Abuse: Emotional Abuse Warning Signs (Part 2)

manipulation-bergencountyIn the world of relationships, balance is one of the core key factors to a successful one. Unfortunately in an emotionally abusive relationship, the healthy balance of trust, communication and fairness is deeply disturbed. There is a dominating partner who has manipulative tendencies and a submissive partner who has codependent tendencies. The manipulative partner usually tries to have total power by controlling the victim’s actions, thoughts, and emotions. Often victims do not even realize that they are being manipulated. The victims of these relationships need to be what the manipulators want them to be or they will deal with emotionally damaging consequences.

There are five main signs that can help you determine if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship:

  1. The manipulator makes you feel guilty for things you should not feel guilty about. He will make you feel guilty for actions that you should not feel guilty about so you will be more likely to do what he asks. For example, he would make you feel guilty for hanging out with your friends instead of with him. Of course it is normal for your significant other to want to spend quality time with you, but an abuser will see your other close relationships as threats and prevent you from having them.
  2. The manipulator makes you doubt yourself by making you feel bad. He will be point out your weaknesses and insecurities and tell you how he can do things better. He will say condescending comments or try to put you down. If you are insecure, have low self-esteem or are in a state of self-doubt, you will eventually believe in everything he says. By trying to convince you that his way is better, he is trying to control you. He will make you think he is thinking about what is best for you, but in reality, he is only thinking about himself.
  3. The manipulator will use his insecurities in order to get what he wants from you. He will tell you all the past suffering he has been through with past relationships to define the current one. For example, he will tell you that he has been cheated on and lied to, so he will ask you to understand that you cannot have any male friends. Does that make sense to you? You are not the cheater, his past girlfriends were. It is understandable that he is insecure, but his past should not define what you can and cannot do in the present.
  4. The manipulator will give ultimatums to prove your love and loyalty to him. He will give you the “if you love me you will do this” statement because if don’t do what he wants, you do not truly love him. As a result of these crazy requests, you will ultimately abandon your wants and feelings to please your partner’s. A healthy relationship is based on compromise and reasoning, not accommodating to everything your abusive partner wants.
  5. The manipulator will threaten himself or others when everything else fails. When you do not comply with any of his manipulative requests, he will resort to harming himself to force you to do what he wants. Extreme manipulators that show these harmful qualities may need to seek professional help from psychotherapists and counselors.

If you feel like these warning signs may apply to your situation with your significant other, it is strongly recommended that you reconsider the relationship or seek marriage or relationship counseling. If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and might be suffering from psychological abuse and manipulation, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners amd 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

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Sex Addiction: What are the Signs?

By: Michelle J. Hong

Sexual addiction is when an individual has a[ File # csp0297286, License # 1699973 ] Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php) (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / wackern unceasing desire to participate in sexual activities that intensifies as it progresses because the addict wants to achieve higher levels of euphoria. It is not about intimacy but about seeking pleasure or avoiding problems, so the addict usually does not try bond with his or her sexual partner.

Unfortunately, there is no one factor that can cause sexual addiction but there are possible biopsychosocial factors that can contribute to these disorders. Since sex affects the brain’s survival and reward systems, the brain sends distorted messages that sex is good to a sex addict the same way the brain tells you that food is good when we are hungry. This biological explanation can help people understand why anyone can be occupied with sexual addiction. A few psychological risk factors for this addiction include depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive inclinations. Individuals with a history of addiction are more susceptible to develop sexual addiction as well. Individuals addicted to sex seem to have been sexually abused when they were young or come from broken families, and these families are more prone to substance abuse. Because of all these biopsychosocial factors, sex addicts have insecure, impulsive and compulsive personality characteristics and tend to isolate themselves from society. They have unstable relationships and have difficulty dealing with their emotions.

The DSM has yet to give definitive criteria for sexual addiction, but there are signs that people can recognize in which when to indicate whether an individual has this disorder. These signs may not be clear in the earlier stages of sexual addiction, but they will eventually become more prevalent and transparent.

Some of these signs include:

  • Compulsive masturbation or stimulation
  • Extra-marital affairs or multiple affairs in a non-married relationship
  • Multiple one night stands
  • Excessive and consistent use of pornography
  • Practicing unprotected, unsafe sex
  • Cybersex either over the phone or online
  • Prostitution or purchasing the services of a prostitute
  • Dating excessively in order to have multiple sexual partners
  • Voyeurism or watching others have sex
  • Rape, molestation, sexually harassing others

If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and might be suffering from sexual addiction or sexual abuse, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or 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

References:
Image copyright: (c) Can Stock Photo Inc.
“Sexual Addiction – AAMFT Therapy Topic.” Sexual Addiction. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 June 2015.
“Sex Addiction.” Addictions. N.p., 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 05 June 2015.
“What Causes Sexual Addiction?” Psych Central. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 June 2015.

Anorexia Nervosa is a Fatally Serious Illness

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Anorexia nervosa is a restricting type of eating disorder that involves an unhealthy, severe reduction of food intake due to body dissatisfaction and extreme concern about weight. Individuals with anorexia nervosa see themselves as overweight even though they are dangerously thin. Women are more likely than men to develop an eating disorder and approximately 0.5 to 3.7 percent of women specifically suffer from anorexia nervosa in their lifetime.  It is the most common cause of death among young women. The mortality rate for anorexia is 0.56 percent per year, which is about 12 times higher than all other causes of death among females ages 15-24 in the general population. The course and outcome of this eating disorder vary across individuals; some individuals can fully recover after a single episode but some experience a continuing deterioration from this illness over years. Individuals with anorexia repeatedly check their body weight, avoid eating food or eat food in tiny quantities, and engage in various techniques to control their weight, such as intense exercise or abuse of laxatives. Adolescent girls with anorexia experience amenorrhea, which is an absence or delayed menstruation.

Common symptoms of anorexia include:

  • Resistance to maintaining body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height
  • Intense fear of gaining weight, even though underweight
  • Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced
  • Denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight
  • Infrequent or absent menstrual periods
  • Picking out a few foods or carefully portioning food
  • Constant, ceaseless weight checking and obsession

Since many individuals with anorexia tend to conceal their unusual eating habits and wear baggy clothes to hide weight loss, this illness can advance to life-threatening stages before it is noticed by families, friends, and romantic partners. Fortunately, eating disorders can be treated and individuals can become healthy again. Anorexia nervosa treatment is a specific program that involves three main steps:

  1. Restoring weight lost to severe dieting and purging
  2. Treating distorted body image, low self-esteem and interpersonal conflicts
  3. Achieving long-term remission and rehabilitation

An early diagnosis of anorexia nervosa can increase a successful outcome of treatment and medication should be considered after a healthy weight gain has been reached. Certain SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) have been helpful for weight maintaining and resolving mood and anxiety symptoms for this disease. Once individuals with anorexia have gained weight and malnutrition has been restored, psychotherapy can help them overcome deeply-rooted self-esteem issues and body image distortions.

If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and might be suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or 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

Dual Diagnosis: Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder

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By: Michelle J. Hong

As most of us know, bipolar disorder is a mental illness that induces the two mental states of mania and depression. These two polar opposite states can cause elevated energy levels, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, etc. Because of this constant war of going back and forth between the two mental states, individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder tend to self-medicate to feel “normal”. Unfortunately, often these individuals do not realize that drugs and alcohol have the opposite effect on their illness, and exacerbate the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Self-medication usually includes all types of drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, illegally obtained prescription pills, and other mood-altering substances. Approximately 60% of people who suffer from bipolar disorder experience substance abuse at least once in their lifetime. People who exhibit both bipolar disorder and drug and alcohol problems have a dual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and substance abuse, but it is important to locate a psychologist, a psychiatric nurse, or a psychologist who can correctly diagnose this. When individuals with bipolar disorder use drugs and alcohol while taking mood-stabilizing medication, it can often interfere with the medication’s effectiveness and create chemical imbalances in the brain that can worsen the manic and depressive episodes. Substance abuse effects can mask the symptoms of bipolar disorder, resulting in incorrect treatment. In order to prevent misdiagnosis of individuals with both bipolar disorder and substance abuse, the substance abuse needs to stop. Once individual no longer abuses substances, a proper evaluation and diagnosis can take place. Dual diagnosis treatments are becoming more common to accurately diagnose both disorders and give the most fitting treatment for these individuals.

 

If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and might be suffering from bipolar disorder and/or substance abuse, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or 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

 

Sources:

http://www.recoveryranch.com/articles/dual-diagnosis/bipolar-disorder-substance-abuse/

http://www.addictionsearch.com/treatment_articles/article/understanding-the-connection-between-drug-addiction-and-bipolar-disorder_108.html

Substance Abuse and Adolescents

Substance abuse in adolescents often accompanies psychological problems. Despite common perception, not all adolescents drink or smoke spot. Many popular, social and academically successful teenagers enjoy socializing without resorting to drug abusive behavior (including alcohol and cigarettes). In fact, the more confident and intelligent ones recognize the negative consequences of addiction and abstain when approached by their addicted peers.
So when your teen or college student says, “everyone’s doing it,” don’t believe them!! It’s just an excuse. But most importantly, look at your own behavior and the behavior of others in your household. Does anyone drink? Smoke? Take pain killers? Teenagers usually do what we do, not what we say. Set a good example and they will follow.
If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and might be experiencing substance abuse, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or 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

It Was Forever & Now It’s Over—Finding Yourself After a Breakup

By: Dariana Taveras

We all know what you’re thinking when you incessantly click through their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts in search of any clue or suggestions that maybe, just maybe, they’ll be open enough to want you back. You swipe through old pictures of your relationship attempting to figure out when things started to change. You wonder if perhaps some other factor played into your breakup other than the reality that maybe your partner lost interest over time or was not suited to be the partner you hoped he or she would be. The following steps might help you through a difficult breakup:

  1. Stay away—any relationship is a two-way street and you shouldn’t and CAN’T convince anyone to love you or stay with you. If your partner no longer wishes to be in a relationship with you, please do yourself a favor and let them go!
  2. Do NOT make excuses— If they genuinely hurt you, you cannot pretend that their behavior is acceptable. Remember that you cannot apologize to yourself on their behalf, only your ex can do that.
  3. Write it all down— what you’re feeling and why you think you’re feeling that way.
  4. Change your environment—It serves as the facilitator for your emotional feelings. If something at home or in the places that you frequent reminds you of your ex, perhaps attempt to remove, redecorate or rearrange how those particular items are set up. Also, don’t be afraid to try new places!
  5. FOCUS ON YOURSELF– Now is your chance to really tune in to who you are. Indulge in new hobbies, spend time with your loved ones, and realize that you have the potential to find happiness within yourself.

If you are concerned that you or anyone you care about may be having relationship issues, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can assist you. They have successfully helped many with marriage, pre-marital, and relationship issues. 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.

If You Haven’t Already Done So, Forgive Yourself

By: Dariana Taveras

Relationship Problems: Why Forgiving is the First Step

For thinking that you could be the one to save the pieces of whatever is left of your relationship…for holding on tightly despite the currents that are attempting to knock you down…for not taking responsibility for whatever it is that you felt like you did to ruin your relationship. Most importantly, forgive yourself for YOURSELF.

You may think that you want to forgive yourself for the sake of your partner. However, the reality is that the only way to work through your current issues is by acknowledging what went wrong and concentrating on repairing it. The idea is to shift away from self-inflicted excuses and punishments. Your relationship still has an opportunity to be saved if you are willing to be accountable for your actions and wish to work towards a common goal. If your goal is to remain by each other’s side, then the first inevitable step is forgiveness. Satisfaction within your relationship may significantly improve if you begin to have fewer negative feelings towards yourself and your current situation.

If you are concerned that you or anyone you care about may be having relationship issues, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can assist you. They have successfully helped many with marriage, pre-marital, and relationship issues. 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.

Don’t Turn Your Back, Offer Your Help— How You Can Help Someone With Depression

By: Dariana Taveras

We tend to be so engaged in the countless facets of life that we often unconsciously neglect when someone we love is fighting an uphill battle. Our own daily affairs lead us astray, as we fail to consider that perhaps someone very near and dear is sadly conflicted. Perhaps they were energetic in the past and experienced difficult circumstances that lead to their feelings of hopelessness, lethargy, tiredness, lack of motivation, and unexplainable sadness. Although we may not be trained professionals in dealing with depression, there may be several actions we can actively pursue to help our loved ones feel seen, heard, cared for, valued, and understood.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you think your loved one may be enduring symptoms of depression:

  • Empathetically address your concerns with your loved one
  • Emphasize your willingness to support them
  • Offer your help— This may help you gain insight into how to effectively discuss any options your loved one may be open to trying
  • Be there for your loved one, do NOT give up on them!
  • Reassure your loved one that they ARE capable of making the necessary changes that can lead to a happier and healthier life
  • Whatever you do, do NOT blame yourself for your loved one’s depression

The most important thing to remember is that you alone cannot save anyone from their depression. All you can do is try to lend supportive ears to listen and a compassionate heart to understand them the best that you can.

If you are concerned that you or anyone you care about may be suffering from depression, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy 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.

Maybe It May Be

By: Dariana Taveras

Is it indecision or obsessive doubting?

Should we have sent that text because we really wanted to make things right… or should we have waited for that individual to be the bigger person and apologize? Should we have wasted 45 minutes mindlessly scrolling through our News Feed, liking every picture and sharing that relevant blog post or… should we have gone to the gym instead? Should we search for a new job opportunity? Should we have saved some more money each week to someday buy the home of our dreams or should we continue to foolishly spend our money at the local bar? Should we apply to our dream university or perhaps chose a different career path? Should we have married our spouse or should we have waited for a better partner? Time and time again, the answer seems to be maybe. Maybe we should do this… or maybe we should have done that.

Occasionally, uncertainty revolves around the choices we make. We yearn to know what is coming next, leaving the unexpected quite unwelcome. We seem to have an overarching desire to know that the results we hope for will take effect.  In turn, we often tend to associate uncertainty with fear and hopelessness. We quickly begin to dread the unanticipated instead of embracing the potentially positive opportunities that may arise. Instead of merely being a matter of indecision, it may quickly turn out to be a form of obsessive doubting.

It is important to remember that within the unknown there may be an incredibly rich sea of options that allows a freedom of choices beyond our immediate recognition. The idea of “maybe” suggests that every single experience and situation may render endless possibilities. It is also possible that whatever circumstance we face will work out in our favor or bring new solutions. The key is to expand our minds so that we may truly embrace all that is or may be.

If you are concerned that you or anyone you care about may feel conflicted or riddled with indecisiveness or obsessive doubting, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling&Psychotherapy 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.

Relationships-Dating-Commitment: Missing the Game While Playing the Field

By: Dariana Taveras

How Your Dating Behavior May Be a Sign of Commitment Issues

Heart and kissy-face Emojis are mindlessly sent and delivered to several potential romantic interests through text messages. Regardless of who they are sent to, there is only one reply that you are really hoping for. It is from the person that you are attracted to far beyond their physical attributes. It is the individual whose face immediately brightens your day through an inviting glance. It is the one who has the charming laugh that replays most beautifully in your thoughts. It is the person who is able to solace your silence with comfort, somehow understanding your lack of self-disclosure.

In an ideal world, you would be with them. The only problem is…you cannot. But why?

Your dating behavior may be hurting your potential to find a long-term relationship due to any of the following personal commitment issues:

  • Struggling with being open about your emotions
  • Not knowing how to effectively verbalize your feelings to others
  • Experiencing fears about ending up emotionally hurt
  • Low feelings of self-worth or low self-esteem
  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Not wanting to be restricted by being in a monogamous relationship

Romantic relationships are not an easy feat. If you or anyone you care about may be struggling with commitment issues or if you are currently in a relationship that is lacking commitment, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling&Psychotherapy 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.