Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

By: Julia Keys

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has been normalized and trivialized in society as a need for everything to be meticulously clean and organized when in reality it is a serious psychological disorder that can cause significant distress for those who have it. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by a pattern of uncontrollable reoccurring thoughts, known as obsessions, which can only be remedied by certain behaviors, known as compulsions. People with OCD are commonly depicted as being ultra-neat or afraid of germs, which is true for some people, but the way OCD expresses itself is unique to the individual.

There are several common themes that psychologists have determined when treating patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. One common theme is contamination. This may take on the literal meaning in which an object or place can be perceived as dirty, but it can also mean that contact with a person, place, or object will cause great harm. Checking is another typical behavior. One may check if something is safe or turned off over and over again. Checking can also express itself in the need for constant verbal reassurance, so a person with OCD may ask the same question over and over. People with OCD may be worried that they will suddenly lose control and hurt themselves or someone else. In efforts to qualm these obsessions, one may avoid certain places or people or have plans set in place that could prevent them from acting out these thoughts.

Common obsessions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
  • Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order

Common compulsions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
  • Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
  • Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting

When reading these lists one might think that these behaviors are relatively typical, however people with OCD spend an excessive amount of time and effort thinking about obsessive thoughts and preforming rituals to control them. A person with OCD may feel brief relief after preforming a compulsion, but they do not feel pleasure from such acts. Obsessions and compulsions are very difficult to control and may result in significant problems in one’s daily life or relationships.

If you or someone you know is struggling OCD, 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/ .




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By: Lauren Hernandez

            If you or someone you know has been seeing a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner for treatment of depression, there are various types of antidepressants a mental health provider can prescribe. It is important to be familiar with different types of antidepressants in order for you, as the patient, to understand what the medication actually does on a neurological level.

The most common type of antidepressant prescribed is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, known as an SSRI. SSRIs mainly treat depression but they are also effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain which impacts your mood, sexual desire, appetite, sleep, memory and learning as well as other similar functions. On a neurological level, SSRIs prevent serotonin reabsorption which builds up serotonin in the synapse. This allows receptors to receive the signal and react with the optimal amount of serotonin. People suffering from major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders typically have lower serotonin levels. By preventing reabsorption in the synapse via medications, symptoms of these disorders may decrease. In 1987 Prozac was the first approved for treatment of those with depression and became one of the most prescribed antidepressants. Other common SSRIs include Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft, and Celexa.

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, SNRIs differ from SSRIs in that they block the reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that influences hormones and the “fight or flight” response in the brain. Approved SNRIs include Cymbalta, Pristiq and Effexor XR.

Some of the other common types of antidepressants prescribed include norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs) which block the reabsorption of norepinephrine and dopamine. This is only seen to be effective in the medication bupropion, which is also known as Wellbutrin. Other types of antidepressants that are less common include Tetracyclics (TCA’s), Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI’s), and Serotonin Antagonist and Reuptake Inhibitors. These older medications are not prescribed as frequently because of the development of newer medications that effectively decrease symptoms and have fewer side effects.

Medication is helpful; however, it is most effective when used in combination with different types of psychotherapy or support groups. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or any type of anxiety or mood disorder, it is important to seek professional help from a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner who can provide antidepressants as well as support through talk therapy. If you or someone you know is currently taking antidepressants, it is extremely important to continue taking the medication and avoid discontinuations.

If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, anxiety, or a mood disorder, please contact 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/ .






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Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks

By: Lauren Hernandez

Many people face anxiety on a daily basis. Panic attacks are an extreme form of anxiety that many people experience. Panic attacks are described as an immediate fear of dying, going crazy or losing control. People who experience panic attacks may feel intense fear despite no real danger. Attacks may last anywhere from about ten minutes to an hour or more. Panic attacks are categorized as either situational or unexpected. According to PsychologyToday, “situational panic attacks are triggered by a particular scenario while unexpected panic attacks seem as though they come out of nowhere.”  While general anxiety is the worry that bad things might happen in one’s life, panic attacks feel like a surge of imminent danger and often have physical symptoms.

Symptoms of panic attacks include:

  • Increased heart rate or palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or a feeling of being smothered
  • Choking sensations
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Feelings of unreality or being detached from oneself
  • Numbness or tingling sensations, particularly in the extremities or around the lips
  • Chills or hot flashes

Panic attacks are a terrifying experience; however, they are quite treatable and can be helped with a combination of therapy and medications. For people who experience situational panic attacks, it is best to leave the feared situation which will typically decrease anxiety and end the panic attack. For people who experience unexpected panic attacks, take note of where, when, and possibly why the panic attack began in order to analyze this occurrence further with a mental health professional. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that is one of the most common methods of treating panic attacks and anxiety disorders. Additionally, medication such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) can help relieve anxiety and prevent panic attacks. Immediate relief can be achieved when benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Klonopin are taken. These medications are potentially abusive so they must be used with caution. If you or someone you know is suffering from panic attacks or severe anxiety, contact a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatric nurse practitioner who can help.

If you or someone you know who may be suffering from panic attacks, 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/ .


Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/anxiety-help/201109/panic-attacks-what-they-are-and-how-stop-them-0

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Habits: Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)

By Lauren Hernandez

            Body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) are a group of disorders composed of “self-grooming” behaviors in which a person might pull, pick, bite, or scrape one’s hair, skin, or nails. BFRBs can be considered “impulse disorders,” however; it is still undetermined whether they are either impulsive or compulsive behaviors. People suffering from BFRBs typically lack awareness towards engaging in the repetitive behavior. BFRBS are problematic when they occur repetitively and cause a person distress in their physical, social, and emotional lives. The cause of BFRBs is still being researched; however, for some, habitual behaviors such as biting nails, chewing on their cheeks, and pulling their hair may develop into an impairing pattern associated with other mental illnesses.

Most BFRBs are associated with anxiety disorders, impulse control disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorders because they are difficult for individuals for control. BFRBs not only have an emotionally distressing impact, as an individual may experience high levels of shame, but BFRBs can also cause physical injuries such as scarring, skin infections, or bald spots.

The most common BFRBs include:

  • Trichotillomania- compulsive hair pulling
  • Dermatillomania- Compulsive skin picking
  • Onychophagia- Compulsive nail biting

Treatment of BFRBs include cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, and supplements, however, there are lower rates of treatment success due to lack of research on the disorders and effective treatment methods. Treatment for BFRBs should be discussed with a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner in order to tailor treatment for an individual.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a Body-focused repetitive behavior, 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/ .





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Hypnosis: The Basics!

Hypnosis: The Basics!

By Lauren Hernandez

            In today’s fast paced, technology filled world, it is important to take care of your mental health and address stress and anxiety with a mental health professional. There are various methods of treating anxiety, stress, and depression, and one of those methods is Hypnosis. According to PsychologyToday, hypnosis is the technique of “putting someone into a state of heightened concentration where they are more suggestible”. Hypnosis is achieved through soothing verbal repetition which relaxes a patient into a trance-like state, allowing the patient to be more open minded to transformative messages. Hypnosis allows a patient to be guided through relaxation, while still being in control. Hypnosis is utilized in accordance with other treatments to help patients overcome mental health issues. Hypnosis is ineffective as a sole treatment method, but is beneficial to a patient when used with other methods of therapy.

Hypnosis can help treat:

  • Bad habits such as smoking
  • Stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Pain, pain associated with autoimmune diseases
  • Fatigue
  • Mood disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Specific phobias

If you are interested in trying another method to treat your anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issues, it is important to reach out to a licensed psychotherapist who can safely and effectively assist you with the use of hypnosis.





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Skin-Picking/Excoriation Disorder: An Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD: Skin-Picking/Excoriation

Written by: Jinal Kapadia

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over. There are many different types of OCD disorders, but one disorder in particular deals with skin picking; it is called Excoriation.

Excoriation disorder affects around 1.4% of the general population, and its symptoms appear most commonly during adolescence, around the onset of puberty. This disorder, sometimes referred to as chronic skin-picking or dermatillomania, is characterized by repeated picking at one’s own skin resulting in skin lesions and sometimes significant disruption in one’s life.

In order to be diagnosed with Excoriation disorder, a person must exhibit the behavior of picking one’s skin that results in skin lesions and repeated attempt to stop this behavior. These symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment, can not be caused by a medical or dermatological condition or substance, and can not be better explained by another psychiatric disorder.

The treatment for Excoriation disorder is similar to the treatment for general Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in the sense that both suggest the use of medication, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to reduce the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors of the person suffering from the disorder.

If you or someone you know has Excoriation disorder or seems to have the symptoms of Excoriation disorder, and needs help, 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/.


Mentalhealthamerica.com. (2018). Excoriation Disorder (Skin Picking or Dermatillomania). [online] Available at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/excoriation-disorder-skin-picking-or-dermatillomania [Accessed 10 Jan. 2018].

Mghocd.org. (2015). Excoriation. [online] Available at: https://mghocd.org/clinical-services/excoriation/ [Accessed 10 Jan. 2018].

Nimh.nih.gov. (2016). NIMH » Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. [online] Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml [Accessed 10 Jan. 2018].