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Depression Treatment Specialist

Barbara J. Novak, MD

Psychiatrist located in Bethesda, MD

Dr. Barbara Novak is a solo practitioner who serves residents in the greater Washington, DC area including Bethesda, Maryland. As a Board Certified psychiatrist, the doctor specializes in both the diagnosis and treatment of depression and other mental disorders. Dr. Novak's office is located in Bethesda and is conveniently close to Rockville, Travilah, Potomac, Cabin John, McLean, Tysons, Pimmit Hills, Woodland Acres, Falls Church, Arlington, Washington, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, Kensington, and Garrett Park.

Depression Treatment Q & A

How is Depression Diagnosed and Treated?

A psychiatrist understands the mechanisms of depression. Whatever the underlying cause of depression, whether due to a physical illness or acute or chronic emotional distress, there are chemical imbalances that occur in the brain. Medications and psychiatric counseling can help the person get back on track. Psychotherapy also provides the patient with the tools they need to make positive lifestyle changes that can have a dramatic positive effect on their future. Developing coping skills is vital to sustained recovery while the physical illness is addressed in a medical setting (if indicated) and the acute or chronic emotional stresses are confronted.

Can Physical Activity Reduce the Risk of Depression?

Physical activity and exercise can help a patient overcome depression. Regular exercise causes the brain to release endorphins. Endorphins cause a person to feel happy and can create feelings of well-being and general good health. The more physically active a person is, the better his body functions in general. Individuals who are more physically active also have lower instances of depression, anxiety, frustration, and anger. Depression can also accompany obesity. As a person begins to live a more sedentary lifestyle, one’s self-confidence and personal sense of value can begin to diminish. As his health continues to deteriorate, depression and anxiety can often become a major obstacle to his recovery.

Can Depression be an Indicator of a Serious Health Condition?

Depression can be an indicator that a serious physical condition is beginning to affect a person's health. Hypothyroidism, diabetes, and chronic conditions that cause prolonged pain and discomfort can cause a person to become depressed and withdrawn. Uncovering the cause of the physical problem will help to correct the depression. Often psychiatric intervention is also needed to address the depression in addition to the treatment of the physical dysfunction. Working with both a medical doctor and a psychiatrist will ensure the patient gets the treatment she needs on both matters to ensure full recovery from the illness.