Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

By: Julia Keys

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has been normalized and trivialized in society as a need for everything to be meticulously clean and organized when in reality it is a serious psychological disorder that can cause significant distress for those who have it. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by a pattern of uncontrollable reoccurring thoughts, known as obsessions, which can only be remedied by certain behaviors, known as compulsions. People with OCD are commonly depicted as being ultra-neat or afraid of germs, which is true for some people, but the way OCD expresses itself is unique to the individual.

There are several common themes that psychologists have determined when treating patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. One common theme is contamination. This may take on the literal meaning in which an object or place can be perceived as dirty, but it can also mean that contact with a person, place, or object will cause great harm. Checking is another typical behavior. One may check if something is safe or turned off over and over again. Checking can also express itself in the need for constant verbal reassurance, so a person with OCD may ask the same question over and over. People with OCD may be worried that they will suddenly lose control and hurt themselves or someone else. In efforts to qualm these obsessions, one may avoid certain places or people or have plans set in place that could prevent them from acting out these thoughts.

Common obsessions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
  • Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order

Common compulsions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
  • Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
  • Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting

When reading these lists one might think that these behaviors are relatively typical, however people with OCD spend an excessive amount of time and effort thinking about obsessive thoughts and preforming rituals to control them. A person with OCD may feel brief relief after preforming a compulsion, but they do not feel pleasure from such acts. Obsessions and compulsions are very difficult to control and may result in significant problems in one’s daily life or relationships.

If you or someone you know is struggling OCD, 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.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-ocd/201107/the-many-flavors-ocd

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Antidepressants: What Happens When You Stop Taking Your Medication

Antidepressants: What Happens When You Stop Taking Your Medication

Antidepressants: What Happens When You Stop Taking Your Medication

By: Julia Keys

Anti-depressant discontinuation syndrome occurs when a person suddenly stops taking their anti-depressants. Sometimes individuals decide to go off of their medication because of side effects such as weight gain, nausea, or sexual dysfunction. Another common reason why individuals stop their medication “cold turkey” is because they may feel as if the medication has changed their personality. Anti-depressants are not meant to change one’s personality, but sometimes they can cause fogginess or fatigue which can make the patient feel “not like themselves” or “out of it”. However, abruptly going off medication can cause symptoms that are more painful and severe than the side effects one might feel on an anti-depressant that is not right for them.

The effects of anti-depressant discontinuation can be felt as early as a couple hours to as late as a couple days after missing a dose depending on the type of anti-depressant. Symptoms are typically ameliorated within six to twenty four hours after taking the missed dose.

Symptoms of Anti-depressant discontinuation syndrome:

  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Problems with balance
  • “brain zaps” or “brain shocks”, the sensation of a jolt of electricity running through the head, neck or limbs
  • Anxiety

Unlike illegal drugs, phasing out of anti-depressants can be a painless process if done correctly. In order to go off of anti-depressants successfully, one must slowly wean themselves off the medication with the help of a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Tips to prevent or minimize anti-depressant discontinuation syndrome:

  • NEVER stop taking medication without talking to your doctor
  • Follow your doctor’s directions exactly when going off your meds. If you start to feel any of the symptoms of anti-depressant discontinuation syndrome contact your doctor as soon as possible
  • Set a reminder on your phone or computer to take your medication each day
  • Always keep your medication in the same place
  • Make sure to keep on top of your doctor’s appointments by putting them in a calendar so that you will never run out of medication by accident

If you are struggling with mental health issues and are in need of treatment, 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.aafp.org/afp/2006/0801/p449.html

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2006/0801/p449.html

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Suicide Prevention: What Can You Do to Help?

Suicide Prevention: What Can You Do to Help?

By Lauren Hernandez

                If someone you care about has recently expressed suicidal thoughts or has told you they have attempted suicide, it is important to offer support to that person and to seek professional help. Suicide attempts are often triggered when a person cannot handle the certain stressors and do not have stable coping mechanisms to overcome these obstacles. People considering suicide typically struggle with other mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as a variety of other conditions. If someone has shared their suicidal thoughts with you, provide them with close comfort by staying with them. Even if you are unsure of what to say, it is important for that person to know that they are not alone.

It is important to make a plan, that encourages at risk individuals to see a provider such as a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner who can offer professional help. If they are overwhelmed by their workload, perhaps try to ease their worries by offering to help them complete specific burdening tasks. It is important to offer them a way in which they can surround themselves with supportive people, perhaps invite them to a relaxing and judgement free space with a few friends. Additionally, help them to find ways in which they can practice self-care, healthy eating, exercise, and sleep, as well as listening to music and other activities that help to boost mood.

It is important to recognize that although you are trying to help a loved one to the best of your ability, the person struggling with suicidal thoughts needs professional care and therapy. There is only so much you can do to help and that is why reaching out to safety networks is essential. Other resources you should find in your area include mental health providers such as a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner who can work with the patient to create a plan and prescribe medication. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 to request immediate assistance and hospitalization to prevent self-harm or a possible suicide from happening. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24/7 confidential Lifeline which is available at any time for anyone in the United States to get support if you or a loved one is in crisis. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number is 1-800-273-8255. To find more information on how to help yourself or someone in crisis can be found on these websites:

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/

https://afsp.org/find-support/my-loved-one-made-attempt/loved-one-made-attempt/.

If you or a loved one is suffering from suicidal thoughts please contact 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://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/

https://afsp.org/find-support/my-loved-one-made-attempt/loved-one-made-attempt/.

Image Source:

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Seasonal Depression

Seasonal Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder

By: Julia Keys

Seasonal Depression, clinically known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, affects about five percent of American adults annually. SAD is a type of depression where the weather and seasonal changes causes one to feel depressed. SAD symptoms most commonly flare up around the late fall to the early spring months. During this time of the year, the sun is out shorter and its rays are less intense. Psychologists hypothesize that the lack of sunlight contributes to SAD by affecting healthy hormonal balances. Although most cases of SAD occur during the late fall to early spring seasons, some people do have seasonal depression during the warmer spring and summer months. Studies show that alcohol consumption and depression go hand-in-hand, which can be particularly harmful when suffering from SAD.

Symptoms of SAD:

  • Feeling of sadness or depressed mood
  • Lack of motivation
  • Marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite; usually eating more, craving carbohydrates
  • Change in sleep; usually sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue despite increased sleep hours
  • Increase in restless activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide

Fortunately, there are many different treatments to help those with SAD reduce their symptoms. Psychotherapy and medication are helpful for those suffering from SAD. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT helps patients change unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors that may contribute to their symptoms. Psychiatrists most often prescribe antidepressants such as Lexapro or Prozac to help those with SAD. A new type of therapy, light therapy, has proven to help those with SAD by exposing them to artificial light which takes the place of the light they are missing on short fall or winter days. One usually sits in front of the light box for about twenty minutes each morning. Patients usually start feeling better after two to three weeks of light therapy. In addition to the services professionals can provide to help, there are lifestyle choices that one can make to lessen the effects of SAD such as avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting regular exercise, getting a healthy amount of sleep and eating a healthy diet.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, please contact Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to a 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.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/199809/here-comes-the-sun

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Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness

By Lauren Hernandez

               It is important to recognize how mental illness affects many people’s lives. Mental health awareness promotes the understanding and respect towards those who suffer from mental illnesses. It is important that we make attempts to normalize and destigmatize those struggling with mental illness. If you know of someone struggling with mental health issues, there are a multitude of resources that can help.

Available resources:

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): www.nami.org

NAMI StigmaBusters is “a network of dedicated advocates across the country and around the world who seek to fight inaccurate and hurtful representations of mental illness”. NAMI StigmaBusters

Suicide.org – Suicide prevention, awareness, and support: www.suicide.org

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): www.nimh.nih.gov

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): www.samhsa.gov

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD): www.chadd.org

Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation: www.bpkids.org

The Trevor Project (LGBT mental health/suicide prevention): www.trevorproject.org

Anxiety Disorders Association of America: www.adaa.org

National Eating Disorders Association: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

Alcoholics Anonymous: www.aa.org

Narcotics Anonymous: www.na.org

Gamblers Anonymous: www.gamblersanonymous.org

Alzheimer’s Association: www.alz.org

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: www.dbsalliance.org

National Autism Association: www.nationalautismassociation.org

Veterans Crisis Line (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs): 1-800-273-8255 (press 1)

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Mental Health: www.mentalhealth.va.gov

Mental Health America: www.mentalhealthamerica.net

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

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201105/mental-health-awareness-month-resources

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/when-your-adult-child-breaks-your-heart/201705/mental-health-awareness-month

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Suicide: Fighting Suicidal Thoughts

By: Sally Santos

If you are someone who is suffering with suicidal thoughts, you should be aware that most people that have attempted to commit suicide but did not succeed feel relieved that they did not succeed in ending their life. When things get tough sometimes your mind starts racing and you feel overwhelmed with emotions. Suicide doesn’t just happen on its own, it is led by many social risk factors some of them being:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Employment status
  • Lack of social support

Many people who have attempted to commit suicide will say that they were experiencing very intense feelings of hopelessness. They felt like they had lost control of their lives and that nothing is going to get better. But that is not true. In that moment it may feel hopeless but there are ways to help you feel better. You do not have to feel like you have to fight your battles alone. In order to steer away from those thoughts it is important to keep in mind a plan just in case your thoughts become too overwhelming. It is recommended to make a list of all the positive things that you have in your life such as:

  • Read a favorite book or listen to your favorite music
  • Write down positive things about yourself or the favorite aspects of your life
  • Try to get a goodnights sleep
  • Have a list of people you trust to call in case you want to talk

Always note that you can discuss how you have been feeling with a healthcare provider. They can provide you with the advice and help that you need in order to achieve a faster and healthy recovery. Lastly, as mentioned in an article in Psychology Today it’s important to “remember that you have not always felt this way and that you will not always feel this way”. The emotions and thoughts that you have now are temporary not permanent.

Article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201204/fighting-suicidal-thoughts

Image: https://www.teepublic.com/sticker/1813639-suicide-prevention-awareness-butterfly-ribbon

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, 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/.