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/

 

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The History of Hypnotherapy

By Jennifer Guzman

Have you ever “zoned out” while driving and found yourself driving from one location to another without realizing how you got there? This is like how hypnosis feels, and is actually something we call “highway hypnosis”, in which you are in a natural hypnotic state.

Hypnosis is a technique that is increasingly being sought-after and used in today’s clinical practices, but little do people know that hypnosis is a technique that has been used for centuries, dating to as far back as the 4th and 5th centuries B.C. in Ancient Egypt! However, much credit is given to 18th century German physician, Frank Mesmer, who coined the term, “mesmerism” in reference to what we now call “hypnosis” and is the first dated medical practitioner to practice hypnosis for therapy. Mesmer utilized suggestion for his patients in order to cure their illness. One of the first patients with whom Mesmer used hypnosis had consisted of placing a magnet on her head in order to revitalize blood flow in her brain, which was believed to be the cause of her tooth and headaches. The magnet, coupled with Mesmer’s theatrical hand gestures had allowed the patient to believe that the fluids in her brain were stabilizing, when truly, the magnet and hand gestures had done nothing. In reality, the suggestions he was giving her were easing her aches. This discovery opened up a wide array of questions about hypnosis and brought about a new treatment to the field of psychology.

Following Mesmer was James Braid, who is regarded as the “Father of Hypnosis”. Braid delved into why hypnosis was effective during therapy session. He also conducted intensive research to identify key methods that could put someone into a trance state through analysis of the physiological components of hypnosis. Braid was the figure who coined the term, “Hypnosis”.
Much credit to modern day hypnotherapy must be attributed to 20th century psychologist, Milton H. Erickson, who created a multitude of hypnotherapy methods that are currently being used in today’s clinical practices. Erickson places great emphasis on language in order to tap into the unconscious mind. He also emphasizes the importance of allowing the patient to feel positive feelings with his aid. The methods help the patient heal through their own willpower.

Even Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, utilized hypnosis in his therapy, although he did not inherently acknowledge that what he sometimes performed on his patients was hypnotherapy. However, Freud discarded the use of hypnosis in his practice because his techniques did not work on his patients. In order to be properly hypnotized, the hypnotist should be a licensed mental health professional, such as the psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy.

Contrary to the popular belief that when someone is under hypnosis, they are not in control of their own bodies—this is a myth. When under hypnosis, you are free to intervene and break out of your trance state if you feel uncomfortable or become distracted; however, doing so will decrease the effectiveness of the session. In order to go through successful hypnosis, one must be willing to be hypnotized, open to suggestion, and trust the hypnotherapist.

Hypnotherapy is typically used to successfully treat issues such as Depression, Anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), weight gain or weight loss, Insomnia, smoking cessation, and more.

If you or someone you know is interested in hypnosis or psychotherapy, please contact our offices in New York or New Jersey to make an appointment with one of the licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. For hypnotherapy, please ask to make an appointment with one of our hypnotherapists 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 on our services, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255.

References:

Retrieved March 23, 2018, from http://www.historyofhypnosis.org/
Hammer, G.A. Orne, M.T. Hypnosis. Retrieved March 32, 2018, from https://www.britannica.com/science/hypnosis

Compulsive Sexual Behavior

Compulsive Sexual Behavior/ Hypersexuality:
By: Cassie Sieradzky

Compulsive sexual behavior, also known as hypersexuality or sexual addiction, is characterized by frequent sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviors. These intense and repetitive preoccupations are uncontrollable and distressing to the individual, which can result in impaired daily functioning. Compulsive sexual behavior is more common in men and usually develops during late adolescence or early adulthood. This disorder is often undiagnosed because the individual may feel embarrassed about their behavior and unwilling to disclose information that could lead to a diagnosis and they may be unaware that this disorder can be successfully treated.

Compulsive sexual behavior can be diagnosed if a person experiences 3 or more symptoms for over 6 months. The symptoms include time consumed by sexual urges/fantasies/behaviors repetitively interferes with other important facets of life, repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies/urges/behaviors in response to negative mood states, repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies/urges/behaviors in response to stressful life events, repetitive but unsuccessful efforts to control these symptoms, and repetitively engaging in sexual behaviors while disregarding the risk for physical or emotional harm to self or others. Compulsive sexual behavior is highly comorbid and research suggests that about 50% of adults diagnosed with this disorder also meet criteria for at least 1 other psychiatric disorder, such as mood, anxiety, substance use, impulse control, or personality disorders. This disorder also comes with increased risk of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Psychotherapy and some medications are successful in treating compulsive sexual disorder.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from compulsive sexual behavior, 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/

Grant, J. E. (2018, February). Compulsive sexual behavior: A nonjudgmental approach. Current Psychiatry, 17(2), 34-45.

Anxiety: Exposure Therapy Helping Teens Combat Anxiety

By Hannah Pierce

Exposure therapy is a cognitive-behavioral therapy technique in which a person is exposed to a feared object or situation to overcome their anxiety. A majority of researchers and clinicians believe that exposure therapy is the most effective treatment for many anxiety disorders. One study even found that people improved more using this technique than taking antidepressants.

Although exposure therapy is proven to be very effective, it is not frequently used with teens. Many teens suffering with anxiety are prescribed medication rather than receiving therapy. It is difficult for people to consent to exposure therapy because they do not want to do something that will make them feel even more anxious.

One article documented teens’ experiences with exposure therapy. A 14-year-old suffering from social anxiety, depression, OCD, and binge-eating agreed to tackle his social anxiety through exposure therapy. On a busy college campus he sat on a bench next to a stranger and initiated a conversation. To some people this may seem simple but to a teen suffering from social anxiety, the task is very daunting. He sat on the bench and tried to talk to the stranger but the stranger just kept texting and playing with his phone. Although the exchange did not turn into a conversation, at least the teen faced his fear and realized it wasn’t that bad.

Another teen’s exposure involved him holding a sign that read “I’ve been bullied. Ask me.” Thomas hoped to combat his anxiety while also educating people on bullying. Most students on the campus walked by him without giving him a second glance. After a while, a couple stopped to talk to Thomas. The man empathized with him, sharing that he had been bullied as well and the woman applauded Thomas for his bravery.  After the exchange Thomas was very pleasantly surprised and realized he did not have much to be so anxious about.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing anxiety, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com for more information.

Source: “The Kids Who Can’t” by Benoit Denizet-Lewis

Alcohol Abuse: Binge Drinking

By Hannah Pierce

Binge drinking is the most common and deadly form of alcohol abuse in the U.S. but it is also preventable. It is defined as drinking to bring a person’s blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams percent or above. This usually occurs when a woman consumes four drinks and a man consumes five drinks in two hours.

Binge drinking can happen across a lifespan but it is most common among people between the ages of 18 and 34. Many high school and college students below the age of 21 report binge drinking on occasion. It is a form of alcohol abuse that is “drinking to get drunk” rather than just having a couple drinks.

Binge drinking is associated with many health problems including:

• Alcohol poisoning
• Unintentional injuries (car accidents, falls, burns)
• Sexually transmitted diseases
• Cancer (breast, mouth, liver, esophagus, colon)
• Memory and learning problems
• Poor pregnancy outcomes (miscarriage, stillborn, fetal alcohol syndrome)
• Alcohol dependence

Binge drinking can be prevented by:

• Increasing taxes on alcohol and other pricing strategies
• Limiting the number of places that sell alcohol
• Restricting the hours that alcohol can be sold
• Holding retailers responsible for harms caused by illegal distribution of alcohol to minors or customers who are inebriated
• Consultation and counseling for alcohol abuse

If you or someone you know may be binge drinking or abusing alcohol, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201)368-3700 or (212)722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com for more information.
https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm

Suicide Prevention the Right Way: Part 2

By: Sam Reiner

(cont from part 1)

That’s basically the whole article and after reading this you’re probably thinking “why would I ever show this to someone who is thinking of suicide?” Well although what he talks about may seem like the worst thing to tell people it’s in the details that makes the article really stick out. Like I said before, when Wong mentions the possibility of the afterlife he says your two options are one of the worst parts of hell or eternal nothingness. It is a scientific fact that something is always better than nothing so the downside of nothing for eternity is never explained but when he talks about Hell it is a different story. After he is done describing all the terrible things Hell has in store for the rest of eternity he brings up the fact that there are people who have it worse than you do.

Remember how I said that Wong mentions a kid with a rare skin disease. This kid’s skin is constantly drying and falling off in chunks so you would think that he might be the most likely to commit suicide because he is in constant pain. But instead, he is also over 18 years old and runs triathlons. Although it may seem random to talk about, Wong only mentions him to make a good point, if he can find a reason to live so can you. The main point of this whole section is, “if you’re figuring that, yes, you can man up and face whatever challenges the next life presents, then you might as well do that now, in this life, and skip the extra step. It’s just more efficient that way.”

Same goes for when he describes suicide methods. Like last time I don’t want to be specific on this topic but every method that he mentions is put in a way that would dissuade anyone from trying it. To me however the best part of this article is in the 3rd section, Timing. This is the section where the article really shines as it is here that Wong not only uses common sense, but statistics too when he talks about the 50% Rule. Why is the fact he uses statistics so important? It’s because that is definitive proof that you have something to look forward to and that you have a purpose. Also, when he talks about revising your suicide note, he recommends asking the suicide hotline to do it for you as they “deal with dozens of suicides every day and they know a good note when they hear one,” (very funny Wong). Honestly, I want to go into so much more detail on this article, especially the 50% Rule, but I feel as though the only way to truly see why I love this article so much is to read it. So, I’m going to put the link at the end and I really suggest you read it. I guarantee it will have you thinking differently.

http://www.cracked.com/article_15658_the-ten-minute-suicide-guide.html

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

Serotonin Syndrome: Overview and Symptoms

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Serotonin Syndrome: Overview and Symptoms

Author: Emily Aranda

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that effects mood, appetite, and sleep. Particularly, an imbalance of serotonin in the brain is linked to anxiety and depression. Serotonin Syndrome occurs when a person takes medication that increases his or her levels of serotonin. This can be due to increasing a single medication’s dose, adding a new drug to a daily regimen, or a combination of the two. Serotonin Syndrome can manifest itself through several different physical symptoms, though all symptoms do not need to be present in order to be diagnosed with Serotonin Syndrome.

Drugs that increase serotonin in a person’s system include the following:

  • SSRIs
  • SNRIs
  • pain medications
  • anti-migraine medications
  • MAOIs
  • anti-nausea medication
  • illegal drugs
  • lithium
  • Bupropion
  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • over the counter cough and cold medications
  • linezolid
  • ritonavir

Symptoms include:

  • agitation / restlessness
  • high blood pressure
  • rapid heart rate or irregular heart rate
  • shivering
  • headache
  • heavy sweating
  • muscle rigidity
  • loss of muscle coordination or twitching muscles
  • confusion
  • dilated pupils
  • high fever
  • seizures
  • unconsciousness

Serotonin Syndrome is an indication that a person’s medication should be adjusted properly. If you or someone you know is having issues with Serotonin Syndrome, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Source:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/serotonin-syndrome/symptoms-causes/dxc-20305673

Alcohol Abuse: Put the Drink Down

Alcohol Abuse: Put the Drink Down

By: Kristine Dugay

Abusing alcohol means drinking a dangerous amount of alcohol at one time or developing unhealthy drinking habits. Sometimes people have one too many drinks when they’re celebrating with friends leading to hangovers or throwing up; this is not that. Alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol dependence, otherwise known as alcoholism. Alcohol abuse is defined as drinking too much and too often, while alcohol dependence is the inability to quit. This means you are physically or mentally addicted to alcohol. You become so dependent on it that it becomes your only way to function with day to day living. Alcoholism is a long-term chronic disease that is influenced by your genes and your life situation.

There are several symptoms you should make yourself aware of if you or someone you suspect is alcohol dependent:

  • Prioritizing Alcohol: Drinking will always be more important no matter what condition your body is in.
  • Increased Tolerance: You need to consume more alcohol to get the same effect.
  • No Control: You cannot quit drinking or control the amount you consume.
  • Damaging Personal Relationships: You continue to drink even though it harms your relationships and causes physical problems.
  • Signs of Withdrawal: Anxiety, sweating, nausea, tremors, hallucinations, and muscle cramps.

The longer a person is dependent on alcohol, the worse these side effects become. While many of the results are irreversible, some are even deadly.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have issues with alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/alcohol-abuse-and-dependence-topic-overview#3

Addiction: Addictive Behaviors

Addiction: Addictive Behaviors

By Marilyn Wells

 

Addictions come in many forms, some of which may be hard to even recognize as a problem. Addictions have serious effects on mental health, physical well-being, and affect the lives of those around the addict.  First, it is important to recognize whether or not you or a loved one is engaging in any addictive behaviors.

Some addictive behaviors include:

  • Inability to quit a certain habit, even when you want to
  • Remaining in the environment the addiction or craving formed in
  • Unable to control the craving
  • Substituting one addictive behavior for another
  • Desire for the craving, even when the craving ceases to result in pleasure
  • Self-medication

Addictive behaviors are often linked to Antisocial Personality Disorder, low tolerance for stress, compulsive behaviors, insecurity and depression.

Addictive behaviors are hard to conquer alone and may be signify another underlying mental health issue. If you or anyone you know is or may be expressing addictive behaviors, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-choice/201702/10-patterns-addictive-behavior

https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/mental-health/addictive-personality/

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

PAWS

By Marilyn Wells

 

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) occurs after alcohol or drug withdrawal, which presents fewer physical withdrawal symptoms, but is more disruptive to an individual emotionally and psychologically. PAWS occurs as a reaction to the individual’s brain returning to a normal state, which can often take up to two years.

Symptoms of PAWS include:

  • Rapid/extreme mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Loss of excitement
  • Anxiety
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Variations in energy and concentration

Individuals with Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome often experience these symptoms in episodes, which last for several days. During these episodes, individuals often struggle to fight the temptations to relapse.  However, with the help of a psychologist, individuals suffering from PAWS can better understand the process their bodies are going through, and learn how to practice methods of relaxation and self-care that will smooth the transition back to a normal life.

 

The experienced psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling 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.

Source: addictionsandrecovery.org