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

Advertisements

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.

Good Grief: Part 3

By: Sam Reiner

(once again to understand what I am talking about read the first 2 parts)

Despite all your bargaining, you eventually realize that there is nothing you can do to stop or reverse what happened. With the realization that there is no escaping fate comes the desire to disconnect and retreat inward, which leads to stage 4: Depression. The sadness sets in as you begin to understand the loss and realize its effect on your life. This is when you will feel overwhelmed, regretful, and lonely and in the game, this can be seen at the Great Bay. It is here that you me Lulu, a Zora who has lost her egg, simply standing in silence gazing out to the sea. The loss of her eggs has caused her to retreat inward and become depressed, which is very common for people who have just lost a loved one.

However, as the old saying goes “This too shall pass.” Stage 5: Acceptance. This is when you finally accept the reality of your loss, and although you may still feel sad you can now begin to move forward with your life. In game, this is signified by the Land of the Dead, Ikana Valley. It is here that you meet Sharp, a ghost you help reach acceptance with his mistreatment of his brother. A very literal representation of acceptance, but a more symbolic example is the Stone Tower, where you climb up towards the heavens. As you climb you will also need to create 4 twin statues (one for each town) with the 4 being symbolic of the past 4 stages of grief. Much like these statues, during the stages of grief you feel dull and lifeless but they are essential in order for you to go through the grieving process. This is even shown in game as you must leave the statue behind when you go up to the next floor, symbolizing passing though the stages of grief. By leaving them behind you can make your way to the top in order to obtain enlightenment and then flip the tower putting the heavens at your feet, solidifying your acceptance. You even have to fight the Garo Masters, beings literally described as “Emptiness cloaked in darkness.” These are clear symbols to the internal battle between light and darkness on the road to acceptance and also shows your victory over the empty feelings that come with grief. By overcoming the darkness and emptiness inside you and reaching the top, you show that you have accepted the past and are ready to face the future.

And with that, we have reached the end of the 5 stages of grief. Now that you know what to expect when faced with grief, it now becomes a question of how long with it last? Unfortunately this is getting pretty long so I’m going to have to save that for next time.

If you or someone you know is grieving, 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/.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

gad1

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
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Trembling
  • 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/.

 

Source:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20024562

Good Grief: Part 2

By: Sam Reiner

(Read part 1 first to learn why I am talking about Zelda)

The 1st stage of grief is Denial. When you first learn of a loss it’s normal to think that it isn’t real or that it can’t be happening. It’s a way for you to deal with the torrent of overwhelming emotions. This is exactly what you experience in Clock Town, the 1st town in Majora’s Mask. In this game, you have 3 days to stop a giant moon from crashing down and destroying everything. However, even with this moon clearly inching closer every minute, no one seems to care. In fact, they are actually planning a carnival, openly laughing at the idea that the moon will fall. One person even goes as far to say that he’ll simply cut the moon to pieces with his sword.

Denial can only be temporary however, and when it is no longer possible you get angry. Stage 2: Anger. When reality starts to set in you may feel frustrated and helpless which later turn to anger, causing you to lash out at anything whether they deserve it or not. This is extremely prevalent in the game’s second location, Woodfall. Here you discover that the swamp has been poisoned, the Deku princess is missing, and the king is dead set on punishing a monkey who he believes kidnapped her. The problem is, the monkey is innocent. The king is just angry because of the poisoned swamp and his missing daughter and is lashing out at anyone.

Once the anger settles you then start to feel desperate which leads to stage 3: Bargaining. It’s during this stage you attempt to do anything that can either postpone or reverse the loss. In the case of Majora’s Mask, bargaining is on full display at Snowhead. Here is where the player encounters the Gorons, who are in the middle of mourning the recent loss of their chief, Darmani. Eventually you actually meet his ghost who then literally begs you to bring him back to life with your magic. This is a textbook example of bargaining as he is trying everything to delay the inevitability that is death. This can also be seen in the area itself. The paralyzing cold of Snowhead is basically a metaphor to how in this stage of grief you feel unable to move on, emotionally frozen. And for now, I’ll stop there, so for the next part we will be discussing the last two stages of grief.

If you or someone you know is grieving, 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/.

 

Good Grief: Part 1

By: Sam Reiner

Grief is something that is inevitable in everyone’s life. It is an emotion that can come from the loss of a loved one, moving to a new home, suffering a chronic illness, or even the end of a relationship. It is a feeling that hits hard and can make you feel completely empty inside. Although we all must face grief at one point or another, no one knows what to expect when they are actually faced with it. What will I feel, how long will I feel it, and how can I move on? Over the next few blogs I will try my best to answer these questions.

So, let’s go down the list and start with what exactly will you feel when you are face with grief. Although the process is different for everyone, doctors have identified 5 common stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance (DABDA). Now in order to explain it further I’m going to once again use a video game, this time Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. I swear I didn’t even plan this but when it comes to examples of the 5 stages of grief this is probably the best example of it in pop culture as you actually play through all 5 stages of grief via the 5 locations. But I’m going to have so go into more detail on it another day. This is going to take a while to explain and deserves its own blog. In the next part I will be discussing the first three stages of grief.

If you or someone you know is grieving, 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/.

Social Anxiety

social anxiety

Social Anxiety

By Daisy Lee

A common type of anxiety disorder is known as social anxiety disorder, or social phobia. Many anxiety disorders are characterized by an extreme fear of a certain type of object or situation. In the case of social anxiety, a person has an extreme fear of and avoidance of social situations or situations involving people who may be watching or judging them. Often, this intense anxiety in social situations can interfere with one’s social, educational, and/or occupational functioning and can even prevent people from going to school or work. Many people with social anxiety might avoid going out and socializing in order to avoid experiencing potential anxiety and stress. Social anxiety can also make one reluctant to meet new people, which is why many with social anxiety may not have a large circle of friends and may also have trouble making new friends. When people with social anxiety find themselves in a situation in which they have to socialize or have to put on a performance or presentation, they commonly experience these symptoms:

  • Intense anxiety and distress
  • Blushing, sweating, and trembling
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Rigid body posture
  • Poor eye contact
  • Voice tremors

Social anxiety disorder is often heritable and can be effectively treated. Certain forms of psychotherapy, specifically cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can be a very effective treatment for social anxiety. Certain antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can also be helpful. If you or someone you know is struggling with social anxiety, speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. They can help you overcome this often debilitating anxiety. 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: https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/social-anxiety-disorder-social-phobia

Photo: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/social-anxiety/

 

Suicide Prevention the Right Way: Part 2

By: Sam Reiner

(cont from part 1)

That’s basically the whole article and after reading this you’re probably thinking “why would I ever show this to someone who is thinking of suicide?” Well although what he talks about may seem like the worst thing to tell people it’s in the details that makes the article really stick out. Like I said before, when Wong mentions the possibility of the afterlife he says your two options are one of the worst parts of hell or eternal nothingness. It is a scientific fact that something is always better than nothing so the downside of nothing for eternity is never explained but when he talks about Hell it is a different story. After he is done describing all the terrible things Hell has in store for the rest of eternity he brings up the fact that there are people who have it worse than you do.

Remember how I said that Wong mentions a kid with a rare skin disease. This kid’s skin is constantly drying and falling off in chunks so you would think that he might be the most likely to commit suicide because he is in constant pain. But instead, he is also over 18 years old and runs triathlons. Although it may seem random to talk about, Wong only mentions him to make a good point, if he can find a reason to live so can you. The main point of this whole section is, “if you’re figuring that, yes, you can man up and face whatever challenges the next life presents, then you might as well do that now, in this life, and skip the extra step. It’s just more efficient that way.”

Same goes for when he describes suicide methods. Like last time I don’t want to be specific on this topic but every method that he mentions is put in a way that would dissuade anyone from trying it. To me however the best part of this article is in the 3rd section, Timing. This is the section where the article really shines as it is here that Wong not only uses common sense, but statistics too when he talks about the 50% Rule. Why is the fact he uses statistics so important? It’s because that is definitive proof that you have something to look forward to and that you have a purpose. Also, when he talks about revising your suicide note, he recommends asking the suicide hotline to do it for you as they “deal with dozens of suicides every day and they know a good note when they hear one,” (very funny Wong). Honestly, I want to go into so much more detail on this article, especially the 50% Rule, but I feel as though the only way to truly see why I love this article so much is to read it. So, I’m going to put the link at the end and I really suggest you read it. I guarantee it will have you thinking differently.

http://www.cracked.com/article_15658_the-ten-minute-suicide-guide.html

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/.

Suicide Prevention the Right Way

By: Sam Reiner

DISCLAIMER: The content of this blog may be seen as insensitive or may make me seem psychotic. So, before I begin I must say that I AM IN NO WAY SUPPORTING THE ACT OF SUICIDE. DO NOT KILL YOURSELF.

(never thought I’d have to say that but here we are)

Today I want to talk about suicide prevention articles and how people go about writing them. From what I have seen while searching the web, most of them are very generic and dull. They all pretty much say the same thing, “don’t kill yourself, you have so much to live for.” Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with saying that, it’s just that the reasons why someone would want to commit suicide are too complicated to be summed up so simply. So, if taking a simple approach isn’t the best choice then what should you do? Enter David Wong, the author of what I believe to be the greatest and most moving article I have ever read. He decided to write an article like no other called The Ten-Minute Suicide Guide. Now you are probably thinking how is this a suicide prevention article, and to be fair I thought the same thing. But after reading it, I have so much more appreciation for life. I’m going to briefly summarize the article and next time I will go into more detail on why this “suicide guide” works so well as a suicide prevention article.

The article starts with the story of a girl Wong knew in high school who committed suicide and what happened afterwards as a result of a botched suicide note. This is what he uses to segway into his main point of the paper, be careful in the steps you take to commit suicide. From here, Wong talks about 3 things to think about: where you will end up, how you will do it, and if it is the right time. By, “where you will end up,” Wong is talking about the afterlife and what happens to your soul. He says that there are only two real possibilities in that regard. Either the Christians were right and you’re going to hell, because under the Christian scheme suicide technically qualifies as murder, or that the atheists are right and nothing happens. He also mentions a kid who was born with a rare skin disease. More on that later.

Next, he talks about how you would actually commit suicide. Not much I really want to say about this because of obvious reasons. One thing I will mention though is that he lists the drawbacks of each method. Again, more on this later. The last thing Wong asks the reader to think about is if the timing is right. This is part is also exactly what it sounds like as it is all about picking the right time to do it and as a bonus talks about revising your suicide note and even gives you the number of a group of people that could help. That’s basically the whole article and after reading this you’re probably thinking “why would I ever show this to someone who is thinking of suicide?” Well I’m going to answer that in the next blog which should be already posted. I really did want this to be just one blog because stopping here is actually terrible but unfortunately, I have too. Next time, why is this a suicide prevention article.

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/.