OCD: What It’s Really About

By Miranda Botti

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or more commonly referred to as OCD, is a psychological disorder in which those afflicted experience recurring distressing, intrusive thoughts, images or impulses (obsessions) and attempt to remedy and alleviate such thoughts with repetitive actions (compulsions).  Such intrusive, repetitive thoughts are often constant worries about one’s health or the health of family members or loved ones, as well as fears about bad things happening to loved ones. Common compulsions include but are not limited to: repeatedly checking things, such as if an oven is off or if a door is locked, excessively cleaning oneself and/or handwashing, and compulsive counting. Many OCD patients are able to understand that their thoughts are irrational and unlikely to be remedied by their compulsive actions but continue to struggle to control their obsessions. Most people are typically diagnosed with OCD in their late teens to early 20’s, although onset at any age is possible.

The knowledge of the causes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is still yet to be discovered however, risk factors include: genetics, brain structure and functioning, and/or the environment. Treatments include medications that act to inhibit the reuptake of the neurotransmitter called serotonin (SRI’s and SSRI’s), as well as the less frequently prescribed antipsychotic medication; psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); the approach of a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Research for treatment of OCD is up and running and clinical trials look to determine the effectiveness and safety of new treatments in order to help individuals in the future.

 

If you or someone you know is suffering from OCD, 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/.

 

Information taken from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

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What exactly is a “Panic Attack”?

by Sarah Moore

Panic Attacks: What are they?

We’ve all heard of panic attacks before, on television, in the movies and even in day-to-day conversation. In today’s age, people tend to use the term lightly, as an expression of a reaction to a stressful event or fearful encounter. One might say, “When I heard that the company was planning to downsize next year, I just about had a panic attack”. But to use the term this way does not describe what a panic attack truly is: a sudden, unexpected feeling of overwhelming and disabling anxiety, often with no premeditating cause.

So what exactly does a panic attack involve? The DSM-5 defines a panic attack as involving four (4) or more of the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • A feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Feelings of unreality (derealization) or being detached from oneself (depersonalization)
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Chills or hot flushes

While it’s true that anyone can experience a panic attack, they are most commonly associated with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Specific Phobias. Does this mean someone who experiences a panic attack has one of these conditions? Not necessarily. The DSM-V defines the diagnostic criteria for Panic disorder as suffering from frequent, often unexpected panic attacks. In addition, at least one attack must be followed by the fear that more attacks will occur, causing an individual to change his or her behavior in order to avoid triggering such attacks. It is important to note that other possible causes for panic attacks, such as side effects from drugs or medications must be ruled out before someone can be diagnosed with any of the above disorders. Panic attacks can be debilitating, but with the right treatment, recovery is possible.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may be suffering from panic attacks, 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.

Depression: Why Exercise Can Help (part 1: what is depression?)

Eve Bae

With around 16.1 million Americans affected by major depressive disorder and around 3.3 million American adults affected by persistent depressive disorder1, it is imperative for health care professionals to figure out how to help patients suffering with their disorder. These statistics even exclude children and those under the age of legal adulthood, making the number of afflicted patients most likely greater. With the different types and degrees of severity of depression, it is difficult to state that there is one encompassing solution for this multifaceted diagnosis.

Depression is a state of being characterized by multiple symptoms such as depressed mood, diminished interest or pleasure, fatigue, negative feelings of worthlessness, difficulties with concentration or thinking which impair the patient’s daily life activities. The patient must have been feeling this way for at least the same 2 week period and all symptoms must be caused solely by this disorder. This condition can have a biological, social, or even environmental base. Researchers have found that people suffering from depression have a smaller hippocampus and other biological differences, which differentiate them from those who do not suffer from this condition. Another area explored and hypothesized is the role neurotransmitters play in this disorder. Harvard researchers, doctors, and psychologists acknowledge that the brain is a dynamic system with no one neurotransmitter as the sole cause for all patients but there may be different problematic neurotransmitters for each patient. When the fragile balance of serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, glutamate, and/or GABA is disrupted, it affects the brain and ultimately the patient, influencing their moods, emotions, and behavior.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, 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/.

So how can exercise help this difficult disorder? Onto Part 2!

  1. adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
  2. photo: affinitymagazine.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/1468445687-depression.jpg

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

body-dysmorphia-620

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

By Emily Aranda

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is defined as a persistent and intrusive fixation with an imagined or highly exaggerated imperfection in physical appearance. The flaw as perceived by one with BDD causes significant emotional distress and difficulties in day to day functioning. An individual with BDD may avoid social settings that require certain attire such as bathing suits or form fitting clothing. Those with BDD are highly distressed by their perceived imperfection and may suffer from social impairment, such as a desire to be alone in order to hide their bodies from others. Body Dysmorphic Disorder affects men and women indiscriminately, developing most often in adolescents and teens.

The symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder are as follows:

  • Camouflaging – wearing baggy clothing, posing in certain body positions, wearing excessive makeup, etc. in order to hide the perceived body inadequacy
  • Seeking surgery/diet pills
  • Excessive grooming
  • Excessive exercise
  • Frequently checking themselves in the mirror
  • Avoiding catching their reflection in the mirror
  • Changing outfits very often

If you or someone you know may have Body Dysmorphic Disorder, 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/.

Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1414653/  https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder-bdd

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

Codependent Relationships

Codependent Relationships

By Marilyn Wells

 

If you are in a relationship that feels one sided, consistently emotionally draining, or one that you constantly feel responsible for your loved one’s actions, you may be in a codependent relationship. A codependent relationship is characterized as a dysfunctional relationship where one person is responsible for maintaining the other’s needs, but counterintuitively enabling that person to continue their irresponsible behaviors.  Codependent relationships can occur in intimate relationships as well as non-intimate relationships.  The term “codependent” was originally used to describe family members of alcoholics.

Some Symptoms of a Codependent Relationship include:

  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Caretaking
  • Lack of personal boundaries between the couple
  • Having a hard time saying “no” to your loved one
  • Need to control the “irresponsible” individual
  • Ineffective Communication
  • Dependency on others to avoid feeling lonely
  • Denial of Codependency
  • Trust Issues in Intimate Relationships

These symptoms are actually deeply imbedded habits in codependents. Codependents’ actions are meant to help their loved ones but are often counterintuitive and come at the emotional price of the codependent. However, with the right support system, codependents can learn to abandon these habits and how to maintain a healthy relationship.

If you or anyone you know is or may be in a codependent relationship, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and 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.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Source: http://psychcentral.com/lib/symptoms-of-codependency/

Addiction: Addictive Behaviors

Addiction: Addictive Behaviors

By Marilyn Wells

 

Addictions come in many forms, some of which may be hard to even recognize as a problem. Addictions have serious effects on mental health, physical well-being, and affect the lives of those around the addict.  First, it is important to recognize whether or not you or a loved one is engaging in any addictive behaviors.

Some addictive behaviors include:

  • Inability to quit a certain habit, even when you want to
  • Remaining in the environment the addiction or craving formed in
  • Unable to control the craving
  • Substituting one addictive behavior for another
  • Desire for the craving, even when the craving ceases to result in pleasure
  • Self-medication

Addictive behaviors are often linked to Antisocial Personality Disorder, low tolerance for stress, compulsive behaviors, insecurity and depression.

Addictive behaviors are hard to conquer alone and may be signify another underlying mental health issue. If you or anyone you know is or may be expressing addictive behaviors, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and 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.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-choice/201702/10-patterns-addictive-behavior

https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/mental-health/addictive-personality/

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

PAWS

By Marilyn Wells

 

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) occurs after alcohol or drug withdrawal, which presents fewer physical withdrawal symptoms, but is more disruptive to an individual emotionally and psychologically. PAWS occurs as a reaction to the individual’s brain returning to a normal state, which can often take up to two years.

Symptoms of PAWS include:

  • Rapid/extreme mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Loss of excitement
  • Anxiety
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Variations in energy and concentration

Individuals with Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome often experience these symptoms in episodes, which last for several days. During these episodes, individuals often struggle to fight the temptations to relapse.  However, with the help of a psychologist, individuals suffering from PAWS can better understand the process their bodies are going through, and learn how to practice methods of relaxation and self-care that will smooth the transition back to a normal life.

 

The experienced psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and 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.

Source: addictionsandrecovery.org

Sleep Paralysis: Waking Up Paralyzed

Waking Up Paralyzed

By: Kristine Dugay

Imagine waking up on any given day, you’re conscious, but you can’t move a muscle as if you’re paralyzed. If you find yourself unable to speak or move for a few seconds or minutes upon waking up or falling asleep, there is a great chance that you have sleep paralysis. On average, four out of every ten people may have sleep paralysis, and both men and women of any age can have it. Sleep paralysis occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. This condition occurs one of two times. If it happens as you are falling asleep, it is called hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. If it occurs as you are waking up, it is called hypnopompic or postdormital sleep paralysis. Though it may run in families, factors that may be linked to the condition include lack of sleep, sleep schedule changes, mental conditions such as stress or bipolar disorder, narcolepsy, certain medications, and substance abuse.

While being in this state of mind is extremely frightening, there is no need to treat this condition. Sleep paralysis is usually self-treatable and self-diagnosable. Although treatment depends on severity, the main way of treating sleep paralysis is improving your sleeping habits. However, treatment can also include treating any mental health problems that may contribute to sleep paralysis or using antidepressant medication if it is prescribed to help regulate sleep cycles. Sleep paralysis is most commonly found in those who are narcoleptic or have sleep apnea, but unfortunately it can affect anyone. Common symptoms include anxiety, hallucinations, and paralysis.

If you feel your symptoms cause anxiety, leave you very tired throughout the day, or keep you up during the night, 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.

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-paralysis#2 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcolepsy/basics/symptoms/con-20027429

Athletes and Psychological Issues

4 Psychological Issues Behind Athletic Performance

By: Kristine Dugay

1. Self-Confidence/ Self-Esteem

Sports demand trusting your ability to perform at your greatest level of competition, both physically and mentally. Self-criticism is the most difficult obstacle to overcome, yet it is the foundation in being able to achieve your goals. An athlete perceiving oneself as a failure is the most typical problem with self-confidence and it becomes a distraction to your athletic performance.

2. Stress and Anxiety

Whether it’s from a parent, coach or you, being reprimanded, criticized, or condemned for making mistakes or performing below expectations causes stress and anxiety. It becomes more difficult for athletes to perform when they are overloaded by the tension and pressure, and their ability to focus is impaired by their lack of judgement and diminished self-confidence.

3. Perfectionism 

Athletes will go to extreme measures to continue striving for perfection and go well beyond the recommended levels of training. Training too intensely for too long of a duration can result in injuries that are often neglected and cause extreme exhaustion on the body that lead to “burnout”. This can lead to depression, anxiety, irritability, and a high susceptibility to illnesses. Athletes tend to lose their composure and take their heads out of the game when they’re not performing at the level they expect to.

4. Relationships

Building a strong relationship with your coach and teammates is vital. Often, within young athletes favoritism occurs amongst the best players and this becomes demeaning and discouraging within an individual. Feelings can be easily hurt, but they can also be very hard to repair. As an athlete, you aspire to be recognized and appreciated and without this attention, it is difficult to perform your best.

Fortunately, methods are available to lesson these issues before and during athletic performance. Prevention of these consequences involves careful examination of the behavior and early intervention, as well as thorough review of goals, values, beliefs, and priorities.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have issues with anxiety, relationships, stress, or self-esteem 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.sportpsychologytoday.com/youth-sports-psychology/common-mental-game-challenges-for-athletes/