Hagop S. Akiskal

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Hagop Souren Akiskal (Armenian: Հակոբ Սուրեն Ակիսկալ, born 1944) is an Armenian-American psychiatrist best known for his research on temperament and bipolar disorder (manic depression). Born in Lebanon to Armenian parents, he received his M.D. from the American University of Beirut in 1969. He completed his residency training in psychiatry at University of Wisconsin–Madison, and then worked for several years as a clinician and mood disorders researcher at the University of Tennessee, Memphis. He was senior science advisor at NIMH from 1990–1994, before moving to the University of California, San Diego, where he is currently professor of psychiatry. Today's leading conceptual thinker in the area of bipolar subtyping, Akiskal is a fastidious researcher and an astute clinical observer. He is a devotee of Emil Kraepelin; he believes that the nosologic (classification) pendulum is gradually swinging back towards Kraepelin's original unitary concept of the bipolar spectrum of mood disorders (Lieber, Arnold).

Professor Akiskal rose to prominence with his integrative theory of depression.[1] 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,[2] the NARSAD Prize for Affective Disorders, the 2002 Jean Delay Prize for international collaborative research (World Psychiatric Association),[3] as well as the French Jules Baillarger and the Italian Aretaeus Prizes for his research on the bipolar spectrum.

Professor 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."[4][5]

He is a highly prolific writer of articles in psychiatry and the editor of several academic journals, including currently serving as a co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Affective Disorders. He has received a number of honors for his work on temperament and bipolar spectrum disorders.


  1. ^ Akiskal, HS; McKinney, WT (Oct 5, 1973). "Depressive disorders: toward a unified hypothesis". Science. 182 (4107): 20–9. doi:10.1126/science.182.4107.20.
  2. ^ "Prize Award Winners – ANNA-MONIKA-FOUNDATION" (in German).
  3. ^ WPA News archive, World Psychiatric Association. Accessed January 22, 2010
  4. ^ UCSD Psychiatrist Receives 2003 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine, UCSD Health Sciences News, September 9, 2003. Accessed January 22, 2010
  5. ^ Past Medalists Archived 2009-04-20 at the Wayback Machine, National Ethnic Coalition. Accessed January 22, 2010

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