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

Image Source: https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&id=9714F039483EC40A08B372F59E3C5D5C556378C8&thid=OIP.ex7QOQol-OoPT6G8NSkiUgFZC1&mediaurl=https%3A%2F%2Fnamibv.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2Fsites%2F21%2F2018%2F03%2Fmay-mental-health.png&exph=630&expw=1200&q=mental+health+awareness+month&selectedindex=3&ajaxhist=0&vt=0&eim=1,2,6

 

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Choosing the Therapist Who Is Right For You

By: Julia Keys

It can be quite discouraging when you finally have a meeting with a mental health professional and you two just don’t “click”. Because therapy is a highly personal method of treatment, it is important to find a therapist that you feel understands you. Just like every patient is different, every therapist is different too.  When researching therapists, try to determine the way you like to approach your problems.

If you believe that there are unconscious processes that can help explain your emotions or behavior, then a psycho-dynamic therapist might be right for you. If you want to change the way you think in order to change certain behaviors of yours then you might want to give a cognitive behavioral therapist a try. If you are the type that is focused on the future then solution based therapy might be the right kind of treatment for you. If you want to work on your relationship with a significant other or your family, then maybe you could approach a family oriented systems therapist. If you feel as if none of these types of therapists seem right, then call potential therapists up and ask them to describe their approach until you find one that resonates with you.

Once you find a therapist that feels like a good fit, pay attention to how your sessions go. Do you feel like your therapist is a good listener? Do you feel safe in the presence of your therapist? Do you find your therapist nonjudgmental? Of course there are infinite factors that determine whether or not you and your therapist “click” or not, however the most important thing is to always check in with yourself and notice if the fit feels right. At Arista Counseling, we have a multitude of different therapists that can help you.

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200712/how-do-i-choose-the-right-doctor

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freudian-sip/201102/how-find-the-best-therapist-you

Image Source:

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Dementia: 5 Facts You Need to Know

By Stephanie Osuba

Everyone fears that they, or their family members, will fall victim to a degenerative neurological disease when they age. Dementia is considered a syndrome, a series of symptoms that often appear together, and is caused by damage to the brain cells. Symptoms include memory loss, cognitive impairment, and diminishing language. Here are five facts that you need to know about dementia.

  1. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia; they aren’t interchangeable: As stated above, dementia is a syndrome and more of an umbrella term for other types of dementia, like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and vascular dementia. Different types of dementia correlate with different types of brain damage. Alzheimer’s is mainly a result of abnormally high protein levels in and around brain cells that inhibit communication between them. This eventually leads to the death of the nerve cells and loss of brain tissue. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.
  2. Dementia is not just a “memory loss” disease: Dementia also affects a wide range of cognition processes including: learning, language, executive and motor function, attention, and social cognition. For example, two thirds of diagnoses of Alzheimer’s are given to women primarily because they exhibit the symptom of memory loss more than men.
  3. Cognitive decline doesn’t always lead to dementia: Memory and other cognitive issues can be a result of other things such as: delirium, mild cognitive impairment, or normal changes due to age. According to a study done by the Mayo Clinic, even mild cognitive impairment only lead to dementia in 29% of cases within the next five years.
  4. Not all types of dementias are progressive: Underlying causes such as vitamin B12 deficiency, underactive thyroid syndrome, and normal pressure hydrocephalus can be reversed with treatment. Even medications like antidepressants, narcotics, and antihistamines can have dementia-like side effects.
  5. Lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of dementia: Exercise has proven to be a great defense to cognitive decline through increased heart rate and blood flow to the brain. Maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in social activities is also a huge help.

 

Source: Ph.D., M. C. (2017, December 7). 5 Facts You Need to Know About Dementia. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-fifth-vital-sign/201712/5-facts-you-need-know-about-dementia 

If you or someone you know needs help coping with the dementia of a family member, 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/.

Self-esteem

By: Charleene Polanco

Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you felt that, “you weren’t good enough?” If you have, self-esteem is at the core of this feeling, because it involves perceptions one has of oneself. These perceptions eventually become beliefs about self-worth and value. That is why self-esteem is so important in a person’s life, because how people think of themselves, is what drives them towards or away from certain actions. High self-esteem is often associated with multiple accomplishments in life. This is because people with high self-esteem, believe that they are worthy of the opportunities they get, and, therefore, make the most out of them. One the other hand, those with low self-esteem, constantly believe that they are not good enough. When an opportunity presents itself to them, people with low self-esteem feel like they do not deserve it, and do not perform their best. This is why low self-esteem is associated with depression and anxiety. If you are suffering from low self-esteem, here are a couple of tips available to raise self-esteem:

  • Identify triggers of low self-esteem: if you are able to recognize the places or people that lower your self-esteem, you are able to avoid or prepare for them. This way, learning experiences come from each event.
  • Avoid negative self-talk: if you do not think negatively about yourself, you are able to feel better and attempt things you would normally avoid.
  • Connect with loved ones: family members and friends can be great emotional support because people who care about you, will also make you feel loved and wanted. Nurture these feelings so that eventually you are able to see yourself as they do, and will slowly learn how to love yourself a little more each day.

If you or someone you know is suffering from low self-esteem, 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:

Gross, S. J. (2016, July 17). How To Raise Your Self-Esteem. Retrieved October 8, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-to-raise-your-self-esteem/

Mind for Better Mental Health. (2013). How to increase your Self-esteem. Retrieved October 8, 2018, from https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/self-esteem/#.W9cKgY2WyM8

 

Anxiety: Test Anxiety

By: Charleene Polanco

Have you ever had a moment of extreme panic, right before the beginning of a test? How about feeling like you are about to faint, or excessive sweat during an exam? If these symptoms describe your test-taking experience, then you might be suffering from test anxiety.

Test anxiety is defined as a psychological condition where people experience severe distress and anxiety during exams. Some causes of test anxiety are fear of failure and lack of preparation. A fear of failure can result from wanting to perform well. One who associates their self-worth with a test’s outcome, can feel devastated when the grade is not what he or she expected. This creates a vicious cycle, where because the person is afraid of feeling worthless, when they fail, they become anxious while taking the exam.  As a result, their performance level on tests drops. Lack of preparation is another cause of test anxiety, which occurs when students do not study properly for an exam. For those who like to wait until the night before an exam, to cram five chapters worth of information into their brain, tests are a constant source of anxiety and stress.

Symptoms of test anxiety can be split up into three categories; physical, emotional, and behavioral/cognitive symptoms. Some physical symptoms include headaches, nausea, excessive sweating, and rapid heartbeat. Emotional symptoms can be expressed as feelings of anger, fear, helplessness, and disappointment.  Behavioral/cognitive symptoms are difficulty concentrating and negative thinking.

To help manage test anxiety, here are some tips;

  • Properly prepare for exams
  • Develop good test-taking skills
  • Engage in relaxation techniques, like taking deep slow breaths
  • Keep a positive mindset

If you or someone you know is suffering from test anxiety, 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:

“Test Anxiety.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, Anxiety and Depression Association of America , 2018, adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/children/test-anxiety

Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity

By: Leah Flanzman

The human brain has the power to grow, mold, and adapt to the course of your life in order to best cater to your overall happiness and well-being. This concept is known as neuroplasticity, and occurs when the brain alters its physical structure and changes its circuits so we can better imagine, remember, feel, experience pain, dream, and learn.  Neuroplasticity is similar to the popular expression “it’s like riding a bike.”  Once you acquire a skill, your neurons kick into gear and remember their specific pathways so that each time this skill is performed, they are pre-programmed on what to do.  These pathways strengthen over time as new synapses form maximizing these skills.

Neuroplasticity can be a valuable tool for rewiring how your mind thinks and reacts to certain situations. It can foster increased happiness by retraining your brain to strengthen pathways that promote happiness as an alternative to worry or stress in light of certain situations.  The activities that you choose to do can alter the structure of your brain.  For example, if you are stuck in a funk, doing something positively stimulating for the brain will train it to associate the negative feelings with happier ones.  Your moldable brain will remember the pathways it took to achieve happiness and the next time you experience sadness, it will automatically kick into positivity gear.   Additionally, you can trick your brain into happiness pathways by imagining yourself in your desired mood.  Your brain lacks the capability to distinguish between imagination and reality so if you visualize a desired image of happiness long enough, your brain will believe it to be true and trigger the emotion.

When your brain fills up with neural connections that are relevant to your life, the ones that are unnecessary will begin to deteriorate. Your clever mind can form creative ways to suppress depressive thoughts and shine light on positive thoughts so your unproductive nature fades into the background.  Options that can help you in your quest to mold your brain towards greater happiness include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Mindfulness based cognitive therapy
  • Visualization
  • Relaxation
  • Hypnosis
  • Nurturance
  • Stimulation

If you or someone you know thinks they could benefit from therapy that aids in restructuring their brain to think positively, 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/.

 

Gambling Addiction

By: Heather Kaplan

Gambling is defined as playing games for a chance to either win or lose money. One who is a compulsive gambler is someone who is unable to resist their impulses to gamble. This leads to severe disturbances in their personal and social lives. The urge to gamble becomes so great that this tension can only be relieved by more gambling. One who exhibit such behavior can be classified to have a gambling addiction. Unfortunately, many gambling addicts are not aware that they have a problem. They only begin to realize the severity of the issue when they hit ‘rock bottom’.

There are various symptoms that indicate that someone is a compulsive gambler. One who has a gambling addiction usually progresses form occasional to habitual gambling. He begins to risk more and more money, which can lead to both financial and personal instability. Someone is said to have a gambling addiction if four (or more) of the following have been demonstrated in the last twelve months:

1. Needing to gamble progressively larger amounts of money to feel the same (or more) excitement

2. Having made many unsuccessful attempts to cut back or quit gambling

3. Feeling restless or irritable when trying to cut back or quit gambling

4. Preoccupation or excessive thoughts (planning next gambling venture, thinking of ways to get more money to gamble with)

5. If the person is using gambling to escape problems of distress, sadness or anxiety

6. Gambling larger amounts to try to recoup previous losses

7. Lying about the amount of time and money spent gambling

8. Relying on others to borrow money due to significant gambling losses

Gambling addiction is a significant problem in the United States, impacting 1-3% of adults, men more often than women. Various complications can arise from having a gambling addiction. Those with such gambling behavior often have problems with alcohol and other substances. These people also tend to have financial, social, and legal problems. Those with gambling addictions are also at higher risk for considering or attempting suicide.

If you or a loved one is exhibiting any of the eight behaviors listed above, you may be at risk for developing a gambling addiction. The licensed psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy 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. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

 

Skin-Picking/Excoriation Disorder: An Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD: Skin-Picking/Excoriation

Written by: Jinal Kapadia

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over. There are many different types of OCD disorders, but one disorder in particular deals with skin picking; it is called Excoriation.

Excoriation disorder affects around 1.4% of the general population, and its symptoms appear most commonly during adolescence, around the onset of puberty. This disorder, sometimes referred to as chronic skin-picking or dermatillomania, is characterized by repeated picking at one’s own skin resulting in skin lesions and sometimes significant disruption in one’s life.

In order to be diagnosed with Excoriation disorder, a person must exhibit the behavior of picking one’s skin that results in skin lesions and repeated attempt to stop this behavior. These symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment, can not be caused by a medical or dermatological condition or substance, and can not be better explained by another psychiatric disorder.

The treatment for Excoriation disorder is similar to the treatment for general Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in the sense that both suggest the use of medication, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to reduce the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors of the person suffering from the disorder.

If you or someone you know has Excoriation disorder or seems to have the symptoms of Excoriation disorder, 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:

Mentalhealthamerica.com. (2018). Excoriation Disorder (Skin Picking or Dermatillomania). [online] Available at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/excoriation-disorder-skin-picking-or-dermatillomania [Accessed 10 Jan. 2018].

Mghocd.org. (2015). Excoriation. [online] Available at: https://mghocd.org/clinical-services/excoriation/ [Accessed 10 Jan. 2018].

Nimh.nih.gov. (2016). NIMH » Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. [online] Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml [Accessed 10 Jan. 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

 

 

Depression or Sadness?

Depression or Sadness?

By: Kristine Dugay

Have you ever woken up one morning and wish you hadn’t? Not because it’s Monday or because you didn’t want to get ready for work or school, but simply because you wish you’d never wake up. Everyone has their bad days and sad moods, but when sadness constantly appears for no apparent reason it could be depression. Depression versus ordinary unhappiness is distinguished by longer and deeper feelings of despondency. With depression, all aspects of your life seem less enjoyable, important, loveable, and interesting. Depression mentally and physically drains your energy and you begin to have the inability to experience happiness, excitement, love, connection, and purpose.

Sadness is often related to circumstance, whereas depression is related to a mental illness. Being seriously bummed out over a breakup or getting a bad grade on an assignment can be terrible, but you’re still able to enjoy your favorite foods and T.V. shows. On the other hand, depression takes away the things that used to be significant and exciting for you and turns them into something that you lack interest in. If you constantly experience the following, there is a great chance you are depressed:

  • Feelings of worthlessness and self-blame
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Fatigue/decreased energy
  • Restlessness

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has or may have depression, suicidal thoughts, or interpersonal problems, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or 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: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201510/the-important-difference-between-sadness-and-depression