Dr. Leonardo Tondo, M.D.; M.Sc.


Dr. Tondo has studied the course and treatment of bipolar (manic-depressive) and unipolar major depressive disorders since 1975, starting with Prof. Athanasios Koukopoulos. He currently spends half of his time in clinical practice, and half in research and teaching. In 1977, he established a specialized, research-based, mood-disorders clinic, the Lucio Bini Mood Disorder Center, named for the inventor of electroconvulsive treatment. The staff also includes eight psychiatrists and five psychotherapists who provide a broad range of assessments and treatments.

His teaching has included clinical psychiatry, general and clinical psychology, and psychological testing for more than thirty years, but as a researcher he has focused particularly on the course and treatment of bipolar disorders, based on prolonged, systematic experience with 800 such patients. His notable contributions include:
[a] abrupt or rapid discontinuation of mood-stabilizing or antidepressant medicines, including among pregnant women, which has been strongly associated with markedly increased and earlier risk of illness-recurrence, rehospitalization, or suicidal behavior, whereas gradual dose-reduction decreased, and not merely delayed, adverse outcomes;
[b] quantification of beneficial and adverse effects of long-term treatment with the best-established mood-stabilizing agent, lithium carbonate; these include marked reductions of all phases of bipolar disorder, and markedly reduced risk suicides and attempts in bipolar as well as unipolar-depressed patients. More recently he has led the most comprehensive review and quantitative analysis of risks of clinical mood-elevation (“switching”) associated with antidepressant treatment among patients with various mood disorders (Publication 108), and submitted research grant applications to continue this research under better-controlled, prospective conditions in his own Center.

He recently assessed the role of onset-age as a critical factor in differentiating types I and II bipolar disorders from unipolar depressed patients, including differential assessment of illnesses starting with depression before bipolarity is manifest; this work included both his Center and other patients provided by a growing series of international collaborations. These and other studies have been strongly encouraged by Harvard Medical School collaborators, including Professor Ross J. Baldessarini, and have led to many publications in outstanding international research journals.

In summary, Dr. Tondo's major contributions include establishment of a specialized mood-disorder clinical research center in Europe, with one of the largest systematically evaluated, treated, and followed cohorts of mood disorder patients ever collected. His studies include clarification of onset, course, and treatment responses in major mood disorders, including long-term prophylaxis with mood-stabilizing treatments in bipolar disorders as well as adverse effects. His contributions have been recognized by international awards for his research on the treatment of bipolar disorder and in the medical prevention of suicide. As a publicist he manages Aretaeus Newsletter and writes for the national press.



  • Mood Disorder “Lucio Bini” Center
    Cagliari, Via Cavalcanti 28–09128
    (tel.: +39 070486624)

    Roma, Via Crescenzio 42–00193
    (tel.: +39 066874415)


  • Former Professore Associato di Psicologia Clinica, Dipartimento di Psicologia, Facoltà di Scienza della Formazione, Università di Cagliari
  • Director Lucio Bini Center, Cagliari
  • Lecturer in Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Clinical Activities
(evaluation and treatment of)

  • Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  • Attention and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults
  • Gender and relational issues


  • Medical Degree and Specialty in Psychiatry, University of Rome
  • Master of Science in Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston
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