Lucy F. Faulconbridge, PhD
Call: (610) 688-4147

drlucyf@gmail.com

Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Mood Disorders

Depression
Depression is a disease characterized by prolonged low or sad mood, and or a lack of interest or pleasure in things once enjoyed. Accompanying these core symptoms are disruptions to sleep (sleeping too little or too much), changes in appetite (eating too little, eating too much, or experiencing cravings), loss of energy, irritability, difficulty concentrating, low self-esteem, and feelings of guilt or worthlessness. Feeling sad or going thmain line anxiety disorder therapistrough a stressful time is normal and something that everyone experiences, but Depression is more than that. It is a serious condition that can be devastating for those who have it and for their families.

Depression is often common in individuals with weight or eating disorders, and I specialize in treating the two disorders concurrently, to foster the quickest possible progress. Instead of focusing on either depression or the weight or eating disorder at one time, Dr. Faulconbridge uses combined treatments that combat symptoms of each disorder simultaneously and bring relief as quickly as possible.

Dysthymia
Dysthymia is similar to depression but tends to be milder and more long-term than a single depressive episode. Symptoms last for at least two years, and clients often report that they have felt depressed and/or inadequate their whole lives but they don’t know why. Dysthymia can significantly disrupt normal functioning and interfere with relationships.

Treating Depression and Dysthymia
Dr. Faulconbridge uses evidence-based cognitive-behavioral treatments to combat mood disorders. In a supportive and compassionate environment, she helps clients to explore the patterns of thinking, emotion and behavior that keep causing problems in their lives and relationships with others. Treatment is tailored for each client’s specific needs, and clients may set the pace of their own therapy.

Anxiety Disorders

Panic Disorder
Panic attacks are experienced as a sudden onset of very unpleasant physical feelings, which can include dry mouth, difficulty breathing, sweating, shivering, shaking, tightness in the chest, nausea and terror. Sometimes they feel so bad that a person may believe that they are having a heart attack, or that something terrible is happening to them, and go to the ER. Most people will experience a panic attack at some point in their life, and infrequent panic attacks can be a typical response to stress. When panic attacks become frequent and debilitating, this becomes Panic Disorder. Sometimes this leads to an avoidance of leaving the house or going certain places, for fear of having a panic attack in public. This condition is called “agoraphobia.”

Luckily Panic Disorder is very treatable with cognitive-behavioral therapy. In a recent study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania and Weill Cornell Medical College in NY, researchers found that CBT was highly effective at treating panic disorder. Dr. Faulconbridge was a therapist on that study, and she uses the same highly successful techniques to help clients combat panic attacks and get their lives under control quickly.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is characterized by obsessions (repetitive focus on particular thoughts and fears with an inability to ignore those thoughts) and/or compulsions (behaviors that neutralize the distress caused by any given obsession). Obsessions can be extremely distressing. For example, a client might fear that her living space is unclean and that she will infect other family members with germs. These beliefs often lead to rituals (repetitive cleaning the kitchen in a particular order) or compulsions (frequent scrubbing of hands) in an effort to bring reassurance that the feared outcome won’t happen. While these compulsions may bring temporary relief, over the long-term they only serve to feed the obsessions and a vicious cycle quickly develops.

OCD is highly treatable through exposure and response prevention (ERP), which involves identifying the client’s fears and compulsions, and in a supportive environment, exposing them to small doses of the events that they fear. This exercise helps clients to learn that what they fear is unlikely to come true, even when they refrain from engaging in compulsive behavior. Through ERP, clients to learn tolerate the anxiety caused by uncertainty about the future or themselves.

OCD symptoms are commonly experienced by clients with certain types of eating disorders. Dr. Faulconbridge targets both the eating disorder and the OCD at the same time, such that clients can feel better as quickly as possible.

Resources:

Anxiety and Depression Association of America
http://www.adaa.org/

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=home

The Mayo Clinic – Dysthymia
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dysthymia/basics/definition/CON-20033879

National Institutes of Mental Health – Depression
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
http://www.afsp.org/

Mayo Clinic – OCD
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ocd/basics/definition/con-20027827

National Institutes of Mental Health – OCD
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

National Institutes of Mental Health – Panic Disorder
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/panic-disorder/index.shtml