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

Body Dysmorphic Disorder-Beautiful In Your Own Skin Month

Body Dysmorphic Disorder-Beautiful In Your Own Skin Month

By Fiona McDermut

            In light of the start of “beautiful in your own skin” month, it is important to recognize that many struggle with body image satisfaction. Not all people look in the mirror and feel content with what they see. Even if those around you do not understand your body-related concerns, your feelings are totally valid and can be helped with treatment.

            Body dysmorphic disorder (body dysmorphia) is a mental illness characterized by a hyper fixation on perceived defects in one’s appearance. This interferes with day-to-day life because one may spend a large amount of time worrying or attempting to adjust the perceived flaw. These behaviors usually result in obsessive body comparison to others, avoidance of social interaction, and frequent negative body-checking (looking in the mirror repeatedly at disliked body parts). Unfortunately, many have associated their own happiness with how closely their bodies align with current beauty standards portrayed in the media. As one lets these thoughts progress, they can worsen, and possibly be a precursor to an eating disorder or other disorders associated with body dissatisfaction such as depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

            While many believe that cosmetic surgery will fix their perceived flaws, research has shown that such surgeries do not improve psychological symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder. The first step to resolving the issue is recognizing that you have a warped view of what you look like. If you or someone you know experiences this, it can be very beneficial to seek psychological/psychiatric assistance. Professionals in the field will be able to decide the best way to treat these disordered thoughts. The most common treatment for body dysmorphia is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Other possible treatments include hypnotherapy, exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and the prescription of antidepressant medication in order to decrease the feelings of dissatisfaction.

            Working with a professional is important in situations like these, but it is still important to remind yourself that your perceived flaws are only noticed by you, and likely not those around you. Nobody is perfect, but with the constant pressure of modern media to be thin, our flaws often appear to be more apparent to ourselves than they are to others. The practice of mindfulness exercises may also help to focus your mind on what you have learned to love about yourself, and of course, do not be afraid to seek help when necessary.

If you or someone you know is struggling with body dysmorphic 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.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201507/whats-the-best-way-deal-negative-body-image

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shrink/201409/how-stop-hating-your-body

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1740144507000988

Image source: https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-related-body-dysmorphic-disorder/

Drug Consumption Rose During COVID-19

By: Priya Desai

Coronavirus is a hard time for everyone and there has been a lot of adjusting to do. Many people turned to drugs and alcohol to deal with the stress, anxiety and depression that they were feeling. Due to this, there was an apparent increase in both quantity and how often people were using drugs during the pandemic. These coping mechanisms are only temporary and cannot fix the problems that people are actually facing.

Months after the pandemic started, there was a survey done in Florida to see how often drugs and alcohol are being used. Almost 80 percent of the participants reported using alcohol in the past month, over 35 percent reported using marijuana, and 10 percent of participants were using stimulant drugs. Along with this, overdoses have spiked since the pandemic began. The increase usage of drugs during the pandemic has occurred primarily among young adults. A few of the reasons for this are economic stress, boredom, general anxiety about the pandemic, fear of acquiring the virus, and loneliness.  With school being online and the stay-at-home act being in order, students had free time which resulted in them abusing substances. Instead of using drugs, people can find a hobby, whether it be painting, exercising, or baking. In addition, with classes being held virtual and jobs being lost due to the pandemic, young adults were worried and stressed. This resulted in an increased use of drug and alcohol in attempt to cope with the stress.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug abuse caused by the pandemic 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/

Citations: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/social-instincts/202012/drugs-choice-in-the-era-covid-19

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/03/substance-use-pandemic

Image Citation: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.therecoveryvillage.com%2Fmental-health%2Fstress%2Fsubstance-abuse%2F&psig=AOvVaw1hOPaFHRj0X49E6hcvbtEC&ust=1631200310612000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAsQjRxqFwoTCJC80e3U7_ICFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

Vaping’s Tie to Mental Health

Vaping’s Tie to Mental Health

By: Jaylyn Senise

Vaping has become a recent craze, specifically within the teenage populations.   It has become more popular than even tobacco and marijuana. These vaping devices come in a range of different sizes and shapes, and the most popular of vapes include JUUL and different types of hookahs. Despite the admiration, vaping comes with a plethora of potential risks. The majority of these risks involve physical attributes such as lung disorders and general wellbeing. Oftentimes, this is all that is noticed, while the mental health detriments that become present with vaping are overlooked.

Vaping devices contain nicotine which alters the brain pathway. The synapses, which are the brain cells connections, become formed abnormally due to the nicotine. According to an article written on the National Institute of Health (NIH) website, synaptic dysfunction has been found to be a “casual factor for neuropsychiatric diseases.”   In addition, because the nicotine content of vaping devices is significantly higher than the typical combustible cigarettes, it becomes easier to generate dependence on it.  Dependence to vaping has been found to be associated with impulsivity, mood disorders, anxiety, suicidality and depression; the effect is even higher with adolescent teens.  These devices also have long term effects on mental health. For those with mental health disorders, vaping can exacerbate them due to the interruption of the cerebral dopamine pathway. In turn, this heightens the depressive symptoms.

Those who want to quit vaping should ask a healthcare professional for assistance. To manage nicotine withdrawal, the individual should build a quit plan to better organize and maintain a system, stay hydrated, get a consistent sleep schedule, and try to get support from friends and family. This will help keep the individual accountable. Quitting vaping may seem like a long and laborious process, but the negative health consequences that vaping incurs make the issue urgent.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a nicotine addiction, 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.webmd.com/connect-to-care/vaping/what-is-vaping

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793422/

https://blogs.bcm.edu/2021/05/06/vaping-and-mental-health-whats-the-connection/

https://teen.smokefree.gov/quit-vaping/vaping-addiction-nicotine-withdrawal

Image Source

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.slingshothealth.com%2Fblog%2F2019%2F04%2F02%2Fis-vaping-worse-than-smoking-the-facts-may-surprise-you%2F&psig=AOvVaw2ZjdYeeLqUE7KTb6ktmgBF&ust=1625928050216000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAoQjRxqFwoTCPjKt5ec1vECFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

Depression and Humor

By Katie Weinstein

Humor is not only used as a way to get a good laugh with friends, but as a coping mechanism to defuse a situation. Using a positive humor style is associated with good health outcomes, but using a negative humor style, such as self-deprecation, is linked to depression.

It is important to know how to laugh at yourself, but it is also important to know when your self-deprecating has gone too far and is leading to depression. Some signs might be that you can’t take a compliment or that it is a reflex to use self-deprecating humor since this is indicative of low self-esteem. It is easy to justify self-deprecating humor as not wanting to sound too arrogant, but if you use it alone, this is a major warning sign since no one will be there to laugh at your jokes. Another sign might be that you start to actually believe what you’re saying. The point of self-deprecating humor is to make light of imperfections, not to validate insecurities. When you’ve gone too far with self-deprecating humor, the people around you might either tell you this or stop laughing at that type of humor since it makes other people uncomfortable.

The relationship between self-depreciative humor and depression remains unclear as to which causes the other or if there is a cyclical effect between the two. It is possible that people who are depressed choose a self-deprecating humor style because they are attempting to cope with low self-esteem or it is possible that repetitive negative humor causes low self-esteem and depression. A third possibility is that genetic and environmental factors affect depression and negative humor styles.

One way to stop using self-deprecating humor is to fight the urge to put yourself down when someone compliments you and just say thank you. Being cognizant of when you are using self-deprecating humor and the way the way that it makes you feel is important for helping you to stop using it.

If you or someone you know is experiencing low self-esteem and or depression 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/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/humor-sapiens/201911/the-relationship-between-humor-and-depression