Self-Harm

Self-Harm

Self-Harm

By: Julia Keys

        Self-harm is the act of intentionally injuring oneself without intending suicide. Self-harming behaviors may include, but are not limited to: cutting, scratching, burning, banging/bruising or interference with an injury so that it cannot heal. Self-harm has become a huge concern within the adolescent demographic. Research shows that girls are more likely than boys to self-harm. A recent study shows that up to 17% of teenagers self-harm. To many others who do not self-harm, the act of intentionally hurting oneself may be perplexing, however there are many reasons why people self-harm.

The root of self-harming behavior stems from a lack of healthy coping mechanisms. Oftentimes people turn to self-harm when they have overwhelming feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, or guilt that they do not know how to express. Some self-harm as an act of release, similar to crying or screaming. Once they self-harm, the body releases endorphins which are the body’s natural painkillers, giving the individual feelings of relaxation or happiness. Sometimes people self-harm because they “feel numb”, and harming themselves makes them feel alive.

Here are some signs someone you love may be self-harming:

  • Unexplained cuts, bruises or marks
  • Patterns of parallel cuts or scars
  • Sudden change in mood
  • Wearing clothing inappropriate to the weather in an attempt to cover certain parts of the body
  • Secretive behavior
  • Self-isolating behavior

While self-harm is usually not an attempt at suicide, it is a very serious sign of emotional distress. If you are struggling with self-harm or know someone struggling with self-harm, here are some resources you may find helpful.

Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DON’T-CUT (1-800-366-8288)

Self-Harm Text Hotline: Text CONNECT to 741741 in the United States.

If you or a loved one is struggling with self-harm, do not hesitate to seek help by contacting Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evidence-based-living/201805/why-do-youth-self-injure

https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Self-harm

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/cutting-self-harm-signs-treatment#3

Source for Picture:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&id=70C2902B0BC552C00A01D3254CDAA5F74916A647&thid=OIP.kRmbbAZz8C3wXx0wFCH7bAHaHb&exph=602&expw=600&q=semi+colon+tattoo&selectedindex=25&ajaxhist=0&vt=0&eim=1,2,6

 

Advertisements

Relapse Prevention: Substance Use Disorders

Relapse Prevention: Substance Use Disorders Relapse Prevention: Substance Use Disorders

By: Julia Keys

The road to recovery from substance abuse can be long and difficult. There may be many times when those recovering are tempted to just give up. However, there are many different strategies for when individuals are in a place where they feel ready to quit all the progress they made. Relapse is part of recovery, but it should be avoided and treated carefully.

Most people think that relapse starts when the addict starts using again, however relapse can start much earlier than that. There are three stages of relapse: emotional relapse, mental relapse and physical relapse.  Emotional relapse starts when one is thinking about using. Although they have made no real attempts at obtaining any substances, the thought of using is very tempting. During mental relapse one has decided to use again. Physical relapse is when you contact your dealer, obtain substances, or use substances.

When preventing relapse it is important to seek many different types of support. Studies show that those recovering who see therapists alongside any inpatient or outpatient detox programs have faster recovery rates than those who do not seek additional treatment. Therapists can help those in recovery come up with personalized strategies to prevent them from relapsing.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use or recovery from substance abuse, do not hesitate to seek help by contacting Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201312/preventing-relapse-among-addicted-youth

https://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/relapse-prevention.htm

Source for Picture:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&id=F86C5ECD05E0D6595A3D9A0588384D10CCA60F4B&thid=OIP.idNVRUm7p8tdl-M-0iQdzgHaE8&mediaurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thenationalcouncil.org%2FBH365%2Ffiles%2F2017%2F09%2Froad-to-recovery.jpg&exph=334&expw=500&q=the+road+to+recovery&selectedindex=4&ajaxhist=0&vt=0&eim=1,2,6

 

The Opioid Epidemic: How to Spot the Difference Between an Addiction and Physical Dependency

The Opioid Epidemic: How to Spot the Difference Between an Addiction and Physical Dependency

By Crystal Tsui

In a paper written by Turner et. Al (2017), Opioid Use Disorder: Challenges During Acute Hospitalization, discussed the difference between drug addiction and physical dependency. Addiction is described as a disease. It occurs when a drug produces chemical changes in the brain that enforces the medication to be more desirable. When a person is addicted to a certain drug, they start to build a higher tolerance meaning that they would not feel the effects of the drug with the same dosage. This would make them want to increase the dosage each time just to experience the same effect, which can be dangerous and lead to an overdose. The 4 C’s are the beginning signs of addiction. They are:

  • Craving
  • (loss of) Control
  • Compulsion
  • (using despite) Consequences

A few physical signs of substance abuse includes:

  • Track marks
  • Abscesses
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Blood in their vomit
  • Chronic cough

There are 3 types of opioid consumers we should be aware of; these include patients with chronic pain, patients who are on medication-assisted treatment and stable, and those who are self-medicating. If you or anyone you know has an opioid addiction, they should be met with warmth and compassion. A caring individual, like you, can help an addict seek the help they need, such as medication–assisted treatment or detoxification.

Individuals who are physically dependent on opioids are a different story. They are usually patients with chronic pain and have become dependent on opioids to relieve pain. However, they don’t feel the desire to take the medication for any purpose other than to relieve their pain. They wouldn’t feel the need to have their dosages increased constantly because the dosage of opioids does not change the effects of relieving pain.

This article is to help define the difference between an addiction and being physically dependent on opioids. This is not an exhaustive list.

If you or someone you know has a drug 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/ .

Citations:

https://www.rivermendhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/opioid-epidemic.png

Opioid Use Disorder: Challenges During Acute Hospitalization, Turner et al. (2017).

The Opioid Epidemic and Drug-Seeking Behavior

The Opioid Epidemic and Drug-Seeking Behavior

By Crystal Tsui

AMA Journal of Ethics states there has been a 300% increase in opiates in the US. What does this mean for the people? Well, drug availability increases when the demands for opiates increase. Long story short, patients with complaints of pain are getting addicted to opiates and are relying on opiates as pain medication when it’s not entirely necessary. Doctors and nurses in the Emergency department are in the frontlines of this epidemic. They see patients with all sorts of complaints, but over 500,000 ED visits are patients with drug-seeking behavior, specifically for opiates. Different types of opiates include:

  • Heroin
  • Oxycodone
  • Percocet
  • Morphine
  • Tramadol

How did the epidemic begin? Doctors and nurses would prescribe their patients opiates just to improve the flow of the ED. However, recently the epidemic has gotten worse. Patients have learned different catch phrases and to over exaggerate their pain to get these opiates. Such as “headaches”, “back pains”, “neck pain”, and even “dental pain”, or rate their pain higher on the scale of 10.

So, how do doctors and nurses know when to give opiates for patients complaining of pain? The answer to the tough question is quite simple, they don’t. Opiates are always a last resort and there are other pain medications out there that treat everyday pain. The most common are:

  • ibuprofen (motrin)
  • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • aspirin (advil)
  • steroids

If you or someone you know is addicted to opiates do not be afraid to reach out for help with pain management or drug addiction.

If you or someone you know a drug 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/ .

Citation:

https://humantraffickingsearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/1140-pill-usa-opioids-aarp.imgcache.rev5b2d008604b6e9d3635709395bae1267.jpg

https://www.asahq.org/whensecondscount/pain-management/non-opioid-treatment/

https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/drug-seeking-or-pain-crisis-responsible-prescribing-opioids-emergency-department/2013-05

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/the-big-list-of-narcotic-drugs

Addictions in College

By: Julia Keys

     Ever hear the old saying “work hard, play hard”? Unfortunately, this saying is taken to the extreme across many college campuses in America.  Unhealthy behaviors like binge drinking and drug use are normalized due to the party culture that pervades college life.  According  to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 50% of college students binge drink (drinking three or more drinks in one sitting) and about two thirds of those with a valid prescription for an ADHD medication such as Adderall or Ritalin, share their pills with their friends.  Other drugs that are common on college campuses include benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Klonopin, which are prescription medications and helpful when used properly, but are often abused, and illegal drugs like marijuana and cocaine.

What causes college students to participate in these behaviors?

  • Greek Life
  • Independence/living on one’s own for the first time
  • Peer pressure
  • Pressure to do well in school

Signs of Addiction

  • Abnormally red, glassy, or dilated pupils
  • Red, irritated nostrils
  • Needle or track marks
  • Weight loss
  • Secretive behavior
  • Sudden increase in irritability, depression or anxiety

If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, recovering from an addiction, or suspect  you are developing an addiction, please contact your college’s counseling center or Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to a licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.clearviewtreatment.com/blog/signs-drinking-drug-student/

https://addictionresource.com/addiction/college/

Source for Picture:

https://www.google.com/search?q=college+addiction&rlz=1C1OPRB_enUS649US649&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiAqfzYpp7iAhUmc98KHcOdCOkQ_AUIECgD&biw=751&bih=687#imgrc=2eCXqhQrMcdqpM:

Cannabis: Healing Therapy

 

An Initiative To Legalize Marijuana In California To Appear On Nov. Ballot

By: Dara Kushnir

Currently cannabis is used to treat chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, epilepsy, and a series of other disorders and diagnoses. Dustin Sulak, an osteopathic physician in Maine who prescribes cannabis to patients, talks about cannabis use in a Northern New Jersey Natural Awakenings article. He states that using cannabis decreases the dependence on opioids and can be a substitute for prescription drugs. He does acknowledge that cannabis dependency does exist but is much more uncommon that heroin. Both common side effects as well as withdrawal symptoms of cannabis are mild. Dizziness is the most common side effect but it is not limited to altered consciousness, euphoria, panic or paranoid reaction, and increased appetite.

The key to using medicinal cannabis is finding the ideal dosage level that minimizes the side effects and maximizes the benefits. More is not always better. Through Dustin Sulak’s experience, he has seen a dose response curve; as the dose gets higher, peoples responses increase until a certain point where the response actually starts to decrease. The optimal amount is at the peak of that curve, where the dose is as low as possible with the greatest number of benefits.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or any other kind of addiction, please call 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/

Source: https://www.projectcbd.org/medicine/dr-dustin-sulak-cannabis-dosing                   Nagle, A.L. (2019, January). Dustin Sulak on Cannabis as a Healing Therapy. Natural Awakenings, 14-15.

Image: https://atlantablackstar.com/2014/03/11/caribbean-medical-community-disagree-decriminalizing-marijuana/

 

Addiction

By: Dianna Gomez

It is more often than not assumed that a person addicted to a substance, whether it be drugs or alcohol, is someone with shallow morals, little motivation, and that if he or she really wanted to, they could simply stop using at any moment. These assumptions show how extremely misunderstood addiction is by our general public, as well as how infrequently this topic is discussed among us. Addiction is a chronic disease that affects a person’s brain chemistry, thoughts, and behaviors. An individual can initially fall into addiction through voluntarily substance use or through necessary use of prescription medication prescribed by a doctor (ex: pain medication for after a surgery). When addiction first begins, the substance affects the reward circuits in the brain which causes feelings of complete euphoria. If a person continues to use the substance, the brain adjusts itself and develops a “tolerance” for it, which causes the individual to not feel the effects of the drug as intensely as they did the first time the drug was taken. This requires the person to have to use a larger quantity of the substance in order to reach the same level of “high” they did before. There are many different ways an individual can naturally be more vulnerable to addiction throughout their lifetime. Two of these main ways include biology and environment.

Biology: the genetics a person is born with can affect up to 50% of their risk for becoming addicted to a substance. This includes factors such as gender, ethnicity, and an individual’s family mental health history.

Environment: the conditions in which an individual is brought up in such as their economic status, family/friends, and quality of life in general also plays a huge role in their vulnerability for addiction. Peer pressure, lack of parental guidance, traumatic experiences with abuse (physical, emotional, sexual) are a few examples of common environmental influences.

If either you or anybody you know suffers from substance abuse or addiction, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy 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. For more information, visit us at https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

Opioid Addiction: Treating Opioid Dependence with Medication

By Samantha Glosser

The opioid epidemic is a real and fatal problem in the United States. Every week more than 800 people die from opioid-related deaths, yet the epidemic still appears to be growing. In addition to overdoses and death, opioid addiction is also a catalyst for the spread of diseases like Hepatitis and HIV, can cause birth complications such as low birth weight and neonatal abstinence syndrome, and makes it harder for individuals to maintain jobs. The impacts of opioid addiction are devastating for the inflicted individuals, their loved ones, and their communities. Thus, it is more important than ever to provide appropriate treatment to individuals who are struggling with an opioid addiction. But when abstinence and traditional therapies fail, what treatment is left? Medication assisted treatment (MAT). MAT is a highly effective, but not commonly used, treatment method that addresses all aspects of addiction.

MAT involves the use of medications, such as methadone and buprenorphine, combined with psychological treatments. This technique aligns with the disease model of addictions, which acknowledges the fact that the brain is physically altered by drug use. Treatments should then be capable of addressing the neurological and physiological changes that occur in the brain, which is where medication comes into the picture. Appropriate dosages of medications relieve the biological urge the brain feels for the drug, reduces cravings, relieves withdrawal symptoms, and improves the overall quality of life for patients. This allows an individual to begin working towards recovery at a faster pace. The medication will help them heal physically and at the same time psychological treatment will help them heal both mentally and emotionally. In addition, research shows that medication assisted treatment is proven to not only help individuals diagnosed with an opioid addiction to recover faster, but also prevents overdoses, improves daily functioning, and prevents them from committing crimes. If you or someone you know has been unsuccessful in their opioid addiction treatments, MAT may be the right treatment for you.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from opioid addiction, 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/

Jaffe, A. (2018, October 9). Is medication assisted treatment good or bad? [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-about-addiction/201810/is-medication-assisted-treatment-good-or-bad

Neurofeedback

Leah Flanzman

There has recently been a great deal of discussion on a psychological treatment called neurofeedback. Neurofeedback assists people in consciously controlling their brain waves by attaching subjects to an EEG machine that extracts various brain-activity components and feeds them back to the patient.  The most common protocols used in neurofeedback training are alpha, beta, theta, and alpha/theta protocols.  The way that you select the placement of electrodes on a patients head depends on their specific brain functions and specific symptoms.  The goal is to allow the subject to assess their progress and adjust their brain waves accordingly to achieve optimal performance.  However, the effectiveness and practicality of the treatment is under debate.

According to the Basic and Clinical Neuroscience journal, many studies conducted on neurofeedback therapy reveal methodological limitations that question its effectiveness. For example, with the alpha treatment protocols, it remains unknown exactly how many treatment sessions are necessary before patients can consciously possess the ability to control their alpha waves.  Once an optimal performance is achieved, it’s difficult to study the long-term effects of these treatments, in other words how long the effects last without feedback.

The pros of neurofeedback are that it’s a safe and non-invasive procedure that has been proven effective in treating certain disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, insomnia, drug addictions, and learning disabilities. Despite this, more scientific evidence of its effectiveness must be conducted before we can consider it a valid treatment.  It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s a very expensive procedure that is not covered by many insurance companies, and is very time consuming to complete.

If you or someone you know thinks they have ADHD, anxiety, depression, or drug addictions, or learning disabilities, the psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help.  Contact the Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920.  Visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com for more information.

Part 2: Marijuana as Medicine

 

Marijuana Part 2: Marijuana as Medicine

Sam Kwok

Despite the growing use of medical marijuana, under the federal jurisdiction, it is still classified as a schedule 1 drug. Twenty-nine states have legalized medical marijuana; however, each state has its own legislature that creates lists of preapproved conditions that may be treated with marijuana. Though, when comparing these lists, one may notice that the severity of the conditions ranges drastically. For example, California, a state known to have very loose marijuana regulation laws, has a list that include more common conditions such as anorexia, anxiety, depression, migraines, or just “any debilitating illness …deemed appropriate by the physician.” New Jersey, which is considered a moderate state when examining marijuana regulations, has a list that excludes anxiety and depression, but includes more severe illnesses including terminal cancer, muscular dystrophy, and terminal disease where the physician has determined there is less than a year of life left. Despite the differences in severity, under the US law, medical marijuana patients, dispensaries, and government officials that do not enforce the federal laws are all criminals to some extent.

In the early 70’s Nixon began his famous “War on Drugs” campaign, which intended to keep the American public safe from hard drugs. One of these drugs, was marijuana. Almost 50 years later, the same laws are still upheld and little research has been done to update the data. Technology and scientific procedures have updates, so research and laws should be updated as well.

From the little data we do have, we know that CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient of marijuana has medicinal effects. It is linked to the healthy release (unlike opiates) of dopamine and serotonin which are the “happiness” chemicals in our brain. This may be the reason why in some states, marijuana is used as a treatment for anxiety and depression. Children who suffer from severe forms of epilepsy have shown to have dramatic improvements with the introduction of CBD. The number of seizures that a child has may decrease drastically when treated with CBD oil. Marijuana is also known to help people undergoing chemotherapy treatment. It may not only help patients to regain their appetite through the reduction of nausea, but can also help reduce pain and reduce the body’s urge to regurgitate. Despite the potential of medical marijuana, further research is still barred by the government. Some suggest that the easiest way to completely legalize marijuana is if states vote to create a 28th amendment which would legalize marijuana, but that would still require ¾ of all states to vote in favor. Currently, 30 states have some laws which allow for marijuana to some extent (includes medical and recreational), but 8 more still need to reform for the possibility of a 28th amendment. The nation’s capital, Washington DC has already decriminalized the drug as well. With the current administration, marijuana will not be legalized federally. But with more and more people becoming aware of such issues, even the government will not be able to stop people from getting the medicine they need. It is clear in which direction the US is heading towards in this debate and it is only a matter of time until medical marijuana is legalized in all 50 states.

If you are struggling with substance abuse or any other kind of addiction, the psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help.  Contact the Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920.  Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.