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

Source for Picture:

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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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Habits: Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)

By Lauren Hernandez

            Body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) are a group of disorders composed of “self-grooming” behaviors in which a person might pull, pick, bite, or scrape one’s hair, skin, or nails. BFRBs can be considered “impulse disorders,” however; it is still undetermined whether they are either impulsive or compulsive behaviors. People suffering from BFRBs typically lack awareness towards engaging in the repetitive behavior. BFRBS are problematic when they occur repetitively and cause a person distress in their physical, social, and emotional lives. The cause of BFRBs is still being researched; however, for some, habitual behaviors such as biting nails, chewing on their cheeks, and pulling their hair may develop into an impairing pattern associated with other mental illnesses.

Most BFRBs are associated with anxiety disorders, impulse control disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorders because they are difficult for individuals for control. BFRBs not only have an emotionally distressing impact, as an individual may experience high levels of shame, but BFRBs can also cause physical injuries such as scarring, skin infections, or bald spots.

The most common BFRBs include:

  • Trichotillomania- compulsive hair pulling
  • Dermatillomania- Compulsive skin picking
  • Onychophagia- Compulsive nail biting

Treatment of BFRBs include cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, and supplements, however, there are lower rates of treatment success due to lack of research on the disorders and effective treatment methods. Treatment for BFRBs should be discussed with a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner in order to tailor treatment for an individual.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a Body-focused repetitive 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 http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/body-focused-repetitive-behaviors

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/touchy-subject/201805/habitual-behavior-or-bfrb-disorder

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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

Image Source:

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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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OCD: Supporting a Loved one with OCD

By: Sanjita Ekhelikar

It can be devastating to see a loved one suffer through a mental illness. This holds very true for loved ones of individuals afflicted with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. OCD is a ruthless anxiety disorder that traps people in repetitive thoughts or rituals. The disorder is characterized by irrational thoughts, or “obsessions,” that people have, which are addressed through “compulsions,” or behaviors to appease the thoughts. Obsessions and compulsions can range from concern over hygiene or safety, resulting in recurrent handwashing or checking locks on doors, or clarifying meanings with other people, which result in repeating words and phrases. An attempt to resist the compulsion leads to extreme feelings of anxiety, which are extremely unpleasant.

Individuals with OCD are constantly fighting their minds every single day, and fighting the urge to give in to the compulsions while also experiencing anxiety. As a family member or loved one of the effected individual, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to best be supportive and help the significant other overcome their OCD. Here are a list of tips to support a loved one struggling with OCD:

  1. Do not accommodate the OCD. A large part of this illness involves the individual asking for reassurance or wanting to continuously repeat an action or phrase until the OCD is “satisfied.” While it may seem like giving them the reassurance is the nice thing to do, this actually worsens the condition. Reassurance may remove anxiety for a short amount of time, but allows the OCD to continue to take over and keeps the individual under the control of OCD.
  2. Uncertainty is key. When presented with the previous situation about being asked reassurance, the best thing to do is leave the individual with uncertainty. This will result in them feeling anxiety, which may be hard to see, but is crucial in their resisting the compulsions and in the long run overcoming the OCD. When asked for reassurance, simply do not respond, or say “this could be true, but I don’t know for sure.” Uncertainty = anxiety = healing.
  3. Be compassionate. While you should be firm in not giving reassurances, be compassionate, empathetic, and understanding of your loved one. OCD is tiring, and the individual does not want to be asking you for reassurances or fighting with their mind. Be caring and loving to them.
  4. Educate yourself! The more you can learn about OCD, how it works, and its symptoms, the more effective you can be in helping your loved one and in tackling the illness together.
  5. Maintain your own life. It can be a natural thought to want to take time from work or school to help a loved one with OCD and to be around them. Do NOT do this – it is important to take care of yourself, have your own life and space, and not cater everything around the OCD. Your loved one will feel guilty if you are giving up things to take care of them, and you will soon tire out and not be effective in helping. OCD can be a trying disease to overcome, but with the correct treatments and proper support, it can be overcome. By knowing the best ways to be supportive of your loved ones, you can facilitate the process of their working towards a life free of OCD.

If you or someone you know is suffering from obsessive compulsive 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/.