Depression: Postpartum Depression in Mothers

Pregnancy and childbirth may be a time of great joy, as one is bringing in a new life into this world. However, it can also be a time of great difficulty. Many mothers may experience the “postpartum baby blues” which occurs within the first three days after giving birth and may last for up to two weeks. Symptoms may include crying, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. The “baby blues” may affect up to 80% of mothers. A more severe experience, a type of depression, is postpartum depression. Mothers experience extreme sadness, anxiety, and tiredness for more than 2 weeks. Other symptoms may include:

  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Experiencing anger or rage
  • Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
  • Suffering from physical aches and pains, including frequent headaches, stomach problems, and muscle pain
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Withdrawing from or avoiding friends and family
  • Having trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment with your baby
  • Persistently doubting your ability to care for your baby
  • Thinking about harming yourself or your baby

Postpartum depression doesn’t have a single cause, but it is not caused by a mother’s flaw. It is likely resulted from physical and emotional factors. Depression or bipolar disorder during pregnancy or before can also affect the likelihood of experiencing postpartum depression. Treatment may include talk therapy and medication. If left untreated, the symptoms may continue for months and even years. This can affect the mother’s relationship with the baby and can negatively impact the baby’s development.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have postpartum depression, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Source: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/postpartum-depression-facts/index.shtml#pub7

By: Jenny Barbosa

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Tips to help you during a Panic Attack

You may feel as if you are about to face death while your heart beats incredibly fast, sweat is dripping down your face, and you find yourself out of breath. Don’t worry though; you are only having a panic attack. A panic attack is a sudden feeling of anxiety and fear. Its onset is usually random and lasts for a few minutes. There have been many people who thought that they were having a heart attack and who rushed to the hospital only to find out that they were fine and only experienced a panic attack.

Here is a list of tips one should follow when experiencing a panic attack:

  • Recognizing your symptoms and understanding your body
    • If you are familiar with the symptoms of a panic attack you can rule out any other problems such as a heart attack or allergic reaction
  • Relax your breathing and your muscles
    • Take slow, deep breaths through your nose
    • Lie down, or find a comfortable position
    • Contract and relax all of your muscles, beginning with your toes up to your face
  • Exercise
    • Walking
    • Yoga & stretching
  • Confront your fear
    • Keep a journal; write in it before, during, and after experiencing a panic attack
    • Paradoxical intention: go in to a situation that might trigger a panic attack, and take control of the situation with what you have learned. This will help you avoid having a panic attack in the future.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have panic attacks or panic disorder, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Source: http://psychcentral.com/lib/tips-to-cope-with-a-panic-attack/

By: Jenny Barbosa

Personality: The Birth Order Effect

Have you ever wondered why you and your siblings are so different? Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychologist researched the effects of birth order on personality and concluded that the makeup of a family contributed to the personality of each member. In other words, the order in which one is born (first, second, last, etc.) could influence an individual’s psychological makeup. Perhaps you’re more responsible than your younger sibling because you were born first!

Listed below are certain characteristics that are found to be attributable to the different kinds of birth orders:

First child:

  • Achiever
  • Leader
  • Perfectionist
  • Responsible

Middle child:

  • Peacemaker
  • Social
  • Easy-going
  • Secretive

Youngest child:

  • Risk-taker
  • Outgoing
  • Creative
  • Sense of humor

Only child:

  • Leader
  • Perfectionist
  • Mature
  • Confident

Now remember, whether you were born first or last does not necessarily dictate how you will develop as a person. These are just tendencies. The youngest child may be more responsible than the first child. You don’t have to let your birth order determine your life!

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may be having family difficulties, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Source: http://www.parents.com/baby/development/social/birth-order-and-personality/

By: Jenny Barbosa

The Many Faces of a Major Depressive Episode

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Whether things are going well in life, staying the same or taking a turn for the worse, a major depressive episode can occur in your life or the life of the ones you love. It is often difficult to tell, especially at first, whether you or someone you know is experiencing a Major Depressive Episode (MDE) or if they’re just having a rough week. Familiarize yourself with the following symptoms if you suspect something is amiss and understand that an MDE could present itself as many different combinations of these symptoms.

The two main criteria for a Major Depressive Episode are either a depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in activities that previously sparked interest or pleasure. These symptoms usually must remain present for at least a two week period. During these two weeks people experiencing an MDE may also experience a significant change in eating patterns. Increases or decreases in appetite and weight are among the easier symptoms to notice. Insomnia and hypersomnia and generally noticeable changes in sleeping patterns are also common. A generally lower energy level, chronic fatigue, and slower voluntary movement are symptoms that could be the result of a lack of sleep but can also be observed in patients that oversleep or have no changes in their sleeping patterns. Agitated mental state and agitated voluntary movement are also potential symptoms. Some symptoms that are not objectively observable but may reoccur daily are feelings of worthlessness, excessive or misplaced guilt, indecisiveness and decreased concentration. Frequent thoughts about death, – not just fear of dying– suicidal ideation with or without a specific plan or suicide attempts are additional symptoms of an MDE that are not necessarily present.

Always keep in mind that symptoms do not have to look the same; a depressed person may report feeling “nothing” — neither sadness nor pleasure. While many symptoms are recognizable objectively, subjective feelings of sadness, emptiness or anhedonia should also raise a warning flag. The symptoms listed above can combine and affect each other in many ways, presenting different “faces” of depression. It is important to understand how differently an afflicted individual may act and that certain symptoms do not necessarily mean a more or less serious case.

If you believe that you are a loved one has or may be experiencing a Major Depressive Episode, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Sources: mental-health-today.com/dep/dsm

By: Anna Straus

 

 

Dealing With Anxiety from Current Events

terrorism-fear-anxietyDealing with Anxiety from Current Events

In today’s always-connected world, information is constantly at our fingertips. Watching the news, it almost seems like tragedy and terror have become the new norm, and it is only natural to feel uneasy when faced with near constant images of terrorism, ISIS, mass shootings, environmental disasters, and more. We Americans are lucky to live in a country where freedom of the press makes this information available, and being informed is essential to staying aware and safe. Nevertheless, there comes a point where healthy concern becomes unhealthy anxiety. With the seemingly constant barrage of “bad news,” media hype has become a great source of anxiety in peoples’ lives.

Although people watch the news with good intentions, too much of a good thing can have negative effects on mental health. A 2014 Harvard study found that people who experienced a great deal of stress in their lives listed the news as one of their biggest daily stressors. Another study from UC Irvine found that people who exposed themselves to six or more hours of media coverage which dealt with the Boston Marathon bombings actually reported more acute stress symptoms than the people who were there when the bombs went off. This study suggests that in some cases, watching a tragedy unfold on the news and being subjected to the repetitive traumatic images might actually be more traumatic than experiencing it firsthand.

Humans are hard-wired to pay attention to potential threats, so it is understandable that people are tempted to binge watch the news and try to absorb every detail of every tragedy. However, it is important to realize that knowing every gruesome detail does not help survival, it just leads to stress.  To help avoid the stress of bad news overload, experts suggest tuning out as much as possible, especially in the wake of a major tragedy like September 11th or the attacks in Paris. Instead of focusing on the tragedy, focus on the positives in life, including family and friends.

If you or a loved one is struggling with stress or anxiety, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

By: Evagelia Stavrakis

sources: www.npr.org , www.anxiety.org

TBI: The Effects of Concussions on Athletes

The frequency and intensity at which athletes are sustaining traumatic brain injuries (TBI), commonly referred to as concussions, is rapidly increasing as the years progress. A TBI can be caused by any blow or bump to the head and/or skull that causes a change in brain function. Some of the risk factors associated with a TBI include: duration of playing time, evidence of previous head trauma, correct placement of protective gear, and the intensity at which a sport is played. With boxers and football players at the top of the list of athletes with concussions, therapists and researchers are beginning to take a closer look into the adverse effects sports have on an athlete cognitively and neurologically. It is estimated that approximately 20% of high school, collegiate, and professional boxers and football players suffer from a TBI at least once during the season. According to recent studies, 1 in 15 players with a TBI will have an additional TBI within the same season. Ultimately these successive injuries impair the recovery of cognitive and neurological abilities.

An individual with a TBI will suffer from a loss of consciousness resulting in complications such as headaches, a shortened attention span, trouble focusing, mood swings, and emotional outbursts. The result of sustaining successive TBIs can include limb impairment, difficulty speaking, or an inability to think critically. Athletes who are suspected of being concussed may experience prolonged anger, rage, and appear to be more violent and aggressive than normal. Additionally, tests such as the imPACT test can be run to ensure that an individual is performing cognitive tasks at a normal pace. These tests measure a person’s reaction speed and visual/verbal memory. It is encouraged that persons sustaining concussions receive medical attention immediately so that the individual’s symptoms do not escalate.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have been affected by a traumatic brain injury, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Sources: ninds.nih.gov

By: Alexis F.

Misophonia: When Silence is Golden

Do you catch yourself getting extremely angry when hearing someone chew food with their mouth open? Does being around another person whistling make you very annoyed? When another person clears their throat, do you feel so much discomfort that you desire to leave the room? If so, you might feel confused about your strong reaction to what so many others find trivial. Furthermore, if certain sounds elicit a negative emotional response, you may be suffering from misophonia.

So what exactly is this little-known condition? Less than 200,000 people per year report feeling moderate annoyance to full-fledged panicked in regards to certain “trigger” sounds. While there are countless “trigger” sounds, the main ones fall into seven categories. Below are a few examples from each category.

  • Mouth and Eating: Gum chewing and popping, wet mouth sounds, slurping, nail biting
  • Breathing/Nasal: Yawning, hiccups, sniffling, grunting
  • Vocal: Humming, words like “um” or “ah” used repetitively, singing, whispering
  • Environmental: Pen clicking, water bottle squeezing, TV through walls, dogs barking
  • Body Movement related: Finger snapping, knuckle cracking, tapping, eye blinking
  • Visual (not necessarily sound related): Hair twirling, leg shaking, fidgetingHaving such a strong aversion to selective sounds can be difficult to deal with around coworkers, family, friends, and loved ones.

Sometimes trigger sounds can be so overwhelming to the sufferer that they leave the room, get furious or upset with the person making the noise, or have a panic attack. Also, since there is not much awareness about the disorder, others might have a difficult time sympathizing.

While the causes or cures of misophonia have not been established, there exists a multitude of ways that one can manage their symptoms and triggers. If possible, change your environment so you are not surrounded by triggers. Educate the people around you about your condition so they can realize how you feel about certain noises. A variety of medications have been tried such as ones that treat anxiety and depression. Therapy has also been known to significantly help people cope with and understand their misophonia.

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has or may have issues with misophonia, anxiety, depression, or interpersonal problems, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

By Scout H

Sources:

Dion, Paul N. “Misophonia- Symptoms and Triggers.” Misophonia.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.

Dryden-Edwards, Roxanne, and Melissa Conrad Stoppler. “Misophonia.” MedicineNet. N.p., 27 Mar. 2015. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.

Lerner, Barron H. “Please Stop Making That Noise.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 17 Feb. 2016.

Barbie’s New Proportions: Will They Measure Up?

     Only recently did Mattel release a statement that declared they would be coming out with a line of three new Barbie dolls. For the first time in 57 years, the dolls would be getting new body shapes: curvy, tall, and petite. At first glance, one might be excited that Mattel is finally recognizing that 5’9” and 110 lbs. (original Barbie’s estimated proportions if she were real) reflects an extremely low percentage of women’s figures. While this may indeed reflect a response to feminism and/or a cultural shift, are these changes enough or are they merely superficial?

     The “curvy” Barbie doll by far has the most changes compared to the original Barbie. To start, her face is visibly fuller which actually looks more like what the average person has. Her stomach and backside are wider, but her empire waist top clearly accentuates an hourglass shape. “Naked”, curvy Barbie displays wider calves, thighs, and hips. Mattel notes that she will not be able to fit in many of the original clothes and will therefore have a “special” clothing line to herself. Another change in appearance includes larger feet, though they hardly look that way from the “sneak-peak” pictures Mattel released. Lastly, and perhaps the most striking, is the fact that this doll possesses long blue locks of hair.

     Mattel has come a long way with the marketing of the dolls since Barbie’s “birth” in 1959. In 1963, the Barbie Baby-Sits doll came equipped with a booklet with the title “How to Lose Weight.” It’s advice inside? “Don’t eat.” Just ten years later, the first surgeon Barbie was released- a time when only 9% of all doctors were female. In 1980, multicultural versions were released… with “Caucasian features”, critics voiced. Later during 1992, Mattel got themselves in hot water again after a doll was released that uttered the phrase “Math class is tough!” Lastly in 2015, a huge expansion of the line included 23 new dolls with a variety of skin tones, hair colors and styles, eye colors, and facial features.

While some are excited about what seems to be Mattel embracing diversity, others wonder if this is a means to capitalize off of empowerment and the expansion of their product line (which now includes four times the accessories and clothes). In 2012, Barbie sales across the world dropped 3%, another 6% in 2013, and 16% in 2014. In addition, the Disney Princess line which the company lost in 2015 took away another half a billion dollars per year.

Do these three new Barbie dolls do enough to address the problems of body image and self-empowerment consumers have been worried about, or are these changes only superficial?

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has or may have issues with body image, self-esteem, or an eating disorder, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Sources: Dockterman, Eliana. “A Barbie for Every Body.” Time 8 Feb. 2016: 44-51. Print.

By: Scout H

“Depression and Obesity: The Double Epidemic”

By: Chana Kaufman

Depression and obesity seem to be phenomena that occur together, however, akin to the case of the chicken and the egg, it is unclear which precedes or causes the other. Studies have established that there definitely is a link between the two, and many patients within these spectrums often exhibit symptoms for both. According to Marina Williams, LMHC, “In fact, the two conditions are so intertwined that some are calling obesity and depression a double epidemic.” Furthermore, Williams establishes that, “Studies have found that 66 percent of those seeking bariatric, (weight loss) surgery have had a history of at least one mental health disorder.”

The question begs, why do depression and obesity fit so neatly and often occur simultaneously? In her article on this topic, Williams offers a simple explanation for the correlation between the two. Depression makes one lose willpower in life, resulting in decisions such as healthy eating or exercise to be sidelined or eliminated completely. Additionally, certain foods, mostly unhealthy choices, are what we associate with as comfort food and often resort to when feeling kind of blue. According to Williams, “Eating something unhealthy is much easier than fixing the problem or dealing with what’s causing us to feel unhappy”. Williams emphasizes that seeking help and learning how to deal with issues such as depression and sadness will oftentimes lead to an overall healthier lifestyle, and positively affect the issue of obesity as well.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have depression, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Source: http://psychcentral.com/lib/obesity-genetics-depression-and-weight-loss/

Sex Anxiety: Why You May be Avoiding a Sex Life

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From the moment we are exposed to media and advertisement, sex can be found almost everywhere. Although sex is largely viewed as a solely physical interaction, the emotional aspect of sex is strongly tied to our arousal, too. The idea of being sexual can cause someone severe distress, rather than pleasure, when suffering from sexual aversion disorder.

When people suffering from sexual aversion disorder are confronted with an intimate situation, their body reacts with their sympathetic nervous system using a response called “fight or flight.” This response causes the body to release stress hormones, such as epinephrine or norepinephrine, in a series of reactions that are designed to help someone deal with a threatening situation. By associating sexual activity with a threat, people are not able to properly deal with the underlying cause of this distress, and, furthermore, distance themselves from any form of intimacy. Through this pattern, people additionally reinforce themselves to avoid sexual contact by conditioning the avoidance as a reliever of their underlying distress.

This disorder can be acquired in a multitude of ways. The causes include sexual violence during childhood or later in life, stress, depression, alcohol and drug use, or a lack of a certain substance in the body. To learn more about the specific causes and treatments for sexual aversion disorder, please continue to follow our blog posts at CounselingRx.com Arista Psychological & Psychiatric Services.

If you believe that you are a loved one has or may have sexual aversion disorder, or sex anxiety, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment

Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Sources: Brotto, L. A. (2010). The DSM diagnostic criteria for sexual aversion disorder. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39(2), 271-7. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10508-009-9534-2

By: Margalit I. Herzfeld