is a difficult journey.

Mood disorders may seem to appear out of nowhere, or be triggered by traumatic events or significant changes, such as the loss of a loved one, moving, the birth of a child, or a job change. And, though high and low moods may seem appropriate reactions to many of these situations, prolonged difficulty and distress may require professional help. Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Sadness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Sleep problems
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Uncontrollable tearfulness
  • Feelings of guilt or low self esteem
Letter From the Chair

Read the Letter From The Chair

Contact Information

  • New Patients: 202-741-2888
  • Returning Patients: 202-741-2900
  • Billing/Customer services: 202-741-3560
  • Fax: 202-741-2891

Clinical Trials