Stress: Effects of Stress

Image result for stressed brain

Stress: Effects of Stress

By: Vanessa Munera

When people talk about stress, what exactly is it? Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. With stress the body reacts to these changes with emotional, physical, and mental responses. Stress could either be presented as a positive or negative outcome in people’s daily lives.

According to Bernstein “Stress can occur in a variety of forms” (2016). Some stress can result in short events such as an argument with a loved one. Furthermore, other stress can manifest due to reoccurring conditions; for example, a demanding job, financial problems, and/ or long term illness. When reoccurring conditions cause stress to be both intense and sustained over a long period of time, it can be considered as “chronic” or “toxic” stress”. While all stress triggers physiological reactions, chronic stress is indeed to be considered a problematic issue that creates significant harm to the brain and the functioning of the body. In fact, “stress continues to be a major American health issue”.

If you have experienced a stressful event, a certain area of the brain called the amygdala, responsible for emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus functions as a command center in the brain, communicating with the rest of the body through the nervous system so that person has the energy to fight or flee”. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” response because it provides the body with a burst of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers. Some of the affects from the “fight or flight” response are increased heart rate, deeper intake of oxygen, heightened senses, and the rush of adrenaline – also known as epinephrine, a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland. Finally a hormone known as cortisol is released to help restore the energy that was lost during the response. When stress is no longer present, your cortisol levels to go back to normal as if nothing happened. In addition cortisol helps regulate metabolism and immune responses.

When dealing with chronic stress, cortisol levels are at a constant high, which eventually causes health problems. Although cortisol is a natural and healthy hormone in the body, constant high levels of it can be bad for your brain. High levels of this hormone can wear down the brain’s ability to function properly. As stated in the article, “it can disrupt synapse regulation, resulting in the loss of sociability and the avoidance of interactions with others” (Bernstein, 2016). In addition, chronic stress can kill brain cells and cause the brain to shrink in size. It has a shrinking effect on the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for memory and learning. Besides chronic stress having effects on the brain, it causes effects to the human body. This type of stress can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Furthermore, it can affect other systems in the body and cause them to stop working properly. This includes digestive, excretory and reproductive structures and exacerbates already existing illness. Fighting and managing chronic stress can be difficult; however it is not too late to learn how to manage it. Toxic stress can negatively affect the brain but the brain and body can recover from these effects.

If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic stress and are seeking stress management, please do not hesitate to seek help by contacting  Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

Sources:

https://www.tuw.edu/health/how-stress-affects-the-brain/

 

Abuse: Men in Abusive Relationships

By: Toni Wright

A relationship is supposed to be a union between two people where both parties feel safe and comfortable with one another. They are supposed to feel loved, accepted, and appreciated by one another. However, sometimes that is not the case. Oftentimes people talk about how the woman in the relationship is being abused by the man. However, we should not overlook the fact that men are often being abused in relationships. Though it may not be widely spoken about, the man can be and sometimes is the victim in the relationship.

Abuse is not always domestic; it can be verbal and/or emotional.

Your partner may show signs of:

Possessiveness:

  • They are constantly keeping track of your whereabouts i.e. wanting to know what you’re doing, where you are, and who you’re with most if not all of the time.
  • They try to control where you spend your time and who you spend it with and if you don’t listen to them, they get angry.

Jealousy:

  • They isolate you from your loved ones, family and friends
  • They accuse you of being disloyal to them or flirting with others.

Threats:

  • They threaten to leave you or threaten to hurt themselves if you leave.
  • They threaten to use violence against you or your loved ones.

 

Physical/Sexual Violence:

  • They hurt you or your loved ones.
  • They push, shove or punch you, or make you have sex with them or do something that you don’t want to do.

Humiliation:

  • They belittle you in front of family, friends, or even on social media by attacking your looks, intelligence, abilities, or mental health.
  • They blame you for the issues in your relationship and for their violent blowups.
  • They say hurtful things to you, such as, “No one else is ever going to love you.”

Men, it may be hard to leave an abusive relationship for numerous reasons such as you may feel as though they actually do love you despite their behavior, you feel ashamed, you want to protect your partner, have a lack of resources, the list goes on. However, help from your family, friends, and a therapist can aid you through this trying time. Being a battered partner is nothing to be embarrassed about. Please don’t ever be afraid to reach out to any/all of your resources for assistance.

If you or a male you know is suffering from any type of abuse in a relationship, 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:

Help for Men Who Are Being Abused

https://psychcentral.com/blog/21-warning-signs-of-an-emotionally-abusive-relationship/

https://au.reachout.com/articles/signs-of-an-abusive-relationship

Image Source:

Battered Men – The other side of Domestic Violence

 

Healthy Communication Skills

By: Toni Wright

Oftentimes when we’re communicating it’s just to respond and we’re not actually actively listening. Communication needs to not only be about active listening, but about listening to understand and comprehend. There are numerous ways to improve one’s communication skills with others, whether it is familial, platonic, or romantic.

1) Speak face to face – Texting is not beneficial when it comes to trying to communicate effectively. Pick a time where both parties are able to meet face to face. This way both parties are directly focused on one another and things are less likely to get misconstrued as they might through text.

2) Use “I” statements – When issues occur using “I” statements help the person feel less attacked. An alternative to saying, “YOU made me angry when…” is “I was feeling angry when THIS happened.”

3) Don’t interrupt or try to redirect the conversation to your worries – For instance, “If you think your day was bad, let me tell you about mine.” Actively listening and waiting to speak is not the same thing. One cannot actively listen and also think about what they’re going to say next when the other person is done speaking. The speaker will be able to tell that you are not giving them your full attention.

4) Look for compromise – Instead of focusing on who’s right or wrong or “winning” an argument try to settle in a place where both parties are happy. Whether it’s through compromise or finding an entirely new solution, it is important that both parties feel that they are getting what they want.

5) If you need help reach out for it – Sometimes communicating isn’t easy and during conflict it may be even more difficult to try and stay respectful or if the conflict doesn’t seem to be improving with solely just the two parties involved, it may be beneficial to see a therapist. Therapy can help one find new strategies to use when communicating that can be used to avoid future conflict.

If you or someone you know has trouble communicating and/or resolving conflict, 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.marriage.com/advice/relationship/effective-relationship-communication-skills/bb

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/effective-communication.html

https://www.verywellmind.com/managing-conflict-in-relationships-communication-tips-3144967

Image Source: https://www.marriage.com/advice/communication/communication-with-partner/

 

Relationships: The Impact of Attachment Styles

Relationships: The Impact of Attachment Styles

Relationships: The Impact of Attachment Styles

By: Julia Keys

Did you know that the way one develops an attachment to their mother as an infant has a profound effect on their adult relationships? Attachment styles were first studied in detail by the developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth in her experiment called “the strange situation”. In the strange situation, Ainsworth had a mother and a child play together for about three minutes and then the mother left the room. Next, a stranger would enter the room and play with the child for about three minutes and then they would leave. Finally, the child’s mother would re-enter the room and resume playing with their child. Ainsworth was most interested in observing the child’s behavior when their mother re-entered the room.

Upon careful examination, Ainsworth found three distinct patterns of behavior in infants when their mothers re-entered the room. If the child was upset, but then easily soothed by their mother upon re-entry, Ainsworth deemed them as having a secure attachment style. If the child was indifferent to their mother upon re-entry, Ainsworth would label them with an insecure avoidant attachment style. Finally, if the infant shows conflicting behavior upon the mother’s re-entry such as clinginess and then subsequent rejections of affection, Ainsworth would say they had an insecure ambivalent attachment style. Insecure ambivalent children are unpredictable in terms of their parental reactivity.

Ainsworth hypothesized that children’s reactions were a result of how their parents responded to their needs. Hypothetically, infants with secure attachment styles have their basic needs met consistently by their parents. This leads the secure infant to show a healthy dependence on their parents. Infants with an insecure avoidant attachment have their needs minimally met by their parents, which leads them to be independent and self-soothing. Infants with insecure ambivalent attachment styles have their needs met inconsistently from their caregivers, which results in confusion and conflicting behaviors.

So how does this “strange situation” relate to people later on in life? Researchers have found that attachment styles follow infants into adulthood and impact their behavior in relationships. While the behavior infants exhibited in the experiment relied on whether or not basic needs such as food, water, or comfort were met, attachments styles in adults tend to manifest themselves in more complicated ways.  Secure adults tend to have healthy and satisfying relationships where they can receive and offer support as needed.  Avoidant adults seek independence in relationships and oftentimes can appear a bit callous to their own emotions. Avoidant adults aren’t likely to offer support to their partners because they rarely depend on it themselves. Finally, ambivalent adults fear being either too close or too far from their partner, causing them to feel confused by their feelings and act in unpredictable ways in the relationship.

Although attachment styles are habits that people have probably been practicing subconsciously for all their lives, they are not permanent. Individual or couples therapy can help those struggling with their own emotions or communication skills.

If you or someone you know is struggling in a relationship, 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.simplypsychology.org/mary-ainsworth.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/compassion-matters/201307/how-your-attachment-style-impacts-your-relationship

Source for Picture:

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Gambling

Gambling

By Lauren Hernandez

              Gambling can be a fun occasional activity to do with friends or family. However, some individuals can develop a serious addiction known as Gambling Disorder. Through frequent compulsive, habitual impulses, a person who is unable to resist gambling can have extreme negative consequences throughout their life which may affect relationships, finances, and even be a stepping stone towards engaging in criminal behavior. Typically a person addicted to gambling will develop this pattern of behavior during adolescence or young adulthood.  Gambling Disorder may begin with occasional gambling and develop into habitual, problematic gambling episodes. An increase in gambling is associated with stress, depression, and substance use or abstinence. Patterns of problematic gambling may also include periods of long term remission.

According to the DSM-5 the symptoms of Gambling Disorder include:

  • Persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behavior leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as indicated by the individual exhibiting four (or more) of the fol­lowing in a 12-month period:
  • Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement.
  • Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
  • Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling.
  • Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble).
  • Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed).
  • After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses).
  • Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
  • Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling.
  • Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling.
  • The gambling behavior is not better explained by a manic episode.

The treatment for Gambling Disorder is an eclectic approach. It is important to seek treatment early, before the individual poses any extreme risks to themselves or friends and family. Prevention may not always be possible; however limiting exposure to casinos, scratch off tickets, or other triggers is helpful. Compulsive gambling is best treated through psychotherapy in the form of therapy or support groups. In addition to psychotherapy, medications such as antidepressants or mood stabilizers are extremely helpful. If you or someone you know is struggling with Gambling Disorder or has problematic gambling habits, it is important to reach out to a mental health practitioner such as a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.

If you or someone you know who may have Gambling Disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/gambling-disorder-compulsive-gambling-pathological-gambling

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Narcissism

Narcissism 

Narcissism

By: Julia Keys

It is common in today’s world to call someone who is very clean “OCD”, or someone who is very active “ADHD”, or someone who is overly confident a “narcissist”.  What many people do not know is that narcissism is not an adjective to describe someone’s personality, but a real psychiatric diagnosis. The DSM IV identifies narcissism as a personality disorder. Personality disorders are characterized by a set of rigid traits, thoughts, and behaviors that are unhealthy and inflexible. Narcissistic personality disorder or (NPD) is characterized by an overinflated sense of self, preoccupation with personal success, and apathy for other’s emotions.

Signs of narcissistic personality disorder:

  • Grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty.
  • Belief that one is unusually special or unique
  • Need for excessive admiration
  • Strong sense of entitlement
  • Exploitative of others
  • Lacks empathy
  • Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of them
  • Frequent display of arrogant or haughty behavior

Although people with NPD display an arrogant and larger-than-life picture to the outside world, they can also suffer from low self-esteem internally. The constant need for approval and obsession with success can be stressful because in reality, one will never gain approval from everyone and one will never achieve everything they want.  Trouble with interpersonal relationships often results from the exploitative and apathetic behaviors that people with NPD believe will help them achieve their goals.

People with NPD can look like the perfect partner upon first meeting. They are often charismatic and appear to be very put together. However, being in a relationship with a person with NPD can be complicated and stressful. People with NPD lie frequently to get what they want, which can cause a breach of trust in a serious relationship. People with NPD rarely apologize because they lack the empathy to understand the point of view of their partners. Additionally, people with NPD think that they are perfect and will dismiss others who have opinions contrary to theirs. Although people with NPD can be extremely difficult to live with, they can still be a loved one that you care about.

If you or someone you love has narcissistic personality disorder and is struggling with the symptoms, 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/disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mind-games/201905/five-narcissistic-traits-harm-intimate-partner

Source for Picture:

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Childhood Trauma: Effects on Adult Wellbeing

Childhood Trauma: Effects on Adult Wellbeing

Childhood Trauma: Effects on Adult Wellbeing

By: Julia Keys

The child brain grows and makes connections at a rapid rate and is extremely emotionally sensitive. Unfortunately, children that experience some sort of major trauma such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, neglect, war, poverty, or unsafe living conditions can be greatly negatively impacted later on in life.

Children who have parents that are for some reason unwilling or unable to provide the love and care they need oftentimes blame themselves for the lack of parental attention. In response to this lack of care, children may start to act in ways in which they feel would help the parents love them more. As the child grows up, they can become detached from their own needs because they are so focused on the love they receive from others.

Another effect of childhood trauma is victimhood thinking. Although a child may have been helpless when they were raised, self-victimization does not help an adult in the long run because it robs them of the self-empowerment they need to change their lives in the ways they desire.

Children growing up in environments where anger is expressed violently may begin to learn that anger is dangerous and therefore should be avoided. However, suppressing emotional expression is unhealthy and can cause individuals to be passive aggressive, which is an ineffective way to communicate. The most damaging effect of childhood trauma can have on an adult is the development of psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you or someone you love is struggling with the effects of childhood trauma, 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 and 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/. 

Learning How to Face Rejection

rejection

By: Tamar Asayan

Everyone has experienced rejection whether it was not getting the job you wanted, your friends not inviting you somewhere and posting about it online, or even having someone not like you back. Rejection is the loss of something you may have once had or wanted. It is similar to abandonment because it leaves you feeling less than and unwanted. Unfortunately, rejection is something that cannot be avoided and it is a part of life that everyone will have to experience. No matter how small or big the rejection you experience is, it is always going to hurt you and leave an emotional wound. Not only does rejection cause emotional pain, but it also damages someone’s self-esteem and effects one’s mood resulting in frustration and anger. An article, “Why Rejection Hurts So Much-and What to do About it” states, “The same areas of our brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. That’s why even small rejections hurt more than we think they should, because they elicit literal pain” (Winch). If you are feeling the pain of being rejected here are some ways to cope and overcome it in healthier ways.

  1. Acknowledge the pain and grief of loss
  • When you are rejected, you may feel embarrassed and don’t know how to exactly cope with it. You may repress your feelings and ignore the fact that you are in pain.
  • In order to accept rejection, you must accept the pain of what you are going through. Whether it is crying, going to therapy, exercising, or even journaling, it is important to relieve and express the emotions faced when being rejected.
  1. Don’t blame yourself
  • Most of the time you don’t understand why you have been rejected and naturally you place the blame on yourself.
  • The reason you believe you are at fault is because early in life you may have been taught to believe that you are not enough.
  • Do not take responsibility for what is out of your control.
  1. Put yourself out there
  • Rejection is part of the process which leads to success. Do not take it personally, it’s part of life.
  • Putting yourself out there can make you less sensitive to rejection; the more you are rejected the less it hurt us.
  1. Build your resiliency
  • To be resilient is to be able to recover or come back from a stressful or traumatizing event.
  • Resiliency can be learned by doing some of the following:
    • Having an open mind
    • Seeking solutions
    • Learning from an experience
    • Seeking support
    • Knowing your worth and strengths
    • Self-care

If you or someone you know is feeling rejected or dealing with rejection, call now to make an appointment to speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ (201) 368-3700 or Manhattan, NY offices at or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources: https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to-overcome-rejection-like-a-champ/

https://ideas.ted.com/why-rejection-hurts-so-much-and-what-to-do-about-it/

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/imperfect/2019/02/4-strategies-to-cope-with-the-pain-of rejection/

Image: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1327598/Why-rejection-good-you.html

Relationships: Toxic and Unhealthy

Relationships: Toxic and Unhealthy

By Toniann Seals

There are numerous signs of a toxic relationship that can help you identify the problem area. Here we focus on romantic relationships. Hopefully these signs will help anyone reading come to the realization that they may be in an unhealthy relationship and know there is a way out.

1. Your partner never compromises:

They seem to disregard your opinion or not allow your input in decision making as a couple.

2. Your partner is overly competitive:

They always try to go one step ahead of you to become more successful or they do not celebrate your accomplishments out of jealousy.

3. You are uncomfortable being yourself:

They make you feel like you have to act differently in front of them and throw away your old self.

4. Bullying is involved:

They embarrass you in front of your peers, tell you that you are never going to be good enough, or yell and fight anytime they are unhappy with you.

5. Your partner isolates you from family and friends:

They convince you that your family and/or friends are bad for you, feed you lies about them, or do not allow any interaction outside of the relationship.

6. Jealousy

They check your phone, track your location, and question your relationships with other people.

Although ending a toxic or abusive relationship is sometimes hard, it is necessary. Take note of these types of relationships and never settle for something that causes discomfort or unhappiness. Seek help when needed whether it is from friends and family or a professional.

If you or someone you know is suffering in an unhealthy relationship, 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.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20976691,00.html?slide=117654#117654

(Image) https://www.wilsoncc.edu/domestic-violence-awareness-event/love-shouldnt-hurt-thumb-72/

Jealousy- A Universal Emotion

By: Erika Dino

What is the level of jealousy a spouse can reach? Why do humans get jealous?

When it comes to jealousy in a relationship or marriage, everyone has a different opinion on what is right or wrong. Some believe jealousy springs from a lack of trust. Others think that jealousy comes from insecure people. This is not true. Jealousy can simply be a disagreement between two people who have a different perspective towards the issue. On Psychology today, it states how you should wait to see a pattern to comment about an incident, so it doesn’t seem like everything is being picked on. Speaking in a non-aggressive manner can help your feelings be louder. Jealousy can lead to violence or obsession.

Remember to never cheat to punish your partner. Focus on your present, not your past. Jealousy can be within friendships, relationships, siblings, coworkers, almost anyone. Sometimes, jealousy is a feeling of uncertainty and threat. There is often a sense of competition. You need to be compassionate with yourself and understand that you are a terrific person. Be confident and remember that you’re worth it. Control the feeling and try to minimize accusations. Some jealous conflicts end a relationship. The feelings of anger, anxiety and worry drive someone to make decisions they aren’t sure about. Jealousy is a universal emotion.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/shakespeares-love-lessons/201811/when-is-jealousy-unhealthy-three-signs-Shakespeare

If you or someone you know seems to be having severe feelings of jealousy, call the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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/

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