A condition once called Hypochondria now falls under the name Somatic Symptom Disorder. Somatic Symptom Disorder is characterized as extreme focus on physical symptoms. When one places extreme focus on physical symptoms – such as fatigue and pain- the individual usually experiences emotional distress and problems functioning in their daily lives.
Those diagnosed with somatic symptom or hypochondriasis disorder often consider the worst case scenarios about their symptoms, which often leads the individual to frequently seek medical care. The individual’s health concerns become such a crucial focus in their life that they in fact become disabled.
Symptoms of somatic symptom disorder may include:
- Sensations in a specific area ( whether that be shortness of breath or pain) or more general sensations, like weakness and fatigue
- Excessive thoughts, feelings, behaviors and worrying
- Checking the body repeatedly for any sort of abnormalities
When one is diagnosed with somatic symptom disorder it is important to keep a positive outlook, because stress and negativity pave the way for the development of symptoms. Those with a history of substance abuse and high levels of sensitivity to pain are commonly seen with this condition. Anxiety, depression, and OCD are conditions that are often diagnosed as accompanying somatic symptom disorder.
For somatic symptom disorder treatment normally involves cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness- based therapy, and medication such as antidepressants. With the proper treatment research has revealed that recovery is possible using the proper strategies to eliminate as much pain as possible.
If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from Somatic Symptom Disorder (Hypochondriasis), 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 us at http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/
Panic Attacks / Panic Disorder; Anxiety
By: Denice Vidals
Panic attacks or panic disorder affects about 6 million American adults and has been found to be twice as common in women as in men. A person with panic disorder experiences sudden and unexpected panic attacks that can last for several minutes or longer. Panic attacks are intense episodes of overwhelming fear and anxiety that can cause physical symptoms. In order to be diagnosed with panic disorder, at least four physical symptoms must be present during an attack. These symptoms may include sweating, palpitations, shaking, a shortness of breath, choking, chest pain, nausea, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, feeling disconnected from reality, and chills or hot flashes.
Individuals with panic disorder are also constantly worried about when their next attack will happen. This is called anticipatory anxiety. Individuals may avoid certain situations or places where past panic attacks have occurred. These avoidance behaviors may lead to additional problems if one’s anxiety or worry does not allow one to continue normal daily functioning. Psychotherapy and medication have both been found to effectively treat panic disorder.
If you or someone you know is suffering from panic attacks, 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/
National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Panic disorder: When fear overwhelms. Retrieved on March 29, 2018 from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/panic-disorder-when-fear-overwhelms/index.shtml
Psychology Today. (2018, March 5). Retrieved on March 29, 2018 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/panic-disorder
By Hannah Pierce
Exposure therapy is a cognitive-behavioral therapy technique in which a person is exposed to a feared object or situation to overcome their anxiety. A majority of researchers and clinicians believe that exposure therapy is the most effective treatment for many anxiety disorders. One study even found that people improved more using this technique than taking antidepressants.
Although exposure therapy is proven to be very effective, it is not frequently used with teens. Many teens suffering with anxiety are prescribed medication rather than receiving therapy. It is difficult for people to consent to exposure therapy because they do not want to do something that will make them feel even more anxious.
One article documented teens’ experiences with exposure therapy. A 14-year-old suffering from social anxiety, depression, OCD, and binge-eating agreed to tackle his social anxiety through exposure therapy. On a busy college campus he sat on a bench next to a stranger and initiated a conversation. To some people this may seem simple but to a teen suffering from social anxiety, the task is very daunting. He sat on the bench and tried to talk to the stranger but the stranger just kept texting and playing with his phone. Although the exchange did not turn into a conversation, at least the teen faced his fear and realized it wasn’t that bad.
Another teen’s exposure involved him holding a sign that read “I’ve been bullied. Ask me.” Thomas hoped to combat his anxiety while also educating people on bullying. Most students on the campus walked by him without giving him a second glance. After a while, a couple stopped to talk to Thomas. The man empathized with him, sharing that he had been bullied as well and the woman applauded Thomas for his bravery. After the exchange Thomas was very pleasantly surprised and realized he did not have much to be so anxious about.
If you or someone you know may be experiencing anxiety, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com for more information.
Source: “The Kids Who Can’t” by Benoit Denizet-Lewis
By Miranda Botti
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or more commonly referred to as OCD, is a psychological disorder in which those afflicted experience recurring distressing, intrusive thoughts, images or impulses (obsessions) and attempt to remedy and alleviate such thoughts with repetitive actions (compulsions). Such intrusive, repetitive thoughts are often constant worries about one’s health or the health of family members or loved ones, as well as fears about bad things happening to loved ones. Common compulsions include but are not limited to: repeatedly checking things, such as if an oven is off or if a door is locked, excessively cleaning oneself and/or handwashing, and compulsive counting. Many OCD patients are able to understand that their thoughts are irrational and unlikely to be remedied by their compulsive actions but continue to struggle to control their obsessions. Most people are typically diagnosed with OCD in their late teens to early 20’s, although onset at any age is possible.
The knowledge of the causes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is still yet to be discovered however, risk factors include: genetics, brain structure and functioning, and/or the environment. Treatments include medications that act to inhibit the reuptake of the neurotransmitter called serotonin (SRI’s and SSRI’s), as well as the less frequently prescribed antipsychotic medication; psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); the approach of a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Research for treatment of OCD is up and running and clinical trials look to determine the effectiveness and safety of new treatments in order to help individuals in the future.
If you or someone you know is suffering from OCD, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.
Information taken from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml
by Sarah Moore
Panic Attacks: What are they?
We’ve all heard of panic attacks before, on television, in the movies and even in day-to-day conversation. In today’s age, people tend to use the term lightly, as an expression of a reaction to a stressful event or fearful encounter. One might say, “When I heard that the company was planning to downsize next year, I just about had a panic attack”. But to use the term this way does not describe what a panic attack truly is: a sudden, unexpected feeling of overwhelming and disabling anxiety, often with no premeditating cause.
So what exactly does a panic attack involve? The DSM-5 defines a panic attack as involving four (4) or more of the following symptoms:
- Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
- A feeling of choking
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
- Feelings of unreality (derealization) or being detached from oneself (depersonalization)
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Fear of dying
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Chills or hot flushes
While it’s true that anyone can experience a panic attack, they are most commonly associated with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Specific Phobias. Does this mean someone who experiences a panic attack has one of these conditions? Not necessarily. The DSM-V defines the diagnostic criteria for Panic disorder as suffering from frequent, often unexpected panic attacks. In addition, at least one attack must be followed by the fear that more attacks will occur, causing an individual to change his or her behavior in order to avoid triggering such attacks. It is important to note that other possible causes for panic attacks, such as side effects from drugs or medications must be ruled out before someone can be diagnosed with any of the above disorders. Panic attacks can be debilitating, but with the right treatment, recovery is possible.
If you believe that you or a loved one has or may be suffering from panic attacks, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com for more information.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
By Emily Aranda
Anxiety manifests itself in many forms and can be triggered by many stimuli. It is common to think of anxiety as stress that is tied to a situation, person, place, etc. of which rationally causes one anxiety, but generalized anxiety disorder is different. Generalized anxiety is not tethered to a physical or metaphysical thing; rather, it is free floating, does not require a trigger, and is not necessarily rational. Generalized anxiety is excessive, chronic, and interferes with one’s lifestyle. It affects 6.8 million US adults (3.1% of the US population) and is most commonly found in women. It is possible to develop generalized anxiety as a child or as an adult. Those with GAD tend to worry about the same topics as their peers, but to a disproportionate degree.
The mental symptoms of GAD are as follows:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Persistent worrying or obsessing
- Inability to relax or let things go
- Distress about decision making
- imagining every option in a situation all the way out to its possible negative conclusion
- feeling anxiety without an apparent cause
GAD does not only involve excessive worry. GAD involves physical symptoms as well. The following is a list of the physical implications of GAD:
- Trouble sleeping, staying asleep
- Hypertension in muscles
- Inappropriate sweating
- Nausea, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a debilitating condition that can be addressed by a professional. If you or someone you know is having issues with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.
Panic Disorder: The Basics
Although there are no known definitive causes of panic disorder, it is a common illness among Americans. People with panic disorder experience short or long spans of time of sheer panic or they experience a panic attack. Although there are multiple types of experiences that can elicit fear, people with the disorder feel fear and panic even when there is no real danger. More women experience panic disorder than men; however it affects each gender in the same way. Often times the illness is so debilitating, that it doesn’t allow for the completion of normal tasks like driving or going to the grocery store.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with panic disorder experience:
- Sudden and repeated panic attacks of overwhelming anxiety and fear
- A feeling of being out of control, or a fear of death or impending doom during a panic attack
- Physical symptoms during a panic attack, such as a pounding or racing heart, sweating, chills, trembling, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, tingly or numb hands, chest pain, stomach pain, and nausea
- An intense worry about when the next panic attack will happen
- A fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past
If you or someone you know experiences panic attacks or has problems with anxiety, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.
Low Self-Esteem: You’re Never Enough
By: Kristine Dugay
Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough? Maybe you feel like you’re not deserving of praise or love because you’ve developed such a low opinion of yourself? Perhaps you could be suffering from low self-esteem. Self-esteem is the confidence in one’s own worth. If you suffer from low self-esteem, you’ll often find yourself continuously trying to perfect things, being afraid to take risks, being afraid to love, and not being able to trust anyone. Low self-esteem causes extreme fear and anxiety. Often, individuals with low self-esteem exaggerate the expectations of others and feel they don’t measure up.
Low self-esteem can contribute to the following consequences:
- Failed relationships
- Panic attacks
- Sexual dysfunction
- Lack of assertiveness
- Easily discouraged
- Social stress
This list only includes some of the consequences to low self-esteem. Many people suffer from debilitating conditions because of the negative impact their self-esteem has had on their life. Your self-worth impacts your overall health, and those who lack self-respect for themselves may suffer many negative consequences. These consequences may include drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, weak cardiovascular and immune systems, and stress and anxiety that can lead to heart conditions. The sooner you improve your self-esteem, the sooner you can make positive changes in your life.
If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have issues with self-esteem, anxiety, depression or interpersonal problems, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.
By: Emily Mulhaul
Lights flashing, music blasting, society Snapchatting.
Unbeknownst to many, an external appearance doesn’t always match up with an internal experience. To further explain, just because on the outside someone seems they are having fun, does not always mean internally they are having fun. This knowledge can act as a relaxant to combat the initial jealousy of binge watching other’s Snapchat stories; However, if you find yourself “doing it for the Snapchat” (we all have) and are sensing incongruity with the way you appear on Snapchat and feel in reality, it may be time to look inside yourself. If “the struggle is becoming too real” and you’re at the point where you want to feel the way you appear on Snapchat, or experience the perceived feelings of other’s but have absolutely no idea where to start, talking it through with a licensed professional could guide you towards genuinely feeling these positive emotions.
The experienced psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling are here to help. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.
By: Emily Mulhaul
Are you struggling to maintain relationships with a family member, friend or significant other? Does the idea of being connected to or trusting another person make you anxious or scared? Did something in your past cause you to have this reaction to others? Sometimes we find it easier to avoid a situation, opposed to acting upon a situation. After running a half marathon, I can attest that the effort and maintenance necessary for a meaningful relationship, is just that of training for a half marathon. Depending on your personality, the previous statement could have been viewed rewardingly because you compare the euphoric feeling of crossing the finish line of the half marathon to that of laughter with friends on a Saturday. The alternative reaction could have been that neither relationships nor half marathons are worth the effort, so you proceed with simply going through the motions of your work or school day, followed by isolating yourself in front of the TV at night. If the second scenario reminds you of yourself or someone you know, the avoidant behavior may potentially be a catalyst for anxiety and depression. People do not want to be alone all the time, but they may lack the motivation to continue otherwise due to an experience with a past relationship, lack of confidence, etc. As opposed to avoiding relationships, at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy we want you or a loved one to avoid anxiety, depression, and isolation.
If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, depression, or isolation and are experiencing difficulty with the following:
Presence (both mentally and physically; may be feeling lethargic)
Maintaining or seeking relationships
The psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling are here to help. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.