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

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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

College: Majoring in Stress

By: Kristine Dugay

“Get good grades, join sports and clubs, find a part-time job, eat well, and have a social life… but don’t forget to get enough sleep!” These are the unrealistic expectations college students are tired of hearing and trying to achieve. The fact is, 24 hours just isn’t enough time in one day. Stress is a huge underlying factor contributing to depression within college students. 44% of American college students report having some form of mental illness, including depression. However, 75% of these students do not seek help for these problems. Although college life can be hard to handle, there are ways to reduce and manage stress.

Practice time management skills: You will get a feeling of control over your life.

Find humor in your life: Laughter is the best medicine.

Avoid procrastination: It can affect the quality of your mood, work, and sleep.

Practice good sleep habits: Sleep deprivation can cause physical and mental problems.

Work within your limits: Set realistic expectations for yourself and others.

Seek the support of your friends and family: Vent sessions relieve tension and stress.

It’s easier said than done to accomplish these “small” tasks. If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have issues with depression, anxiety, or stress, 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.healthline.com/health/depression/college-students#2

Sleep Paralysis: Waking Up Paralyzed

Waking Up Paralyzed

By: Kristine Dugay

Imagine waking up on any given day, you’re conscious, but you can’t move a muscle as if you’re paralyzed. If you find yourself unable to speak or move for a few seconds or minutes upon waking up or falling asleep, there is a great chance that you have sleep paralysis. On average, four out of every ten people may have sleep paralysis, and both men and women of any age can have it. Sleep paralysis occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. This condition occurs one of two times. If it happens as you are falling asleep, it is called hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. If it occurs as you are waking up, it is called hypnopompic or postdormital sleep paralysis. Though it may run in families, factors that may be linked to the condition include lack of sleep, sleep schedule changes, mental conditions such as stress or bipolar disorder, narcolepsy, certain medications, and substance abuse.

While being in this state of mind is extremely frightening, there is no need to treat this condition. Sleep paralysis is usually self-treatable and self-diagnosable. Although treatment depends on severity, the main way of treating sleep paralysis is improving your sleeping habits. However, treatment can also include treating any mental health problems that may contribute to sleep paralysis or using antidepressant medication if it is prescribed to help regulate sleep cycles. Sleep paralysis is most commonly found in those who are narcoleptic or have sleep apnea, but unfortunately it can affect anyone. Common symptoms include anxiety, hallucinations, and paralysis.

If you feel your symptoms cause anxiety, leave you very tired throughout the day, or keep you up during the night, 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.

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-paralysis#2 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcolepsy/basics/symptoms/con-20027429

Depression or Sadness?

Depression or Sadness?

By: Kristine Dugay

Have you ever woken up one morning and wish you hadn’t? Not because it’s Monday or because you didn’t want to get ready for work or school, but simply because you wish you’d never wake up. Everyone has their bad days and sad moods, but when sadness constantly appears for no apparent reason it could be depression. Depression versus ordinary unhappiness is distinguished by longer and deeper feelings of despondency. With depression, all aspects of your life seem less enjoyable, important, loveable, and interesting. Depression mentally and physically drains your energy and you begin to have the inability to experience happiness, excitement, love, connection, and purpose.

Sadness is often related to circumstance, whereas depression is related to a mental illness. Being seriously bummed out over a breakup or getting a bad grade on an assignment can be terrible, but you’re still able to enjoy your favorite foods and T.V. shows. On the other hand, depression takes away the things that used to be significant and exciting for you and turns them into something that you lack interest in. If you constantly experience the following, there is a great chance you are depressed:

  • Feelings of worthlessness and self-blame
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Fatigue/decreased energy
  • Restlessness

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has or may have depression, suicidal thoughts, or interpersonal problems, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or 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: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201510/the-important-difference-between-sadness-and-depression