Teresa Susmaras – Benefits of Dialiectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) teaches patients to control self-destructive thoughts, increase self-awareness and deal with conflict and stress through a combination of behavior and cognitive therapies. DBT was first used in the 1970s to treat patients with borderline personality disorders and today is used to treat a wide array of emotional and behavioral disorders. Dr. Teresa Susmaras has used DBT throughout the course of her career as a clinical neuropsychologist.

The practice of DBT involves going through four stages of treatment modules—mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. During DBT, treatment is organized into these phases, with a strict order as to how problems are addressed.

Through DBT, patients focus on changing and controlling harmful behaviors. Benefits of DBT include learning ways to decrease high risk and self-destructive behavior, decreased symptoms related to anxiety and depression and enhanced self-respect. These benefits are achieved through focusing on facts over emotions, enabling patients to react in positive and productive manners without spiraling into destructive behaviors and thoughts.

Doctors have found success in treating a wide range of emotional disorders with DBT including bipolar disorder, depression disorders, chemical dependency and addiction, anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Eating disorders such as bulimia, binge eating, anorexia and emotional eating are increasingly being treated with DBT as well due to the emphasis this type of therapy puts on emotional regulation and incorporating healthy coping strategies.

Dr. Teresa Susmaras currently practices clinical neuropsychology in Wisconsin. She has also practiced at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rush University Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.


Teresa Susmaras – Who is Affected With Bipolar Disorder?

A study by the Institute of Mental Health suggests that approximately one in ten people suffer from some type of mental disorder in the United States. Bipolar disorder, a condition where individuals experience extreme mood swings, affects an estimated 5.5 million Americans over 18. As a licensed clinical psychologist, Teresa Susmaras treats patients with a wide range of mental disorders, including bipolar disorder.

Those diagnosed with bipolar disorder are plagued with mood swings that fluctuate from severe euphoric states to periods of extreme depression. These changes in mood are often completely unrelated to personal events, but can affect the person’s physical health, the ability to function, behavior, and emotional state of mind. Bipolar disorder is rooted in the brain as a neurological disorder and typically starts affecting individuals in adolescence and into early adulthood. However, the disorder can also begin during childhood or even in middle age.

Four distinctive mood episodes have been identified in those who suffer from bipolar disorder, including mania, hypomania, depression and mixed episodes. The disease has no cure, but can be managed with treatment; the National Advisory Mental Health Council estimates that the success rate for treatment of bipolar disorder is a promising 80 percent. Mood stabilizers and antidepressants are the most widely used medication to treat the disorder.

Teresa Susmaras has devoted her career to helping those with brain disorders through her work as a neuropsychologist. Susmaras earned both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Suffolk University in Boston.