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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Good Grief: Part 5

By: Sam Reiner

And now we have come to the last part of my blogs on grief. So far we have gone over what you will be going through while grieving and how long grief should last. But now we must ask, how can you move on? Well that’s easy, you know you can move on when you’ve hit the acceptance stage and start feeling better. You may start to feel better in small ways at first. You could find it easier to get out of bed in the morning or you could have burst of energy. You will begin to feel like your old self again and you will start to reorganize your life to accommodate the loss. This may cause you to have a series of ups and downs. One day you may feel amazing but the next you feel absolutely terrible. You may feel guilty or disloyal for moving on and that this is a completely normal feeling. It is also normal to feel grief on birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or other special times. However, it’s important to remember is that all these feelings are completely natural.

And just like that, we have reached the end. At the beginning of part 1 I hoped to answer 3 questions about grief. What will I feel, how long will I feel it, and how can I move on? If I did my job correctly, I have been able to answer all these questions so you are better prepared to face the hardship that is grief.

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/.

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/

Good Grief: Part 3

By: Sam Reiner

(once again to understand what I am talking about read the first 2 parts)

Despite all your bargaining, you eventually realize that there is nothing you can do to stop or reverse what happened. With the realization that there is no escaping fate comes the desire to disconnect and retreat inward, which leads to stage 4: Depression. The sadness sets in as you begin to understand the loss and realize its effect on your life. This is when you will feel overwhelmed, regretful, and lonely and in the game, this can be seen at the Great Bay. It is here that you me Lulu, a Zora who has lost her egg, simply standing in silence gazing out to the sea. The loss of her eggs has caused her to retreat inward and become depressed, which is very common for people who have just lost a loved one.

However, as the old saying goes “This too shall pass.” Stage 5: Acceptance. This is when you finally accept the reality of your loss, and although you may still feel sad you can now begin to move forward with your life. In game, this is signified by the Land of the Dead, Ikana Valley. It is here that you meet Sharp, a ghost you help reach acceptance with his mistreatment of his brother. A very literal representation of acceptance, but a more symbolic example is the Stone Tower, where you climb up towards the heavens. As you climb you will also need to create 4 twin statues (one for each town) with the 4 being symbolic of the past 4 stages of grief. Much like these statues, during the stages of grief you feel dull and lifeless but they are essential in order for you to go through the grieving process. This is even shown in game as you must leave the statue behind when you go up to the next floor, symbolizing passing though the stages of grief. By leaving them behind you can make your way to the top in order to obtain enlightenment and then flip the tower putting the heavens at your feet, solidifying your acceptance. You even have to fight the Garo Masters, beings literally described as “Emptiness cloaked in darkness.” These are clear symbols to the internal battle between light and darkness on the road to acceptance and also shows your victory over the empty feelings that come with grief. By overcoming the darkness and emptiness inside you and reaching the top, you show that you have accepted the past and are ready to face the future.

And with that, we have reached the end of the 5 stages of grief. Now that you know what to expect when faced with grief, it now becomes a question of how long with it last? Unfortunately this is getting pretty long so I’m going to have to save that for next time.

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/.

Good Grief: Part 2

By: Sam Reiner

(Read part 1 first to learn why I am talking about Zelda)

The 1st stage of grief is Denial. When you first learn of a loss it’s normal to think that it isn’t real or that it can’t be happening. It’s a way for you to deal with the torrent of overwhelming emotions. This is exactly what you experience in Clock Town, the 1st town in Majora’s Mask. In this game, you have 3 days to stop a giant moon from crashing down and destroying everything. However, even with this moon clearly inching closer every minute, no one seems to care. In fact, they are actually planning a carnival, openly laughing at the idea that the moon will fall. One person even goes as far to say that he’ll simply cut the moon to pieces with his sword.

Denial can only be temporary however, and when it is no longer possible you get angry. Stage 2: Anger. When reality starts to set in you may feel frustrated and helpless which later turn to anger, causing you to lash out at anything whether they deserve it or not. This is extremely prevalent in the game’s second location, Woodfall. Here you discover that the swamp has been poisoned, the Deku princess is missing, and the king is dead set on punishing a monkey who he believes kidnapped her. The problem is, the monkey is innocent. The king is just angry because of the poisoned swamp and his missing daughter and is lashing out at anyone.

Once the anger settles you then start to feel desperate which leads to stage 3: Bargaining. It’s during this stage you attempt to do anything that can either postpone or reverse the loss. In the case of Majora’s Mask, bargaining is on full display at Snowhead. Here is where the player encounters the Gorons, who are in the middle of mourning the recent loss of their chief, Darmani. Eventually you actually meet his ghost who then literally begs you to bring him back to life with your magic. This is a textbook example of bargaining as he is trying everything to delay the inevitability that is death. This can also be seen in the area itself. The paralyzing cold of Snowhead is basically a metaphor to how in this stage of grief you feel unable to move on, emotionally frozen. And for now, I’ll stop there, so for the next part we will be discussing the last two stages of grief.

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/.

 

Low Self-Esteem: You’re Never Enough

Low Self-Esteem: You’re Never Enough

By: Kristine Dugay

Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough? Maybe you feel like you’re not deserving of praise or love because you’ve developed such a low opinion of yourself? Perhaps you could be suffering from low self-esteem. Self-esteem is the confidence in one’s own worth. If you suffer from low self-esteem, you’ll often find yourself continuously trying to perfect things, being afraid to take risks, being afraid to love, and not being able to trust anyone. Low self-esteem causes extreme fear and anxiety. Often, individuals with low self-esteem exaggerate the expectations of others and feel they don’t measure up.

Low self-esteem can contribute to the following consequences:

  • Failed relationships
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Loneliness
  • Lack of assertiveness
  • Easily discouraged
  • Anxiety
  • Social stress

This list only includes some of the consequences to low self-esteem. Many people suffer from debilitating conditions because of the negative impact their self-esteem has had on their life. Your self-worth impacts your overall health, and those who lack self-respect for themselves may suffer many negative consequences. These consequences may include drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, weak cardiovascular and immune systems, and stress and anxiety that can lead to heart conditions. The sooner you improve your self-esteem, the sooner you can make positive changes in your life.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have issues with self-esteem, anxiety, depression or interpersonal problems, 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.getesteem.com/lse-symptoms/symptom-details.html

Drugs on College Campuses

Substance Abuse

It’s that time of year when everyone is anticipating the upcoming academic school year. With students returning to campus, parties will be on the rise. Welcome back parties are anticipated events on college campuses. Whether one is aware or not, these parties run rampant with various types of drugs. Some students are willing participants whereas others are unknowingly participating in the use of substances. Use of these drugs or substances may lead to risky behavior than can later have effects on the user and others in close proximity.

Some strategies to avoid being under the influence whether knowingly or unknowingly are listed below.

  1. Know your limits.
  2. If you’re going to drink alcohol, know what number of drinks will cause impairment. It’s not advisable to take other substances because of the effects they may cause alone or combined.
  3. Have a buddy system established.
  4. Even though you are college student, have someone that will be responsible for you and vice versa. If you intend on consuming or using any substances, have a designated driver. Have that person ensure your safety throughout the night.
  5. Be careful.
  6. Do not take drinks from random individuals. If you did not see the drink being opened or poured into a glass, kindly reject it. Likewise, be aware of anything that you consume.
  7. Have fun.
  8. So you’ve established a safety plan, great! Go out and enjoy yourself!

 

Written by:  L. Matthew

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

Weight Gain/Loss: It’s All in Your Head

It seems as though there are always new weight loss ads, pills, and detoxes surfacing. Even with all of these new tips and tricks, people are continuing to complain that they cannot lose weight. Furthermore, even if people do lose weight, they regain that same weight soon after. How could this be? Perhaps this may happen because losing/gaining weight is more than just the food you consume, but actually is based upon how you perceive yourself and how you address your eating habits.

First and foremost, your perception of what your body is (or what you want it to be) should be realistic. To be beautiful you do not have to be tall and lengthy or curvy at every inch of your body.  A body mass index (BMI) calculator is a simple way to determine relatively how healthy/unhealthy you are. If you aren’t at your ideal weight, don’t fret! With some minor behavioral changes, you will start becoming a healthier version of yourself. A healthier lifestyle isn’t only made up of physical improvements, but mental ones as well.

Converting from a distracted eater to a mindful one is no easy task. Distracted eaters often have less satisfactory experiences when eating. Realistically, we’ve all eaten while distracted (walking, texting, or even driving), but how often do you really savor your food when doing so? A mindful eater is able to focus on what they are consuming, savoring every bite. They focus on their senses, analyzing the various textures, tastes, colors, and smells of their food. In turn, you may eat fewer calories and become full more quickly, whereas a distracted eater doesn’t focus on the amount of consumption ultimately increasing their caloric intake. So the next time you go to eat a meal or even a snack, remember to choose the healthy option and, most importantly take the time to sit down and enjoy your food.

If you believe that you or a loved one is struggling with weight gain/loss, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Source: Avena, Nicole, Ph.D. “Are Your Cognitive Behaviors Hurting Your Health?” Psychology Today, 2016 April 18. Web.

By: Alexis Ferguson

Relationships: Abusive Relationships: Why We Repeat the Past

“Why didn’t you just walk away?” “How could you let this happen to yourself again?” These questions are not uncommon for survivors of domestic abuse to hear. When a person has numerous maladaptive relationships, it leaves them and others baffled. Why on earth would someone put themselves in an abusive situation again? The answer to this lies in a psychological phenomenon called “repetition compulsion.” In repetition compulsion, a person either puts themselves into a situation where abuse is likely to happen again, or they reenact the past situation with another partner. Below are some theorized reasons why people repeat the past in their relationships.

  1. Change can be a scary or anxiety-provoking thing. Most of us stick to what we know, even if it means regularly dating partners who are physically and/or emotionally abusive.
  2. Some think that by putting themselves in the same situation, they can change the outcome this time. They think that they will be able to master this relationship, and this will make up for the last bad one.
  3. We might believe that if we act in just the right way, our partner’s behavior will change and they will treat us right.
  4. We begin to internalize the beliefs that we are unlovable and deserve to be mistreated.
  5.  Unconsciously or consciously, we seek out abuse from others due to conditioning.
  6. “Winning” an argument with an abusive partner may lead us to believe that we are able to do this again and the abuse will stop.

Despite how terrible the situation may be, know that you are not alone, there is help available, and there are resources to begin the healing process.

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.

Further reading: “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

Source: Esposito, Linda. “Why Do We Repeat the Past in Our Relationships?” Psychology Today. Sussex Pulishers, 22 Mar. 2016. Web. 07 Apr. 2016

By: Scout H