Increased Drug and Alcohol Use during the Stay at Home Order

By Eleanor Kim

The Coronavirus pandemic has left the whole world isolated with very little to do aside from school or work. As the stay at home orders continue, individuals have been forced to find other means of coping or simply passing the time. Some individuals have found coping mechanisms that have ignited newfound purpose during such bleak times; however, others have embarked on less than beneficial pastimes, turning to drugs and alcohol as a means of “getting through” the pandemic. Cases of substance use disorder, or SUD, have skyrocketed since the official declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic with cases of patients who have experienced overdoses and other complications related to substance abuse increasing as well. In a recent survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 13.3% of respondents stated that they have either started or increased substance use in order to cope with the stress and emotions caused by COVID-19 and the subsequent national emergency. With the world in such an unstable and worrisome state, it is not surprising to see individuals seek comfort in any way that they can, especially as those individuals face new and or preexisting stressors and anxieties through isolation.

As the pandemic continues, the surging mental health and substance abuse epidemics have shown to go hand in hand with one another. In fact, throughout the pandemic, there has been a 62% increase in worry, a 51% increase in sadness, a 51% increase in fear, and a 42% increase in loneliness. It was also revealed that within the past year, there has been a 32% increase for non-prescribed fentanyl, a 20% increase for methamphetamine, a 12.5% increase for heroine, a 10% increase for cocaine, as well as an 18% increase in suspected drug overdoses. These increases have not gone unnoticed. Those that already struggled with substance abuse or other mental health disorders have found stay at home orders increasingly difficult given the limited access to their usual treatment and support groups. Those who wish to begin receiving professional help with their substance use have had harder times finding adequate care given the decrease in in- and out-patient support and treatment over the past year. These limitations have fed into the increases in mental health struggles and SUD cases, leaving those who have been affected feeling desperate and out of control.

Substance abuse is not the answer to these difficult and isolating times. There is still hope for those who wish to seek other, more benevolent means of coping with the pandemic and for those who wish to begin treatment for their substance use disorder. Telehealth is one way that individuals with SUD, or other destructive coping mechanisms, can begin receiving professional help and therapy. Counselors and therapists are available to talk with you or anyone you know who may be dealing with substance use disorders during this time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, 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/.

Resources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/09/addressing-unique-challenges-covid-19-people-in-recovery

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7219362/

https://www.ehstoday.com/covid19/article/21139889/drug-abuse-on-the-rise-because-of-the-coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm

Image Source:

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/covid-crisis-exacerbating-lgbtq-alcohol-abuse-studies-find-n1257008

Covid Vaccine and Mental Illness

By Veronica Oquendo

The Covid-19 vaccine is becoming eligible for those who are in need of it most, which include people that are elderly, have immunity deficiencies, and respiratory complications. There are sound concerns for those with severe mental illness that are in need of the vaccine, but they are not being prioritized. One reason for this is that individuals with severe mental illness are people from a disadvantaged group based on both medical and socioeconomic risk factors. These individuals are more likely to have health comorbidities like cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, chronic kidney disease, immunodeficiency, and cancer. Moreover, the mortality rate for those with severe mental illness is three to four times higher than for those who do not have mental illness. They are more likely to be smokers, or be obese, which both are associated with a higher risk of death when infected with Covid-19. Additionally, they are more likely to work in unsafe environments, live in overcrowded areas, or be homeless, which are all associated with an increased chance of getting Covid-19. For all these reasons, individuals with mental illness are at higher risk to contract and ultimately fall fatal to Covid-19. Therefore should be ensured to be among those who are vaccinated early.

If you or someone you know is in the need of help with mental illness please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey arrange an appointment with one of our licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. You can 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.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(20)30564-2/fulltext

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/people-with-mental-health-conditions-are-at-high-risk-for-covid-19-so-why-arent-they-being-prioritized#Severe-mental-illness-increases-COVID-19-risks

Dreams & Nightmares

Dreams & Nightmares

By: Daniela Vargas

Dreams are images, ideas, emotions and sensations that occur in our minds while we sleep. Dreams happen during the REM stage, which stands for Rapid Eye Movement. This is the stage where our brain activity is the most active and resembles the state of being awake. Dreams can occur during other stages, but they are not as vivid and we usually don’t remember those dreams. Dreams can last from a couple of seconds to 20 – 30 minutes. On average people have 5 dreams; some can have up to 7.

            Sometimes dreams turn into nightmares and those can lead to psychological distress. Nightmares can cause post-traumatic stress, anxiety disorder, dissociation and psychological changes. “Re-experiencing” is a common symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as flashbacks.

            These nightmares can get worse and lead to insomnia. Therapy can help your sleep schedule become regular; it can also help with post traumatic distress order.

If you or someone you know is in the need of help with destressing from dreams or nightmares please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey arrange an appointment with one of our licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. You can 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.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/dreaming

https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/dreams/

Image: https://www.stockvault.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Nightmares-23.jpg

Depression in the Elderly

By Veronica Oquendo

Depression in the older people (65+) affects 2 million of the 34 million elderly Americans in the US. There are many reasons depression in the elderly occur including:

  • Death of Spouse
  • Co-occurrence with disability
  • Co-occurrence with medical illnesses (diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s, etc.,)

A unique cause for being diagnosed with depression is from a lack of blood flow called vascular depression. If the individual has restricted blood flow throughout the body and brain for any medical reason, it makes them susceptible to depression even with no genetic history. Furthermore, many of those who are elderly often suffer from loved ones dying from old age. When it is a spouse that has passed, there is a prevalence of one-third that the surviving spouse will have depression.

Unfortunately, depression in older individuals often leads to suicide with a 20% suicide rate being those who are elderly, the highest of any other age group. Those most vulnerable are white males, especially those 85 or older being 6 times the general suicide rate in the US. Moreover, these individuals are at higher risk for memory loss, unhealthy eating habits, sleeping problems, and slower reaction times, than an elderly person without depression.

 If you or someone you know is elderly with depression, 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.apa.org/topics/aging-depression

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/depression-and-older-adults

Physician Burnout during a Global Pandemic

By Eleanor Kim

Physicians and nurses around the world have been at the front lines fighting the coronavirus and saving the lives of those infected. Now more than ever, citizens are coming to realize the importance of those within the medical field and the bravery that comes with entering medicine. That being said, there has been an immense amount of pressure placed upon healthcare workers, often causing stress, anxiety, and depression. At the end of the day, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers are humans and can feel the effects of burnout during such a heightened and high stakes moment in medical history.

Burnout is when someone becomes overwhelmed by the demands of their daily life, becoming emotionally and physically exhausted and creating a sense of depersonalization and weakened personal accomplishments. Burnout is a common occurrence among physicians and nurses given the great amount of pressure that comes with saving lives. That being said, these feelings of burnout have skyrocketed given the additionally taxing nature of current frontline medical work such as the stress of isolating from friends and family, the extended hours of work, the tragic lack of medical supplies, and the fear of contracting or spreading the virus, to name a few. Physicians are also left to deal with the other struggles and anxieties that the past year has brought upon the general population regarding economic, political, racial, and other personal effects of the pandemic.

During these elongated periods where healthcare workers are left sleep deprived, improperly fed, and overall anxious about the current status of the pandemic, they are exposed to both mentally and physically long lasting effects. In 2020, there have been a record number of physicians who have reported feelings of burnout and other mental health concerns since the start of the pandemic. Should these issues go untreated, there is an increased risk for depression, self-medication, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. Burnout is more than just stress; it is a mental health crisis and should be treated as such.

If you or someone you know is feeling the effects of physician and healthcare worker burnout, 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/.

Resources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lipiroy/2020/05/17/doctor-heal-thyself-physician-burnout-in-the-wake-of-covid-19/

Image Source:

https://blog.frontiersin.org/2020/04/14/more-than-a-third-of-medical-staff-suffered-insomnia-during-the-covid-19-epidemic-in-china/

Vaping’s Effect on Weight Loss

By: Kassandra Lora

E-cigarettes were first introduced into society around the early 2000’s.  Although they existed around that time they were not widely used especially not by young adults. In 2015 the company JUUL created a newer more eye-catching version of e-cigarettes. This caught the attention of many young adults and thus has increased the number of young adults using e-cigarettes.

When JUUL became popular in 2015 many of the young adults who were smoking it were not aware that JUUL pods contained nicotine. According to an article written in the Psychology Today magazine, 1 cart, or pod, that is placed inside the JUUL contains the same amount of nicotine as 1 pack of cigarettes.

            How does vaping affect someone’s weight? As stated previously, vaping contains nicotine, a highly addictive chemical. According to the article in the Psychology Today magazine, some effects of nicotine include:

  • Cutting craving for sweets
  • Increased metabolism
  • Decreased Snacking
  • Reduced weight

            Since many or almost all of the JUUL pods or carts are available in fruity and sweet flavors, individuals may substitute a craving for a cake or an unhealthy meal for a few puffs of a JUUL. This habit will cause many to begin to substitute a JUUL puff for a meal resulting in an increase in weight loss. In another study titled, Weight Concerns and Use of Cigarettes and E-Cigarettes Among Young Adults, it was mentioned how “someone suffering from anorexia or binge eating is more likely to use vaping as a way to control food intake.” This substitution of vaping instead of having a meal may eventually become an addiction or something that is difficult to control.

            If you or someone you know is struggling with a vaping addiction, 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 is located in Paramus, NJ and Manhattan. Call (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com.

Sources: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-antidepressant-diet/201905/vaping-is-not-the-way-lose-weight

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29843377/

Image source: : https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/01/9328587/how-to-quit juul

                                                                                                                                                             

Alcohol Usage Increase during Covid-19

By. Alexis Yennie

Alcohol consumption has been rising consistently since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak. Having people see alcohol as an “effective pain killer”, women’s rates of consuming alcohol are much higher than men’s; due to the increase of work stress and also domestic duties (childcare, homeschooling, and being in charge of the household), Experts are becoming gradually more concerned with individuals and the choices they are making about how they choose to ease the pain during the pandemic. During this pandemic, times are uncertain; including things such as death and unemployment.

A survey that was done by the RAND Corporation and overseen by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) compared different drinking habits from 2019 to the present day with a collection of 1,540 participants. The results showed that both men’s and women’s rates have been dramatically increasing since the pandemic began. It also showed an increase in binging episodes as well. The results also showed that it was on average, five more drinks for men and four more drinks for women, within a couple of hours; women’s consumption amount increase by at least half.

The study that was done did not only show the amount of excess drinking that occurring but also showed the psychological impact that binge drinking has created for a majority of people.  Emotions such as guilt, shamefulness, and depression, have all been a common theme of emotions between individuals. A lot of individuals feel that there is no better option and it was an easy way to cope with the new “norm”. Unfortunately, there are new innovative ways of obtaining alcohol from the comfort of your home through liquor store home delivery apps; only adding more fuel to an already big fire.

If you or someone you know is struggling with high levels of alcohol usage, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professionals who deal with drug and alcohol problems. We have psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioner, and psychotherapist Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy is located in Paramus, NJ, and Manhattan, NY you can reach us at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Source: https://abcnews.go.com/US/alcohol-consumption-rising-sharply-pandemic-women/story?id=73302479

Image Source: https://www.recoveryintune.com/drug-and-alcohol-abuse/

 

Is an Emotional Support Animal Right for You

By Eleanor Kim

Pets have brought joy and comfort to pet owners for hundreds of years. The sheer presence of a happy-go-lucky dog or cat is enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face. The benefits of pet ownership can go beyond mere companionship or responsibility, in fact, emotional support animals are able to, as their name indicates, provide emotional support and other mental health benefits.

Common ways in which emotional support animals could support their owners are:

  • Fostering emotional connectivity
  • Helping people during times of crisis
  • Lowering anxiety
  • Offering trauma support
  • Improving physical health (Lower blood pressure, decrease respiration rates, improve ability to cope with pain, etc.)
  • Lowering feelings of loneliness or depression
  • Reciprocating feelings of love and care

It is important to indicate the difference between emotional support animals and service animals. Service animals also provide emotional support to their owners; however, service animals undergo intensive training to perform specific tasks necessary to aid their owners’ needs. In contrast, emotional support animals do not need formal training and simply need to receive a certification from the state registry. In order to qualify for an emotional service animal, individuals must acquire a prescription from a licensed mental health professional indicating that the presence of an emotional support animal is necessary for the mental health of the patient.

In a time when all of us are at home and may be in need of more emotional support, emotional support animals may provide the help you need. If you are interested in receiving emotional support, whether that be through a support animal or through a mental health professional, we here at Arista Counseling are here to assist you.

If you or someone you know is looking for emotional 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/.

References:

Everything You Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-an-emotional-support-animal-4171479#definition

Picture Source:

https://figopetinsurance.com/blog/can-cats-dogs-live-together-peacefully

Gaining Familial Support through Therapy

By Eleanor Kim

Starting therapy is a crucial step towards achieving emotional and psychological wellbeing. Therapy in conjunction with support and love from family members provides a sense of familiarity and comfort while receiving professional help. As the individual continues their therapy, it may be beneficial for all family members to consider family therapy as a means of familial support for their loved one during what may be a difficult or challenging time for the individual.

Family therapy is a form of therapy that allows family members to express their care for a family member who may be dealing with mental health or substance abuse disorders while also strengthening their own familial relations through proper communication. Family therapy will also allow family members to receive the support they may need while they learn how to best help their loved one and to address any questions or concerns they may have regarding their condition.

Family therapy is not limited to families dealing with psychological or addiction issues. In fact, family therapy is a great option for all families, especially for those who are seeking professional guidance while navigating through situations that may cause their family stress, anger, grief, or conflict. Possible matters include, but are not limited to, marital issues, loss, illness, grief, life style changes, and other environmental stressors. Family members will work on strengthening their empathy and understanding for one another as therapists assist individuals to express their needs or concerns in an open and non-judging environment. Family therapists will also guide family members throughout the process of understanding what their loved one is experiencing, as is the case in individual therapy. It is beneficial for both parties to communicate with one another in ways in which they can help one another throughout the recovery process.

At Arista Counseling, we have many therapists who are ready to help you and your family through any psychological conditions, substance abuse issues, or otherwise troubling matters that may currently be affecting your family.

If you or someone you know is seeking familial support or has considered family therapy, 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

References:

http://www.acenterfortherapy.com/family_issues.php

Image Source:

https://www.seekpng.com/ipng/u2a9o0y3w7e6w7a9_family-counseling-clipart-marriage-and-family-therapist-clipart/

Schizophrenia: Signs and Symptoms

Schizophrenia: Signs and Symptoms

Ziara Pena

Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel and behave clearly. Although the exact cause is unknown, genetics, environment, altered brain chemistry and structure might play a role.

People who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia often show symptoms through their behavior, thoughts, mood, speech and psychological awareness. The common symptoms are as followed:

Behavior

  • Social isolation, disorganized behavior, aggression, agitation, compulsive behavior, excitability, hostility, repetitive movements, self-harm, or lack of restraint

Cognition

  • Thought disorder, delusion, amnesia, belief that an ordinary event has special and personal meaning, belief that thoughts aren’t one’s own, disorientation, mental confusion, slowness in activity, or false belief of superiority

Mood

  • Anger, anxiety, apathy, feeling detached from self, general discontent, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, elevated mood, or inappropriate emotional response

Psychological Awareness

  • Hallucination, paranoia, hearing voices, depression, fear, persecutory delusion, or religious delusion

Speech

  • Circumstantial speech, incoherent speech, rapid and frenzied speaking, or speech disorder

Other common symptoms:

  • Fatigue, impaired motor coordination, lack of emotional response, or memory loss

Schizophrenia needs to be diagnosed by a medical professional as it is chronic and can last for years or be lifelong. Although medication may help, it does not cure the disorder.

If you or someone you know is struggling with schizophrenia, 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.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/schizophrenia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354443?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=abstract&utm_content=Schizophrenia&utm_campaign=Knowledge-panel

Photo Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-are-the-symptoms-of-schizophrenia-2953120