Deep Brain Stimulation and Electroconvulsive Therapy: What are they?

Deep Brain Stimulation and Electroconvulsive Therapy: What are they?

By Emily Ferrer

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a brain surgery involving the implantation of electrodes in certain areas of the brain to treat different movement disorders such as OCD, dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy as well as other disorders such as depression and drug addiction[1]. These electrodes produce electrical impulses to regulate certain brain functions[2] and are controlled by a pacemaker-like device. This pacemaker is placed in your chest with a wire that runs from the pacemaker to the electrodes that were inserted into your brain[3]. The parts of the brain that the electrodes are inserted into are specific to the patient and their specific symptoms. For example, for a patient who suffers from severe OCD the electrodes would be placed in an area of the brain called the ventral capsule/ventral striatum, which has been found to be very effective for patients suffering from treatment resistant OCD at about a 61.5% positive response rate[4].

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a medical treatment usually preformed on patients who suffer from severe clinical depression and are treatment resistant to other options to help their condition[5]. The treatment involves small electric currents being passed externally through the patient’s skull between the voltage ranges of 180 to 460 volts. While there is still much controversy and incorrectly portrayed media about this procedure, it is significantly safer today than it was almost 100 years ago. The patient is put under general anesthesia at a hospital during the entire treatment and wakes up after not feeling anything from the procedure. The only thing patients feel after the completion of the treatment is an increase in positive mood. A study done in 2007 revealed that out of the patients who did and did not receive ECT for their treatment resistant depression, 71% of the participants in the experimental group, that received ECT,  found they had a positive response. This is significant when compared to the control group, who did not receive ECT, where only 28% of the participants found they had a positive response to just antidepressant medication[6].  ECT has gained a lot of popularity recently because of how quickly and effectively you feel the effects after a few treatments. The positive effects increase even more quickly when combined with psychotherapy in between the ECT treatments.

If you or someone you know is experiencing OCD or major depressive disorder and are interesting in pursuing these treatments, 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com


Sources:

[1] https://atm.amegroups.com/article/view/16268/html

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/deep-brain-stimulation/about/pac-20384562

[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/deep-brain-stimulation/about/pac-20384562

[4] https://iocdf.org/expert-opinions/expert-opinion-dbs/#:~:text=Another%20important%20development%20for%20treatment,targeted%20areas%20of%20the%20brain.

[5] https://www.webmd.com/depression/electroconvulsive-therapy

[6] https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.1997.tb09926.x

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): What is SAD?

            Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): What is SAD?

By: Julissa Acebo

Do you ever feel down, or not like your usual self during the shorter days in the fall and winter, and then begin to feel better in the spring and summer with longer daylight hours? This can be a sign of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression. So what exactly is SAD? According to Mayo Clinic, it is a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs in climates where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year. These mood changes begin and end when the seasons change. This can affect the way you think, feel, and handle daily activities.

Winter-Pattern SAD or Winter Depression

  • More common
  • Symptoms start in the late fall or early winter and go away during the spring and summer
  • Symptoms include oversleeping, overeating, weight gain, and social withdrawal

Summer-Pattern SAD or Summer Depression

  • Less common
  • Depressive episodes during the spring and summer months
  • Symptoms include trouble sleeping, poor appetite, anxiety, and episodes of violent behavior

If you or someone you know is experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/seasonal-affective-disorder

ADHD: Gender Disparities in ADHD Diagnoses

ADHD: Gender Disparities in ADHD Diagnoses

By Jackie Molan

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsive behaviors, difficulty paying attention, and high distractibility. ADHD is one of the most common disorders of childhood, but boys are much more readily diagnosed than girls. It is believed that the prevalence of ADHD across genders is approximately equal, even though formal diagnoses strongly favor boys. Females are often underdiagnosed with ADHD and misdiagnosed with other disorders, such as bipolar, depression, and anxiety. The symptom profile for ADHD is the same across genders, but the behavioral presentation of symptoms tends to differ greatly.

Females are more likely to exhibit more internalized behavioral symptoms, such as:

  • Daydreaming
  • Losing focus
  • Forgetfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Impatience
  • Low self-esteem
  • People-pleasing
  • Deep emotional reactions/overwhelm

Males, on the other hand, often display more external behaviors, such as:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Interrupting people during conversations
  • Losing items often
  • Anger outbursts

The external manifestation of ADHD symptoms makes the disorder more likely to be noticed in young boys by parents, teachers, and peers. Since young girls usually do not show such external symptoms, they tend to not receive a formal ADHD diagnosis until much later in life (if at all).

Regardless of gender, if you think you are experiencing any combination of ADHD symptoms, it is important to seek help from a mental health provider. A formal diagnosis from a professional can allow you to effectively manage your symptoms and improve daily functioning.

If you or someone you know is struggling with ADHD, 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/adhd

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rethinking-adult-adhd/202203/why-adhd-in-women-is-so-often-overlooked

https://psychcentral.com/adhd/adhd-and-gender#recap

https://www.verywellhealth.com/add-vs-adhd-5193759

Parasomnia: Nightmares in Adults

Parasomnia: Nightmares in Adults

By Lynette Rivas

Nightmares are supposed to diminish as you grow up, right? While this is true for most of the population, it is not the case for some individuals. Research shows that between 2% and 8% of the adult population experiences frequent and distressing nightmares, otherwise known as parasomnia.

Nightmares are realistic and vividly disturbing dreams that awaken you from sleep. They most often occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is when most dreaming takes place, and occur closer to morning hours. Nightmares may include:

  • Vivid and upsetting dreams
  • Dreams involving threats to safety
  • Being awoken from the dream
  • Feeling anxious, scared, or sad as a result from the dream
  • Not being able to fall back to sleep due to the dream

For adults, nightmares are often spontaneous, but for some, there may be an underlying issue that can be used to explain these dreams. Nightmares can be triggered by stress, trauma, sleep deprivation, substance abuse, medications, or by simply watching a scary movie. Although nightmares occur occasionally compared to normal dreams, they are considered a disorder if they:

  • Occur frequently
  • Cause major distress throughout the day, such as anxiety or fear
  • Cause problems with concentration or memory
  • Cause daytime sleepiness

If these symptoms are occurring, then it is time to consult a doctor about possible treatments. The doctor will determine if the solution is through treatments and medication, or will give a referral to a psychologist or psychotherapist. Debilitating and frequent nightmares, or parasomnia, is a serious condition that can alter an individual’s life, so it is important to seek help if they occur.

If you or someone you know is experiencing debilitating/frequent nightmares 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nightmare-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353515

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/nightmares-in-adults#:~:text=Nightmares%20in%20adults%20can%20be,to%20have%20the%20condition%20themselves.

https://iconscout.com/illustration/nocturnal-panic-attack-5222908

Family Therapy: Reasons to Seek Treatment & What to Expect

Family Therapy: Reasons to Seek Treatment & What to Expect

By Jackie Molan

Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy aimed at improving communication and relationships within a family unit. The therapeutic environment offers a safe and confidential space for family members to express thoughts and feelings that they might otherwise be uncomfortable sharing. Family therapy is usually about 12 sessions in length, allowing the therapist to follow a method with a clear end goal that is understood by each family member. Even though this is a short-term type of therapy, it can teach skills and coping strategies that can be used to remedy family problems even after the course of treatment has ended.

Family therapy is typically sought out by families experiencing one or more of the following issues:

  • Parent/child conflict
  • Child behavioral problems
  • Financial stress
  • Grief
  • Anger issues
  • Communication difficulties
  • A family member’s substance abuse or mental illness (depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc.) is negatively impacting the rest of the family

It is important to know what to expect when starting family therapy. During the first session, the therapist will likely want to meet with the family as a group in order to gather information about the issue and see how family roles and dynamics operate. In the subsequent sessions, they may sometimes choose to meet with each family member individually to focus more on personal considerations. Overall, you can expect to gain the skills to:

  • Identify strengths and weaknesses within the family
  • Learn to effectively express emotions with family members
  • Analyze existing factors that may contribute to both present and future conflicts, such as family roles

Family stressors can turn into damaging problems if they are not addressed in a timely fashion. Family therapy provides the tools needed to restore a dysfunctional family to a more healthy, unified, and empathetic unit.

If you or someone you know is seeking 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/

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/family-therapy/about/pac-20385237

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/marriage-and-family-therapy

https://www.123rf.com/clipart-vector/family_therapy.html

Suicide: What is Suicide Grief?

Suicide: What is Suicide Grief

By Lynette Rivas

At some point in almost everyone’s life, they will experience losing a loved one, which can then be followed by grief. But what about losing your loved one to suicide? This type of grief is known as suicide grief, where an individual feels both despair and guilt after losing a loved one to suicide.

It is important to note that not everyone experiences grief in the same way or for the same amount of time. The intensity and the complexity of grief are determined by the relationship with the person that died, how the death occurred, any existing coping strategies, and if support is available. 

Suicide grief can be a period of intense emotions for some people. These include emotions such as shock, guilt, anger, confusion, and/or despair. These emotions can even be accompanied by nightmares, flashbacks, social withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, and/or loss of interest. Anyone that is experiencing grief should keep in mind that it is important to:

  • Keep in touch – reaching out to loved ones, friends, and spiritual leaders
  • Grieve in your own manner – everyone does not grieve in the same way
  • Do not rush yourself – grieving can be as short as a few days to as long as a couple of months

If the grief is too much to bear and becomes too intense, then it is time to turn to a mental health provider for help. Unresolved grief can become difficult over time to the point where the individual is no longer able to go back to their normal life. If the individual thinks that they might be unusually depressed, it is important that they seek professional mental health help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with grief 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/in-depth/suicide/art-20044900

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/suicide-prevention/after-a-suicide-loss/suicide-and-grief#:~:text=Grief%20in%20response%20to%20suicide,the%20stigma%20associated%20with%20suicide.

Image Source:

https://time.com/6117708/grief-isolation/

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: The Effects of OCD on Productivity

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: The Effects of OCD on Productivity

By Jackie Molan

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by a cycle of obsessions and compulsions that interfere with the person’s daily life. Obsessions are unwanted thoughts and impulses that occur repeatedly and induce fear and/or anxiety in the person experiencing them. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that occur in response to obsessions. They are typically intended to reduce the fear or anxiety brought on by obsessions, but this effect is short-lived, and thus the cycle continues.

Approximately 2% of the population suffers from OCD. Symptoms most often appear during adolescence or adulthood and are usually chronic. Therefore, if someone develops symptoms during adolescence, OCD is likely to cause them difficulties in numerous aspects of their lives as they age. A notable example of one of these aspects is productivity, which is relevant in both school and work environments.

Perfectionistic obsessions surrounding productivity and success are common in people with OCD. If an obsession causes anxiety about failing a task or assignment, the resultant compulsion might cause that person to spend hours checking and rechecking their work. This reduces productivity in the long run because it takes up valuable time and energy that could have been spent completing more tasks. Additionally, many compulsions involve some sort of movement, so it can be difficult for someone with OCD to sit at a desk for long periods of time. When OCD gets in the way of being productive, the person is likely to stress about their lack of productivity, which further exacerbates their OCD symptoms.

Although OCD has the potential to hinder productivity, there are steps you can take to improve it:

  • Go to therapy – The techniques employed in therapy can help you keep your OCD symptoms under control, allowing for increased productivity.
  • Manage stress – Finding ways to cope with stress will help prevent OCD symptoms from worsening.
  • Gain a better understanding of perfectionism – Learning about the pitfalls of perfectionism can allow you to set more realistic goals.
  • Practice self-care and compassion – Be kind to yourself even when you are feeling unproductive.

Living with OCD can certainly be challenging, but a more productive future is not impossible if you understand the nature of your problem and seek professional help with a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for 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/

Sources:

https://psychcentral.com/ocd/ocd-and-productivity#How-OCD-can-affect-productivity

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/ocd

https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/what-happened-my-child-understanding-and

Eating Disorders: Recognizing Signs in Others

Eating Disorders: Recognizing Signs in Others

By Kim Simone

Warning Signs of Eating Disorders

Signs of eating disorders oftentimes go unrecognized by those around the struggling individual. While eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder each have their own risks, it is critical to know that they can be fatal if left untreated for a certain period of time. Fortunately, eating disorders can be treated by mental health care providers. Supportively encouraging an individual struggling with an eating disorder to seek treatment can save their life.

Warning signs may include but are not limited to:

Behavioral Signs:

  • Skipping meals
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Refusal to eat certain foods
  • Expressing preoccupation with food, weight, nutrition, etc.
  • Consuming only small portions of food at a time

Emotional Signs:

  • Extreme concern with body shape and size
  • Extreme mood swings

Physical Signs:

  • Noticeable fluctuations in weight
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Feeling cold regularly
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Stomach cramps and other gastrointestinal issues

Seeking Treatment

It is important to seek help as soon as warning signs appear given that the chance for recovery from an eating disorder increases the earlier it is detected, diagnosed, and treated. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a commonly used psychotherapeutic approach for eating disorder treatment. It emphasizes the interaction between an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The approach is centered on shifting negative thoughts and behaviors to more positive thoughts and healthier alternatives.

The treatment for different eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder vary. During treatment, a mental health care provider can screen and treat for other underlying issues, such as anxiety and depression, as these can influence treatment outcomes. Medications can be an effective treatment option when combined with psychotherapy in treating individuals struggling with an eating disorder. Supportively encouraging an individual to seek treatment for an eating disorder can be lifesaving.

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.nationaleatingdisorders.org/warning-signs-and-symptoms

https://www.yourhealthinmind.org/mental-illnesses-disorders/eating-disorders/treatment

Image Source:

https://integrativelifecenter.com/how-diet-culture-influences-eating-disorders/

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