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Behavioral Health and Psychiatry

AU Health | World-Class Health Care

  • Behavioral Health and Psychiatry

Our Approach

The staff and physicians at Augusta University's Behavioral Health and Psychiatry offer care to patients in need of behavioral and mental health service. We partner with patients to provide both comprehensive clinical and specialized outpatient, programs. We embrace the philosophy of patient- and family-centered care because we recognize that the support of families and loved ones is an important part of the recovery process.

Health Behavior Program

We use evidence-based psychotherapy interventions in either an individual or group format to help treat behavioral issues. Therapies include a variety of cognitive and behavioral therapies.

Conditions that benefit from psychotherapy include:

  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Medical illnesses
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Social anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorders

Child and Adolescent Program

This program focuses on children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral problems, as well as, developmental disorders.

Specialists accept referrals for difficult-to-diagnose or difficult-to-treat mental health illnesses, including:

  • Depression
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Autism and Asperger's syndrome
  • Early schizophrenia
  • Early bipolar disorder
  • Oppositional defiant disorder and disruptive behavior disorders

Geropsychiatry Program

Our program is designed to address behavioral issues in older adults; supporting the complex treatment needs of the elderly.

As part of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence, psychiatry and neurology partner to offer the latest advances in the treatment, management, and prevention of Alzheimer's Disease.

Schizophrenia and Mood Disorders Program (SAM)
Specializes in treating the most severe and debilitating forms of mental illness. Clinicians will primarily use medication for the treatment and management of:

  • Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorders

Addiction Management Program

Our comprehensive Addiction Management Program utilizes medically-assisted treatment in combination with an Intensive Outpatient Program for adults 18 years and older who are struggling with an alcohol or substance abuse.

Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 

The Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder Program focuses on providing short-term evaluation and treatment services to children between the ages of three and 16 years who have been diagnosed with ADHD (or are suspected of having this condition).

Children and adolescents are accepted into either the assessment program, the treatment program, or both, through direct referrals or referrals from other providers.

Chronic Pain Management 

The Chronic Pain Management Program focuses on providing pain-focused psychological evaluation, psychotherapy, and educational services to adults living with chronic pain conditions. These include (but are not limited to) patients with:

  • Chronic low back pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS/RSD)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Chronic headache/migraine
  • Idiopathic chronic pain
  • Pain management interventions, such as medical implants and back surgery.

Our program teaches you strategies to reduce pain intensity through stress management so that you may engage in more meaningful and valued activities with less pain and enhanced mood. The evidence-based approaches we use include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain (CBT-CP)
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Empowered Relief™, an evidence-based, single-session pain class that rapidly equips patients with pain management skills.

Patients are accepted into either the treatment or educational program (or both) through direct referrals or referrals from other providers. To enhance accessibility to this population, all services are provided either virtually or in-person.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) 

The Augusta DBT Program is a standard outpatient program for people with serious emotional regulation problems. DBT targets severe behavioral problems that interfere with feelings of having a "life worth living", patients exhibit behaviors such as:

  • Self-harm
  • Suicide attempts
  • Substance abuse
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Other impulsive or destructive behaviors

DBT consists of weekly individual therapy, weekly skills training classes, and skills coaching between sessions.  

Eating Disorders Program

The Eating Disorders Program was created to treat people struggling with symptoms of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other feeding disturbances. Patients' treatment needs are assessed to determine the most appropriate treatment protocol for their specific symptoms. Patients may be placed in additional treatment programs, such as inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, and outpatient psychotherapy.

Forensic Psychiatry

The Forensic Psychiatry Program offers analysis of criminal and civil cases that have psychiatric implications. Psychiatric assessments are provided for:

  • Employment related evaluations
  • Personal injury
  • Testamentary capacity
  • Competency to stand trial
  • Criminal responsibility
  • Post conviction relief

Therapeutic Neurostimulation 

The Therapeutic Neurostimulation Program offers state-of-the-art therapies that work by modulating the brain’s activity through direct stimulation.

Specialized therapies may prove beneficial when traditional therapies, such as medication and psychotherapy, have not been successful. Neurostimulation treatment for mental illness often includes one of the oldest and most effective treatments - Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). We also offer a new treatment that uses magnetic energy called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).

We Cope 

The We Cope Program provides evaluation and recommendations for treatment which may include counseling, medications and additional resources to help you to cope with stress and heal emotionally.

Addiction Management Program

Our comprehensive Addiction Management Program is designed to evaluate and treat patients struggling with addiction issues.

Treatment Resistant Depression

Esketamine nasal spray may be right for you if you've tried at least two anti-depressants and continue to struggle with depression.

 

Our Providers

Augusta University Medical Center specialists provide care and support throughout your entire healthcare journey.

Sexson, Sandra G.B., MD

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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