Good Grief: Part 4

By: Sam Reiner

Over the last few parts we have been discussing the 5 stages of grief, using Zelda to further explain each stage. Now that we are done with the stages and Zelda we must now move on to the next topic, “How long does grief usually last?” Seems simple, but really this is an extremely difficult question to answer for the simple fact that people experience grief in different ways. Some people are able to feel better after 6 weeks while others can take up to 4 years to really get over a loss. In reality, the only one that really knows when you should be done with grieving is you. It is a process whose time table only you can decide. That being said there are ways to help you get through the grieving process a bit quicker. Some ways include:

  • Talk about how you’re feeling with others.
  • Try to keep up with your daily tasks so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • Get enough sleep, eat a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can make you feel more depressed.
  • Get back into your normal routine as soon as you can.
  • Avoid making major decisions right away.
  • Allow yourself to cry, to feel numb, to be angry, or to feel however you’re feeling.
  • Ask for help if you need it

Now before I wrap this part up I have to mention that it is important to tell the difference between normal grieving and depression. Although they share very similar symptoms, the feelings associated with grief should be temporary. If you don’t start to feel better over time, it is very likely you have depression. But how long is too long? Again, that’s up to you as when you are grieving it is important to be self-aware of your emotions. The only way to know it’s been to long is when you feel that it’s been too long.

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/

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Histrionic Personality Disorder

By: Sam Reiner

A person who has Histrionic Personality Disorder is someone who exhibits excessive emotionality and are extreme attention seekers. People with this disorder feel best when they are the center of attention and when they are not they will become visibly and extremely uncomfortable. They tend to commandeer the role of “life of the party” wherever they go and try to make all interests and conversations about themselves. The main cause of this disorder is unknown however it could be linked to childhood events and genetics. At the moment, Histrionic Personality Disorder occurs more frequently in women than men. However, it is very likely that it is simply diagnosed more often in women as attention seeking and sexual forwardness are less socially acceptable for women than men.

For someone to be diagnosed with Histrionic Personality Disorder, five or more of the following symptoms must be present.

  • Self-centeredness, uncomfortable when not the center of attention
  • Constantly seeking reassurance or approval
  • Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior
  • Rapidly shifting emotional states that appear shallow to others
  • Overly concerned with physical appearance, and using physical appearance to draw attention to self
  • Opinions are easily influenced by other people, but difficult to back up with details
  • Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotion
  • Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are
  • Is highly suggestible

If you or someone you know may have Histrionic Personality 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/

Alcohol Abuse: Put the Drink Down

Alcohol Abuse: Put the Drink Down

By: Kristine Dugay

Abusing alcohol means drinking a dangerous amount of alcohol at one time or developing unhealthy drinking habits. Sometimes people have one too many drinks when they’re celebrating with friends leading to hangovers or throwing up; this is not that. Alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol dependence, otherwise known as alcoholism. Alcohol abuse is defined as drinking too much and too often, while alcohol dependence is the inability to quit. This means you are physically or mentally addicted to alcohol. You become so dependent on it that it becomes your only way to function with day to day living. Alcoholism is a long-term chronic disease that is influenced by your genes and your life situation.

There are several symptoms you should make yourself aware of if you or someone you suspect is alcohol dependent:

  • Prioritizing Alcohol: Drinking will always be more important no matter what condition your body is in.
  • Increased Tolerance: You need to consume more alcohol to get the same effect.
  • No Control: You cannot quit drinking or control the amount you consume.
  • Damaging Personal Relationships: You continue to drink even though it harms your relationships and causes physical problems.
  • Signs of Withdrawal: Anxiety, sweating, nausea, tremors, hallucinations, and muscle cramps.

The longer a person is dependent on alcohol, the worse these side effects become. While many of the results are irreversible, some are even deadly.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have issues with alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence, 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.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/alcohol-abuse-and-dependence-topic-overview#3

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

PAWS

By Marilyn Wells

 

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) occurs after alcohol or drug withdrawal, which presents fewer physical withdrawal symptoms, but is more disruptive to an individual emotionally and psychologically. PAWS occurs as a reaction to the individual’s brain returning to a normal state, which can often take up to two years.

Symptoms of PAWS include:

  • Rapid/extreme mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Loss of excitement
  • Anxiety
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Variations in energy and concentration

Individuals with Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome often experience these symptoms in episodes, which last for several days. During these episodes, individuals often struggle to fight the temptations to relapse.  However, with the help of a psychologist, individuals suffering from PAWS can better understand the process their bodies are going through, and learn how to practice methods of relaxation and self-care that will smooth the transition back to a normal life.

 

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.

Source: addictionsandrecovery.org

College: Majoring in Stress

By: Kristine Dugay

“Get good grades, join sports and clubs, find a part-time job, eat well, and have a social life… but don’t forget to get enough sleep!” These are the unrealistic expectations college students are tired of hearing and trying to achieve. The fact is, 24 hours just isn’t enough time in one day. Stress is a huge underlying factor contributing to depression within college students. 44% of American college students report having some form of mental illness, including depression. However, 75% of these students do not seek help for these problems. Although college life can be hard to handle, there are ways to reduce and manage stress.

Practice time management skills: You will get a feeling of control over your life.

Find humor in your life: Laughter is the best medicine.

Avoid procrastination: It can affect the quality of your mood, work, and sleep.

Practice good sleep habits: Sleep deprivation can cause physical and mental problems.

Work within your limits: Set realistic expectations for yourself and others.

Seek the support of your friends and family: Vent sessions relieve tension and stress.

It’s easier said than done to accomplish these “small” tasks. If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have issues with depression, anxiety, or stress, 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.

Source: http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/college-students#2

Athletes and Psychological Issues

4 Psychological Issues Behind Athletic Performance

By: Kristine Dugay

1. Self-Confidence/ Self-Esteem

Sports demand trusting your ability to perform at your greatest level of competition, both physically and mentally. Self-criticism is the most difficult obstacle to overcome, yet it is the foundation in being able to achieve your goals. An athlete perceiving oneself as a failure is the most typical problem with self-confidence and it becomes a distraction to your athletic performance.

2. Stress and Anxiety

Whether it’s from a parent, coach or you, being reprimanded, criticized, or condemned for making mistakes or performing below expectations causes stress and anxiety. It becomes more difficult for athletes to perform when they are overloaded by the tension and pressure, and their ability to focus is impaired by their lack of judgement and diminished self-confidence.

3. Perfectionism 

Athletes will go to extreme measures to continue striving for perfection and go well beyond the recommended levels of training. Training too intensely for too long of a duration can result in injuries that are often neglected and cause extreme exhaustion on the body that lead to “burnout”. This can lead to depression, anxiety, irritability, and a high susceptibility to illnesses. Athletes tend to lose their composure and take their heads out of the game when they’re not performing at the level they expect to.

4. Relationships

Building a strong relationship with your coach and teammates is vital. Often, within young athletes favoritism occurs amongst the best players and this becomes demeaning and discouraging within an individual. Feelings can be easily hurt, but they can also be very hard to repair. As an athlete, you aspire to be recognized and appreciated and without this attention, it is difficult to perform your best.

Fortunately, methods are available to lesson these issues before and during athletic performance. Prevention of these consequences involves careful examination of the behavior and early intervention, as well as thorough review of goals, values, beliefs, and priorities.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have issues with anxiety, relationships, stress, or self-esteem 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.

Source: http://www.sportpsychologytoday.com/youth-sports-psychology/common-mental-game-challenges-for-athletes/

Depression or Sadness?

Depression or Sadness?

By: Kristine Dugay

Have you ever woken up one morning and wish you hadn’t? Not because it’s Monday or because you didn’t want to get ready for work or school, but simply because you wish you’d never wake up. Everyone has their bad days and sad moods, but when sadness constantly appears for no apparent reason it could be depression. Depression versus ordinary unhappiness is distinguished by longer and deeper feelings of despondency. With depression, all aspects of your life seem less enjoyable, important, loveable, and interesting. Depression mentally and physically drains your energy and you begin to have the inability to experience happiness, excitement, love, connection, and purpose.

Sadness is often related to circumstance, whereas depression is related to a mental illness. Being seriously bummed out over a breakup or getting a bad grade on an assignment can be terrible, but you’re still able to enjoy your favorite foods and T.V. shows. On the other hand, depression takes away the things that used to be significant and exciting for you and turns them into something that you lack interest in. If you constantly experience the following, there is a great chance you are depressed:

  • Feelings of worthlessness and self-blame
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Fatigue/decreased energy
  • Restlessness

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has or may have depression, suicidal thoughts, or interpersonal problems, 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.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201510/the-important-difference-between-sadness-and-depression

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

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Making Sense of the Present

By: Emily Mulhaul

As an outsider, sometimes it’s difficult to understand what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is and who gets to experience it and who doesn’t. To put simply, although we take in life’s moments with others around us, the emotional process is an individual experience, therefore anyone and everyone can at some point in their life experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder even if others around them are not experiencing it. The variation in emotional experiences is so fascinating that it is the primary interest of social psychologists who study the way we process, store, and apply information to diverse situations. That being said, multiple individuals can be in the same place, at the same time, identifying the same series of events, but will interpret the situation completely differently. Individual interpretations may fall anywhere under the seven universal facial emotions noted by the American Psychological Association (APA): disgust, anger, fear, joy, happiness, surprise, and contempt. Diversity in emotional reactions to situations is normal, but there are times where it becomes an area of concern. For example, imagine it’s around the fourth of July, you’re at the beach and unexpectedly fireworks commence. One individual (twelve year old) may express the utmost joy, surprise, happiness or some combination of the three, whilst another individual (war veteran) darts to hide behind a bush in a trembling state, fearing for his life. The discrepancy between the reactions of these two individuals, the twelve year old kid and the war veteran, are not reactions one must brush off as varying personalities. Due to the war veteran’s time spent at war, he may be experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as an anxiety problem that develops in some people after extremely traumatic events. His reaction (anxiety) may have been triggered by an association of the loud bang of the fireworks with that of a loud bang of a gunshot (traumatic event) he heard in the past.

Although the presence of PTSD in war veterans is the most commonly talked about, it is one form of PTSD, not the only. Other instances that have concluded with the diagnosis of PTSD include individuals who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, car accidents, crime, natural disasters, bullying, breakups, loss of a loved one, etc. Considering the following experiences do not necessarily mean that PTSD will be present, the APA highlights some recognizable signs in either yourself or others who may be at risk or experiencing PTSD: “reliving the event via intrusive memories, flashbacks, and nightmares; avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma; and have anxious feelings they didn’t have before.” If these signs sound familiar, it is to the benefit of the individual to seek therapy with a licensed professional because there is hope to diminish negative emotions for a resurgence of positive emotions!

If you or a loved one is experiencing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), experienced 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.

Sources:

http://apa.org/science/about/psa/2011/05/facial-expressions.aspx http://www.apa.org/topics/ptsd/index.aspx

Mania

There may be times individuals experience bursts of energy and during this time they may have little to no sleep and still feel energized, speak at a faster pace than usual, or participate in high risk behaviors/goal directed behaviors. These symptoms can be found in someone diagnosed with mania. When one experiences these symptoms, they may experience a feeling of euphoria that gradually declines. Mania is usually associated with some form of mood disorder such as bipolar disorder and is not by itself a diagnosis. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Volume 5 (DSM-V), mania is characterized by a period of at least 1 week where an elevated, expansive or unusually irritable mood is present. A person experiencing a manic episode also is usually engaged in significant goal-directed activity beyond their normal activities.  This behavior is usually observable by others. When someone is experiencing a manic episode, it usually causes some level of impairment.  As mentioned previously, once a manic individual’s euphoric state starts to decline, they may end up in a state of depression. As individuals are switching from one state to another, they may cause great harm to themselves or others.

If you know anyone who has experienced this behavior, encourage them to seek professional help. With offices in Manhattan and New Jersey (Paramus and Englewood), Arista Counseling offers treatment for bipolar disorder, depression, personality disorders, and much more. Evaluations are also performed on site. Please feel free to contact us at or Manhattan location at (212) 996-3939 or at our New Jersey location at (201) 368-3700.

Written by: L Matthew