Nightmares: Normal or Disorder?

By: Sanjita Ekhelikar

We all know the horrible sensation of waking up in the middle of the night after a nightmare, a terrifying dream that occurs during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. These dreams are a normal response to stressors in our life, and occur both during childhood and in adulthood. However, when nightmares occur regularly and lead to impairment of one’s cognitive and social functioning, they can develop into Nightmare disorder.

Nightmare disorder is characterized by frequent occurrences of fearful dreams which can interfere with development, functioning, and sleep. People with the disorder are constantly woken up with the detailed recall of dreams that feel like a threat to their survival or security. In addition, such individuals tend to awaken very easily, and have difficulty functioning throughout the day. They are not taking any substances which could lead to the increase in nightmares and, therefore, show signs of the disorder.

Many of the likely causes of Nightmare disorder include mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, which cause people to stress throughout the day which can interfere with their sleep. In addition, any major life trauma can result in this growing distress. Finally, any sleeping disorder, such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, or sleep terror, can cause increased nightmares.

If you are experiencing extreme, recurrent nightmares, do not hesitate to reach out for help and seek treatment. You can speak to a psychologist or take anti-depressant medication to address the issues behind these dreams and to better reduce the unpleasant symptoms. Aside from this, setting a routine during bedtime, making oneself comfortable, exercising during the day, doing meditation before bed, and sleeping until sunrise are ways to better relax and try to prevent nightmares. It is important to take care of yourself and your health, both when you are awake and alert AND when you are asleep.

If you or someone you know is suffering from 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 http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

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Insomnia

By: Dianna Gomez

Insomnia is a condition that makes it very difficult for a person to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Insomnia can be caused by medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, or for psychological reasons such as anxiety, depression or intrusive thoughts. In addition to these possibilities, the type of lifestyle an individual chooses to live can also be responsible for creating symptoms of insomnia. There are a few things that people who experience insomnia tend to do that may be worsening their symptoms without them even knowing. Some examples of these lifestyle habits include:

  1. Taking Mid-Day Naps
  • Whether it is short or long, sleeping in the middle of the day can increase a person’s chances of having difficulty sleeping through the night. If you can, try to avoid taking naps all together.
  1. Sleeping In Late
  • When a person is lacking sleep, it isn’t uncommon for them to attempt to fix the problem by sleeping in later the next morning to make up for their “lost hours.” However, by doing so, you are confusing your body clock which then makes it difficult to fall asleep at a regular time again the following night. This can quickly create a vicious cycle that is even harder to break.
  1. Taking Your Work Home With You
  • Regardless of what your occupation is, almost everybody has hectic daily schedules. When people are feeling behind on their work, they often decide to put in a little “over-time” by bringing their work home with them. By doing this, you make the process of “winding down” at night harder as your mind is kept wide awake and pre-occupied when it shouldn’t be.
  1. Using Electronics
  • Especially in today’s generation, it is extremely common for people to use their phones or laptops while lying in bed right before they intend to fall sleep. The problem with this, however, is that bright screens like those on our electronics actually stimulate the brain more and cause you to stay awake. This then makes it more difficult to fall asleep for the night.
  1. Working Irregular Hours
  • If you have a job that has you on various different “shifts,” sleeping may become a problem for you. If a person doesn’t stay on a regimented time schedule, their body clock cannot decipher when it should be waking up to take on a new day or winding down to get ready for bed.

 

If you have already tried reversing these lifestyle habits and still regularly experience symptoms of insomnia, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy 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. For more information, visit us at https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

 

Insomnia

insomnia.jpgInsomnia

Sonya Cheema

A typical adult gets between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, but it varies from person to person. Those who struggle to get this amount of sleep may suffer from the sleep disorder, insomnia. Some people may experience acute insomnia, which lasts for a few days or weeks. Others may suffer from chronic insomnia, which can last a month or more. If you suspect you or a loved one has insomnia, look for these symptoms:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking up during the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling rested after a night’s sleep
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
  • Irritability, depression, or anxiety
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks, or remembering
  • Increased errors or accidents
  • Ongoing worries about sleep

If you or a loved one experience many of these symptoms, it may be wise to seek professional help. If serious enough, insomnia can drastically affect your everyday life. In the meantime, some tips that may help alleviate your insomnia are:

  • Keeping your bed time and wake time consistent day to day
  • Avoid or limit naps
  • Avoid or limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex
  • Create a relaxing night time ritual, such as taking a bath, reading, listening to music, etc.

If you or a person you know is struggling with insomnia, it may be beneficial to contact a mental health professional and receive therapy. The psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists at Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help. Contact the Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

 

Source used:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167

Postpartum Depression: Psychosocial Risk Factors

Postpartum Depression: Psychosocial Risk Factors

Written by: Jinal Kapadia

Postpartum depression, is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. Mothers with postpartum depression generally experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that can make it difficult for them to complete daily care activities for themselves or for others. (Nimh.nih.gov, 2018)

There are multiple risk factors that make some women more susceptible to postpartum depression than others. A first-time mother is at a higher risk for depression. Fatigue, which can be caused by the actual process of giving birth, the energy spent on caring for the baby, and tending to other responsibilities can also lead to depression. Women who are single mothers with less social support are also more susceptible. A woman’s feelings towards her pregnancy, such as negativity or ambivalence, increases her chances for depression. (Psychology Today, 2018)

Another risk factor is a woman’s past, such as the loss of her mother or a poor mother-daughter relationship. This can cause a woman to feel unsure about her newly developing relationship with her baby. Women who have babies by cesarean birth take longer to recover and are, therefore, more likely to be stressed, have lower self-esteem, and feel more depressed. Women who have premature babies often become depressed because the early birth results in unexpected changes in routine and is an added stressor. Lastly, a baby with a birth defect or other challenges (e.g. infantile colic) can make adjustment even more difficult for parents. (Psychology Today, 2018)

If you or someone you know has postpartum depression or seems to have the symptoms of postpartum depression, and needs help, 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:

Psychology Today. (2018). Postpartum Disorder | Psychology Today. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/postpartum-disorder [Accessed 12 Apr. 2018].

Nimh.nih.gov. (2018). Postpartum Depression Facts. [online] Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/postpartum-depression-facts/index.shtml [Accessed 12 Apr. 2018].

Seasonal Affective Disorder: What is it?

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Written by: Jinal Kapadia

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a peculiar disorder. In fact in is not a disorder at all. It is actually a type of depression displayed in a recurring seasonal pattern. In order to be diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, the patient must meet the full criteria for major depression coinciding with specific seasons (appearing in the winter or summer months) for at least 2 years.

Some general symptoms include feeling depressed most of the day nearly every day, feeling hopeless or worthless, losing interest in activities that were once enjoyed, having difficulty concentrating, and/or having thoughts of death or suicide. There are also specific symptoms that vary based on either the winter or summer seasons. In the winter, a person with Seasonal Affective Disorder may experience low energy, hypersomnia, overeating, weight gain, cravings for carbohydrates, and social withdrawal (feel like “hibernating”). Although, summer seasonal affective disorder is less frequent, the specific symptoms for this season include poor appetite, weight loss, insomnia, agitation, restlessness, anxiety, and episodes of violent behavior. Forms of treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder include medication, Psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy and behavioral activation), and Vitamin D supplementation.

If you or someone you know has Seasonal Affective Disorder or seems to have the symptoms of SAD, and needs help, 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: Seasonal Affective Disorder. (2016, March). Retrieved January 09, 2018, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml

 

 

Breakups: High School Sweetheart not so Sweet

By: Emily Mulhaul

To all of the silent sufferers out there who feel as though they are being dramatic for grieving a loss of a relationship for over a year now, you are not alone and you are not dramatic. Breakups can take an emotional toll on us that sometimes prolong for a year or more. Often times, our past experiences shape our present situation, meaning the termination of one relationship may affect our future relationships. Not only may it shape our present relationships with others, but it shapes relationships with oneself as well. Breakups may deprive us of the self confidence and hope we once had because it seemed to have vanished alongside the memory of the relationship.

Whether your break up is affecting your relationship with others or your relationship with yourself, experienced psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling are here to help. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

 

Insomnia: 5 Tips to Help You Get the Sleep You Need

InsomniaFeeling tired? Can’t fall asleep? Is sleep deprivation starting to affect your daily life? You may be struggling with insomnia.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. For instance, you may find yourself frequently waking up and being unable to fall back asleep. Because sleep is crucial to human functioning, it is important to take the proper steps to get the sleep you need. There are different degrees of insomnia, but here are a few quick and easy reminders that might help.

  • Set a sleep schedule. Go to bed the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Our bodies are made to function on a 24-hour cycle, otherwise known as the circadian rhythm or “body clock.” Sleeping and waking at different times each day will disrupt the body’s rhythm, which can cause physical, mental, and behavioral changes.
  • Set up the right environment. Some people are more sensitive than others when it comes to falling asleep. If light bothers you, minimize the light in your room or utilize an eye mask. If noise bothers you, consider earplugs. Make sure your room is the right temperature. Creating the perfect sleep environment for yourself is the first step to falling asleep and getting a good rest.
  • Watch when you exercise. Exercising is great, but exercising too close to bed time may cause extra stimulation and adrenaline, which can keep you from falling asleep.
  • Watch when and what you eat. Don’t eat a heavy or spicy meal close to bedtime. Consider a light snack instead. Dairy products are also shown to increase the amino acid tryptophan, which can lower the time people need to fall asleep.
  • Get up instead of tossing and turning. If you find that you can’t fall asleep, it is better to get up than to roll around thinking about how you can’t sleep. Get up, read a book, watch TV, or listen to music until you feel tired.

If you still are having trouble sleeping, your insomnia may be caused by something on a deeper level—for example, excessive stress or anxiety. In this case, you should consider seeking professional help. A lack of sleep can significantly impact your daily routine and cause you to function less than optimality.

If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and are suffering from sleep-deprivation or insomnia, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Written by Kassandra C.

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

By: Tiffany Moore

postpartum-depression-bergen-county-nj-therapy

What is postpartum depression? Many mothers will feel anxious, restless, irritated and sad for the first few weeks after giving birth. However, when those symptoms do not go away it becomes postpartum depression, “Postpartum depression will usually occur within four to twelve weeks after giving birth, although it can take up to a year to develop.” This disorder can go untreated because of how fast or slow it can develop. Some women do not even realize that they are depressed still because they assume it is just their hormones.

Recent studies have shown that women, who have had previous disorders, are more likely to develop postpartum depression, “Two-thirds of women with postpartum depression had a comorbid psychiatric disorder. In more than 80% of these cases, the women also had an anxiety disorder.” Some women may develop postpartum depression if they have a disorder before having a child, will increase their likely hood of developing postpartum depression. Women who do have postpartum depression will have all the symptoms of depression, which include fatigue, isolation and even thoughts of suicide. Some have even attempted to commit suicide.

If you feel that you are experiencing any symptoms of depression after having your child, tell your doctor. Also, if you do have any disorder ranging from anxiety to bipolar disorder, tell your doctor. Therapy and the right medication can help with postpartum depression once it has been diagnosed.

Source:

Joannides, P. (2013, March 22). Postpartum Depression Is Common and Often Untreated. Retrieved December 3, 2014, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-it/201303/postpartum-depression-is-common-and-often-untreated

 

Sleep Disorders- Psychotherapy- Bergen County, NJ

By: Michelle Dierna

Get the right amount of sleep!

Sleeping is one of the most vital functions of the human body. Sleeping is in the same category as eating and drinking. Without these essentials humans would not be able to keep their physical and mental health well and stable.  Sleep difficulties cause instability and hardships throughout many stages of life. Sleeping issues can arise from stress & anxiety, depression, drugs & alcohol abuse or simply bad sleeping habits. you can notice signs of sleeping disorders by noticing patterns of your behavior.

 For example:

  • sleeping during the day excessively.
  • high anxiety levels.
  • wakefulness.
  • hyperactivity as a reaction to certain medications.
  • inability to fall asleep.

 All of these issues fall into the category of someone suffering from sleeping issues that could potentially be a sleeping disorder. A person who does not go through their full REM sleep; also known as rapid eye movement is not getting the proper sleep necessary.  REM includes four stages to get to a full deep and healthy sleep. Typically when people wake from REM sleep they recall having strange dreams. Sleeping discrepancies should be monitored and confronted depending on the frequency and severity.

*Why? Because there could be more serious underlying problems, some resulting in more serious  disorders that can be long term if not treated properly such as:

  • Insomnia: is a very common sleeping disorder. The symptoms of Insomnia are similar to ones mentioned and include: waking up frequently during the night, having extreme difficulty getting into a deep sleep or any sleep at all, and not experiencing all the stages of REM sleep in a night.  This can occur several nights during the week, or every night for some who suffer from insomnia.
  • Other common serious sleeping disorders includes: sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy. If these disorders are not diagnosed and treated properly, they can cause very negative results in an individual’s health.

Talking to a doctor or therapist about symptoms as soon as possible is important, to prevent a possible path of destruction. Not getting enough sleep can affect your memory, Processing abilities, weight, and worsen depression & anxiety if present. Overall, it disables the individual’s body and mind and ability to function normally. external issues such as performance at work, home or school can be affected by sleep deprivation as well.

  • Sleeping disorders due to a mental health condition, medical condition or substance induced condition, all need specific treatment methods, all are disturbing the brain in different ways resulting in these sleeping disturbances. It can be difficult to exactly pinpoint what is causing the sleeplessness. Thus, recognizing the symptoms and your behavior can make the recovery process faster and help you get to the core of what is causing the problems in your sleep, which will help with a resolution.

* If you are not suffering from severe symptoms, relaxation & other therapeutic methods can be beneficial before falling asleep.

If you or a loved one happens to be experiencing sleeping issues that may be a sleeping disorder, it is important to recognize this and reach out to a professional and have it monitored depending of the severity. If you are in the Bergen County, New Jersey Or Manhattan area, Feel free to contact our offices of Psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists for an evaluation.

Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920

More detailed information can be found at http://www.acenterfortherapy.com

 

Sources:

1.”Find the Right Therapist.” Types of Therapy. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2014.

  1. “Low-energy Diet Can Improve Sleep Disorder | TopNews.” Low-energy Diet Can Improve Sleep Disorder | TopNews. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2014.