Self-Diagnosing: Why it’s bad to do it

Self-Diagnosing: Why it’s bad to do it

By Erika Ortiz

You feel an itchy throat, sneezing, coughing here and there, body feels a bit sore. You wonder what it can be so you look it up. Dr. Google says you’re dying and Dr. TikTok says you’re terminal! Now you’re stressing out thinking your cold turned out to be something fatal. We are all guilty of self-diagnosing. However, as innocent as it may seem, it can lead to a lot of serious issues down the road. Essentially, self-diagnosing is the process of giving yourself a medical condition based on what you know or searched, without any real credentials.

               Recently, on the social media app called “TikTok”, many creators post videos claiming, “Signs that you have depression”, or, “You have OCD if you do these things”. Although this is a great way to normalize mental health and eliminate the negative stigma around it, people are naturally easily influenced beings that want to relate to others whether it is negative or positive. However, self-diagnosing based on what you see on the web is usually not the best course of action to take when searching for real help. One issue with self-diagnosing is that it is over-simplified. Diagnosing someone is an extremely complicated process that needs to be met with certain criteria and even the specifics of the diagnosis varies immensely based on specific symptoms. It really isn’t “cut and dry”, it is a much layered process. In addition, this can lead to getting improper and ineffective medical attention or a treatment plan you may not need which can delay any potential, real help you  actually need. The information you may see online can be well-intentioned, however, it can still be misinformation which can be misread and misunderstood.

               Self-diagnosing creates a feeling of validation and security for people who may feel uncertain or confused as to why they are feeling a certain way. It is perfectly fine to do your own research, in fact it is encouraged. Being self-aware is important; however, it is also important to understand the differences between the traits you may exhibit and actual symptoms you read or see online that can pertain to a certain disorder. Before you self-diagnose based on information on Google, ask questions such as, “Is this person a professional?”, “Is the creator posting this to get paid or is it well-intention?”, or, “Does this actually apply to me specifically or generally?”  In conclusion, it’s better to try and avoid the self-diagnosis and to seek qualified professional help.

If you or someone you know wants diagnosis on mental health 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:

https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/young-people-are-using-tiktok-to-diagnose-themselves-with-serious-mental-health-disorders/

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/07/self-diagnosis-on-internet-not-good-practice/

https://ct.counseling.org/2022/03/self-diagnosis-in-a-digital-world/#

Avoidant Attachment Style: In Relationships

Avoidant Attachment Style: In Relationships

By: Brianna Richardson

Avoidant Attachment Style

Bowlby conceptualized four attachment styles that result from a child’s relationship with their primary caregiver. One of these three attachment styles is known as avoidant (also known as dismissive) attachment style. A child develops avoidant (dismissive) attachment style, when their primary caregiver is emotionally unavailable, or unresponsive to their child’s emotional needs.

Avoidant attachment style develops in children when his/her primary caregiver neglects or discourages their child’s outward expression of emotions.

This can look like:                                                                           

  • Minimizing the child’s feelings.
  • Mocking the child while he or she is crying.
  • Ignoring the child’s expressions of emotion.
  • Displaying annoyance towards the child’s expressions of emotion.
  • Rarely or never displaying affection.

How Avoidant Attachment Effects Relationships

As a result of a parent’s disregard for their child’s emotions, their child may portray avoidant attachment style by…

  • Detaching from their emotions and feelings.
  • Refusing to rely on anyone for emotional or physical support.
  • Distrusting others.

This can cause difficulty in forming new or in preexisting relationships during adulthood. Here are some examples…

  • Avoiding emotional closeness within their relationships.
  • Refusing emotional or physical help from partners.
  • Withdrawing during times of distress or during difficult conversations.
  • Never opening up about personal hardships or emotions.

If you or someone you know wants couples counseling 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:

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/what-is-avoidant-attachmentources

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/avoidant-attachment#what-is-it

OCD & Hoarding: How They’re Related

OCD & Hoarding: How They’re Related

By: Brianna Richardson

What is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a psychological disorder in which an individual experiences obsessions and compulsions.

            Obsessions are characterized as ongoing intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that cause psychological distress.

            Compulsions are characterized by repetitive (physical or mental) behaviors that are performed in an attempt to alleviate the distress or anxiety which is associated with obsession.

How Does This Relate to Hoarding?

The link made between OCD and Hoarding is known as Compulsive Hoarding (or Hoarding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Hoarding OCD). People with Hoarding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder experience frequent intrusive thoughts or urges about acquiring material items and/or anxiety about discarding material items.

What Does Compulsive Hoarding Look Like?

Compulsive Hoarding can present itself in many ways. Here’s one example.

                        ‘My house is cluttered; I don’t have much room to walk. Maybe I should get rid of somethings? I’ll start with this pile of hair brushes… I can’t get rid of all these hairbrushes… What if two of them break, and then I misplace another? What if someone needs to borrow one? I have to keep them. I don’t want to regret throwing them away.’

                        This person is experiencing intrusive thoughts, urges, anxiety and compulsions.

Other Signs May Include

  • Difficulty discarding items
  • Extreme clutter (at workspace, car, house, etc.)
    • Losing important items in clutter
    • Feeling overwhelmed by clutter
  • Compulsive need to take anything given for free
  • Never having guests over
  • Never having people over to work on repairs
  • A belief that items of no use are valuable

If you or someone you know is experiencing Compulsive Hoarding or 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Sources:

https://www.treatmyocd.com/blog/what-is-hoarding-ocd

https://www.pchtreatment.com/hoarding-and-obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/

Bipolar Disorder: What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder: What is Bipolar Disorder?

By Lynette Rivas

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric health disorder that causes changes to an individual’s mood, energy, and their ability to function. Bipolar disorder is accompanied by mood episodes that can last distinct periods of times, such as days or weeks. This disorder is common among families where 80% to 90% of individuals with bipolar disorder have a relative with the same diagnosis.

Mood episodes are categorized as manic, hypomanic, or depressive. A manic or hypomanic episode is when the individual is abnormally happy or in an irritable mood for an extended period of time, that is at least one week. These episodes can also include a decreased need for sleep, faster speech, uncontrollable racing thoughts, distractibility, and/or increased risky behavior. To be considered an episode, these behaviors must represent a change from the individual’s usual behavior and the symptoms must be severe enough to cause dysfunction at work or in social activities.

A hypomanic episode is less severe than a manic episode. The symptoms need to only last for at least four days and they do not cause dysfunction in daily life. A depressive episode must be at least two weeks long and include an intense feeling of sadness, loss of interest in activities, feelings of worthlessness, increased or decreased sleep, restlessness, and/or difficulty concentrating. These symptoms must also be a change from the individual’s usual behavior.

There are three types of bipolar disorders which include: bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder. 

Bipolar I

Bipolar I disorder is when the individual has had at least one manic episode that may be followed by a hypomanic or a major depressive episode.

Bipolar II

Bipolar II disorder is when the individual has had at least one major depressive episode and one hypomanic episode, but has never experienced a manic episode.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder is when the individual has had at least two years, in adolescence, where there have been many periods of hypomania and depressive symptoms.

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition that is treatable with medications and psychotherapy, so it is important to seek treatment from a mental health professional if you experience any of these symptoms.

If you or someone you know is experiencing manic, hypomanic, and/or depressive episodes 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:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955

https://psychiatry.org/patients-families/bipolar-disorders/what-are-bipolar-disorders

https://www.istockphoto.com/illustrations/bipolar-disorder

ADHD: Gender Disparities in ADHD Diagnoses

ADHD: Gender Disparities in ADHD Diagnoses

By Jackie Molan

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsive behaviors, difficulty paying attention, and high distractibility. ADHD is one of the most common disorders of childhood, but boys are much more readily diagnosed than girls. It is believed that the prevalence of ADHD across genders is approximately equal, even though formal diagnoses strongly favor boys. Females are often underdiagnosed with ADHD and misdiagnosed with other disorders, such as bipolar, depression, and anxiety. The symptom profile for ADHD is the same across genders, but the behavioral presentation of symptoms tends to differ greatly.

Females are more likely to exhibit more internalized behavioral symptoms, such as:

  • Daydreaming
  • Losing focus
  • Forgetfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Impatience
  • Low self-esteem
  • People-pleasing
  • Deep emotional reactions/overwhelm

Males, on the other hand, often display more external behaviors, such as:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Interrupting people during conversations
  • Losing items often
  • Anger outbursts

The external manifestation of ADHD symptoms makes the disorder more likely to be noticed in young boys by parents, teachers, and peers. Since young girls usually do not show such external symptoms, they tend to not receive a formal ADHD diagnosis until much later in life (if at all).

Regardless of gender, if you think you are experiencing any combination of ADHD symptoms, it is important to seek help from a mental health provider. A formal diagnosis from a professional can allow you to effectively manage your symptoms and improve daily functioning.

If you or someone you know is struggling with ADHD, 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/basics/adhd

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rethinking-adult-adhd/202203/why-adhd-in-women-is-so-often-overlooked

https://psychcentral.com/adhd/adhd-and-gender#recap

https://www.verywellhealth.com/add-vs-adhd-5193759

Parasomnia: Nightmares in Adults

Parasomnia: Nightmares in Adults

By Lynette Rivas

Nightmares are supposed to diminish as you grow up, right? While this is true for most of the population, it is not the case for some individuals. Research shows that between 2% and 8% of the adult population experiences frequent and distressing nightmares, otherwise known as parasomnia.

Nightmares are realistic and vividly disturbing dreams that awaken you from sleep. They most often occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is when most dreaming takes place, and occur closer to morning hours. Nightmares may include:

  • Vivid and upsetting dreams
  • Dreams involving threats to safety
  • Being awoken from the dream
  • Feeling anxious, scared, or sad as a result from the dream
  • Not being able to fall back to sleep due to the dream

For adults, nightmares are often spontaneous, but for some, there may be an underlying issue that can be used to explain these dreams. Nightmares can be triggered by stress, trauma, sleep deprivation, substance abuse, medications, or by simply watching a scary movie. Although nightmares occur occasionally compared to normal dreams, they are considered a disorder if they:

  • Occur frequently
  • Cause major distress throughout the day, such as anxiety or fear
  • Cause problems with concentration or memory
  • Cause daytime sleepiness

If these symptoms are occurring, then it is time to consult a doctor about possible treatments. The doctor will determine if the solution is through treatments and medication, or will give a referral to a psychologist or psychotherapist. Debilitating and frequent nightmares, or parasomnia, is a serious condition that can alter an individual’s life, so it is important to seek help if they occur.

If you or someone you know is experiencing debilitating/frequent 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nightmare-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353515

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/nightmares-in-adults#:~:text=Nightmares%20in%20adults%20can%20be,to%20have%20the%20condition%20themselves.

https://iconscout.com/illustration/nocturnal-panic-attack-5222908

Family Therapy: Reasons to Seek Treatment & What to Expect

Family Therapy: Reasons to Seek Treatment & What to Expect

By Jackie Molan

Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy aimed at improving communication and relationships within a family unit. The therapeutic environment offers a safe and confidential space for family members to express thoughts and feelings that they might otherwise be uncomfortable sharing. Family therapy is usually about 12 sessions in length, allowing the therapist to follow a method with a clear end goal that is understood by each family member. Even though this is a short-term type of therapy, it can teach skills and coping strategies that can be used to remedy family problems even after the course of treatment has ended.

Family therapy is typically sought out by families experiencing one or more of the following issues:

  • Parent/child conflict
  • Child behavioral problems
  • Financial stress
  • Grief
  • Anger issues
  • Communication difficulties
  • A family member’s substance abuse or mental illness (depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc.) is negatively impacting the rest of the family

It is important to know what to expect when starting family therapy. During the first session, the therapist will likely want to meet with the family as a group in order to gather information about the issue and see how family roles and dynamics operate. In the subsequent sessions, they may sometimes choose to meet with each family member individually to focus more on personal considerations. Overall, you can expect to gain the skills to:

  • Identify strengths and weaknesses within the family
  • Learn to effectively express emotions with family members
  • Analyze existing factors that may contribute to both present and future conflicts, such as family roles

Family stressors can turn into damaging problems if they are not addressed in a timely fashion. Family therapy provides the tools needed to restore a dysfunctional family to a more healthy, unified, and empathetic unit.

If you or someone you know is seeking family therapy, 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.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/family-therapy/about/pac-20385237

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/marriage-and-family-therapy

https://www.123rf.com/clipart-vector/family_therapy.html

Suicide: What is Suicide Grief?

Suicide: What is Suicide Grief

By Lynette Rivas

At some point in almost everyone’s life, they will experience losing a loved one, which can then be followed by grief. But what about losing your loved one to suicide? This type of grief is known as suicide grief, where an individual feels both despair and guilt after losing a loved one to suicide.

It is important to note that not everyone experiences grief in the same way or for the same amount of time. The intensity and the complexity of grief are determined by the relationship with the person that died, how the death occurred, any existing coping strategies, and if support is available. 

Suicide grief can be a period of intense emotions for some people. These include emotions such as shock, guilt, anger, confusion, and/or despair. These emotions can even be accompanied by nightmares, flashbacks, social withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, and/or loss of interest. Anyone that is experiencing grief should keep in mind that it is important to:

  • Keep in touch – reaching out to loved ones, friends, and spiritual leaders
  • Grieve in your own manner – everyone does not grieve in the same way
  • Do not rush yourself – grieving can be as short as a few days to as long as a couple of months

If the grief is too much to bear and becomes too intense, then it is time to turn to a mental health provider for help. Unresolved grief can become difficult over time to the point where the individual is no longer able to go back to their normal life. If the individual thinks that they might be unusually depressed, it is important that they seek professional mental health help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with grief 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:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/in-depth/suicide/art-20044900

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/suicide-prevention/after-a-suicide-loss/suicide-and-grief#:~:text=Grief%20in%20response%20to%20suicide,the%20stigma%20associated%20with%20suicide.

Image Source:

https://time.com/6117708/grief-isolation/

Anxiety in Young Adults During COVID-19

Anxiety in Young Adults During COVID-19

By Jackie Molan

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of anxiety have sharply increased, especially in the young adult population (ages 18-24). Young adults are particularly susceptible to pandemic anxiety because they experienced enough “normal,” pre-COVID life to understand the current uncertainty of their own futures and the future state of the world.

Potential Anxiety Risk Factors

New studies have provided evidence that certain traits present in childhood and adolescence can lead to anxiety in young adulthood. One of these traits is behavioral inhibition, a childhood temperament characterized by nervousness and fear in response to new people and situations. Those who display behavioral inhibition during childhood are more likely to experience worry dysregulation – inadequate worry management skills – during adolescence. Worry dysregulation is a strong predictor of anxiety later in life, which can be brought on by a stressful life event. Therefore, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic likely triggered anxiety in young adults who demonstrated this pattern of temperaments earlier in life.

Causes of Pandemic Anxiety

For young adults, the pandemic has interfered with their school, work, home, and social lives, leading to a significant upending of usual routines. Maintaining a daily routine often provides comfort, so it can be anxiety-inducing when this is lost due to external factors. Further, many people are experiencing “reentry anxiety” as more places reopen without mask mandates. It is difficult to navigate reentering society when there is lingering anxiety about future variants, vaccines, and mandates.

Steps to Improve Anxiety

The following are steps you can take to improve COVID-related anxiety:

  • Make time for stress reduction and self-care – This can be as simple as taking a walk or finding a few minutes during the day to meditate.
  • Follow a daily routine – Routines may be different than they were pre-COVID, but they can still be helpful.
  • Distinguish work/school life from home life – Even though you may be spending more time in your house than before, you can set boundaries to make work/school feel separate from home. Try designating certain times, or even rooms in the house, to leisure activities.
  • Seek help from a mental health professional.

Anxiety can feel like an uphill battle, but seeking help from a mental health professional can provide you with the resources you need to cope with post-COVID life.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for pandemic-related 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/

Sources:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2021/study-identifies-risk-factors-for-elevated-anxiety-in-young-adults-during-covid-19-pandemic

https://psychcentral.com/coronavirus/coronavirus-overview

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/13/health/Covid-mental-health-anxiety.html

https://stayprepared.sg/mymentalhealth/articles/impact-of-covid-19-on-mental-health/

The Evolution of Electroconvulsive Therapy

The Evolution of Electroconvulsive Therapy

By Lynette Rivas

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) has been and remains as one of the most controversial, yet effective, forms of therapy. But how did this idea come along and how does it work? How has the procedure changed throughout the years?

The idea of inducing a seizure to aide a patient was first thought of in the late 1920s by a scientist named Meduna. The main purpose of ECT at the time was to treat patients with schizophrenia. After successfully treating over 100 patients through a chemically induced seizure, two other scientists with the names of Ugo Cerletti and Lucio Bini decided to conduct the first electrically induced seizure.

Almost a century later, ECT is still widely used throughout the world. ECT is mostly used when other treatments are found to be unsuccessful, such as therapy and medication.  It can treat severe depression, treatment-resistant depression, severe mania, catatonia, and agitation and aggression in people with dementia. Over the years, the ECT procedure has greatly changed in order to ensure the patient’s safety and to reduce side effects.

The general procedure of ECT includes:

  • General anesthesia – makes you unconscious and unaware of the procedure
  • A brief physical exam
  • An intravenous line (IV) inserted
  • Electrode pads placed on the head
  • Muscle relaxant – helps minimize the seizure and prevent injury
  • Monitoring the patient’s brain, heart, blood pressure, and oxygen
  • Mouth guard – helps to protect the teeth and tongue from injury

With all of these features in place, the patient can relax and be completely unaware of the procedure. After ECT, the patient is put into a recovery room where they will be monitored for any potential issues. It usually takes a total of 6-12 treatments for the patient to see results. Even after symptoms improve, the patient will have to continually visit their therapist in order to keep up with the progress that they have made.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and/or mania 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:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/electroconvulsive-therapy/about/pac-20393894

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6323557/

https://www.shutterstock.com/search/electroconvulsive-therapy