BiographyDr. Akiskal obtained his medical degree (Alpha Omega Alpha) from the American University of Beirut in 1969. Thereafter he settled in the United States and obtained his psychiatric training at the Universities of Tennessee, Memphis and Wisconsin, Madison. He was appointed Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at the University of Tennessee (1972-1990), and subsequently recruited as the Senior Science Advisor to the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (1990-1994). He is presently Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the International Mood Center at the University of California at San Diego. He holds an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Lisbon. Since 1996, he is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Affective Disorders.
Research Interests Professor Akiskal rose to prominence with his integrative theory of depression (Science, 1973). Subsequently he established chronic depressions as treatable mood disorders. His research on cyclothymia paved the way for understanding the childhood antecedents of bipolarity, and helped in the worldwide renaissance of the temperament field. His focus on subthreshold mood disorders enlarged the boundaries of bipolar disorders. He has received the Gold Medal for Pioneer Research (Society of Biological Psychiatry), the German Anna Monika Prize for Depression, the NARSAD Prize for Affective Disorders, the Jean Delay Prize for international collaborative research (World Psychiatric Association), as well as the French Jules Baillarger and the Italian Aretaeus Prizes for his research on the bipolar spectrum.
Clinical FocusProfessor Akiskal has pioneered in the study of outpatient mood disorders. At the University of Tennessee, he established mood clinics which have had worldwide appeal because of his philosophy of conducting clinical training and research while delivering high quality care. His clinical expertise ranges from dysthymia to bipolar spectrum disorders, as well as comorbidity, resistant depression, interface of personality with mood disorders, mixed states, anxious bipolarity, and PTSD. In 2003, he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor “for exceptional national humanitarian service.” He consults and lectures internationally.