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Dan Becker, M.D.Dan Becker, M.D.PsychiatryMills-Peninsula Health Services
Expert
Dan Becker, M.D.PsychiatryMills-Peninsula Health Services

Dr. Becker attended medical school at the University of Wisconsin, and completed his psychiatric residency at Yale University. Afterward, he served as director of adolescent services at the Yale Psychiatric Institute until relocating to the Bay Area in 1995. Since then, he has been the medical director of behavioral health services at Mills-Peninsula Health Services. His clinical practice focuses primarily on the evaluation and treatment of adolescents. Research interests include substance use disorders, personality pathology, and adolescent psychopathology.

See Dr. Becker's profile.

Question of the Week

I’m 30 and have had depression throughout my life. I’m on antidepressants, but lately I’ve been very antisocial - staying home or working late. I have a high-stress job and haven't been able to sleep. I also have headaches, mood swings, and weight gain.

Dan Becker, M.D. answered: I am sorry that you have lately been feeling so poorly. You mention a wide variety of symptoms, some of which often have non-psychiatric causes. For this reason, I recommend that you see your primary care physician – especially with respect to the headaches. Although headaches can be a result of stress, it would be important to ensure that your headaches do not have a more specific – and specifically treatable – cause.

You also mention that you have a history of depression, and that you are taking medication for this problem. Several of the symptoms that you list – such as depressed mood, social withdrawal, sleep changes, and appetite and weight changes – can be the result of clinical depression. After seeing your primary care physician, it may be useful to consult with a psychiatrist – in order to clarify your current psychiatric diagnosis, and also to evaluate whether your current medication regimen is appropriate for your condition. In addition, there may be useful non-pharmacologic strategies for treating your depression, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or other psychotherapeutic approaches.

Finally, you mention that you have a high-pressure job and that you have been putting yourself under a great deal of stress. It is worth remembering that stress may exacerbate a broad range of psychiatric and non-psychiatric medical conditions. In addition to seeking medical help, it would likely benefit you to find ways to reduce your stress level – through leisure activities, through exercise, or simply by reducing your time spent on work.

Read more:
- 10 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress
- Eat Well for Mental Health
- Myths and Facts About Depression

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