Depression: Life During Covid-19

Depression: Life During Covid-19

By: Ziara Pena

Covid-19 has impacted the lives of everyone worldwide. We are living in a society where the new norm is not being able to see the faces of others due to masks. Social distancing and fear of the virus contribute to the limitation of human interaction.

The virus has instilled such fear, causing some individuals to not see anyone outside of their household in almost a year. Grandparents didn’t get to watch their grandchildren’s first steps, many didn’t get to say a final goodbye to their loved ones and ceremonies such as graduations and weddings were canceled. Covid-19 has brought much negativity and hurt to the lives of many. Catching the virus is not the only thing that we need to be worrying about. Mental health, particularly depression, has been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. Studies have proven that suicide rates have skyrocketed from 1% to 145%. These numbers do not even include the rates of suicidal ideations and self-harm.

Now more than ever is when we need to spread awareness of the importance of taking care of our mental health similarly as we take care of our physical health. If you or someone you know needs mental health support throughout the pandemic, 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/

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Sources: https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4352

Photo Source: https://www.google.com/search?q=nurse+covid+19+crying&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiAg7Co4NruAhXXFVkFHV_lB-QQ_AUoAXoECAYQAw&biw=1600&bih=708#imgrc=2ZCuCtlSreICKM

PTSD: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: What is C-PTSD? An overview of signs and symptoms of C-PTSD

PTSD: Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: What is C-PTSD? An overview of signs and symptoms of C-PTSD

By: Zoe Alekel

The Mayo Clinic defines Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as, a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Although overlapping with PTSD, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) has additional symptoms and complications due to prolonged and repeated trauma over periods of time (i.e. domestic physical, emotional, or verbal abuse, childhood abuse, long-term torture, and long-term exposure to ongoing crisis conditions).

The US Department of Veterans Affairs defines C-PTSD as experienced chronic trauma that continues or repeats for months or years at a time. Some have suggested that the current PTSD diagnosis does not fully capture the severe psychological harm that occurs with prolonged, repeated trauma. Symptoms of C-PTSD can include: behavioral difficulties, emotional difficulties, cognitive difficulties, interpersonal difficulties, and somatization.

A person who has experienced a prolonged period (months to years) of chronic victimization and total control by another or other types of trauma, may also experience difficulties in the following areas:

  • Emotional regulation: Includes persistent sadness, suicidal thoughts, explosive anger, or inhibited anger.
  • Consciousness: Includes forgetting traumatic events, reliving traumatic events, or having episodes in which one feels detached from one’s mental processes or body (dissociation).
  • Self-perception: Includes helplessness, shame, guilt, stigma, and a sense of being completely different from other human beings.
  • Distorted perceptions of the perpetrator: Includes attributing total power to the perpetrator, becoming preoccupied with the relationship to the perpetrator, or preoccupied with revenge.
  • Relations with others: Includes isolation, distrust, or a repeated search for a rescuer.
  • One’s system of meanings: Includes a loss of sustaining faith or a sense of hopelessness and despair.

If you or someone you know needs support with C-PTSD, please contact our psychotherapy office 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.counselingps.ychotherapynjny.com/

Image: https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1600/0*LbDcZnejtTf0UC5F.jpg

Sources: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/complex_ptsd.asp

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967

Phobias

By Veronica Oquendo

Phobias are defined in psychology as an intense and irrational fear of a specific object or situation. Currently, 9.1% of U.S. adults suffer from a specific phobia. Some of the most common phobias include: Acrophobia (heights), ophidiophobia (snakes), and Mysophobia (germs and dirt. The DSM-5 divides the phobias into 5 categories:

Natural/Environment Type: Thunder and lighting (astraphobia), Water (aquaphobia)

Injury Type: Injections (tryanophobia), Accidents (Dystychiphobia)

Animals or Insects: Spiders (arachnophobia), Dogs (cynophobia)

Situational: Enclosed Spaces (claustrophobia), Flying (aviophobia)

Other: Vomiting (emetophobia), Choking (Pseudodysphagia) 

Although, not all fears are considered phobias, it would need to fit the criteria of being: unreasonable and excessive, have an immediate anxiety response, have recognition that the fear is irrational and not required, avoidance or extreme distress, and be life limiting, have at least a six month duration, and not be caused be another disorder. Exposure to the phobia has been known to cause severe panic attacks. Treatment for phobias include: psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication management, exposure therapy, stress management techniques, and support groups.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a specific phobia, 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: 

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/specific-phobia

Mental Health Consequences During Covid

By Veronica Oquendo

COVID- 19 has shown to have devastating medical health consequences with the recent death toll at 425 thousand and rising. However, the mental health consequences may be overlooked, even though they are condemning, and can also lead to death from suicide. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Weekly Report surveyed and found that 40.9% of those reporting had at least one adverse mental health condition, an uptick from last year. The most vulnerable of the population affected were among age group 18-24 years old, minority racial and ethnic groups essential workers, unpaid caregivers for adults, and those already receiving treatment for psychiatric conditions. The highest increase in symptoms being from anxiety and depressive disorders (30.9%). Anxiety disorder was three times more likely to be prevalent this year than in 2019. Due to the overwhelming stress and worry caused by the pandemic, alcohol and drugs are used to cope in unhealthy proportions. Furthermore, past studies have shown links between social isolation and sucide. Due to the safety regulations of social distancing and quarantine for COVID-19, more people have been feeling lonely, frustrated, and boredom causing a rise of suicidal ideation. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with the mental health consequences of COVID-19, 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:

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6932a1-H.pdf

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifting-the-veil-trauma/202009/the-psychological-impact-covid-19

What Parents Can Do to Help Their Special Needs Children during Virtual Learning

By Eleanor Kim

With the abrupt transition to online learning last March, teachers, students, and parents alike were left to quickly adjust and find new ways of making virtual learning feel “normal”. While this transition may have come more naturally to some, there are still many families who are struggling to ensure that their children are getting a quality education in their homes. One demographic of online learners who are finding it exceptionally difficult are those who have special needs and learning disabilities. It is hard to spend hours focusing on a Zoom session, especially when special needs learners no longer have direct access to the specialized teachers and aids that help them learn in a normal school setting. Unfortunately, this additional stress during an already unprecedented time has taken a toll on special needs parents and it is important that parents are self-compassionate to themselves as they journey through this uncharted online learning experience. That being said, there are still many new strategies that parents can try to implement to assist their child’s distanced learning.

  • Ask teachers to offer “asynchronous” work in conjunction with any Zoom activities to allow your child more hands-on learning opportunities or request more one-on-one learning through break out rooms or personal Zoom meetings
  • If you are unable to remain with your child during their school hours, reach out to your child’s teachers and aids for an update on how they are doing and how you can help after school hours
  • Offer your child “fidget toys” during Zoom calls to help them remain focused on class material
  • If your child has a hard time staying seated during Zoom meetings, offer Bluetooth earbuds or headphones to allow your child the ability to move around while still remaining attentive and participatory during class
  • Incorporate time within your child’s schedule to stretch and relieve any additional stress or energy by going outside or having a dance break!
  • Make sure to schedule check-in meetings with your child’s school team (teachers, aids, counselor, etc.) to help your child express any frustrations or emotions they are experiencing during this difficult time.

Let your child know that it is okay to be having a hard time right now and that you are there to help them through it. Also make sure that you, the parent, are receiving the support you need while helping your special needs child with online learning in addition to any other struggles you may be facing during these unusual and overwhelming times. We here at Arista Counseling have many therapists and support options available for you.

If you or someone you know is looking for support, 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:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_parents_can_support_children_with_special_needs_during_distance_learning

Image Source:

https://dynaimage.cdn.cnn.com/cnn/c_fill,g_auto,w_1200,h_675,ar_16:9/https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.cnn.com%2Fcnnnext%2Fdam%2Fassets%2F200810224242-20200810-online-learning-main.jpg

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

By: Kassandra Lora

Once the seasons change from fall to winter and the days become shorter, some individuals may notice a change in their moods. Some of these mood changes may be a slight feeling of being “down” but other times, these mood changes can be more severe and can have a significant effect on a person. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that usually affects a person once the seasons are changing. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “SAD symptoms start in the late fall or early winter and go away during the spring and summer; this is known as winter-pattern SAD or winter depression.” It is not as common for someone to develop SAD symptoms during the spring and summer months, although it is still possible.

Some significant depression symptoms may include:

•           feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day

•           losing interest in activities

•           changes in appetite or weight

•           having problems with sleep

•           having low energy

•           feeling worthless or hopeless

•           having difficulty concentrating

•           having frequent thoughts of death or suicide.

Although Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression, to develop the diagnosis of having SAD, you must have the symptoms of major depression or must have some of the symptoms listed above. You must also have these depressive episodes occur to you during a specific season for a least two consecutive years.

Individuals who are more susceptible to developing SAD are more commonly those who live further north. Furthermore, according to the Nation Institute of Mental Health, “SAD is more common in people with major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, especially bipolar II disorder, which is associated with recurrent depressive and hypomanic episodes.” SAD is also more commonly found in women than men.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a severe condition, though scientists cannot understand what exactly causes SAD. Scientists have done the research and have suggested that people with SAD may have reduced serotonin activity, regulating mood. Researchers have also indicated how lack of sunlight in people with SAD can affect their serotonin levels, affecting their mood. Although these are all possible causes and effects which determined why individuals may have SAD it is still unclear if these are the exact reason. However, these causes and effects can be useful when focusing on treatment.Treatments that may help people with SAD include light therapy, psychotherapy, antidepressant medications, and vitamin D.

Speak to your health care provider about which treatment or combination is most suitable for you. If you or someone you know is struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, 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.

Source: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml

Image Source: https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2019/03/how-i-learned-cope-seasonal-affective-disorder-grad-school