Hoarding Disorder: The Psychology of Hoarding

By: Heather Kaplan

Hoarding is defined as the persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. This behavior brings about detrimental emotional, physical, social, financial and legal effects for the hoarder and their loved ones. Commonly hoarded items may be newspapers, magazines, plastic bags, cardboard boxes, photographs, food and clothing – items of little value to most but have extreme value to the hoarder. Even the mere thought of throwing these items away causes a hoarder extreme anxiety and distress. Hoarding ranges from mild to severe – often the hoarding can become so extreme that the home of the hoarder becomes almost inhabitable which results in increased risk of getting evicted.

There are various reasons why hoarders exhibit the behavior they do. People hoard because they believe that an item will become useful or valuable in the future. They also may feel that the item has sentimental value or is too big of a bargain to throw away. Hoarders try to justify reasoning for keeping each possession that they own. It is still unclear what causes the disorder; genetics, brain functioning and stressful life events are being studied as possible causes. Studies show that there is hyperactivity in the area of a hoarder’s brain that involves decision-making, which explains the stress associated with discarding their possessions.

Those who suffer from hoarding disorder experience a diminished quality of life. As stated before, a lack of functional living space is common amog hoarders. These living conditions can be so severe that they put the health of the person at risk. Hoarders also often live with broken appliances and without heat or other necessary comforts. They cope with these issues because of the shame they would feel if a person was the enter their home. Hoarding also causes anger, resentment and depression among family members and can affect the social development of children. Unlivable conditions may lead to separation or divorce, eviction and loss of child custody if applicable.

It is important to distinguish the difference between hoarding and collecting. Collectors have a sense of pride about their possessions and experience joy in displaying and talking about them. Their collections are often well-organized and well-budgeted. A hoarder collects a multitude of items and organizes them in a cluttered way. They are ashamed of their accumulations and do not feel a sense of pride when showing their belongings to others.

If you or a loved one suspects a hoarding disorder, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social works and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy are here to help. Contact our Paramus, NJ and Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Sources:

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/hoarding-basics

https:/www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hoarding-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20356056

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Gambling Addiction

By: Heather Kaplan

Gambling is defined as playing games for a chance to either win or lose money. One who is a compulsive gambler is someone who is unable to resist their impulses to gamble. This leads to severe disturbances in their personal and social lives. The urge to gamble becomes so great that this tension can only be relieved by more gambling. One who exhibit such behavior can be classified to have a gambling addiction. Unfortunately, many gambling addicts are not aware that they have a problem. They only begin to realize the severity of the issue when they hit ‘rock bottom’.

There are various symptoms that indicate that someone is a compulsive gambler. One who has a gambling addiction usually progresses form occasional to habitual gambling. He begins to risk more and more money, which can lead to both financial and personal instability. Someone is said to have a gambling addiction if four (or more) of the following have been demonstrated in the last twelve months:

1. Needing to gamble progressively larger amounts of money to feel the same (or more) excitement

2. Having made many unsuccessful attempts to cut back or quit gambling

3. Feeling restless or irritable when trying to cut back or quit gambling

4. Preoccupation or excessive thoughts (planning next gambling venture, thinking of ways to get more money to gamble with)

5. If the person is using gambling to escape problems of distress, sadness or anxiety

6. Gambling larger amounts to try to recoup previous losses

7. Lying about the amount of time and money spent gambling

8. Relying on others to borrow money due to significant gambling losses

Gambling addiction is a significant problem in the United States, impacting 1-3% of adults, men more often than women. Various complications can arise from having a gambling addiction. Those with such gambling behavior often have problems with alcohol and other substances. These people also tend to have financial, social, and legal problems. Those with gambling addictions are also at higher risk for considering or attempting suicide.

If you or a loved one is exhibiting any of the eight behaviors listed above, you may be at risk for developing a gambling addiction. The licensed psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy are here to help. 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/

 

Postpartum Depression: Psychosocial Risk Factors

Postpartum Depression: Psychosocial Risk Factors

Written by: Jinal Kapadia

Postpartum depression, is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. Mothers with postpartum depression generally experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that can make it difficult for them to complete daily care activities for themselves or for others. (Nimh.nih.gov, 2018)

There are multiple risk factors that make some women more susceptible to postpartum depression than others. A first-time mother is at a higher risk for depression. Fatigue, which can be caused by the actual process of giving birth, the energy spent on caring for the baby, and tending to other responsibilities can also lead to depression. Women who are single mothers with less social support are also more susceptible. A woman’s feelings towards her pregnancy, such as negativity or ambivalence, increases her chances for depression. (Psychology Today, 2018)

Another risk factor is a woman’s past, such as the loss of her mother or a poor mother-daughter relationship. This can cause a woman to feel unsure about her newly developing relationship with her baby. Women who have babies by cesarean birth take longer to recover and are, therefore, more likely to be stressed, have lower self-esteem, and feel more depressed. Women who have premature babies often become depressed because the early birth results in unexpected changes in routine and is an added stressor. Lastly, a baby with a birth defect or other challenges (e.g. infantile colic) can make adjustment even more difficult for parents. (Psychology Today, 2018)

If you or someone you know has postpartum depression or seems to have the symptoms of postpartum depression, and needs help, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or 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, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:

Psychology Today. (2018). Postpartum Disorder | Psychology Today. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/postpartum-disorder [Accessed 12 Apr. 2018].

Nimh.nih.gov. (2018). Postpartum Depression Facts. [online] Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/postpartum-depression-facts/index.shtml [Accessed 12 Apr. 2018].

Eating Disorders & OCD: Is There a Relationship?

Is There A Relationship between OCD & Eating Disorders?

By: Cassie Sieradzky

Eating disorders and OCD are highly comorbid. Statistics estimate that about two-thirds of those diagnosed with an eating disorder have also been diagnosed with another type of anxiety disorder, specifically, 41% of individuals with an eating disorder also meet criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

OCD is characterized by recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that are intrusive and unwanted. Individuals with OCD attempt to ignore or suppress their thoughts, urges, or images by performing some behavior (compulsion).

Obsessive-compulsive behaviors are also frequently seen in eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. Some of the behaviors characterized by eating disorders can be considered compulsive and ritualistic, especially those performed in an attempt to remove the anxiety or discomfort associated with eating. Obsessions that could lead to compulsive behaviors include thoughts related to weight, eating, food, or body image.

Examples of compulsive behaviors commonly associated with eating disorders include excessive exercise, constant body checking, counting calories, frequent weighing, use of laxatives to reduce weight, and following particular “rules” or “rituals” when eating a meal.

Psychotherapy, medication, or both are typically successful in treating these disorders.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from OCD or an eating disorder, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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/

Ekern, J., & Karges, C. (2014, March 31). OCD and Eating Disorders Often Occur Together. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/treatment-for-eating-disorders/co-occurring-dual-diagnosis/ocd-obsessive-compulsive-disorder/ocd-and-eating-disorders-often-occur-together

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

OCD: SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

By: Cassie Sieradzky

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder where the individual has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that they feel unable to control. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can affect adults, adolescents, and children. Most people are diagnosed around age 19, typically with an earlier age of onset in boys than in girls. Risk factors for developing OCD include close relatives with this disorder as well as exposure to abuse/trauma in childhood. People diagnosed with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both. This can be disruptive to all facets of life, such as work, school, and personal relationships.

Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Examples of obsessions include fear of germs or contamination, unwanted taboo thoughts involving sex/ religion/ harm, aggressive thoughts towards others or self, and a need to have things in a perfect order.

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought, typically to ease the anxiety. Compulsions include excessive cleaning and/or handwashing, arranging things in a very particular way, repeatedly checking on things (checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off), and compulsive counting.

OCD is typically treated with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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/

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2018, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Isabelle Kreydin

You’ve heard about bipolar personality obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoia disorder, and probably a handful of other ones. One of the less uncommon and less discussed one is narcissistic personality disorder. This is a mental condition in which a person has an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.

What lies behind the disorder? Behind the mask of extreme confidence, arrogance and/or pompousness there is a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism, insult, or contempt. They may find their relationships unfulfilling, and others may not enjoy being around them when they feel the persons need for superiority which can lead to actions and words of disrespect.

Why does this disorder get diagnosed? Most believe that the causes are due to genetics as well as social factors, and the person’s early development such as family, personal temperament, school system, and learned coping skills to deal with stress.

What are some more possible symptoms? It’s their way or the highway, they won’t ever be wrong in situations, and if they admit to be wrong, they will put another down just in order to convince themselves that they are in the right, they can have ease lying; they can charm, falsely accuse, mooch, betray, mirror, compete, destroy, and manipulate easily. They are known also to commonly abuse drugs, alcohol or nicotine.

What problems does this disorder cause? It causes unstable and trouble in relationships, work, school or financial affairs. People with narcissistic personality disorder may be generally unhappy, and may take this out on another human and gain the personality trait that is sadistic.

How can we help the issue? After acceptance, treatment of this personality disorder typically involves long-term therapy, possible medication, and continuing to relate better with others in relationships, working towards empathy, understanding the cause of ones emotions and what drives one to compete and distrust, practicing tolerance, and trying to release ones desire for unattainable goals and ideal conditions.If you or a person you know is struggling with a narcissistic personality disorder, or any personality disorder, it may be beneficial to have them contact a mental health professional and receive therapy for their illnesses. The psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists at Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help.  Contact the Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920.  Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

To find out more information, visit: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20366662

Panic Attacks/Panic Disorder: Living with the Unexpected

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Panic Attacks / Panic Disorder; Anxiety

By: Denice Vidals

Panic attacks or panic disorder affects about 6 million American adults and has been found to be twice as common in women as in men. A person with panic disorder experiences sudden and unexpected panic attacks that can last for several minutes or longer. Panic attacks are intense episodes of overwhelming fear and anxiety that can cause physical symptoms. In order to be diagnosed with panic disorder, at least four physical symptoms must be present during an attack. These symptoms may include sweating, palpitations, shaking, a shortness of breath, choking, chest pain, nausea, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, feeling disconnected from reality, and chills or hot flashes.

Individuals with panic disorder are also constantly worried about when their next attack will happen. This is called anticipatory anxiety. Individuals may avoid certain situations or places where past panic attacks have occurred. These avoidance behaviors may lead to additional problems if one’s anxiety or worry does not allow one to continue normal daily functioning. Psychotherapy and medication have both been found to effectively treat panic disorder.

If you or someone you know is suffering from panic attacks, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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/

National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Panic disorder: When fear overwhelms. Retrieved on March 29, 2018 from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/panic-disorder-when-fear-overwhelms/index.shtml

Psychology Today. (2018, March 5). Retrieved on March 29, 2018 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/panic-disorder

ADHD: Recognizing Symptoms

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ADHD: Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder

By: Denice Vidals

ADHD is a common disorder characterized by a pattern of inattention and hyperactivity. Symptoms of ADHD can appear as early as 3 to 6 years old and can continue into adolescence and adulthood. In order for an adult to be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms must have been present prior to 12 years old. Although everyone may experience feelings of impulsivity and inattention, people with ADHD experience these symptoms more severely, more often, and they often interfere with how the individual functions in social settings.

According to the DSM-V, a diagnosis of ADHD is given when 6 or more symptoms of inattention are present for children up to age 16. Only 5 symptoms of inattention are needed for adults and regardless of age, symptoms must be present for at least 6 months. Inattention can be characterized as having trouble paying attention, overlooking details, making careless mistakes, being easily distracted by unrelated stimuli, being forgetful, and having trouble organizing tasks and following instructions.

A diagnosis of ADHD can also be given when 6 or more symptoms of hyperactivity are present for children up to age 16. Only 5 symptoms are required for a diagnosis of ADHD for adults. These symptoms must be present for at least 6 months as well. Hyperactivity can be described as constantly being in motion, interrupting others during conversation or activities, constantly talking, unable to wait patiently for one’s turn, squirming in one’s seat, and fidgeting with one’s hands or feet often.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of ADHD, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, August 31). Retrieved March 22, 2018 from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html

National Institute of Mental Health. (2017, November). Retrieved March 22, 2018 from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd.shtml

Paranoia / Paranoid Personality Disorder

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Paranoia / Paranoid Personality Disorder

By Denice Vidals

Paranoia or paranoid personality disorder is characterized by unjustified suspicion and extreme distrust. An individual suffering from paranoid personality disorder commonly misinterprets the actions and intentions of others as being spiteful and always “out to get them.” They will rarely confide in others because of the fear of being betrayed and exploited.

Common symptoms of paranoia or paranoid personality disorder include, but are not limited to, suspicion, a concern with hidden motives, an inability to collaborate, social isolation, detachment, hostility, and a poor self image.

Medication and psychotherapy have been found to alleviate symptoms of paranoia. Medication should be used for specific conditions of the disorder that disrupt normal functioning, such as anxiety. Psychotherapy has been found to be the most beneficial as a strong trusting therapist-client relationship can be established.

If you or someone you know is suffering from paranoia, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or 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, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Paranoid Personality Disorder. (2017, February 14). Retrieved February 15, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/paranoid-personality-disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder: DSM-5

By: Cassie Sieradzky

Oppositional defiant disorder is characterized by a pattern of angry/irritable mood swings, argumentative/defiant behavior, and vindictiveness. For a diagnosis to be warranted, symptoms must be present for at least 6 months and the individual must display at least 4 symptoms. The behaviors are associated with distress to the individual or those in their immediate circle, such as family or friends. The individual’s behavior may also negatively impact important areas of daily functioning, such as school or work.

A common symptom in individuals with oppositional defiant disorder is an angry/irritable mood. For example, they may often lose their temper, be touchy or easily annoyed, or are commonly angry and resentful. Argumentative/defiant behavior is also a core symptom of this disorder. Someone with oppositional defiant disorder may argue with authority figures or, for children and adolescents, with adults. They may often actively defy or refuse to comply with requests from authority figures or with rules. Additionally, they may deliberately annoy others and blame people for their mistakes or misbehavior. Vindictiveness or spitefulness at least twice within the past 6 months is also a symptom of oppositional defiant disorder.

The diagnosis must be developmentally appropriate. For children younger than 5, the behavior should occur on most days for a period of at least 6 months, while individuals 5 years or older should exhibit symptoms at least once per week for at least 6 months. The disorder varies by severity as to whether the condition is mild, moderate, or severe. Mild oppositional defiant disorder is diagnosed when symptoms are confined to only one setting, moderate severity is diagnosed when symptoms are present in at least two settings, and severe oppositional defiant disorder is diagnosed when symptoms are present in three or more settings.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from oppositional defiant disorder, licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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/

Oppositional Defiant Disorder DSM V – Pearson Clinical NA. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2018, from http://www.bing.com/cr?IG=2282EE88A8B54A4EBBE6371B24777ECE&CID=16FD8C7C2F796F5D053A87C32ED66EB9&rd=1&h=V2GxYeJJUKwraVQBc2bMHklhpE-eVv00fBjh-V2nxkY&v=1&r=http://images.pearsonclinical.com/images/assets/basc-3/basc3resources/DSM5_DiagnosticCriteria_OppositionalDefiantDisorder.pdf&p=DevEx,5064.1