Does My Child Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Does My Child Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

By Lauren Hernandez

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a disorder characterized by a pattern of disruptive, argumentative, and hostile behaviors towards authority figures. The condition is present within children and teenagers and is oftentimes difficult to diagnose primarily by a parent may believe their child is simply stubborn or overly emotional. However, if the child’s behavior is intentionally persistent with extremely negative, angry, or uncooperative attitudes, treatment options should be considered.

Oftentimes children with ODD are exposed to several risk factors such as poverty, family instability, trauma, a significant transition, a parent with a behavioral or mood disorder, and neglectful parents or parents who are punitive or overly strict. Additionally, if a child struggles to fit in at school with their peers, they may be at more risk towards engaging in ODD like behaviors because they feel as though nobody can relate to them. Children with ODD are likely to have coexisting disorders such as anxiety, ADHD, depression, or learning disorders.

Symptoms of ODD according to PsychologyToday:

  • Angry Irritable mood
    • Losing temper
    • Touchy or easily annoyed by others
    • Angry and resentful
  • Argumentative/ Defiant Behavior
    • Argues with authority figures or adults
    • Defies or refuses to comply with authority figures or rules
    • Deliberately annoys others
    • Blames others for their mistakes or unruly behavior
  • Vindictiveness
    • Spiteful or vindictive at least twice within the past six months

If your child or a child you know is engaging in these types of behaviors, it is important to seek treatment from a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. The typical method of treatment includes behavioral and family therapy, parental training, and medication. Treating ODD early helps to prevent the development of a more serious and urgent mental health disorder.

If you or someone you know is struggling with ODD like 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




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ADHD: How Medication Helps Your Children

By Samantha Glosser

Stimulant drugs, such as Adderall and Ritalin, have been used for numerous years as the frontline treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. ADHD is a disorder characterized by the following symptoms: inattentiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The five to seven percent of children diagnosed with ADHD have difficulty concentrating, become disruptive and defiant, and have a hard time getting along with family members, peers, and teachers. These behaviors are clinically proven to improve with the use of stimulant drugs.

Treatment with stimulant drugs can improve classroom performance and behavior in children diagnosed with ADHD. But how does the medication do this? The medication works by targeting and improving specific cognitive processes, such as working memory, which is your ability to hold and manipulate information in your mind. Stimulants help kids store more information in their working memory, while also helping them to inhibit negative behaviors (i.e., raising their hand when they know the answer instead of shouting it out). Improvement of these cognitive processes also helps to increase attention span, which allows kids to stay on task for longer periods of time. If you believe medication is not the best option for your child, behavioral treatment and parent training can also be beneficial in improving these cognitive processes. Children can be trained to improve their self-control and sustain concentration.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 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

Nauret, R. (2018, July 31). Study Probes How ADHD Meds Improve Cognition & Behavior in Kids. Retrieved from

ADHD. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Leah Flanzman

There has recently been a great deal of discussion on a psychological treatment called neurofeedback. Neurofeedback assists people in consciously controlling their brain waves by attaching subjects to an EEG machine that extracts various brain-activity components and feeds them back to the patient.  The most common protocols used in neurofeedback training are alpha, beta, theta, and alpha/theta protocols.  The way that you select the placement of electrodes on a patients head depends on their specific brain functions and specific symptoms.  The goal is to allow the subject to assess their progress and adjust their brain waves accordingly to achieve optimal performance.  However, the effectiveness and practicality of the treatment is under debate.

According to the Basic and Clinical Neuroscience journal, many studies conducted on neurofeedback therapy reveal methodological limitations that question its effectiveness. For example, with the alpha treatment protocols, it remains unknown exactly how many treatment sessions are necessary before patients can consciously possess the ability to control their alpha waves.  Once an optimal performance is achieved, it’s difficult to study the long-term effects of these treatments, in other words how long the effects last without feedback.

The pros of neurofeedback are that it’s a safe and non-invasive procedure that has been proven effective in treating certain disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, insomnia, drug addictions, and learning disabilities. Despite this, more scientific evidence of its effectiveness must be conducted before we can consider it a valid treatment.  It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s a very expensive procedure that is not covered by many insurance companies, and is very time consuming to complete.

If you or someone you know thinks they have ADHD, anxiety, depression, or drug addictions, or learning disabilities, the psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists 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 for more information.

Parenting: Homework and Your Child

Do you feel like you’re completing your child’s homework too often?

It’s not easy seeing your child struggle to complete homework assignments, or the overall lack of motivation and excitement to do it. Next thing you know, there is an e-mail from the teacher saying your child hasn’t been doing his or her homework and is struggling in class. At first, you get mad thinking your child is just being lazy. However, maybe there is something more to it. Here are some common signs to look out for if you suspect your child has a learning disability:

Reverses letter sequences (soiled/solid, left/felt)

Slow to learn prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other spelling strategies

Avoids reading aloud

Trouble with word problems

Difficulty with handwriting

Awkward, fist-like, or tight pencil grip

Avoids writing assignments

Slow or poor recall of facts

Difficulty making friends

Trouble understanding body language and facial expressions

Most parents will occasionally see one or more of these warning signs in their children. This is normal! If, however, you see several of these characteristics over a long period of time, consider the possibility of a learning disability.

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.

Written by: Brielle Internoscia

Dyslexia: Learning Disability Uncovered

Dyslexia one of the most common learning disabilities and is usually diagnosed during childhood. It is characterized by the inability to accurately and fluently recognize, decode, and spell words. Usually, dyslexia is uncovered when children are in school learning to read and to perform mathematical skills. They become frustrated when they are unable to do these things at the same level as their peers. Often, this creates a dislike of school and/or low self-esteem. Therefore, it is important to be on the lookout for the “warning signs” so this learning disability can be addressed as soon as possibility. Below are the main “signs” that may indicate your child might be struggling with dyslexia

  • Slow learning of new vocabulary words
  • Difficulty reading, writing, and spelling
  • Having trouble copying words or numbers from a book or the board
  • Problems identifying the differences between similar sounds or words

If any of these are evident, it is important to make an appointment with your child’s school psychologist or the Child Study Team. Testing for dyslexia can be done by those professionals or by an independent child psychologist or learning consultant. After pinpointing the child’s “weak” areas such as cognition, communication, sensory/motor, etc., a plan can be made based on their individual needs.

If you suspect that you or your child might have a learning disability (not limited to just dyslexia), the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or 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.

Visit for more information.


Perlstein, David, and Melissa Conrad Stoppler. “Dyslexia Symptoms, Types, Tests, and Treatment Information.” MedicineNet. MedicineNet, Inc., 10 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.

By: Scout H



ADHD — A Real Diagnosis?

ADHD — A Real Diagnosis?

Catherine Ferreira

Many would argue that ADHD is a fictional diagnosis made up in an effort to label unusual behavior and put money in health professionals’ pockets. Indeed, it’s an easy diagnosis to make – many people display so-called symptoms of ADD or ADHD anyway, without having any kind of disorder. But the difference between airheaded, distracted, and/or impulsive people, and people with ADD or ADHD, is that the latter causes dysfunction. It disrupts a person’s daily life and affects everyone nearby. That in and of itself justifies its presence in the DSM-5. Symptoms of ADHD include:

  • A lack of focus
  • Disorganization
  • Squirming and fidgeting
  • Impatience
  • An inability to complete tasks

If you or a loved one display symptoms of ADHD, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit for more information.

ADHD: Symptoms in Adults – Bergen County, NJ


By Irada Yunusova

Although the visual of a hyperactive kid bouncing around in his seat is the cliché often associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the symptoms of ADHD may prevail into adulthood and arise in different fashions. The subtle signs of adult ADHD may be overlooked because many of the symptoms seem like ordinary inconveniences everyone must face, such as boredom and daydreaming. The extent and frequency of symptoms must be considered in order to diagnose individuals and improve the life functioning of afflicted individuals. Five indicators of adult ADHD are discussed below.

1. Dissatisfaction with Reading

Many adults with ADHD do not draw satisfaction from reading books because books require a lot of attention. They may notice themselves going through the motions of reading without actually taking in the information, causing them to miss details that prevent continued interest. Adults with ADHD may enjoy websites and magazines more because they do not required as much ongoing attention.

2.Interruption during Conversations

Although adults with ADHD understand the proper etiquette of conversations, where individuals take turns in listening and speaking, they may find the balance difficult. Many adults do not have the attention and working memory to hold a thought in their mind while simultaneously listening to someone speak. Interruption may appear to be the only solution to prevent forgetting one’s comment. Some individuals identified challenges with communication as a cause of their marital problems.

3. Hyperactivity

This common identifier may present itself differently across individuals. Adults often times may describe themselves as restless, on edge, or tense. Diagnosing ADHD may be complicated by the fact that not all individuals with ADHD are hyperactive. In addition, those who were hyperactive as children may no longer be as adults.

4. Challenges with Focusing

Individuals with ADHD may find it more difficult to keep their attention on a given task. This may make them reckless drivers, where occurrences of speeding and traffic accidents may be common-place. Adults may also find themselves struggling with career performance because noise and phone calls may be a source of distraction.

5. Difficulty with Organization and Task Completion

Adults with ADHD may have difficulty organizing and balancing responsibilities, such as bills, their job, and children. Individuals with ADHD may have trouble starting a task and often procrastinate both in their home and work environments. Distractibility and inattentiveness may lead to tardiness in the completion of tasks.

Although adults with ADHD may have struggled for years, identifying this problem may improve their chance of finding treatment as adults. A combination of therapy and medication can help improve daily functioning and life satisfaction. If ADHD is causing distress, contacting a mental health professional at Arista Counseling and Psychological Services in Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY may be the first step. Feel free to contact us for a free phone consultation at 201-368-3700 in order to set up an appointment with one of our licensed therapists, counselors, psychologists, or psychiatrists. Help is just a phone call away.



Advantages and Disadvantages of Cannabis Use- Bergen County, NJ

By: Michelle Dierna

Medicinal Marijuana: Advantages & Disadvantages

Medicinal Marijuana: Advantages & Disadvantages

Marijuana consists of dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, which contains the psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as well as other similar compounds. Marijuana is currently the most widely used illegal drug in the United States.  Its use for medicinal and recreational purposes has been hotly debated. Starting with California’s Proposition 215 in 1996, several state governments have been approving the use of marijuana if recommended by a physician. Recently, the state of Colorado became the first to legalize recreational marijuana use, and more states are joining including New Jersey; where cannabis is legal for medicinal purposes. In order to get cannabis for medicinal treatment one must be approved by a doctor and follow strict regulations implemented by the law of the state. As cannabis becomes more prominent issue in our society, it is important to consider the potential effects its use could have on one’s health. With the legalization marijuana spreading through the states it’s easy to see that there might be major advantages of Marijuana use:

Some Advantages of Marijuana use:

  • Cancer patients suffering terrible symptoms from chemotherapy use marijuana to relieve the pain and nausea that the chemotherapy creates. It also helps with loss of appetite.
  • MS patients may experience reductions in pain and spasticity as a result of Marijuana use (National MS Society)
  • Marijuana may have anti-seizure properties and is used for relief by some patients suffering from epilepsy and other seizure disorders. (Jones
  • Certain strains of the cannabis plant have anxiety-reducing effects and may improve for some patients suffering from insomnia.
  • Marijuana can cause reduction in depressed mood and encourage positive affect in patients suffering from Major Depressive Disorder (Spiegel), Some doctors recommend the use of it to reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). (Ellison)
  •  Marijuana has been shown to help pain relief in patients suffering from Fiber Myalgia
  • Cannabis can lower intraocular pressure to treat glaucoma if  traditional medicines do not work (Glaucoma Research Foundation)

There are many mixed opinions when it comes to the topic of cannabis, and whether it actually benefit people overall or if it’s just as dangerous as other drugs in its class. If you or someone you know is experiencing medical issues and feels that cannabis could be a solution, and live in a state where it’s medicinally legal and distributed, Discuss your diagnosis with a doctor. Discuss whether it complies with the rules of your state and whether you can be prescribed medical marijuana. Speak with a therapist or doctor to see if it could potentially be the answer for you or a loved one.

Feel free to contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists for an evaluation to see if you should move forward with meeting someone who specializes in Marijuana cases in the state you currently live in or if there are other alternatives.

To see the Disadvantages of Cannabis use continue reading the post above!


1.Ellison, Katherine.”Medical Marijuana: No Longer Just for Adults.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Nov. 2009. Web. 22 May>.

2.”DrugFacts: Marijuana.”National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2014.>. – Spiegel

4..Dobman & Kleiman. “Journal of Clinical Oncology.” Marijuana as Antiemetic Medicine: A Survey of Oncologists’ Experiences and Attitudes. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2014.>.

LGBT: Gender Identity Issues More Common Amongst Kids with ADHD or Autism

By: Davine Holness

LGBT: Gender variance is correlated with certain neurodevelopmental disorders

LGBT: Gender variance is correlated with certain neurodevelopmental disorders

A new study has found an unexpected correlation: children who have attention deficit and hyperactivity problems, as well as children with autism spectrum disorders, are more likely than their peers to experience gender variance. Gender variance is the wish to be another gender. Researcher John Strang found gender variance to be 7.59 times more common in children with autism spectrum disorders when compared with kids that had no neurodevelopmental disorder. Additionally, children with ADHD were 6.64 times more likely to wish to be another gender than the control group in this study.
While the study did not provide the reasons for the observed correlation, Strang has proposed a number of possible explanations. His theories are based on reasons why children with these mental disorders who have certain traits would be more likely to identify these traits as gender identity issues and mention them.  In the case of ADHD, the disorder is characterized by difficulties with impulse control. Thus, children with this disorder may be less likely than their peers to respond to pressures against cross-gender expression by restraining their gender impulses. With autism, the correlation may occur because these children are less aware of social norms that frown upon expressions of gender variance, so they would feel less compelled to hide their desires to be the other gender than their neurotypical peers. Additionally, children with autism spectrum disorders often have rigid thinking, seeing everything as either black or white. They may therefore be more likely to interpret mild or moderate gender nonconforming tendencies as definite gender variance.

If you or your child is struggling with gender identity issues, ADHD, or an autism spectrum disorder, talking to a mental health professional may be of great help. Feel free to contact Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy at (201) 368-3700or (212) 722-1920 for more information and/or to set up an appointment.

More detailed information can be found at



Wood, J. (2013, March 14). » Kids With ADHD, Autism More Likely to Have Gender Identity Issues – Psych Central News. Psych Retrieved May 28, 2014

ADHD & Medications

By: Davine Holness

Does this look like your child?

ADHD makes it hard for countless students to focus on their work

While many children with ADHD have found relief with medication, parents are often hesitant to allow their children to take medications.  However, it has been shown that the most common medications for ADHD – stimulants – are actually safe when used correctly.  Furthermore, treatment plans for ADHD in children involve close monitoring by both a parent and a medical professional, to ensure that the treatment is effective.  Behavioral therapy often accompanies medication.  So don’t be afraid to give your child access to medications that could be the bridge between your child and success in school and in life.

If you feel you or your child may have ADHD, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can assist you.  Contact our Bergen County, New Jersey or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920.  Visit for more information.