PTSD: Trauma

PTSD: Trauma

By: Elizabeth Lynch

                   Every day you unknowingly pass by, interact with, or speak to someone who is suffering from PTSD. In the US alone 70% of adults experience some kind of trauma throughout their life; 20% of them will develop PTSD from the events they faced. While PTSD is known to develop more frequently in women than in men this mental illness does not discriminate across gender, race, sexual orientation, social status, or age. This is what many people don’t realize about PTSD. It doesn’t just affect those who go off to war. It can affect anyone who experienced a major trauma.

Experiencing the following could lead to the development of PTSD:

  1.        Sexual Assault or Rape
  2.        Severe beating or physical assault
  3.        Serious accident or injury (car or train accident)
  4.        Being a victim of or witnessing a shooting or stabbing
  5.        Sudden, unexpected death of a family member or friend
  6.        Child’s life-threatening illness which can affect both child and parents
  7.        Witness to murder or serious injury
  8.        Natural disasters

Look for the signs:

       Behavioral

  • Irritability
  • Social Isolation
  • Self-Destructive Behavior
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Easily Startled

       Psychological

  • Flashbacks
  • Mistrust
  • Avoidance of places, people, or things that serve as a reminder of trauma
  • Difficulty Remembering

       Sleep

  • Frequently Disturbed
  • Nightmares/Terrors
  • Insomnia
  • Bed wetting

       Mood

  • Guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Loss of interest
  • Hopelessness
  • Fear
  • Tension/ Anxiety

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 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/

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PTSD: Not Just for Veterans

ptsd

PTSD: Not Just for Veterans

By Jessica Burgess

While you may have heard about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) before, you may have only heard it associated with veterans and war events. The truth is, anyone of any age can suffer from PTSD if they have witnessed or experienced a scary event. Every year, about 5.2 million Americans suffer from PTSD. Some events that might trigger PTSD include:

  • Sexual abuse or assault
  • Combat
  • A violent crime
  • A plane crash or car accident
  • A natural disaster like a hurricane, tornado, or fire
  • Or any life-threatening event

Symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • Lack of trust in others
  • Nightmares about the event
  • Avoidance of places or things that remind you of the event
  • Being on the lookout for danger constantly

On average, PTSD starts about 3 months after the event but some people do not have signs until years later. The length of recovery also varies with some recovering in 6 months and others taking much longer to recover. The best way to treat PTSD is to talk to your mental health professional.

If you think you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Real Illness (NIH Publication No. 00-4675). Bethesda, MD; U.S. Government Printing Office.

Image: https://tce-live2.s3.amazonaws.com/media/media/18a0d81b–c5ad-4ab5-811f–3f413a2d646b.jpg

Effects of Sexual Assault

Effects of Sexual Assault

By Toniann Seals

Sexual assault is a tragedy that unfortunately happens to many victims. Statistics say that, “in the U.S., one in three women and one in six men experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime.” This number is far too high and the reality is that despite the movements created to end it, it continues to have a large impact on many people’s lives.

Facts:

  • “91% of victims of rape and sexual assault are female, and nine percent are male.”
  • “The lifetime cost of rape per victim is $122,461.”
  • “81% of women and 35% of men report significant short- or long-term impacts such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”

Sexual assault affects both the victim and their family. A few of the mental health issues that the victims could develop are anxiety, depression, obsessive thoughts and paranoia. If sexual assault has affected your life, it is important to remember that it is never the victim’s fault and there are people here to help.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/NISVS-StateReportBook.pdf

https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsarp00.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf

http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/nsvrc_talking-points_lifetime-economic-burden_0.pdf

Image:

https://www.indiatoday.in/technology/features/story/hashtag-metoo-trending-on-twitter-facebook-what-is-it-and-why-is-everyone-talking-about-it-1066951-2017-10-18

Suicide: Fighting Suicidal Thoughts

By: Sally Santos

If you are someone who is suffering with suicidal thoughts, you should be aware that most people that have attempted to commit suicide but did not succeed feel relieved that they did not succeed in ending their life. When things get tough sometimes your mind starts racing and you feel overwhelmed with emotions. Suicide doesn’t just happen on its own, it is led by many social risk factors some of them being:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Employment status
  • Lack of social support

Many people who have attempted to commit suicide will say that they were experiencing very intense feelings of hopelessness. They felt like they had lost control of their lives and that nothing is going to get better. But that is not true. In that moment it may feel hopeless but there are ways to help you feel better. You do not have to feel like you have to fight your battles alone. In order to steer away from those thoughts it is important to keep in mind a plan just in case your thoughts become too overwhelming. It is recommended to make a list of all the positive things that you have in your life such as:

  • Read a favorite book or listen to your favorite music
  • Write down positive things about yourself or the favorite aspects of your life
  • Try to get a goodnights sleep
  • Have a list of people you trust to call in case you want to talk

Always note that you can discuss how you have been feeling with a healthcare provider. They can provide you with the advice and help that you need in order to achieve a faster and healthy recovery. Lastly, as mentioned in an article in Psychology Today it’s important to “remember that you have not always felt this way and that you will not always feel this way”. The emotions and thoughts that you have now are temporary not permanent.

Article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201204/fighting-suicidal-thoughts

Image: https://www.teepublic.com/sticker/1813639-suicide-prevention-awareness-butterfly-ribbon

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, 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/.

 

Assertiveness and Anxiety: How Expressing Yourself Can Lead to a Happier Self

By: Sanjita Ekhelikar

“Communication is key” is a phrase we are all familiar with, yet many struggle with actually acting on it. The most effective form of communication is through assertiveness, which involves expressing one’s views in a straightforward manner, and in standing up for one’s needs while still being considerate of others. This differs from aggressiveness in that it does not involve being outwardly emotional or insulting to others, and differs from passivity in that the individual clearly states their feelings and desires. Being assertive involves open communication, which can be difficult to engage in, especially for people struggling with anxiety. However, through practicing and learning assertiveness, people with anxiety can actually feel less worry and more confident in themselves.

Anxiety describes the uncomfortable feelings of turmoil and dread that one might have in anticipation that results in physical sensations such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, and rumination. For many who struggle with anxiety, the thought of being assertive with others makes them anxious. They often worry that being assertive will come off as being mean, creating conflict, and being inconsiderate. Therefore, many choose passive communication, and never voice their views or feelings. This worsens their state of worry, as they are not properly understood by those around them and can easily be taken advantage of. They are often misunderstood which increases their worry. Others often take advantage of them because of their meek manner and visible anxiety.

Contrary to what those with anxiety believe, assertiveness can actually help them feel better. Often times, those with anxiety create situations in their mind about everything that will go wrong if they voice themselves to another person. However, such a form of open communication can create a better understanding between two people. It allows the person with anxiety to be properly understood, to dispel the fearful thoughts in their head, and become more confident in themselves and their views.

How can people with anxiety begin working towards being more assertive? By stating their views using “I,” individuals can avoid putting blame on others by expressing their own opinions. In addition, reminding themselves that their fears are not rational and that it is their anxiety talking to them can help them become increasingly comfortable with being assertive. Finally, practice makes perfect – keep trying and speak up!

If you or someone you know is suffering from 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/.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Isabelle Kreydin

You’ve heard about bipolar personality obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoia disorder, and probably a handful of other ones. One of the less uncommon and less discussed one is narcissistic personality disorder. This is a mental condition in which a person has an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.

What lies behind the disorder? Behind the mask of extreme confidence, arrogance and/or pompousness there is a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism, insult, or contempt. They may find their relationships unfulfilling, and others may not enjoy being around them when they feel the persons need for superiority which can lead to actions and words of disrespect.

Why does this disorder get diagnosed? Most believe that the causes are due to genetics as well as social factors, and the person’s early development such as family, personal temperament, school system, and learned coping skills to deal with stress.

What are some more possible symptoms? It’s their way or the highway, they won’t ever be wrong in situations, and if they admit to be wrong, they will put another down just in order to convince themselves that they are in the right, they can have ease lying; they can charm, falsely accuse, mooch, betray, mirror, compete, destroy, and manipulate easily. They are known also to commonly abuse drugs, alcohol or nicotine.

What problems does this disorder cause? It causes unstable and trouble in relationships, work, school or financial affairs. People with narcissistic personality disorder may be generally unhappy, and may take this out on another human and gain the personality trait that is sadistic.

How can we help the issue? After acceptance, treatment of this personality disorder typically involves long-term therapy, possible medication, and continuing to relate better with others in relationships, working towards empathy, understanding the cause of ones emotions and what drives one to compete and distrust, practicing tolerance, and trying to release ones desire for unattainable goals and ideal conditions.If you or a person you know is struggling with a narcissistic personality disorder, or any personality disorder, it may be beneficial to have them contact a mental health professional and receive therapy for their illnesses. The psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists 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.

To find out more information, visit: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20366662

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD

By: Cassie Sieradzky

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is classified in the DSM-5 as a trauma and stress related disorder. PTSD is commonly triggered after a traumatic event, such as violent personal assaults, natural or unnatural disasters, accidents, or military combat. PTSD is frequently comorbid with depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders. For PTSD to be diagnosed, symptoms must be present for at least 1 month and they must create distress in the individual and impact daily functioning.

First, an individual must be exposed to death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence, in the following way: direct exposure, witnessing the trauma, or learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma.

One intrusion symptom must also be present. The intrusion symptoms include unwanted upsetting memories, nightmares, flashbacks, emotional distress after exposure to traumatic reminders, and physical reactivity after exposure to traumatic reminders. Avoidance of trauma-related stimuli after the trauma occurred is also a symptom of PTSD. For example, an individual may avoid trauma-related thoughts or feelings or situations that remind them of the trauma. Two symptoms of negative changes in thought are also required for a diagnosis. An individual with PTSD may experience an inability to recall key features of the trauma, overly negative thoughts or assumptions about oneself or the world, exaggerated blame of self or others for causing the trauma, negative affect, decreased interest in activities, and/or feelings of isolation. Lastly, to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the individual must experience alterations in reactions and behaviors, such as irritability/aggression, risky or destructive behavior, hypervigilance, heightened startle reaction, difficulty concentrating, or difficulty sleeping.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 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/

DSM-5 Criteria for PTSD. (2018, March 14). Retrieved April 02, 2018, from
https://www.brainline.org/article/dsm-5-criteria-ptsd

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved April 02, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder

Anxiety: Exposure Therapy Helping Teens Combat Anxiety

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

OCD: What It’s Really About

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

What exactly is a “Panic Attack”?

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
  • Sweating
  • 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.