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Brain images from one of our recent studies showing increased brain activity after treatment of depression

Dr. David J. Hellerstein is Director of Medical Communications at the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry. He is a research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, and Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

He was formerly the Clinical Director of the Institute. He specializes in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, with a particular focus on the medication treatment of dysthymia, or low-grade chronic depression.

Dr. Hellerstein is also Acting Director of the Depression Evaluation Service, which conducts studies on the medication treatment of chronic depression.

He has published over 100 scientific articles and book chapters on subjects including the treatment of dysthymic disorder, supportive psychotherapy, and the use of group therapy in schizophrenia. In recent years his research has combined MRI imaging with clinical trials, leading to new advances in understanding of the effects of depression on the brain's structure and functioning, and exploring how treatments including medication and psychotherapy can reverse these abnormalities.

Dr. Hellerstein has also received national recognition for his literary writing, and has been awarded the Pushcart Prize and several MacDowell Colony Fellowships and a fellowship at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. His books include Battles of Life and Death (essays about medical training), Loving Touches (a novel), and A Family of Doctors (a memoir of five generations of doctors in one family), and his journalism has been published in magazines including Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, and Scientific American Mind.

His recent book, Heal Your Brain: How the New Neuropsychiatry Can Help You Go From Better to Well, was published in 2011 by the Johns Hopkins University Press. A Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, he has served as President of the New York County District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association.

He has a private practice in psychiatry and psychopharmacology. He has a blog on at: Heal Your Brain