Dual Diagnosis: Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder

substance-abuse-bipolar-disorder-therapy-nj
By: Michelle J. Hong

As most of us know, bipolar disorder is a mental illness that induces the two mental states of mania and depression. These two polar opposite states can cause elevated energy levels, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, etc. Because of this constant war of going back and forth between the two mental states, individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder tend to self-medicate to feel “normal”. Unfortunately, often these individuals do not realize that drugs and alcohol have the opposite effect on their illness, and exacerbate the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Self-medication usually includes all types of drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, illegally obtained prescription pills, and other mood-altering substances. Approximately 60% of people who suffer from bipolar disorder experience substance abuse at least once in their lifetime. People who exhibit both bipolar disorder and drug and alcohol problems have a dual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and substance abuse, but it is important to locate a psychologist, a psychiatric nurse, or a psychologist who can correctly diagnose this. When individuals with bipolar disorder use drugs and alcohol while taking mood-stabilizing medication, it can often interfere with the medication’s effectiveness and create chemical imbalances in the brain that can worsen the manic and depressive episodes. Substance abuse effects can mask the symptoms of bipolar disorder, resulting in incorrect treatment. In order to prevent misdiagnosis of individuals with both bipolar disorder and substance abuse, the substance abuse needs to stop. Once individual no longer abuses substances, a proper evaluation and diagnosis can take place. Dual diagnosis treatments are becoming more common to accurately diagnose both disorders and give the most fitting treatment for these individuals.

 

If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and might be suffering from bipolar disorder and/or substance abuse, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information

 

Sources:

http://www.recoveryranch.com/articles/dual-diagnosis/bipolar-disorder-substance-abuse/

http://www.addictionsearch.com/treatment_articles/article/understanding-the-connection-between-drug-addiction-and-bipolar-disorder_108.html

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Anxiety and Guilt: Feeling Guilty for Something You Did (Part 1)

As we all know, anxiety can be caused by many things. One cause that we don’t often see discussed is the type of anxiety that arises from guilty feelings. Most of us know what guilt is and have experienced it sometime throughout our lives. You may have felt guilty for doing poorly in school and disappointing your parents, being a bystander while witnessing a crime, or even thinking thoughts that go against your moral code. This is the first of a four-part series we will be doing on guilt in the upcoming weeks. Today we will explore the type of guilt that is typically the most common: guilt for something that you did in the past.

When you do something wrong—for example by hurting someone else or violating your own morals—it is completely normal to feel guilty for it. You may wish that life was a VHS tape and you could just hit rewind and redo what you did, but sadly, this isn’t the case. People make mistakes—in fact, mistakes are one of the most effective ways that human beings learn.

The important thing to do when you feel guilty for something you did is to work at accepting it and learning from it. It’s definitely easier said than done and will take time and effort. It is also important to understand exactly what happened. Step back and look at the situation; examine why you did what you did. When something like this happens, it can be easy to fall into a cycle of self-criticism and self-blame. What this does is it lowers your self-esteem, self-confidence, and it makes you believe that you’re a worse person than you really are. Though these feelings are completely valid, sooner or later, you will need to accept what happened and learn to forgive yourself. Only through acceptance and forgiveness can you find healing and work to avoid making the same mistakes again.

Remember that a mistake in the past does not define who you are. Just because you made a mistake does not mean you are a bad person. In fact, feeling guilty about it now is a sign that you regret it and that you really didn’t mean to hurt anyone. If you hurt someone, apologize as best as you can. Let them know how you feel about it now and that you understand the harm that you’ve done. Sometimes people will forgive you and sometimes they won’t. In the latter case, know that no matter what you do or say, you cannot control another person. What you can control is the way you react to the situation. People will heal on their own time, just as you’ll heal and learn from this on your own time. Accept the consequences, watch the self-blaming thoughts, and keep in mind that this is a work in progress. Ultimately, there is always a lesson to be learned from any mistake you make. Don’t try to change it; just use it to work at a better future and a better you. Your past does not define you, this guilt doesn’t have to consume you, and your future can still be bright.

Of course, these guilty feelings can be overwhelming and it is normal to seek help for them. If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and are having trouble dealing with guilt, self-criticizing thoughts, or self-esteem issues, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Written by Kassandra C.
 Sources: Krauss, Susan W. (2012, Aug. 11). The Definitive Guide to Guilt: The five types of guilt and how you can cope with each. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201208/the-definitive-guide-guilt 

Bipolar Disorder: Importance of Treatment

Bipolar-Disorder-treatment1By: Michelle J. Hong

Thousands of Americans today suffer from a mental illness known as bipolar disorder. This common disorder is commonly known to be a complex, difficult disease due to the manifestations of the ups of mania and lows of depression. The individual experiences unpredictable moods such as bursts of overconfidence, restlessness, suicidal thoughts, etc., through “manic” and “depressive” episodes that bleed over to various aspects of an individual’s life, such as the workplace, home, and social settings. Unfortunately, these two opposite states can present themselves simultaneously, which makes the disease that much more difficult to cope with emotionally, mentally, and physically. The onset of this disease is usually during adolescence and early adulthood, but it can happen at any age. The causes of bipolar disorder could be due to chemical changes in your brain, family history, or it could be unclear. This disease also does not discriminate; it can affect people across all ages, genders, and races.

Bipolar disorder is a serious, long-term illness, and treatment and therapy are vital to self-improvement and management of the illness. Although bipolar disorder cannot be prevented, it can be managed through two types of treatments: medicine and talk therapy. There are prescribed medicine known as mood-stabilizers that can work to control an individual’s moods and “stabilize” states. Talk therapy involves talking to a psychologist, social worker, or mental health counselor in order to learn how the disease influences an individual’s character, emotions, and actions. There are devastating consequences if this mental illness goes untreated; a majority of untreated individuals are in constant states of struggle and are easily susceptible to depression, which can lead individuals to self-harm or attempt suicide. If left untreated, individuals can become psychotic which is characterized by hallucinations and delusions. The instability of the mind will increase because this disease is not fleeting; it lasts a lifetime.

If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and might be suffering from bipolar disorder or depression, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information

Sources: http://www.suicide.org/bipolar-disorder-and-suicide.html

PTSD: The Realities of Trauma

ptsd-bergen-county-nj-therapyHave you experienced a particularly terrifying event that you can’t seem to forget? Do images of the event suddenly intrude into your mind? Do you blame yourself for the thigs that happened? Is it becoming overwhelming and even unbearable? If so, you may be experiencing trauma. Often, when something overly frightening or dangerous happens, an individual may experience the effects of trauma. Examples of such events include but are not limited to rape, sexual/physical abuse, war, and other life-threatening events. Even witnessing such events can be traumatic.

Common signs of trauma may include:

  • Feeling overly sensitive and overwhelmed
  • Overreacting in situations and not understanding why
  • Recurring images of the event, possibly in the form of nightmares
  • Feelings of dissociation/feeling disconnected with the body
  • Anger, sometimes directed towards the self
  • Blaming yourself and being confused about what is wrong you

When trauma goes untreated, a condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder can arise. It is characterized by more severe symptoms, such as feelings that the event is repeating itself, recurring nightmares and memories of the event, avoiding reminders of the event, and an inability to form trusting relationships.  Symptoms of trauma or PTSD usually show up within about three months of the event–however, sometimes signs of traumatic stress can show up years later. It can be treated with medicine and therapy, and the length of treatment tends to vary with each case.

If you feel that you may be experiencing the effects of trauma, no matter what severity it may be, remember that it is not your fault that you are feeling this way and that you need not feel this way forever. It takes courage to seek help, but it is very possible to get your life back and move past it. Remember that you are not alone. Statistics show that in any given year, 5.2 million Americans have PTSD. In fact, June is PTSD Awareness Month. This year, National PTSD Awareness Day is on June 27, 2015.

ptsdawareness-bergen-county-njIf you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and might be suffering from trauma or PTSD, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information

Written by Kassandra C.

ADHD vs. Bipolar Disorder

adhd vs bipolar disorder Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Bipolar Disorder are often difficult to diagnose due to the fact that they share many symptoms. ADHD can be characterized by debilitating inattention and hyperactivity, where as bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings between high energy and activity and feelings of sadness or depression. Some symptoms that often manifest in both patients with ADHD and bipolar disorder are:

  • Rapid, impulsive speech
  • Physical restlessness
  • Trouble focusing
  • Irritability, and sometimes
  • Defiant or oppositional behavior

If you, or a loved one, are suffering from ADHD or Bipolar Disorder and need diagnosis or treatment, the licensed professional psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling and Psychological Services can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information at Arista Counseling