Deep Brain Stimulation and Electroconvulsive Therapy: What are they?

Deep Brain Stimulation and Electroconvulsive Therapy: What are they?

By Emily Ferrer

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a brain surgery involving the implantation of electrodes in certain areas of the brain to treat different movement disorders such as OCD, dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy as well as other disorders such as depression and drug addiction[1]. These electrodes produce electrical impulses to regulate certain brain functions[2] and are controlled by a pacemaker-like device. This pacemaker is placed in your chest with a wire that runs from the pacemaker to the electrodes that were inserted into your brain[3]. The parts of the brain that the electrodes are inserted into are specific to the patient and their specific symptoms. For example, for a patient who suffers from severe OCD the electrodes would be placed in an area of the brain called the ventral capsule/ventral striatum, which has been found to be very effective for patients suffering from treatment resistant OCD at about a 61.5% positive response rate[4].

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a medical treatment usually preformed on patients who suffer from severe clinical depression and are treatment resistant to other options to help their condition[5]. The treatment involves small electric currents being passed externally through the patient’s skull between the voltage ranges of 180 to 460 volts. While there is still much controversy and incorrectly portrayed media about this procedure, it is significantly safer today than it was almost 100 years ago. The patient is put under general anesthesia at a hospital during the entire treatment and wakes up after not feeling anything from the procedure. The only thing patients feel after the completion of the treatment is an increase in positive mood. A study done in 2007 revealed that out of the patients who did and did not receive ECT for their treatment resistant depression, 71% of the participants in the experimental group, that received ECT,  found they had a positive response. This is significant when compared to the control group, who did not receive ECT, where only 28% of the participants found they had a positive response to just antidepressant medication[6].  ECT has gained a lot of popularity recently because of how quickly and effectively you feel the effects after a few treatments. The positive effects increase even more quickly when combined with psychotherapy in between the ECT treatments.

If you or someone you know is experiencing OCD or major depressive disorder and are interesting in pursuing these treatments, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com


Sources:

[1] https://atm.amegroups.com/article/view/16268/html

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/deep-brain-stimulation/about/pac-20384562

[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/deep-brain-stimulation/about/pac-20384562

[4] https://iocdf.org/expert-opinions/expert-opinion-dbs/#:~:text=Another%20important%20development%20for%20treatment,targeted%20areas%20of%20the%20brain.

[5] https://www.webmd.com/depression/electroconvulsive-therapy

[6] https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.1997.tb09926.x

Anxiety in Young Adults During COVID-19

Anxiety in Young Adults During COVID-19

By Jackie Molan

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of anxiety have sharply increased, especially in the young adult population (ages 18-24). Young adults are particularly susceptible to pandemic anxiety because they experienced enough “normal,” pre-COVID life to understand the current uncertainty of their own futures and the future state of the world.

Potential Anxiety Risk Factors

New studies have provided evidence that certain traits present in childhood and adolescence can lead to anxiety in young adulthood. One of these traits is behavioral inhibition, a childhood temperament characterized by nervousness and fear in response to new people and situations. Those who display behavioral inhibition during childhood are more likely to experience worry dysregulation – inadequate worry management skills – during adolescence. Worry dysregulation is a strong predictor of anxiety later in life, which can be brought on by a stressful life event. Therefore, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic likely triggered anxiety in young adults who demonstrated this pattern of temperaments earlier in life.

Causes of Pandemic Anxiety

For young adults, the pandemic has interfered with their school, work, home, and social lives, leading to a significant upending of usual routines. Maintaining a daily routine often provides comfort, so it can be anxiety-inducing when this is lost due to external factors. Further, many people are experiencing “reentry anxiety” as more places reopen without mask mandates. It is difficult to navigate reentering society when there is lingering anxiety about future variants, vaccines, and mandates.

Steps to Improve Anxiety

The following are steps you can take to improve COVID-related anxiety:

  • Make time for stress reduction and self-care – This can be as simple as taking a walk or finding a few minutes during the day to meditate.
  • Follow a daily routine – Routines may be different than they were pre-COVID, but they can still be helpful.
  • Distinguish work/school life from home life – Even though you may be spending more time in your house than before, you can set boundaries to make work/school feel separate from home. Try designating certain times, or even rooms in the house, to leisure activities.
  • Seek help from a mental health professional.

Anxiety can feel like an uphill battle, but seeking help from a mental health professional can provide you with the resources you need to cope with post-COVID life.

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

Sources:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2021/study-identifies-risk-factors-for-elevated-anxiety-in-young-adults-during-covid-19-pandemic

https://psychcentral.com/coronavirus/coronavirus-overview

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/13/health/Covid-mental-health-anxiety.html

https://stayprepared.sg/mymentalhealth/articles/impact-of-covid-19-on-mental-health/

Anxiety: Student Anxiety in the Era of Mass Shootings

Anxiety: Student Anxiety in the Era of Mass Shootings

By Lynette Rivas

Within this current year, there have been a total of 27 school shootings where several individuals were either injured or killed. This rising number of school shootings is leaving a drastic impact on the mental health of students throughout the country. Research has shown that this stressor has contributed to an increase in depression and anxiety in students of all ages, whether or not the student was directly involved in the mass shooting. Students who were not involved in the school shooting can still be impacted by media coverage or by close proximity to the event.

According to a study from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, at least 30% of students feel unsafe at school. This fear can cause anxiety in students, especially young children who are more prone to experiencing PTSD from these events. Student anxiety and depression are problematic and can affect a child’s learning. Research has shown that when a child is worried about different stressors, such as a possible school shooting, they end up using more of their mental resources towards emotions instead of learning, memory, and attention.

Signs of anxiety in students include:

  • Appearing shy, nervous, or cautious
  • Seeking constant approval
  • Expressing fears by throwing tantrums or crying
  • Sweating, headaches, stomach aches, and/or difficulty breathing

Any student who is experiencing these symptoms of anxiety should turn to a psychologist for help in order to overcome the fear of a possible school shooting. Periods of prolonged anxiety can hinder a student from excelling academically, socially, and/or emotionally.

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

Sources:

https://time.com/6182235/mass-shootings-children-mental-health-anxiety-depression/

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2022/09/news-mass-shootings-collective-traumas

https://rogersbh.org/about-us/newsroom/blog/how-identify-and-manage-anxiety-students

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: The Effects of OCD on Productivity

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: The Effects of OCD on Productivity

By Jackie Molan

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by a cycle of obsessions and compulsions that interfere with the person’s daily life. Obsessions are unwanted thoughts and impulses that occur repeatedly and induce fear and/or anxiety in the person experiencing them. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that occur in response to obsessions. They are typically intended to reduce the fear or anxiety brought on by obsessions, but this effect is short-lived, and thus the cycle continues.

Approximately 2% of the population suffers from OCD. Symptoms most often appear during adolescence or adulthood and are usually chronic. Therefore, if someone develops symptoms during adolescence, OCD is likely to cause them difficulties in numerous aspects of their lives as they age. A notable example of one of these aspects is productivity, which is relevant in both school and work environments.

Perfectionistic obsessions surrounding productivity and success are common in people with OCD. If an obsession causes anxiety about failing a task or assignment, the resultant compulsion might cause that person to spend hours checking and rechecking their work. This reduces productivity in the long run because it takes up valuable time and energy that could have been spent completing more tasks. Additionally, many compulsions involve some sort of movement, so it can be difficult for someone with OCD to sit at a desk for long periods of time. When OCD gets in the way of being productive, the person is likely to stress about their lack of productivity, which further exacerbates their OCD symptoms.

Although OCD has the potential to hinder productivity, there are steps you can take to improve it:

  • Go to therapy – The techniques employed in therapy can help you keep your OCD symptoms under control, allowing for increased productivity.
  • Manage stress – Finding ways to cope with stress will help prevent OCD symptoms from worsening.
  • Gain a better understanding of perfectionism – Learning about the pitfalls of perfectionism can allow you to set more realistic goals.
  • Practice self-care and compassion – Be kind to yourself even when you are feeling unproductive.

Living with OCD can certainly be challenging, but a more productive future is not impossible if you understand the nature of your problem and seek professional help with a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.

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

Sources:

https://psychcentral.com/ocd/ocd-and-productivity#How-OCD-can-affect-productivity

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/ocd

https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/what-happened-my-child-understanding-and

Anxiety in Athletes

Anxiety in Athletes

By Fiona McDermut

            Anxiety disorders are quite common in recent times, and can interfere with completing simple daily tasks. One population in which anxiety disorders can be particularly concerning is student athletes. Student athletes experience a tremendous amount of pressure coming from multiple facets of life. This includes pressure to perform/compete well, pressure to attend athletic training daily, pressure to maintain a healthy/fit figure, and the pressure to keep up with academic assignments. Competition and a moderate level of stress have proven to be beneficial to performance in many circumstances, but the overwhelming stress that often results from being a student athlete can be debilitating and may impact success.

            Although athletes may be at an increased risk for anxiety disorders, they often find that their schedules are too busy to seek help. In order to perform physically to one’s fullest potential, mental health is just as important as physical health. Anxiety can cause both mental and physiological symptoms that can impact athletic performance.

These symptoms include:

  • Feeling powerless
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Trembling

            While decreasing the level of competition and pressure for student athletes may be a lost cause, there are ways to help deal with the feelings of anxiety that accompany this. First and foremost, it is crucial to allow yourself to take a day off when the pressure becomes too overwhelming. Do something that makes you happy, or simply give your body and mind a day of relaxation. This is especially important if you are injured, or not feeling well mentally or physically.

            If feelings of anxiety persist, it can be helpful to seek therapy. Therapy sessions provide an outlet to share emotions, as well as a professional who can help to manage anxiety. Some of the main treatments for anxiety include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychotherapy, and medication (mainly SSRIs and antidepressants). A mental health professional will work with your personal needs to establish the most effective treatment plan.

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

Sources:

https://www.ncaa.org/sports/2014/10/8/mind-body-and-sport-anxiety-disorders.aspx

Image Source:

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/13/heres-impact-of-ncaa-letting-college-athletes-profit-off-their-marketability.html

School Shootings: How to Help Your Child’s Anxiety Following Tragedy

School Shootings: How to Help Your Child’s Anxiety Following Tragedy

By Kim Simone

In times of uncertainty and fear, children will often turn to those who bring them certainty and calm. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of a school shooting, parents may not be able to give their children the answers they need to alleviate their anxiety. Even when a child is far removed from the setting of a school shooting, being in a school setting can induce anxiety. It is important that parents recognize signs of distress and anxiety exhibited by their child following a tragedy.

Elementary school students will likely have questions that have no definitive answers, such as the motives behind a school shooting. Parents need to be prepared to answer their child with caution as children may not be emotionally prepared to hear explicit details. Furthermore, children may be concerned with how the shooting may have impacted them, or rather, how a shooting may impact them in the future. Questions such as “Could this happen to me?” or “Could this happen at my school?” show how uncertainty can lead to excessive levels of anxiety in a child. 

Symptoms of anxiety in children can include unexplained stomachaches, headaches, and changes in sleeping and eating behaviors. It is also important to note any changes in academic and social behavior in school, as anxiety may be heightened in this environment.

If your child is experiencing excessive worry and anxiety as a result of tragedy, consider having them speak to a child psychologist. Prolonged anxiety can harm a student academically, socially, and emotionally. Building a support system for children who are overcome by distress and anxiety is crucial in bringing a sense of calm to their environment in a time of uncertainty.

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

Sources:

https://childmind.org/article/anxiety-school-shooting/

https://www.usnews.com/education/k12/articles/school-shootings-how-to-help-kids-cope

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Aftermath of a School Shooting

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Aftermath of a School Shooting

By Fiona McDermut

            After yet another school shooting in the United States left 19 children dead, many parents in grief, and a multitude of survivors in agony, it is time we recognize the impact that is left on the survivors of such devastating events. Although children are known to be particularly resilient, such impactful experiences may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

            In children, PTSD symptoms are often overlooked or confused with other psychiatric disorders. These symptoms may include restlessness, fidgety behavior, trouble focusing or staying organized, reliving traumatic events through thought or play, nightmares, inconsistent sleep patterns, intense fear or sadness, angry outbursts, avoiding topics associated with the traumatic event, and feelings of denial. These emotions may be triggered by something that reminds the child of the event.

            Such devastating events are hard for anyone to understand, especially a child. If your child has experienced trauma, the symptoms can be best treated if they get in contact with a mental healthcare provider as soon as possible. Even if the child is not ready to talk about the events, many psychologists and psychotherapists can understand the situation by observing the child’s behaviors. Multi modal psychotherapy including cognitive behavioral therapy is frequently used in these situations. In certain situations, your child’s therapist may recommend the addition of safe and helpful medication.

            School should be a safe space for children, but after recent events, apprehensiveness in regard to attending school is understandable. If you or your child is experiencing extreme persistent fear following the recent events, your child will benefit from meeting with a mental health professional to get necessary treatment for his or her symptoms.

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

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/ptsd.html

Image Source:

https://www.unicef.org/parenting/how-talk-your-children-about-conflict-and-war

Anxiety in Elementary School Students

Anxiety in Elementary School Students

By Kim Simone

Symptoms of Anxiety

Elementary school students may present with different symptoms of anxiety each day before, during, and after school. Physical manifestations of anxiety may include stomachaches, restlessness, heart palpitations, and complaints of not feeling well enough to attend school. These children often have difficulty falling and staying asleep and may refuse to attend school in the morning. While in the classroom, these students may show difficulty concentrating, show excessive preoccupation with performance, or may perform poorly as a result of excess worry.

Types of Anxiety Presented

Separation anxiety is characterized by excessive worry about being separated from caregivers and commonly affects students of young ages. Social anxiety is another disorder that can be found in children, impacting their ability to participate in the classroom and socialize with their classmates. Another disorder is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) which affects students who worry about a wide variety of school issues. For instance, students with GAD may struggle with academic perfectionism. Although typically harder to identify in a school setting at a young age, young students may present with symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Students with this disorder may perform compulsive rituals or behaviors to ease their anxiety. Other anxiety disorders that may affect a student are selective mutism and specific phobias. These often impact academic and social performance.

Treatment Options

Psychotherapy can help children struggling with anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used treatment option. This therapy focuses on negative patterns of thoughts and addresses how thoughts affect the way the child feels. Parents of children with anxiety disorders can benefit from speaking to a child psychologist about how they can help. Medications may also be used to ease symptoms for a wide-variety of anxiety disorders. Treatment for anxiety disorders can be done through in-person services and virtual options, which can provide the necessary help to improve daily functioning.

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

Sources:

https://childmind.org/article/classroom-anxiety-in-children/

Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/anxiety/children-and-anxiety#:~:text=They%20may%20be%20overly%20or,enough%20to%20go%20to%20school.

Image Source:

Why Men are less likely to Seek Mental Health Services

By Jenna Chiavelli

Why Men are less likely to Seek Mental Health Services

Recent research studies have found that men are less likely to seek mental health assistance compared to their female counterparts. Men are also less likely to disclose a mental health problem to friends and family. This isn’t because men are immune to mental illnesses but rather something larger is deterring men from reaching out for help. So what can psychologists attribute this to? The answer is toxic masculinity.

Toxic masculinity refers to harmful social norms about how men should behave that lead to misogyny, homophobia, violence, and mental health issues. In our society, we typically categorize women as the emotional figures and men as the strong and brave figures. Due to these social norms, people assume that men do not need mental health services as it is perceived as unnatural for men to discuss their emotions and feelings. Men themselves see seeking help as a sign of weakness, tarnishing their masculinity.

The media contributes to this societal problem as well, as a majority of mental health advertisements are targeted towards women and feature women. This further perpetuates the idea that mental health is a women’s issue, rather than a human issue. It is time we stop gendering mental health and remove the stigma surrounding men’s mental health.

Why it Matters

In 2020, men died by suicide 3.88x more than women. White males accounted for 69.68% of suicide deaths in 2020. It is abundantly clear that there are men struggling with mental health conditions, so much so, that they believe suicide is the only answer. If we continue to feed into toxic masculinity, men will continue to avoid help when they need it most. So what can we do about it?

Ways to Help

  1. Educate yourself and others – mental health problems are medical problems that can impact anybody regardless of gender.
  2. Talk openly about mental health – sharing personal experiences with mental health problems can make others more comfortable talking about their own experiences.
  3. Show compassion for those with mental health problems – showing compassion for those suffering can help reduce feelings of shame.  
  4. Check on the men in your life – Men are less likely to share their feelings compared to women, so work on having honest conversations with the men in your life. Let them know that you are there for them and stay alert of any concerning changes in behavior.

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

Sources

https://afsp.org/suicide-statistics/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-race-good-health/201902/mental-health-among-boys-and-men-when-is-masculinity-toxic

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Depression and Anxiety Post Retirement

By: Ashley Marron

While many people look forward to retirement and its freedom, it can also trigger anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, the chance of a person facing clinical depression increases by 40% after retirement. People tend to give lots of thought when planning their retirement; whether it’s traveling the world, pursuing new hobbies, or spending more time with family and friends. However, they often overlook the psychological impact of retiring from work. While many new retirees find retiring to be a great relief from escaping the daily grind, they also find that after several months they may miss the sense of identity, meaning, and purpose that came with their job. They lose the structure that their job gave their days, as well as the social-aspect of having co-workers. Retirees may now feel bored and isolated, rather than free, relaxed and fulfilled. They may even grieve the loss of their old life, and feel stressed or worried about how they will now spend the future.

Retiring is a major life change, and it can seriously take a toll on one’s mental health. Seeking help from a professional can help provide coping mechanisms with these challenges of retirement. Therapy can also help in the treatment of depression and anxiety. There are certainly healthy ways to adjust to this new chapter in your life, and it should be an exciting time, not a negative experience. Therapy can help to ensure that your retirement is both rewarding and happy.

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

Sources

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/post-retirement-depression-recognizing-the-signs/ss-BB1fWAss

Image Source

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/post-retirement-depression-recognizing-the-signs/ss-BB1fWAss