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

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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

Anxiety: College Students in Bergen County, NJ

college-students-coping-with-anxiety

By: Adrienne Sangalang

High schools seniors have conquered their SATs and college applications; however, they continue to face hurdles throughout life, especially during their first year at college. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 2 students on college campuses have been so anxious that they struggled in school. These anxious moments may be more than just college jitters. They may be symptoms of an anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder or social anxiety disorder. Fortunately, a majority of colleges have on-campus mental health services with psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers.

The Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program and Psychiatric Services organization at Rutgers University promotes community-based mental health prevention, provides clinical care and supports the aftermath of critical incidents. The difficulty of applying to colleges is such a small amount when compared to balancing a social life, sleeping eight hours a night and getting good grades. College students refer to these three items on a triangle diagram in which they can only “choose” two of the three.

Though friends can act as a useful shoulder to lean on for stressful exams and bad professors, they don’t provide you with the necessary treatment. One advantage of mental health clinicians is that they can determine whether or not you need extra time for assignments and exams. This can be a crucial step in helping you achieve the grade you deserve! For high school seniors who are ready to embark on your college adventure, don’t be afraid to walk-in to your campus mental health clinic when you feel anxious about your new environment.

If you are a high school senior feeling anxious about your transition into college or a current college student overwhelmed by the stressors of college, the 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.

Comments are welcome

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 http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Source:

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

 

 

Stress: Relieving Stress – Bergen County, NJ

Stress

By: Kimberly Made

Living in a fast paced world where sometimes it’s hard to even catch our breath, it’s easy to see why so many people seem to be overwhelmed by stress.  

Many are shocked to learn that stress is actually your body’s way of protecting you. When your body senses danger, it releases hormones meant to prepare you to take action. For example, in a stressful situation, adrenaline is produced and pumped through your body. The tone in your muscles increases, preparing you to jump into action at any moment. Your heart rate speeds up so blood can flow more rapidly through your tissues. You might realize that when you’re under stress your breathing speeds up. This is because your body is trying to make more oxygen readily available to you in the event of a crisis. Even your thinking speeds up during stressful times to prepare you to plan your way out of any situation that may arise.

As helpful as these changes might be when danger is lurking, they might not be as useful otherwise. Here are some helpful tips for keeping your stress under control:

  1. Take some time to do something that you find relaxing. Whether it’s reading a book, watching a movie, or just spending time with your friends, it is important to take time away from daily hassles and focus on yourself.
  2. Take a deep breath. This sounds easy enough, right? Taking a deep breath can help you to put everything on pause for a moment and become calm.
  3. Exercise.  Whether it’s going out for a daily jog, taking up yoga, or riding a bike, exercise can help decrease your stress level.
  4. Meditate. Sit quietly with your eyes closed and try to go to your “happy place”. Try to envision all the scenery, smells, and sounds of your favorite place.
  5. Think positively. You know what they say: “Laughter is the best medicine.” Finding the humor in a nerve-racking situation can not only take your mind off of the situation, but it gives you the opportunity to step back and put things into perspective. This can often help find a solution to whatever may be the stressor at the time.

If you are following these steps and still find yourself struggling to regulate your stress, feel free to contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists for an evaluation.

Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920

More detailed information can be found at http://www.acenterfortherapy.com

 

Sources:

Bressert, S. (2006). Stress Management Basics. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/stress-management-basics/000756

Ponton, L. (2006). 20 Tips to Tame Your Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/20-tips-to-tame-your-stress/000102

Tartakovsky, M. (2011). 6 Ways to Stress Less at Work. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/6-ways-to-stress-less-at-work/0007478

 

Teenagers and Parents: Facilitating Understanding and Communication – Bergen County, NJ

Teens

By Irada Yunusova

Teenage years are a classic period of struggle for adolescents and parents. Between social and academic pressures, individuals are forced to make decisions that they may not feel entirely comfortable making. Although the human brain is not considered fully developed until approximately 25 years old, teenagers are held accountable for their decisions.  For a parent, it may be difficult to find a balance between providing a teenager with freedom or assistance. Compassion and understanding may be key for working through issues and pressures together.

In order to better understand how to help your son or daughter, it is important to first understand what he or she is going through. Beginning in Middle School years, teenagers may come into contact with drugs and alcohol, regardless of their friend groups. Sexual pressures also arise, even in the form of advances from friends. Although it is impossible for a parent to make his son’s and daughter’s decisions, it is important that there is a safe, open environment at home that facilitates honest discussion of issues. In the 21st century, teenagers are also constantly exposed to social media, and it is important that they understand social media privacy and safety issues. Parents are encouraged to remain understanding, but to set fair boundaries, such as “no texting during dinner.” The life of a teenager may be complicated by technology and drugs, but discussion and trust are important tools.

Teenagers also feel numerous pressures from academics, clubs, and work. Teens may feel as though excellence is demanded and anything sub-par is simply inadequate. According to recent studies, the average teenager chooses paid work over studying, even if they are not dependent on that extra income, and chooses technology over sleep. Parents can assist their sons and daughters with time management, providing them with the freedom to make their own decisions within certain confines.

It seems as though open communication is at the heart of most solutions for dealing with teenagers, however communication can be a challenge in itself. It’s suggested to “just listen and sympathize.”  Parents also have to remember that even if their teen seems to roll their eyes, slam the door, or rebel in some way, they still need his or her parents. Gaining independence is a part of growing up, and sometimes distancing oneself from parents is required. However, compassion and unconditional love will ensure that he or she will come back to you when they need advice, attention, or simply love.

If you are finding communication with your teenager challenging, feel free to contact Arista Counseling & Psychological Services at 201-368-3700 to set up an appointment with a mental health professional in Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY.

Resources:http://www.webmd.com/parenting/teen-abuse-cough-medicine-9/behavior-problems?page=1

http://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201407/inside-the-teenage-brain/4-areas-challenge-all-teens-today

ADHD: Symptoms in Adults – Bergen County, NJ

adhd-problem-focus-400x400

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.

 

Sources:

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/07/27/subtle-signs-you-may-have-adult-adhd/

http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/10-symptoms-adult-adhd?page=2

Birth Order – Bergen County, NJ

Birth Order

By Laine Podell

The order that you were born in relation to your siblings can be used as a predictor of traits and characteristics of your personality that are likely to develop.  Each trait suggested aligns with aspects of common family dynamic patterns.

Take the first-born child. They are often given the most responsibilities because as the oldest they are expected to step up into a leadership role. This may include babysitting the younger siblings or cousins. As the oldest they are also the “first” for everything. Being the first child to obtain a license means the first to have to help parents with running errands or carpooling. This natural responsibility falls upon the first born and causes them to become natural leaders. A leadership mentality translates into the workplace and social life.

Next is the middle-child. This child has to manage the influence from the older sibling as well as the responsibility of the younger. Often they become a chameleon of sorts, stuck in the middle and learning to fall into multiple roles. They are often strong at handling mediation and conflict in the workplace and are able to get along with a variety of personalities in their social life.

Finally is the last-born child. Sometimes, the last born can be over-shadowed by the older children’s more pertinent needs—helping a child with high school exams takes priority over playing with coloring books and board games. This creates an attention seeking child, for instance becoming a class clown. More so, the word “charmer” is often mentioned in regard to youngest children. Taking advantage of their position as the baby of the family the last-born child knows what it takes to get their way, even if that means using manipulation.