Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

By: Julia Keys

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has been normalized and trivialized in society as a need for everything to be meticulously clean and organized when in reality it is a serious psychological disorder that can cause significant distress for those who have it. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by a pattern of uncontrollable reoccurring thoughts, known as obsessions, which can only be remedied by certain behaviors, known as compulsions. People with OCD are commonly depicted as being ultra-neat or afraid of germs, which is true for some people, but the way OCD expresses itself is unique to the individual.

There are several common themes that psychologists have determined when treating patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. One common theme is contamination. This may take on the literal meaning in which an object or place can be perceived as dirty, but it can also mean that contact with a person, place, or object will cause great harm. Checking is another typical behavior. One may check if something is safe or turned off over and over again. Checking can also express itself in the need for constant verbal reassurance, so a person with OCD may ask the same question over and over. People with OCD may be worried that they will suddenly lose control and hurt themselves or someone else. In efforts to qualm these obsessions, one may avoid certain places or people or have plans set in place that could prevent them from acting out these thoughts.

Common obsessions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
  • Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order

Common compulsions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
  • Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
  • Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting

When reading these lists one might think that these behaviors are relatively typical, however people with OCD spend an excessive amount of time and effort thinking about obsessive thoughts and preforming rituals to control them. A person with OCD may feel brief relief after preforming a compulsion, but they do not feel pleasure from such acts. Obsessions and compulsions are very difficult to control and may result in significant problems in one’s daily life or relationships.

If you or someone you know is struggling OCD, 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.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-ocd/201107/the-many-flavors-ocd

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Stress and Anxiety: Differences Between the Two

Stress and Anxiety: Differences Between the Two

Stress and Anxiety: Differences Between the Two

By: Julia Keys

        It is normal to experience a certain degree of stress throughout the day, but when this stress becomes extreme, and with no discernible cause, it can start to become a problem.  It is important to distinguish the difference between everyday stress and clinical anxiety.

Although stress can be temporarily uncomfortable, it can motivate humans to get things done. There are two types of stress: eustress and distress. Eustress is beneficial to humans functioning. While it is not pleasurable in the moment, eustress contributes to a beneficial outcome. An example of eustress would be jitters before an exam or a particularly challenging workout. Eustress can enhance one’s performance. Distress, on the other hand, is a negative form of stress that is not usually beneficial to the experiencer. Some examples of distress could be legal problems or conflicts with a spouse.  Distress tends to negatively impact performance and can lead to feelings of anxiety or depression.

People with clinical anxiety such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), experience levels of distress and worrying that are more intense than everyday stress.  Whereas stress feels caused by external factors, anxiety tends to be generated internally. Oftentimes, people with anxiety will feel stress and anticipate negative outcomes before the anticipated event even happens.

Here are some key differences between stress and anxiety:

  • Stressor
    • Normal stress occurs in response to external stressors such as a fight with a friend or a job interview
    • People with anxiety oftentimes cannot find the source of their stress and therefore just getting through the day can be immensely stressful
  • Intensity
    • Stress is fleeting
    • Anxiety is ongoing and can last weeks, months, or even years
  • Symptoms
    • Stress is oftentimes accompanied by worrying, which subsides quickly
    • Anxiety can cause troubling symptoms such as dizziness, trembling, headaches and nausea
  • Impairment
    • Anxiety can be overwhelming and debilitating to the point where one may start to avoid necessary everyday activities that make them anxious

If you are struggling with anxiety, do not hesitate to seek help by contacting  Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hack-your-anxiety/201903/curious-about-the-difference-between-stress-and-anxiety

http://www.ulifeline.org/articles/439-anxiety-vs-anxiety-disorders

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Gambling

Gambling

By Lauren Hernandez

              Gambling can be a fun occasional activity to do with friends or family. However, some individuals can develop a serious addiction known as Gambling Disorder. Through frequent compulsive, habitual impulses, a person who is unable to resist gambling can have extreme negative consequences throughout their life which may affect relationships, finances, and even be a stepping stone towards engaging in criminal behavior. Typically a person addicted to gambling will develop this pattern of behavior during adolescence or young adulthood.  Gambling Disorder may begin with occasional gambling and develop into habitual, problematic gambling episodes. An increase in gambling is associated with stress, depression, and substance use or abstinence. Patterns of problematic gambling may also include periods of long term remission.

According to the DSM-5 the symptoms of Gambling Disorder include:

  • Persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behavior leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as indicated by the individual exhibiting four (or more) of the fol­lowing in a 12-month period:
  • Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement.
  • Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
  • Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling.
  • Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble).
  • Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed).
  • After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses).
  • Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
  • Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling.
  • Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling.
  • The gambling behavior is not better explained by a manic episode.

The treatment for Gambling Disorder is an eclectic approach. It is important to seek treatment early, before the individual poses any extreme risks to themselves or friends and family. Prevention may not always be possible; however limiting exposure to casinos, scratch off tickets, or other triggers is helpful. Compulsive gambling is best treated through psychotherapy in the form of therapy or support groups. In addition to psychotherapy, medications such as antidepressants or mood stabilizers are extremely helpful. If you or someone you know is struggling with Gambling Disorder or has problematic gambling habits, it is important to reach out to a mental health practitioner such as a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.

If you or someone you know who may have Gambling 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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/gambling-disorder-compulsive-gambling-pathological-gambling

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Hoarding

Hoarding

By Lauren Hernandez

                Hoarding is a disorder characterized by the continuous inability to get rid of belongings that have no significant value. While Hollywood has made hoarding a spectacle for consumers, hoarding is a serious condition which threatens the safety and livelihood of many people around the world. People with hoarding disorder will accumulate random items they believe they have an emotional attachment to or because they think they might need the item in the future.

Typically hoarding begins in adolescence and the severity of the condition worsens over time. The cause is still unknown, however hoarding disorder can be prompted by experience of a traumatic event, if a family member has had the disorder, or if a person has difficulty making decisions. People who hoard may suffer from depression, anxiety, or obsessive compulsive disorder. If a hoarder continuously refuses to throw items away, their home will be covered in growing piles of random objects. This poses a serious threat to their health and to the health of the people around them. The clutter inside a home often deems the house unlivable, and there is a greater risk for falling and tripping over items. In addition, there is an increased risk of fires, and mold due to rotting food and other items that are wasting away. People who hoard also typically struggle with personal hygiene which can be associated with other mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

According to DSM-5, the following symptoms are diagnostic of hoarding disorder:

  • Persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their value or lack thereof
  • The difficulty in discarding possession is due to distress associated with getting rid of them
  • The difficulty in discarding possession leads to clutter of living spaces and compromises the use of living spaces
  • The hoarding creates clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning, including the ability to maintain a safe space

A person who hoards is unable to recognize that their hoarding activity is problematic and dangerous. If you or someone you know might have hoarding tendencies perhaps attempt to either clean the space, if it does not cause too much distress, or leave it. If attempting to clean causes too much distress, seek professional help. “The primary treatments used to relieve symptoms of hoarding disorder include cognitive-behavioral therapy and antidepressant medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). One or the other, or both, may be employed” (PsychologyToday).

If you or someone you know is engaging in hoarding activities, 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/conditions/hoarding-disorder

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Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness

By Lauren Hernandez

               It is important to recognize how mental illness affects many people’s lives. Mental health awareness promotes the understanding and respect towards those who suffer from mental illnesses. It is important that we make attempts to normalize and destigmatize those struggling with mental illness. If you know of someone struggling with mental health issues, there are a multitude of resources that can help.

Available resources:

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): www.nami.org

NAMI StigmaBusters is “a network of dedicated advocates across the country and around the world who seek to fight inaccurate and hurtful representations of mental illness”. NAMI StigmaBusters

Suicide.org – Suicide prevention, awareness, and support: www.suicide.org

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): www.nimh.nih.gov

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): www.samhsa.gov

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD): www.chadd.org

Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation: www.bpkids.org

The Trevor Project (LGBT mental health/suicide prevention): www.trevorproject.org

Anxiety Disorders Association of America: www.adaa.org

National Eating Disorders Association: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

Alcoholics Anonymous: www.aa.org

Narcotics Anonymous: www.na.org

Gamblers Anonymous: www.gamblersanonymous.org

Alzheimer’s Association: www.alz.org

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: www.dbsalliance.org

National Autism Association: www.nationalautismassociation.org

Veterans Crisis Line (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs): 1-800-273-8255 (press 1)

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Mental Health: www.mentalhealth.va.gov

Mental Health America: www.mentalhealthamerica.net

If you or someone you know is struggling with any type of mental illness, 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/here-there-and-everywhere/201105/mental-health-awareness-month-resources

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/when-your-adult-child-breaks-your-heart/201705/mental-health-awareness-month

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Eating Disorders: Disordered Eating Habits

Eating Disorders: Disordered Eating Habits

Image result for disordered eating habits

Eating Disorders: Disordered Eating Habits

By: Julia Keys

Our culture is obsessed with weight, thinness, exercise, and beauty. Studies show that women under the age of 19 are particularly vulnerable to the problematic effects of social media; about 60% of girls have a desire to lose weight even though they are within the healthy weight range ( Morris & Katzman, 2003). As a result, many people have developed unhealthy ways of eating and exercising for dealing with the pressure to look a certain way. These habits can seem minor at first, but can quickly develop into an eating disorder. While disordered eating habits do not meet the clinical criteria for an eating disorder, they are still unhealthy and potentially damaging.

Signs of Disordered Eating Habits:

  • Self-worth or self-esteem based highly or even exclusively on body shape and weight
  • A disturbance in the way one experiences their body i.e. a person who falls in a healthy weight range, but continues to feel that they are overweight
  • Excessive or rigid exercise routine
  • Obsessive calorie counting
  • Anxiety about certain foods or food groups
  • A rigid approach to eating, such as only eating certain foods, inflexible meal times, refusal to eat in restaurants or outside of one’s own home

It is important to recognize the signs of disordered eating and try to eradicate them before they become potentially harmful. Clinicians advise to quit fad diets because they are extremely restrictive and often result in binge eating. Obsessive exercise focused on “fat-burning” or “calorie-burning” should also be avoided and replaced with physical activity that is more focused on enjoyment. Another tip psychologists give is to avoid weighing yourself every single day. Weight can fluctuate about 2-5 lbs. a day, so fixating on a specific number in order to be healthy isn’t helpful. If disordered eating habits suddenly get worse, or start to impact one’s daily functioning, one should seek help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating 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/contemporary-psychoanalysis-in-action/201402/disordered-eating-or-eating-disorder-what-s-the

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792687/

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