Richard A Friedman   Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

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Dr. Friedman is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and Director of the Psychopharmacology Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Friedman has a particular interest and expertise in the psychopharmacology and neurobiology of mood disorders, and in particular, treatment-resistant depression.

Recently, he has done research in the military’s use of various psychotropic medications in active duty troops during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and is now extending this research to the veteran population. 

Dr. Friedman is actively involved in teaching and training psychiatric residents and is the Director of Student Mental Health at Weill Cornell Medical College. He has also done research in depressive disorders, including studies of new medications for depression and large collaborative study of the genetics and neurobiology of bipolar disorder. 

Dr. Friedman has authored publications in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Journal of Psychiatry, among others. He is also a contributing Op-Ed writer at the New York Times  where he writes on mental health, addiction, human behavior, and neuroscience.

Treatment of Chronic Depression

The current aims of Dr. Friedman's research are:

  1. To evaluate the efficacy of various antidepressant medications in the treatment of chronic depression.
  2. To study the effectiveness of long-term maintenance antidepressant treatment in chronic depression.
  3. To study the neurobiology of chronic depression.
  4. To study the social and occupational impairments of chronic depression.

Dr. Friedman is currently conducting the following clinical studies:

  • A double blind comparison of sertraline versus imipramine for "double depression" (i.e., dysthymia with major depression) and chronic major depression for both short and long-term treatment.

  • A double blind long-term study of desipramine versus placebo for dysthymia and other forms of chronic depression.

  • A tryptophan depletion paradigm, which acutely lowers brain serotonin levels, to study the role of serotonin in chronic depression.

Future plans include a study to simultaneously examine brain activity with MRI, behavior, and serotonin functions in patients with chronic depression.


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  • Richard A Friedman

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