Alcoholism: A Life Altering Disorder

By: Charleene Polanco

According to Mayo Clinic, alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is defined as an alcohol use pattern that involves the inability to control ones drinking. For many who are on track to become an alcoholic, it seems pretty easy to keep convincing themselves that they have the ability to quit whenever they want. However, when he or she realizes their alcohol tolerance has increased, and that he or she experiences withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, an alcohol use disorder has developed. The common symptoms of alcoholism include:

  • Uncontrolled alcohol consumption
  • Using alcohol in unsafe situations, such as driving
  • Failure to fulfill major school or work obligations because of repeated alcohol use
  • Craving/ urges to drink alcohol
  • Withdrawal symptoms like nausea, sweating, and shaking
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut down on the amount of alcohol consumed

Alcoholism is an important issue, because it affects a huge number of the American population. As many as 18 million Americans suffer from alcoholism, and about 100,000 die as a result. Alcoholism is also associated with other social and domestic problems, like job absenteeism and spousal/child abuse. With such a significant portion of the U.S. population suffering from this terrible disorder, and its effects on the individual and loved ones, it is imperative that a person seek help when afflicted with alcohol use disorder.

If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol use disorder, 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



Mayo Clinic. (2018, July 11). Alcohol use disorder. Retrieved October 9, 2018, from

WebMD. (2018). Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder — the Basics. Retrieved October 9, 2018, from



Recognizing Alcohol Abuse in Teens


Recognizing Alcohol Abuse in Teens

By Emily Aranda

Teens who experiment with alcohol put their health, safety, and reputation with the law at risk. Though many different reasons may lead to a teen abusing alcohol, these reasons all have the potential to lead to alcohol abuse by teens.

Common risk factors for teen alcohol abuse include:

  • A family history of alcohol abuse
  • A mental or behavioral health condition
  • A history of trauma
  • Low self-esteem/insecurity
  • Impulsivity
  • Peer pressure
  • A desire for social acceptance
  • Family problems
  • Close friendships with teens who drink

Teens who drink consume more than 90% of their alcohol by binge drinking. The allure of alcohol paired with its inaccessibility to those who are underage may be a reason for why, when obtained, teens tend to binge drink.

Warning Signs of underage Drinking include:

  • Change in mood, including anger/irritability
  • Academic and/or behavioral problems
  • Rebelliousness
  • Changing group of friends
  • Less interest in activities once pursued
  • Coordination problems
  • Slurred speech
  • Smelling like alcohol
  • Finding alcohol among his or her belongings

Abusing alcohol as a teen may be about more than the alcohol itself. If you or someone you know may be abusing alcohol as a teen, 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



Drugs on College Campuses

Substance Abuse

It’s that time of year when everyone is anticipating the upcoming academic school year. With students returning to campus, parties will be on the rise. Welcome back parties are anticipated events on college campuses. Whether one is aware or not, these parties run rampant with various types of drugs. Some students are willing participants whereas others are unknowingly participating in the use of substances. Use of these drugs or substances may lead to risky behavior than can later have effects on the user and others in close proximity.

Some strategies to avoid being under the influence whether knowingly or unknowingly are listed below.

  1. Know your limits.
  2. If you’re going to drink alcohol, know what number of drinks will cause impairment. It’s not advisable to take other substances because of the effects they may cause alone or combined.
  3. Have a buddy system established.
  4. Even though you are college student, have someone that will be responsible for you and vice versa. If you intend on consuming or using any substances, have a designated driver. Have that person ensure your safety throughout the night.
  5. Be careful.
  6. Do not take drinks from random individuals. If you did not see the drink being opened or poured into a glass, kindly reject it. Likewise, be aware of anything that you consume.
  7. Have fun.
  8. So you’ve established a safety plan, great! Go out and enjoy yourself!


Written by:  L. Matthew

Drug Addiction and Alcohol Abuse: False Promises – Bergen County, NJ

By: Davine Holness

alcoholism addiction

Alcoholism is one of many addictions from which people suffer

With the ever-increasing number of resources available, there have been numerous success stories for recovering from addictions such as alcoholism. However, even after decades of sobriety, every day can still be a fight against temptation. This temptation is not so much about the substance or activity to which one is addicted; it’s more about the lies the object tells: the promises to fill a hole in the addict’s soul. Resisting addiction is about learning to identify these promises as what they are: false.


While the media has given much publicity to alcoholism and substance abuse, people also suffer from addiction to anything from gambling or shopping, to food, sex, or even video games. Recent research has found that sweet, salty, or fatty processed foods cause the same physiological process in the mind of a food addict as crack produces in a cocaine addict (Peeke). However, with help and lifestyle changes, it is possible to overcome addiction and live a sober life.


If you are struggling with any kind of addiction, the psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists at Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help. Contact the Bergen County, New Jersey or Manhattan offices at 201-368-3700 or 212-722-1920. Visit for more information.



Nakken, C. (1996). The addictive personality: understanding the addictive process and compulsive behavior (2nd ed.). Center City, Minn.: Hazelden.

On Rejecting the False Promise, 25 Years Later – World of Psychology. (n.d). Retrieved May 14, 2012

Peeke, P. & Aalst, M. v. (2012). The hunger fix: the three-stage solution to free yourself from your food addictions for life. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Books.

Pencils Down, Bottoms Up: Drinking Culture Among Students

By: Kimberly Made

College Drinking

Drinking has always been considered a part of college life. After a week of classes, exams, and papers, the weekend feels like an oasis in the desert and what better way to celebrate making it through that seemingly never ending wave of stress and sleepless nights than with a drink or two?

But where do we draw the line between harmless fun and alcoholism?

In the land of Thirsty Thursdays and Two Dollar Tuesdays, it seems there’s always an excuse to go out and distract yourself from the stress of your daily life with a few drinks. As college students, we find ourselves in a place where the idea of being an alcoholic is just a mere joke thrown around among friends. How can we be expected to tell the difference between a friend that just really enjoys Vodka Red Bulls and one who may actually have a problem?

Alcohol Abuse is characterized by a maladaptive pattern of alcohol use leading to significant impairment or distress as manifested by at least one of the following within a one-year period:

  1. Recurrent alcohol use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home (e.g., repeated absences or poor work performance related to alcohol use)
  2. Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous (e.g., driving while under the influence)
  3. Recurrent alcohol related legal problems (e.g., arrests for alcohol related disorderly conduct)
  4. Continued alcohol use despite having social or interpersonal problems caused by the effects of alcohol (e.g., arguments or physical fights)

While it’s completely normal to go out and enjoy Happy Hour after a long day, it’s important to keep in mind that once alcohol begins to have a negative impact on someone’s day-to-day life, it is time to seek help.


If you are concerned that you or anyone you care about may need help dealing with alcohol abuse, 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 for more information.