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Specializing in Mood Disorders

Signs & Symptoms of Depression

I have extensive experience working with individuals experiencing various levels of depression across various life stages. Most people experience sadness at times, as our moods fluctuate depending on the context occurring in our lives. Sadness is only one aspect of depression and some people with depression may not experience sadness at all.

 

Symptoms vary depending on each unique individual, and I would want to understand how various identities/experiences could be impacting your symptoms. For instance, gender can impact how depression is expressed and/or experienced. Certain types of depression can occur at different stages of a woman’s life, and women experience higher rates of depression beginning in early adolescence. However, social, cultural, hormonal, genetic, and other biological factors can contribute to this difference. Men also experience depression but often struggle to acknowledge their symptoms more than women do. Additionally, men may express their symptoms differently.

Some symptoms of depression include:

• Sad, hopeless, or “empty” mood most of the day, nearly every day

• Loss of interest or pleasure in activities or hobbies

• Significant weight/appetite changes

• Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping

• Decreased energy or experiencing fatigue

• Feelings of worthlessness, or inappropriate guilt

• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

• Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts

• Low self-esteem

Treatment of Depression  - Depression is a treatable illness (National Institute of Mental Health). In order to first rule out any other medical issues that may be impacting your mood, Dr. Bewley will recommend that you first consult with a primary care physician. The utilization of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in treating mild depression or someone who has not experienced depression for too long has been shown to be as equally effective with or without medication. 

 

However, individuals experiencing moderate to severe depression have been shown to have better outcomes if they are receiving both CBT and a medication than CBT alone, especially individuals who have experienced chronic depression. Dr. Bewley will likely consult with your medication provider to ensure that depressive symptoms are being managed and to assist you with finding other ways to help yourself.

Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety

Similarly to depression, I have extensive experience working with various Anxiety disorders. Anxiety is an expected part of life and can at times motivate us to be successful. It is common to feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before completing an exam, or before making an important life decision.

However, anxiety disorders involve more than short-term worry or fear. For a person experiencing an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. Symptoms of anxiety can interfere with daily functioning and prevent you from being successful in your job, school work, and relationships.

There are several types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder that I primarily treat.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • Individuals experiencing generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) struggle with excessive anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about a number of things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. The anxiety and worry can be found difficult to control, and can cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as social interactions, school, and work.

  • Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms include:

  • Feeling restless or on-edge

  • Being easily fatigued

  • Having difficulty concentrating or your mind going blank

  • Being irritable

  • Having muscle tension

  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry

  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep

Social Anxiety

Individuals experiencing social anxiety experience fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-consciousness, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression.

 

Individuals with social anxiety experience significant emotional distress in the following situations:

  • Having a conversation or meeting unfamiliar people

  • Being observed while doing something (i.e., eating or drinking)

  • Performing in front of others (i.e., giving a speech)

  • Individuals fear that their actions will lead to negative evaluation (ii.e., humiliation, rejection)

  • Social situations almost always provoke fear or anxiety​

  • Social situations are avoided or endured with fear or anxiety​

  • Experiences of fear or anxiety​ typically lasts 6 months or more.

  • The experiences of fear or anxiety​ cause the individual significant distress

Panic Disorder

Individuals who experience panic disorder have recurrent unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear that come on quickly and reach their peak within minutes. Attacks can occur unexpectedly or can be brought on by a trigger, such as a feared object or situation.

During a panic attack, people may experience four or more:

  • Heart palpitations, a pounding heartbeat, or an accelerated heart-rate

  • Sweating

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking

  • Chest pain or discomfort

  • Nausea

  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint

  • Chills or heat sensations

  • Numbness or tingling sensations

  • Feelings of unreality

  • Feelings of being out of control

  • Fear of dying

Individuals experiencing panic disorder often worry about when the next attack will happen and actively try to prevent future attacks by avoiding places, situations, or behaviors they associate with panic attacks. Worry about panic attacks, and the effort spent trying to avoid attacks, cause significant problems in various areas of the person’s life, including the development of agoraphobia (see below).

 

Agoraphobia 

Individuals who experience agoraphobia have an intense fear of two or more of the following situations:

  • Using public transportation

  • Being in open spaces

  • Being in enclosed spaces

  • Standing in line or being in a crowd

  • Being outside of the home alone

Individuals who experience agoraphobia often avoid these situations, in part, because they think being able to leave might be difficult or impossible in the event they have panic-like reactions or other embarrassing symptoms. In the most severe form of agoraphobia, an individual can become housebound.

Treatment of Anxiety  - Anxiety is the most common mental health concern and is a treatable illness (National Institute of Mental Health), as an estimated 19.1% of U.S. adults experienced an anxiety disorder in the past year. Similar to depressive symptoms, it can be important to first rule out any other medical issues that may be impacting you, and Dr. Bewley will recommend that you first consult with a primary care physician.

The utilization of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in treating anxiety. Psychotherapy can assist you in learning what triggers your reactions to specific fears, places, or situations. Moreover, these methods teach skills that are lifelong, and my ultimate goal is to help you take control over your life and symptoms. My goal is for you to not only feel better, but teach you skills that you can utilize if your stressors return at some point in the future.

Current clients can use the link to their secure client portal (via the blue button above) to manage currently scheduled appointments, identify other openings, and use secure messaging to contact Dr. Bewley.

 

 

New clients can use the secure client portal (via the green button above) to schedule a phone consultation.  During that conversation, we will briefly discuss what is bringing you to therapy and determine that we are setting up for a good therapeutic fit.  At that time, you will be able to use the portal to identify openings and request to schedule during available times.