Depression: Identifying Signs of Depression in Someone Close to You

Identifying Signs of Depression in Someone Close to You

By Fiona McDermut

            Understanding the signs and symptoms of mental illness is not a simple task, especially when it comes to someone you care about. Even when the signs of mental illness are identified, it is difficult to decide what to do next. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a 25% increase in cases of depression in the world. In a time of great distress for many, it is vital to look out for the people we love.

            If you suspect that someone you know may be struggling with depression, it is crucial to look out for the following signs:

  • Loss of interest
  • Extreme loss or increase in appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and sexual dysfunction

            Some of these signs may seem obvious, but many who struggle with depression may cut themselves off from the social world. This makes it difficult to detect the warning signs of mental illness. Therefore, it is important to check in on the people you care about, especially during a time in which the majority of social interactions have been cut off, limited, or turned to strictly virtual contact. If someone you know is struggling with symptoms of depression, it may be necessary to seek medical help. There are many causes of depression, many types of depression, and many treatment methods. A mental health care professional will be able to identify the key factors that go into developing a treatment plan that works best for each individual in need.

The following methods are used to treat people with depression:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Hypnosis
  • Antidepressant medication
  • Brain stimulation therapy

            Admitting that one needs help is not an easy task. Therefore, providing support, comfort, and assistance for a loved one can make a tremendous difference in one’s mental health outcomes. Simply having one strong social connection has been shown to have multiple health benefits. Most people are not trained in the treatment of depression, but everyone is capable of spending time with those they love and guiding them through the process of recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, 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.who.int/news/item/02-03-2022-covid-19-pandemic-triggers-25-increase-in-prevalence-of-anxiety-and-depression-worldwide#:~:text=COVID%2D19%20pandemic%20triggers%2025,of%20anxiety%20and%20depression%20worldwide

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/recognizing-symptoms#lostinterest

Image Source: https://ggsc.s3.amazonaws.com/images/uploads/How_Friends_Help_You_Regulate_Your_Emotions.jpg

Managing Countertransference in Mental Health Professionals

Managing Countertransference in Mental Health Professionals

By Fiona McDermut

            Although mental health professionals are trained to treat a variety of disorders and psychological distress, we cannot discount their own psychological reactions. Therapists are human too, and they experience similar ups and downs to the people seeking their help. Additionally, many therapists feel a secondary wave of emotions when they can strongly identify with a client’s obstacles. For many people, it is difficult to react to others without involving personal emotions—it is no different for psychologists. In the world of mental health, this reaction based on personal mentality is known as countertransference.

            A therapist’s ability to work objectively with a client is dependent on the management of their own countertransference. Although therapists may develop strong emotional opinions about situations in their clients’ lives, it is important to always decide what is in the best interest of the clients.

Some examples of countertransference in practice include:

  • Disclosing too much personal information to a patient
  • Having unclear boundaries in the patient-doctor relationship
  • Being overly supportive or critical of the client
  • Any other actions in which the therapist allows their personal emotions to interfere with providing proper treatment

            Identifying with a patient’s strife is not necessarily a bad thing. It is important for mental health professionals to feel empathy, and to fully understand a client’s situation in order to develop a comforting therapeutic environment. However, this becomes unproductive when this empathy turns into extreme distress in the therapist and/or interferes with providing high quality care.

Luckily, there are two main ways in which mental health professionals regularly work on managing countertransference:

  • Participating in individual or group supervision or consultation with other therapists
  • Seeking therapy of their own which provides an outlet to discuss and handle personal emotional needs without projecting it onto the patient.

The role of the therapist is ultimately to help the patient, not create more stressors in the client’s life. If the therapist or patient feels that this cannot be done successfully, it may become necessary to terminate the relationship and pursue treatment with a new therapist.

If you or someone you know is experiencing countertransference, 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://psychcentral.com/health/countertransference#overview

Image source:

https://www.freepik.com/premium-vector/psychotherapy-concept-psychologist-patient-with-tangled-untangled-mind-metaphor-doctor-solving-psychological-problems-couch-consultation-mental-health-treatment-flat-vector-illustration_19960102.htm

Body Dysmorphic Disorder-Beautiful In Your Own Skin Month

Body Dysmorphic Disorder-Beautiful In Your Own Skin Month

By Fiona McDermut

            In light of the start of “beautiful in your own skin” month, it is important to recognize that many struggle with body image satisfaction. Not all people look in the mirror and feel content with what they see. Even if those around you do not understand your body-related concerns, your feelings are totally valid and can be helped with treatment.

            Body dysmorphic disorder (body dysmorphia) is a mental illness characterized by a hyper fixation on perceived defects in one’s appearance. This interferes with day-to-day life because one may spend a large amount of time worrying or attempting to adjust the perceived flaw. These behaviors usually result in obsessive body comparison to others, avoidance of social interaction, and frequent negative body-checking (looking in the mirror repeatedly at disliked body parts). Unfortunately, many have associated their own happiness with how closely their bodies align with current beauty standards portrayed in the media. As one lets these thoughts progress, they can worsen, and possibly be a precursor to an eating disorder or other disorders associated with body dissatisfaction such as depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

            While many believe that cosmetic surgery will fix their perceived flaws, research has shown that such surgeries do not improve psychological symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder. The first step to resolving the issue is recognizing that you have a warped view of what you look like. If you or someone you know experiences this, it can be very beneficial to seek psychological/psychiatric assistance. Professionals in the field will be able to decide the best way to treat these disordered thoughts. The most common treatment for body dysmorphia is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Other possible treatments include hypnotherapy, exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and the prescription of antidepressant medication in order to decrease the feelings of dissatisfaction.

            Working with a professional is important in situations like these, but it is still important to remind yourself that your perceived flaws are only noticed by you, and likely not those around you. Nobody is perfect, but with the constant pressure of modern media to be thin, our flaws often appear to be more apparent to ourselves than they are to others. The practice of mindfulness exercises may also help to focus your mind on what you have learned to love about yourself, and of course, do not be afraid to seek help when necessary.

If you or someone you know is struggling with body dysmorphic 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/the-couch/201507/whats-the-best-way-deal-negative-body-image

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shrink/201409/how-stop-hating-your-body

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1740144507000988

Image source: https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-related-body-dysmorphic-disorder/

Depression: How Does it Affect Relationships

By: Jasmyn Cuate

Depression is one of the most common types of mental illness that Americans struggle with each day affecting approximately 1 in 6 Americans. Depression is characterized by feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, irritability, angry outbursts, or low frustration tolerance, loss of interest in or ability to enjoy usual activities, sleep disturbance, fatigue and lack of energy, appetite disturbance, agitation, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, difficulty concentrating, remembering things, making decisions, recurring thoughts of death, and thoughts of suicide.

Many individuals struggling with depression describe it as living in a heavy fog where you lose clarity about your life, start to have self-doubt, changing the way you view friends, family, and partners as well as how you think they view you.

Although many relationships experience problems, a partner dealing with depression or trying to help their partner overcome depression, may find themselves having more challenges to their relationship. Depression can cause overwhelming emotions such as detachment, distrust, and vulnerability. It can cause the partner to pay little attention to the other partner, be less involved, more irritable, start arguments, and have trouble enjoying time together. Factors such as high levels of conflict, lack of communication, difficulty resolving problems, and withdrawal can lead to depression.

Untreated depression can cause a cycle of self-destructive behaviors that can tear relationships apart. Research has shown that when one member of a couple has depression, there is an impact on the well-being of the other partner as well. In fact, BMC Public Health has found that partners of those with mental illnesses, show signs of anxiety and depression themselves.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for depression or experiencing relationship problems due to depression, 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/depression/signs-depression

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/the-warning-signs-that-depression-is-affecting-your-relationship/

Procrastinating before bed? This might be why

By Katie Weinstein

Revenge bedtime procrastination is defined as the decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure activities. The reason it is called “revenge” bedtime procrastination is to get back at the day time hours for stealing away free time. Many people are tired when going to bed and intend to go to sleep, but chose to binge shows on Netflix or scroll through hours of Tik Toks without an external reason to stay awake, meaning there is an intention-behavior gap. 

Since revenge bedtime procrastination is still a relatively new idea in sleep science, the underlying psychology explaining this phenomenon is still being debated. One explanation is that daytime workload depletes our capacity for self-control, so we can’t fight our urge to stay awake to participate in leisure activities even though it means we will be better rested for the next day. Another explanation might be that some people are naturally “night owls” and are forced to adapt to an early schedule, so this is their way of finding time to recover from stress. A third explanation might be that, during the pandemic, domestic and work lives are blurred as people work overtime hours and do not divide work time from leisure time. 

The reason that it is important to be aware of revenge bedtime procrastination is because sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation can cause daytime sleepiness, which harms productivity, thinking, and memory as well causing physical effects such as insufficient immune function and increased susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 

In order to prevent revenge bedtime procrastination, try putting away technology 30 minutes before bed, create a regular bedtime routine, avoid caffeine late in the afternoon, and find time for leisure activities during the day. It is also important to recognize when you need help managing your procrastination and your sleep problems.

If you or someone you know is struggling with revenge bedtime procrastination or other types of sleep problems, 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/

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/revenge-bedtime-procrastination

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/revenge-bedtime-procrastination-a-plight-of-our-times#Tips-for-better-sleep

Post Pandemic Social Anxiety

By Katie Weinstein ­­­­­­­­

Whether it is anxiety about rusty social skills or interacting with unvaccinated people, adjusting back to normalcy will be a challenge for everyone, so it is essential to find ways to cope with returning back to normal. 

One thing to keep in mind is that it is normal to have social anxiety about the adjustments that are to come. Everyone has been out of practice of picking up on social cues through Zoom. Like any skill, it might seem overwhelming to relearn at first, but with practice, people can regain their social skills. 

One way to help adjust and prevent post pandemic social anxiety is to gradually build up the amount of social interactions you are having and to slowly increase your group size. It is important to stretch a little out of your comfort zone by saying yes to some plans to get back into regularly seeing people, but it is also important to stand up for yourself and not participate in events that make you outwardly uncomfortable. Another thing that you can do to cope with post-pandemic social anxiety is reward yourself for going a little out of your comfort zone with things that you enjoy like ice cream or watching a movie. You can also try dressing up to go out. While lounging out in sweats is sometimes the most comfortable option, dressing up a little can make you feel like your best self and help you incentivize you to go out. It is also important to acknowledge when you need help and when to see someone to help cope with social anxiety.

Sources

If you or someone you know is struggling with social anxiety, 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/

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/after-a-year-of-isolation-social-interaction-may-cause-anxiety#Why-you-may-feel-anxious-about-returning-to-normal

https://www.verywellmind.com/social-anxiety-disorder-tips-302420

Social Media and Attention Span

By Katie Weinstein

People have spent increasingly more time on social media throughout the years which has led to shorter and shorter attention spans. This is because of click bait material and multitasking.

Social media is designed to grab people’s attention and get people to their next click so that people stay online for longer. Instead of publishing detailed, meaningful articles, people are now publishing more sensational, controversial pieces to get people to click. Because the material is very loud and polarizing, people have an urge to switch to new material, so new information is constantly competing for attention, reducing our attention span. This can be addictive in nature and teaches people to focus on engaging material for a short period of time and stay on social media for a long period of time. 

Additionally, social media is something that is commonly used while completing another task. When a person is multitasking, attention span is reduced. The effects are especially detrimental for younger people who are more susceptible to developing bad habits. The average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds and is now 8 seconds, which is 1 second shorter than the attention span of a goldfish! This is because it takes greater cognitive effort to switch between tasks than it does to maintain the same level of concentration on one task. Research has also shown that episodic memory can be significantly reduced when multitasking. 

Some ways to prevent declining attention spans are:

  • Implementing a “no phone at dinner” rule
  • Complete one task at a time 
  • Put your phone away while working 

If you or someone you know is struggling with attention span, 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/culture-shrink/201812/is-social-media-destroying-our-attention-spans

http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202101/22/WS600a2710a31024ad0baa4577.html#:~:text=The%20explosion%20of%20social%20media,just%208%20seconds%20in%202013.

https://muckrack.com/blog/2020/07/14/how-declining-attention-spans-impact-your-social-media

Increased Drug and Alcohol Use during the Stay at Home Order

By Eleanor Kim

The Coronavirus pandemic has left the whole world isolated with very little to do aside from school or work. As the stay at home orders continue, individuals have been forced to find other means of coping or simply passing the time. Some individuals have found coping mechanisms that have ignited newfound purpose during such bleak times; however, others have embarked on less than beneficial pastimes, turning to drugs and alcohol as a means of “getting through” the pandemic. Cases of substance use disorder, or SUD, have skyrocketed since the official declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic with cases of patients who have experienced overdoses and other complications related to substance abuse increasing as well. In a recent survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 13.3% of respondents stated that they have either started or increased substance use in order to cope with the stress and emotions caused by COVID-19 and the subsequent national emergency. With the world in such an unstable and worrisome state, it is not surprising to see individuals seek comfort in any way that they can, especially as those individuals face new and or preexisting stressors and anxieties through isolation.

As the pandemic continues, the surging mental health and substance abuse epidemics have shown to go hand in hand with one another. In fact, throughout the pandemic, there has been a 62% increase in worry, a 51% increase in sadness, a 51% increase in fear, and a 42% increase in loneliness. It was also revealed that within the past year, there has been a 32% increase for non-prescribed fentanyl, a 20% increase for methamphetamine, a 12.5% increase for heroine, a 10% increase for cocaine, as well as an 18% increase in suspected drug overdoses. These increases have not gone unnoticed. Those that already struggled with substance abuse or other mental health disorders have found stay at home orders increasingly difficult given the limited access to their usual treatment and support groups. Those who wish to begin receiving professional help with their substance use have had harder times finding adequate care given the decrease in in- and out-patient support and treatment over the past year. These limitations have fed into the increases in mental health struggles and SUD cases, leaving those who have been affected feeling desperate and out of control.

Substance abuse is not the answer to these difficult and isolating times. There is still hope for those who wish to seek other, more benevolent means of coping with the pandemic and for those who wish to begin treatment for their substance use disorder. Telehealth is one way that individuals with SUD, or other destructive coping mechanisms, can begin receiving professional help and therapy. Counselors and therapists are available to talk with you or anyone you know who may be dealing with substance use disorders during this time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, 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/.

Resources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/09/addressing-unique-challenges-covid-19-people-in-recovery

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7219362/

https://www.ehstoday.com/covid19/article/21139889/drug-abuse-on-the-rise-because-of-the-coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm

Image Source:

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/covid-crisis-exacerbating-lgbtq-alcohol-abuse-studies-find-n1257008

Physician Burnout during a Global Pandemic

By Eleanor Kim

Physicians and nurses around the world have been at the front lines fighting the coronavirus and saving the lives of those infected. Now more than ever, citizens are coming to realize the importance of those within the medical field and the bravery that comes with entering medicine. That being said, there has been an immense amount of pressure placed upon healthcare workers, often causing stress, anxiety, and depression. At the end of the day, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers are humans and can feel the effects of burnout during such a heightened and high stakes moment in medical history.

Burnout is when someone becomes overwhelmed by the demands of their daily life, becoming emotionally and physically exhausted and creating a sense of depersonalization and weakened personal accomplishments. Burnout is a common occurrence among physicians and nurses given the great amount of pressure that comes with saving lives. That being said, these feelings of burnout have skyrocketed given the additionally taxing nature of current frontline medical work such as the stress of isolating from friends and family, the extended hours of work, the tragic lack of medical supplies, and the fear of contracting or spreading the virus, to name a few. Physicians are also left to deal with the other struggles and anxieties that the past year has brought upon the general population regarding economic, political, racial, and other personal effects of the pandemic.

During these elongated periods where healthcare workers are left sleep deprived, improperly fed, and overall anxious about the current status of the pandemic, they are exposed to both mentally and physically long lasting effects. In 2020, there have been a record number of physicians who have reported feelings of burnout and other mental health concerns since the start of the pandemic. Should these issues go untreated, there is an increased risk for depression, self-medication, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. Burnout is more than just stress; it is a mental health crisis and should be treated as such.

If you or someone you know is feeling the effects of physician and healthcare worker burnout, 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/.

Resources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lipiroy/2020/05/17/doctor-heal-thyself-physician-burnout-in-the-wake-of-covid-19/

Image Source:

https://blog.frontiersin.org/2020/04/14/more-than-a-third-of-medical-staff-suffered-insomnia-during-the-covid-19-epidemic-in-china/

Gaining Familial Support through Therapy

By Eleanor Kim

Starting therapy is a crucial step towards achieving emotional and psychological wellbeing. Therapy in conjunction with support and love from family members provides a sense of familiarity and comfort while receiving professional help. As the individual continues their therapy, it may be beneficial for all family members to consider family therapy as a means of familial support for their loved one during what may be a difficult or challenging time for the individual.

Family therapy is a form of therapy that allows family members to express their care for a family member who may be dealing with mental health or substance abuse disorders while also strengthening their own familial relations through proper communication. Family therapy will also allow family members to receive the support they may need while they learn how to best help their loved one and to address any questions or concerns they may have regarding their condition.

Family therapy is not limited to families dealing with psychological or addiction issues. In fact, family therapy is a great option for all families, especially for those who are seeking professional guidance while navigating through situations that may cause their family stress, anger, grief, or conflict. Possible matters include, but are not limited to, marital issues, loss, illness, grief, life style changes, and other environmental stressors. Family members will work on strengthening their empathy and understanding for one another as therapists assist individuals to express their needs or concerns in an open and non-judging environment. Family therapists will also guide family members throughout the process of understanding what their loved one is experiencing, as is the case in individual therapy. It is beneficial for both parties to communicate with one another in ways in which they can help one another throughout the recovery process.

At Arista Counseling, we have many therapists who are ready to help you and your family through any psychological conditions, substance abuse issues, or otherwise troubling matters that may currently be affecting your family.

If you or someone you know is seeking familial support or has considered family therapy, 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

References:

http://www.acenterfortherapy.com/family_issues.php

Image Source:

https://www.seekpng.com/ipng/u2a9o0y3w7e6w7a9_family-counseling-clipart-marriage-and-family-therapist-clipart/