Stress in College

By: Hannah Pierce

Experiencing stress in college is inevitable. Moving away from home, adjusting to independence, managing difficult classes and a social life are all common stressors. When you go away to college you are leaving your social support network at home and learning how to balance your time between school, friends, and health. Feeling stressed or anxious is completely normal. Everyone experiences stress when making significant life changes such as going to college.

Stress can have negative effects physically, emotionally, mentally, and academically. When people begin to feel stressed, they often start taking less care of themselves which takes a toll on their immune system. Stress can also negatively impact relationships. It can make people more emotional and can cause them to lash out, become defensive or irritable.

Time management is a key to success in college. If stress becomes overwhelming it is important to balance everything and use time management to ensure that your schoolwork won’t start to decline.

Coping mechanisms are different for everyone. Try to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety in which ever ways work best for you. Some people may go to the gym, some may read a book, listen to music or watch their favorite movie, and others may confide in friends or mental health professionals.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing stress, 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.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com for more information.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2011/03/31/stress-college-causes-combat.html

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Eating Disorders

By Miranda Botti

There are at least three different types of eating disorders, specifically anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder. These typically affect young women in their teenage years but can also present in childhood or adulthood in both men and women. Eating disorders are a mental illness that can potentially lead to serious physical issues that may require medical attention. Anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder are often comorbid with depression, anxiety, and/or substance abuse and are life-threatening disorders that require clinical attention. Researchers have not yet found any one cause for any of these specific disorders but have found an interaction between genetic, psychological, biological, and social factors that all contribute to the onset of an eating disorder.

 

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Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an intense fear of weight gain and an extremely limited intake of certain foods causing the individual to be of tremendously low body weight. Those afflicted with anorexia possess a distorted body image, often seeing themselves as overweight. Some individuals with anorexia will also purge the little food they allow themselves to eat through self-induced vomiting, extreme exercise, or abuse of laxatives. Anorexia nervosa often has harmful physical side effects such as mild anemia, low internal body temperature, and loss off menstrual cycles in women and girls.

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Bulimia

Bulimia nervosa involves intense binge-eating followed by purging behavior, often through self-induced vomiting, extreme exercising, or the use of laxative abuse. Those afflicted feel they have no control over these behaviors. A bulimic is usually of healthy body weight or slightly over-weight and has an intense fear of weight gain. Since one typically feels intense guilt and shame for their actions and they purge in secret. Physical symptoms that arise as a result of induced vomiting are tooth decay, gastrointestinal problems, inflamed esophagus, and severe dehydration.

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Binge-eating disorder

Binge-eating disorder is characterized by extreme binge-eating, over which the afflicted feels to have no control. Unlike bulimia, binge-eating episodes are not followed by purging behavior. Those suffering are often overweight or obese and feel intense distress, guilt, and/or shame over their binge-eating and body image. This often leads to more binge-eating behavior as a method of coping with negative emotions. Physical side-effects include high blood pressure and risk for cardiovascular disease.

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Treatment

Treatment for these three eating disorders include psychotherapy (individual, group, and/or family), and/or medication to treat any co-occurring depression, anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder. Nutrition counseling may be helpful. Medical treatment may also be necessary for any of the physical side-effects caused by any of these maladaptive eating behaviors.

 

If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/anorexia/warning-signs-symptoms

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/index.shtml

 

Bipolar Disorder in Homeland

By Miranda Botti

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive disorder, often shows its troubled face in Hollywood. The vast majority of the time, however, the character who wields this troubling disorder is shown through a very negative light. Certainly, bipolar disorder is a very difficult mental illness to possess, however, those afflicted can still be great individuals who do great things. One Hollywood character, Carrie Mathison from Homeland, deals with intense and at times debilitating bipolar disorder, but, is at the very top of her field. Carrie works as a CIA agent, consistently solving the toughest of cases and working to recruit new assets. Carrie is the cinematic proof that our society needs to move past the idea that bipolar disorder prevents you from achieving greatness.

Although Carrie Mathison is an incredibly gifted individual who works as one of the United States’ top spies, her bipolar disorder is very real and the show keeps it as so. She is impulsive, at times irrational, and when she is off her lithium medication, her mind races and she speaks somewhat incoherently, being the only one able to decipher what she says. When her mania dissipates and the depression kicks in, she is bed ridden for days, unable to break through the dark shadow that hangs over her. Carrie’s episodes are very realistic and provide a great example of what it is like to live with bipolar disorder. For this, Carrie is the perfect representation of a highly intelligent, successful individual that, despite her mental health issues, continues to contribute to society. This is a message that should be spread throughout Hollywood. For many, art imitates life, and to a large extent that is true. However, representing individuals afflicted with mental illnesses as inept, violent, and dangerous is not only extremely inaccurate, but also unfair. People with mental illness should be portrayed not only because of their mental illnesses but also because of their positive qualities. As Carrie Mathison, and thousands of people every day prove, mental illness does not totally define anyone nor does it stop anyone from making a meaningful impact or from being a positive, influential person. I hope to see more characters like Carrie Mathison in Hollywood’s future, accurately portraying mental health issues.

 If you or someone you know is suffering from Bipolar disorder, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shrink-speak/201411/homeland-true-portrayal-mental-illness

 

OCD: What It’s Really About

By Miranda Botti

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or more commonly referred to as OCD, is a psychological disorder in which those afflicted experience recurring distressing, intrusive thoughts, images or impulses (obsessions) and attempt to remedy and alleviate such thoughts with repetitive actions (compulsions).  Such intrusive, repetitive thoughts are often constant worries about one’s health or the health of family members or loved ones, as well as fears about bad things happening to loved ones. Common compulsions include but are not limited to: repeatedly checking things, such as if an oven is off or if a door is locked, excessively cleaning oneself and/or handwashing, and compulsive counting. Many OCD patients are able to understand that their thoughts are irrational and unlikely to be remedied by their compulsive actions but continue to struggle to control their obsessions. Most people are typically diagnosed with OCD in their late teens to early 20’s, although onset at any age is possible.

The knowledge of the causes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is still yet to be discovered however, risk factors include: genetics, brain structure and functioning, and/or the environment. Treatments include medications that act to inhibit the reuptake of the neurotransmitter called serotonin (SRI’s and SSRI’s), as well as the less frequently prescribed antipsychotic medication; psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); the approach of a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Research for treatment of OCD is up and running and clinical trials look to determine the effectiveness and safety of new treatments in order to help individuals in the future.

 

If you or someone you know is suffering from OCD, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

Information taken from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

What exactly is a “Panic Attack”?

by Sarah Moore

Panic Attacks: What are they?

We’ve all heard of panic attacks before, on television, in the movies and even in day-to-day conversation. In today’s age, people tend to use the term lightly, as an expression of a reaction to a stressful event or fearful encounter. One might say, “When I heard that the company was planning to downsize next year, I just about had a panic attack”. But to use the term this way does not describe what a panic attack truly is: a sudden, unexpected feeling of overwhelming and disabling anxiety, often with no premeditating cause.

So what exactly does a panic attack involve? The DSM-5 defines a panic attack as involving four (4) or more of the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • A feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Feelings of unreality (derealization) or being detached from oneself (depersonalization)
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Chills or hot flushes

While it’s true that anyone can experience a panic attack, they are most commonly associated with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Specific Phobias. Does this mean someone who experiences a panic attack has one of these conditions? Not necessarily. The DSM-V defines the diagnostic criteria for Panic disorder as suffering from frequent, often unexpected panic attacks. In addition, at least one attack must be followed by the fear that more attacks will occur, causing an individual to change his or her behavior in order to avoid triggering such attacks. It is important to note that other possible causes for panic attacks, such as side effects from drugs or medications must be ruled out before someone can be diagnosed with any of the above disorders. Panic attacks can be debilitating, but with the right treatment, recovery is possible.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may be suffering from panic attacks, 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.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com for more information.