Drug Abuse During Covid-19

By: Catherine Cain

The stress and uncertainty Covid-19 brings is especially dangerous to those who abuse drugs or alcohol. The increased stress, mass layoffs and unemployment, and social distancing restrictions have caused a major uptick in the number of people who self-reported drug use over the last six months. Relying on these substances to make it through a day is not only detrimental to your mental health, but puts undue stress on your body’s immune system, ultimately weakening your ability to fight off infections and viruses.

Those who smoke or vape, whether marijuana or tobacco, are at a higher risk for contracting Covid-19 and may experience severe symptoms. Smoking and vaping lead to lung damage, as does Covid-19, which is why it is especially important not to let your addiction go unchecked.

Addiction may be hard to overcome, but it is not impossible. Covid-19 creates an environment where your addiction can progress quickly, because of the reduced social interactions and prolonged periods of isolation.

Here are some ways to help combat your addiction:

Contact a medical provider immediately.

Ask about medication to combat cravings.

Include your family/friends, so you have someone to hold you accountable.

If you or someone you know is struggling with 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. 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://medicine.umich.edu/dept/psychiatry/michigan-psychiatry-resources-covid-19/specific-mental-health-conditions/addiction-substance-use-recovery-during-covid-19-pandemic

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lipiroy/2020/03/16/addiction-treatment-facilities-are-they-prepared-for-covid-19/#3bf8b57044ea

Borderline Personality Disorder: Helping Yourself and Your Family

By Argie Dabrowski

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a Cluster B personality disorder. Like other disorders in this category, including histrionic, narcissistic, and antisocial personality disorder, BPD is characterized by unpredictable, dramatic, and overly-emotional behavior and thoughts. Specific to borderline patients is a persistent fear of abandonment by others, which leads to unstable relationships, suicidal gestures, self-damaging behavior, anger and emptiness, and even dissociative symptoms. For those with this condition, their symptoms not only interfere with their daily functioning but can also strain their closest personal relationships. Having a family member that suffers from a personality disorder can be a difficult and distressing experience. When it comes to coping with borderline personality disorder in family members, steps can be taken to help both them and yourself.

First of all, it is important to remember that it is not your job to treat and constantly provide reassurance for a borderline family member. You can still show that you love and care about them, but not to the point that it affects your own mental health. It may be difficult, but you should not put your own life on hold for someone else or be their punching bag, verbally or physically. At that point, it is imperative to step away from the situation and allow the person to seek help on their own. Professional help is available to them in the form of medication and therapy.

Although there are no BPD-specific drugs, medications can be used if the patient is experiencing symptoms of other disorders with their BPD. For example, some people with borderline personality disorder experience depressive episodes so they may be prescribed antidepressants, such as escitalopram or fluoxetine. Mood-stabilizers can also be used and if a patient also has psychotic features, they may be treated with antipsychotics.

Besides medication, there are also multiple types of therapy that can be used to treat borderline personality disorder. Dialectical behavior therapy is a treatment that is available and is used to treat BPD specifically. Through this therapy, patients work on their ability to cope with their intense emotional responses and learn the skills needed to deal with crises and other distress in a healthy manner. It is easy to be overwhelmed when faced with borderline personality disorder in family members, but help is out there.

If you or someone you know is struggling with borderline personality 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 respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:
mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/personality-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20354463
psychologytoday.com/us/blog/matter-personality/201312/borderline-provocations-part-ii-how-not-respond
mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20370242
psychcentral.com/lib/an-overview-of-dialectical-behavior-therapy/

Image Source:
pathwaysreallife.com/borderline-personality-disorder-treatment/

Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorders, ADHD, Et al: How to Support a Friend with Mental Illness

By: Sarah Cohen

When helping a friend with a mental illness, the first step should be assessment of their symptoms. Sometimes they just might be going through a difficult time, but if certain common symptoms associated with mental health issues persist it is imperative to respond sensitively. Majority of the time, friends will just want to know they have your support and that you care about them. A good way to show your support is by talking to them. If you provide a non-judgmental space for them to speak about their issues it will help encourage them to be open with their problems. Let them lead the conversation and don’t pressure them to reveal information. It can be incredibly difficult and painful to speak about these issues and they might not be ready to share everything. If you aren’t their therapist do not diagnose them or make assumptions about how they are feeling, just listen and show you understand. If someone doesn’t want to speak with you, don’t take it personally, just continue to show them you care about their wellbeing and want to help as much as possible. Just knowing they have support can give them the strength they need to contact someone who can help them.

If a friend is having a crisis, such as a panic attack or suicidal thoughts, you must stay calm. Try not to overwhelm them by asking a lot of questions and confronting them in a public setting. Ask them gently what would be helpful to them right now or reassure them. If they hurt themselves, get first aid as soon as possible. If someone is suicidal, contact the suicide hotline at 800-237-8255 immediately.

The best way to help someone is by connecting them to professional help. By expressing your concern and support you can show them that they can get help and their mental health problems can be treated.

If you or someone you know needs support with their mental illness, 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/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/supporting-someone-mental-health-problem

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk/friends-family-members

Marriage During Covid-19

By: Sarah Cohen

During Coronavirus, a lot of extra strain and anxiety have been placed on marriages. While research has shown that disasters uncover strengths in relationships it can also reveal issues. Even in the best relationships, we still always need a little bit of space from each other. 

Since Coronavirus has begun, applications for divorce have risen greatly in the Chinese city of Xi’an. While divorce rates do increase during times of stress, this is unprecedented. There aren’t just changes in routine and close contact without breaks, there are many other factors influencing marital stress during these times. An increased amount of new anxiety about health and keeping safe from Covid-19, unemployment and therefore financial insecurity, caring for elderly relatives with reduced strength immune systems, lacking social connection outside of the spouse, dealing with childcare and school issues, or simply managing chores and uncertainty about what will be in the future are just a few of the issues that could be causing marital stress. In addition, couples may be using different coping mechanisms during stressful times which clash with the other spouse. One might be active and attempt to be cheerful while the other might be hopeless and passive.

There are many ways to fight against this marital strain, here are a couple ways to combat it. By picking your battles you can limit the amount of arguments and issues you create in the home. Even further, you can put a time limit on your arguments in order for them not to affect every moment of the day, when the time limit is up you can put it all behind you. Create some alone time, when you make boundaries stick to them. Another way to get some alone time and be active is to exercise, even just by taking a walk. Speaking to other people over the phone or video chat so your spouse isn’t the only person you talk to is another good way to make sure you can have a little break. Lastly, focus on survival during these difficult times not creating issues and rifts between you and your partner.

If you or someone you know needs support with their marriage, 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/ .

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-discomfort-zone/202004/will-coronavirus-infect-your-marriage

https://time.com/5811146/coronavirus-married-relationship/

COVID-19 and Domestic Violence

COVID-19 and Domestic Violence
By: Isabelle Siegel

When the COVID-19 pandemic began and stay-at-home orders were first put into place, it was predicted that domestic violence rates would soar. With people confined to their homes, it was only natural that the potential for abuse would become higher. At the onset of the stay-at-home orders, the United Nations Population Fund estimated that just three months of quarantine would yield a 20% increase in domestic violence worldwide. Why? Without work and other escapes from the home, people are forced to remain with their abusive partners at all times. Moreover, orders to remain at home complicate the process of seeking support from friends and professionals. Other factors such as higher stress levels, alcohol use, and economic anxiety may also contribute to increased rates of domestic violence.

However, there has been a surprising decrease in reports of domestic violence. In fact, domestic violence arrests are down a shocking 40%. Is the rate of domestic violence truly decreasing, or is something else at play?

Unfortunately, the statistics paint a misleading picture. In reality, anecdotal evidence suggests that domestic violence is at a high. Experts suggest that the drop in reports of domestic violence is just that: a drop in reports, not in incidents. Victims quarantining with their abusers are simply less able to call for help, as evidenced by the fact that more calls to hotlines and the police are coming from neighbors and other witnesses. Domestic violence calls most frequently occur when the abuser is not home or the victim is at work. With fewer opportunities to be apart from their abuser, victims are forced to remain silent. Other pandemic-related factors further render victims less likely to seek help. For example, victims report avoiding going to the hospital for domestic violence-related injuries due to fear of catching COVID-19.

Moreover, instances of domestic violence seem to be becoming increasingly violent amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Despite the overall decrease in domestic violence reports, there have been increases in rates of domestic violence-related shootings and murders.

If you or a loved one needs support for domestic violence, 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/

Sources:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/nyregion/new-york-city-domestic-violence-coronavirus.html
https://www.themarshallproject.org/2020/04/22/is-domestic-violence-rising-during-the-coronavirus-shutdown-here-s-what-the-data-shows
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/making-sense-chaos/202005/why-the-increase-in-domestic-violence-during-covid-19

Image Source: https://www.bpr.org/sites/wcqs/files/styles/x_large/public/202004/AdobeStock_182729028.jpg

Addiction: How to Support a Spouse with Addiction

Addiction: How to Support a Spouse with Addiction
By: Isabelle Siegel

One hallmark sign of addiction is continued substance use despite interference with one’s interpersonal relationships. Addiction can take an immense toll on romantic relationships in particular, causing pain and suffering for both parties. The partners/spouses of people with addiction may feel as though they are helpless, unable to provide the support that is needed. However, there are steps that partners/spouses can take to support their partner/spouse and themselves.

Develop an understanding of addiction and how it manifests in your partner/spouse. Research “Substance Use Disorder” and its symptoms, taking note of which symptoms apply to your partner/spouse. It may be helpful to create a list of warning signs that your partner/spouse is using substances, as well as to learn what to do in the case of an overdose.

Support, but avoid enabling. Enabling entails making excuses for your partner’s/spouse’s addictive behavior, communicating to them that such behavior is acceptable and can be continued. Instead, stress the necessity of change while also practicing devotion and love.

Establish boundaries for your relationship. Many professionals suggest establishing a set of boundaries that must be respected. For example, you may want to tell your partner/spouse that he/she cannot use substances while in the house.

Be honest with your partner/spouse. Tell your partner/spouse how his/her behavior makes you feel. If your partner’s/spouse’s behavior is hurting you, tell him/her. It is normal to feel uncomfortable during these conversations, but they are important and even necessary for change.

Most importantly, take care of yourself and seek therapy. Understand that your partner/spouse is not the only one who needs support and never feel guilty for prioritizing your own needs. If you feel that the relationship is putting your physical or mental health at risk, it may be necessary to end the relationship. It can be beneficial to seek therapy or other support in order to take care of your own mental health and to work through difficult emotions.

If you or a loved one needs support, 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/

Child Abuse and Its Effects

Image result for child abuse

 

Child Abuse and Its Effects

By: Vanessa Munera

 

Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, acts upon or fails to act, causing injury, death, emotional harm, or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many different forms of child maltreatment which include physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, exploitation, and emotional abuse. In fact, many research studies have demonstrated over and over again that child abuse and neglect can result in permanent changes to the developing brain of a child. These changes in the brain structure can appear to be significant enough to potentially cause psychological and emotional problems later in adulthood. Changes can even result in physiological disorders and/or substance abuse.

The negative effects in the brain structure due to abuse and neglect are:

  1. Size in hippocampus is decreased. This is very important for learning and memory.

2. Size of the corpus callosum is decreased. This affects for emotion, impulses, and arousal, as well as communicating between the right and left hemispheres.

3. Size of the cerebellum is decreased. This can affect motor skills and coordination.

4.Decreased volume in the prefrontal cortex. This can affect behavior, balancing emotions and perception.

5. Too much activity in the amygdala, which is responsible for processing emotions and determining reactions to potentially stressful or dangerous situations.

6. Cortisol levels are either too high or too low, which can harm and cause negative effects to the body.

Child abuse can affect brain structure and disrupt chemical functions. However, child maltreatment can also affect the way a child behaves, socially interacts, and emotion regulation. These effects include:

  1. Feeling fearful most or all of the time
  2. Learning Deficits
  3. Unable to relax and constantly on alert, no matter the situation
  4. Can develop depression or an anxiety disorder, and/or both
  5. Social situations are more challenging
  6. Weak ability to process positive feedback
  7. Delay of developmental milestones in a timely fashion

 

If you or someone you love is struggling with the effects of child 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 and 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:

 

https://www.verywellmind.com/childhood-abuse-changes-the-brain-2330401

 

 

 

Drug Abuse: Preventing Teen Drug Abuse

By: Toni Wright

Many teens are curious and experiment with drugs, whether due to peer pressure, stress at home, or just curiosity. According to Drugrehab.com in 2016 about 1.9 million youths ages 12 to 17 used an illicit drug in the past month. In addition to that, in 2016 1.4 million teens needed treatment for an illicit drug abuse problem. What many young teens don’t know in hindsight, or thoroughly think about, is that trying those drugs can have lasting long term effects that can change their lives forever.

Warning Signs:

  1. Changes in choice of dress
  2. Loss of interest in what they enjoyed (hobbies or activities)
  3. Decline in academic performance (failing classes, poor grades, skipping class, etc.)
  4. Recurring arguments, unexpected mood changes, and unspecified violent actions.

Family Influence

Parents, prevention can start within the household:

  1. Ask your teens perspective on drugs – Don’t lecture. Actively listen to your teens views on drugs. Reassure them that they can be open and honest with you.
  2. Discuss the negative impact drugs use can have – Emphasize how drugs can impact the things your teen cares about. For instance, health, appearance, school performance, etc.
  3. Go over ways to not give into peer pressure – Come up with different ways your teen can say “no” to drugs.

Overall, parents, you play a crucial role in your teen’s life. Provide support for your teen. Having a solid foundation between you and your teen may make them less likely to use drugs.

If you or a teen you know abuses drugs, 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.centeronaddiction.org/addiction-prevention/teenage-addiction

https://www.drugrehab.com/teens/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen-health/in-depth/teen-drug-abuse/art-20045921

Image Source:

https://www.palmerlakerecovery.com/blog/signs-of-drug-abuse-in-teenagers/

A Substance Abuse Guide for Parents

 

 

Abuse: Men in Abusive Relationships

By: Toni Wright

A relationship is supposed to be a union between two people where both parties feel safe and comfortable with one another. They are supposed to feel loved, accepted, and appreciated by one another. However, sometimes that is not the case. Oftentimes people talk about how the woman in the relationship is being abused by the man. However, we should not overlook the fact that men are often being abused in relationships. Though it may not be widely spoken about, the man can be and sometimes is the victim in the relationship.

Abuse is not always domestic; it can be verbal and/or emotional.

Your partner may show signs of:

Possessiveness:

  • They are constantly keeping track of your whereabouts i.e. wanting to know what you’re doing, where you are, and who you’re with most if not all of the time.
  • They try to control where you spend your time and who you spend it with and if you don’t listen to them, they get angry.

Jealousy:

  • They isolate you from your loved ones, family and friends
  • They accuse you of being disloyal to them or flirting with others.

Threats:

  • They threaten to leave you or threaten to hurt themselves if you leave.
  • They threaten to use violence against you or your loved ones.

 

Physical/Sexual Violence:

  • They hurt you or your loved ones.
  • They push, shove or punch you, or make you have sex with them or do something that you don’t want to do.

Humiliation:

  • They belittle you in front of family, friends, or even on social media by attacking your looks, intelligence, abilities, or mental health.
  • They blame you for the issues in your relationship and for their violent blowups.
  • They say hurtful things to you, such as, “No one else is ever going to love you.”

Men, it may be hard to leave an abusive relationship for numerous reasons such as you may feel as though they actually do love you despite their behavior, you feel ashamed, you want to protect your partner, have a lack of resources, the list goes on. However, help from your family, friends, and a therapist can aid you through this trying time. Being a battered partner is nothing to be embarrassed about. Please don’t ever be afraid to reach out to any/all of your resources for assistance.

If you or a male you know is suffering from any type of abuse in a relationship, 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

Help for Men Who Are Being Abused

https://psychcentral.com/blog/21-warning-signs-of-an-emotionally-abusive-relationship/

https://au.reachout.com/articles/signs-of-an-abusive-relationship

Image Source:

Battered Men – The other side of Domestic Violence

 

Passive Aggressiveness: Origins and How to Respond

Passive Aggressiveness: Origins and How to Respond

By Crystal Tsui

At one point or another, we have all seen or engaged in passive aggressive behaviors, whether it’s giving the silent treatment, making subtle insults, or sending one of those “as per my last email” emails. We do this because we are suppressing our anger or frustration from someone or something. Fear and anger are controlled by a region in the brain called the amygdala. Passive aggressiveness stems from that basic emotion of anger.

Anger is neither good nor bad. It is a basic, spontaneous, neurophysiological part of human emotion. As children, we were often scolded or punished for expressing anger. For example, throwing a temper tantrum is considered unacceptable. So at a young age, we started to perceive anger as taboo. As a result, we learned to suppress our feelings and engage in an indirect expression of hostility through subtle acts.

Children are most likely to act in a passive aggressive manner. Nonetheless, children are the most susceptible to change. Teaching our children that anger is just like every other emotion and directing their anger towards a positive, productive activity will help the child grow into an adult knowing how to manage their emotions properly. Some positive activities may include writing, exercising, drawing, meditating, and listening to music. These activities provide a form of distraction that can alleviate one’s mood, by stimulating another part of the brain that is not associated with the amygdala.

However, adults act this way as well because it’s easier to be passive than to be assertive and emotionally open. When children are taught to suppress their anger and they mature into an adult, it’s harder for them to stand up for themselves and to confront their source of anger.

It is best to avoid raising your voice, lecturing, or knee-jerk consequences that can exacerbate the situation. If an individual is trying to express their anger through communication, it is best to listen instead of reprimanding them for being angry.

When someone is passive-aggressive towards you, fight the urge to mirror their behavior. Instead confront the behavior because when passive-aggressive behavior is confronted directly and assertively, the hidden anger is weakened. Assertive communication and being emotionally open, no matter how hard it is, is the most effective way to acknowledge and accept anger. This builds a foundation for lifelong emotional intelligence and strong, secure relationships.

If you or someone you know has difficulty managing their anger, 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.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201712/the-angry-smile-responding-passive-aggressive-behavior

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201709/how-respond-effectively-young-persons-anger

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-passive-aggressive-behavior-2795481

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/pixar/images/7/7a/Io_Anger_standard2.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/2000?cb=20150425021210