Increased Drug and Alcohol Use during the Stay at Home Order

By Eleanor Kim

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

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

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

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

Resources:

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

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

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

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

Image Source:

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

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

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/

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

 

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

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/.