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Depression | Dr. Michael D. Smith, PsyD., PC

 

Depression, Anxiety, Mood Disorders in Adults, Children and Adolescents

Maternal Depression, During Pregnancy and Postpartum

Attention and Learning Disorders

Couples Counseling

Family Therapy

Post-Divorce Adjustment

Areas of Specialty

Depression, Anxiety, Mood Disorders in Adults, Children and Adolescents

Depression and anxiety are normal responses to life. On one end of the spectrum these feelings are fleeting, and pass without interfering with our daily lives. But if these feelings become chronic or debilitating -- moods that do not lift -- they can overwhelm our body and nervous system, and be the harbinger of a mood disorder.

Each person has a distinct response to coping with worry, sadness, fear and anger. Some of us feel more intensely than others, due to genetics, personality and history. Our ability to rebound from stressors and cope with emotions can also change over the years, thrown into disarray by such life shifts as becoming a parent, aging, loss or trauma such changes as losing a job or moving.

At any point, these feelings can become overwhelming and throw off the internal equilibrium that grounds us, interfering with the equanimity essential for a successful, contented life.

Treatment of these issues entails a thorough assessment in order to understand the nature, severity and history of the symptoms. I work to elucidate the meaning each person gives to her or his feelings in reaction to life stressors. For some people, their feelings or mood are so overwhelming that they are immobilizing and they are unable to control their reactions. This may make it impossible to separate one issue from another in order to work through these feelings. In severe cases, this mindset may lead to impulsive, destructive or life-threatening behaviors. While our therapy is ongoing, I will refer certain patients to a medical provider to assess if medication is needed to address the underlying biochemical imbalance that may impede the unraveling of the psychological issues at play.

Substance Abuse

Often people suffering with depression, anxiety or other mood disorders also use alcohol or drugs in an attempt to control or self-medicate their reactions to disturbing emotions or feelings. Understanding how substance abuse interfaces with anxiety or mood disorders, how that substance is used to manage psychological distress, is also a critical piece of treatment. If the substance abuse is of such severity that medical detox or medical treatment is required, I will coordinate a local facility or hospital. I provide concurrent therapy while the patient is enrolled in the substance abuse program.