Mental Health during Pride Month

By Charlotte Arehart

With June finally starting, this means that it is officially Pride Month! Pride Month is celebrated in June in the USA and many other countries. During Pride Month, we celebrate and recognize the impact that  lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer LGBTQ+ individuals have on their communities. We celebrate their history, whether it be locally, nationally, or internationally. Unfortunately, there is a stigma surrounding the LGBTQ+ community regarding mental health. There are a plethora of statistics about LGBTQ+ individuals and mental health, including the fact that members of the community are less likely to seek treatment for mental health, substance abuse, and eating disorders. This is largely due to fear of being discriminated against because of their sexuality. Pride Month is the perfect opportunity to prioritize and learn more about mental health for LGBTQ+ individuals.

There are many barriers that LGBTQ+ individuals face when it comes to finding mental health treatment. Many mental health centers lack culturally-competent or diverse staff and/or treatment. It was not very long ago that homosexuality and bisexuality were themselves considered mental illnesses. This was thought to be true until the 1960’s. Gay men and lesbian women were frequently forced to undergo “treatment” for their sexuality against their will, such as aversion, conversion, and even shock therapies. Also damaging to mental health, LGBTQ+ individuals are at a higher risk for bullying, and sometimes even hateful violent crimes. The best way to help the LGBTQ+ community regarding mental health efforts is to support the community not only through words but through actions. By reducing the stigma around mental health and making LGBTQ+ individuals feel as comfortable as possible, hopefully we can make mental health treatment more accessible for everyone. Luckily, the vast majority of mental health professionals today are accepting and positive towards the LGBTQ+ community. Everyone deserves to have efficient, effective, and professional mental health no matter how they identify as individuals.

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, 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:

Image Source: https://lgbt-speakers.com/news/top-10-lists/10-lgbt-speakers-for-pride-month-2021

Self-Diagnosing and Social Media

By Charlotte Arehart

For many people, it has become a habit to turn to the internet with any questions that one might have. While it is great to have the answers to the world at our fingertips, we have to keep in mind that just because we find an answer on the internet does not mean it is the correct one. Googling the answers to everything can be particularly harmful when it comes to physical and mental health. Searching up a simple symptom such as a stomach ache may lead to answers that suggest the individual has appendicitis, when in reality they may only be having indigestion. With the internet becoming more powerful than ever, more people have been self-diagnosing themselves with physical and mental health issues without seeking help from a professional.

Social media has played a huge role in the increase of people self-diagnosing. Many influential social media users with a large platform use their platform to speak and educate viewers about mental illnesses. While this is great in terms of normalizing and reducing the stigma around mental health issues, it becomes harmful when viewers use this information to self-diagnose. I personally have seen many videos on platforms such as Instagram and Tiktok where the creator lists several widely general and common “symptoms,” such as sleeping in too much or having a short attention span, and then they follow up with something along the lines of “if you are experiencing these symptoms, you may have ADHD!” In the comments section, I see floods viewers who are now concerned that they may have a mental disorder simply because they experience a few of the general symptoms listed. It seems that these videos create a lot of stress in people who do not actually need to be worried, since the symptoms listed are often so generalized. However, I do think that it is very beneficial for those who are struggling with mental health issues to receive support and a sense of community through social media. It can be very comforting to know that you are not alone going through something. If creators wish to speak about mental health issues on social media, it should be done in a very careful way. Addressing mental health on social media does present a wide variety of benefits, however it becomes an issue when people are self-diagnosing and becoming worried without speaking with a professional.

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, 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://etactics.com/blog/problems-with-self-diagnosis

Image Source: https://dailytitan.com/opinion/column-self-diagnosing-mental-health-disorders-is-hazardous/article_d953ca7f-0eae-57d2-81fb-d0d339734788.html

The Importance of Mental Health

By Charlotte Arehart

When thinking about their health, most people only consider the physical state of their bodies. However, it is important that we take our mental health into consideration as well. Not only are these two aspects equally important, but they are actually very closely related. People who have poor mental health are at greater risk of having poor physical health. For example, people who experience depression are at a 50% increased risk of dying from cancer and a 67% increase for heart disease. Stress and anxiety also have a huge impact on the body, affecting the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, as well as the gastrointestinal system.

Since mental health is so important, why do people usually disregard it? Many people are afraid of the stigma that surrounds mental health. Since you cannot always “see” mental health problems, some people view them as “not real.” Many people fear that others will look at them differently if they seek mental help. They do not want to be seen as emotionally weak. People are especially worried that seeking mental help with affect their careers, however this is not true. In fact, taking proactive steps to help mental health will reduce possible repercussions for the future. It is better to address the issue sooner rather than later, since unchecked mental health symptoms usually worsen over time. If you are experiencing mental health troubles, by no means are you alone. Many mental health issues are actually more prevalent than one would expect. By realizing that there are tons people who are experiencing something similar to them, people may feel better about reaching out for mental health.

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, 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.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/p/physical-health-and-mental-health

https://www.pdhealth.mil/news/blog/reducing-self-stigma-mental-health-important-physical-health

Image Source: https://www.hrcsb.org/may-mental-health-awareness-month/

Self-Motivation during Covid-19

By: Devorah Weinberg

Teamwork and a conducive work environment are essential for prosperity. Due to Covid-19, many people are working from home, which means more distractions and less motivation.   Recognition, achievement, and interactions with peers are factors that contribute to one’s work motivation. Now that we are working from home, these factors have been undermined.

However, “The best motivation is self-motivation.” Self-motivation is our internal drive to achieve and succeed. It increases productivity.

Here are a few tips to boost your self-motivation during these difficult times:

1- Write goals

2- Create a plan for each individual goal

3- Reward yourself for accomplishments

4- Keep a positive attitude

Another issue that people working from home are encountering is the endless stack of work. When working in an office, you leave at a set time. Now, stopping to work at a specific time and taking a lunch break become difficult. Setting an alarm is a great solution for this and helps avoid clock watch.

 If you or someone you know needs mental health support throughout the pandemic, 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://dictionary.apa.org/work-motivation

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/self-motivation-in-the-workplace

Image source: https://colormagazine.com/tips-for-self-motivation-and-moving-forward-in-your-career/

 

 

 

Stress and Academic Performance

How to help children and teens manage their stress

Stress: Stress and Academic Performance

By. Alexis Yennie

Stress affects all of us in various ways; whether it be students studying for an exam or adults and being overloaded with work. Stress can also affect various activities that we do on a daily basis. There are many underlying factors of stress with vary from person to person. In today’s society, children are becoming more stressed than ever. This is due to the constant pressure being put on them to receive the highest grade or even get into a good school. The pressure that is being put on them to balance school life and family/friend’s life can become a huge challenge for many.

There are multiple ways that stress can negatively affect a student’s performance. 1.) High levels of stress can decrease sleep quality; research has found that adolescents need at least eight hours of sleep a night to perform at their best. When they do not get the proper amount of sleep due to stress, this can cause them to have a lack of concentration and the inability to remember correctly. 2.) High levels of stress make students angrier; stress can also be the main reason for an increase in bullying due to irritability and the likelihood of angry outbursts. Directing their stress onto others can also increase bullying. And 3.) High levels of stress can worsen grades; when a student becomes stressed this can take over their ability to focus and can even lead to students dropping out of school.

It is very vital for parents, as well as educators and those supporting them, to become aware/educated about the significant impact stress has on adolescents and young adults. AS a whole, we should be creating a supportive and calm environment so that children succeed at their academic best. Some solutions to overcoming stress amongst adolescents are to conduct wellness checks; such as weekly one-on-one therapy sessions or even group therapy with other students. Also, making health programs available to students to them as needed.

If you or someone you know is struggling with high levels of stress and academic performance or family relationships pertaining to high levels of stress, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or psychotherapist at Arista Counseling and 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://partners.pennfoster.edu/blog/2016/september/3-ways-stress-negatively-affects-student-performance#:~:text=When%20a%20student%20is%20stressed,of%20school%20or%20drop%20classes.&text=As%20research%20shows%2C%20stress%20exhibited,students%20while%20in%20the%20classroom.

Image Source: https://www.apa.org/topics/child-development/stress

 

Eating Disorders and Family Relationships

The emotional impact of eating disorders on families

Eating Disorders: Eating Disorders and Family Relationships

By. Alexis Yennie

Different eating disorders, whether it be anorexia nervosa or bulimia, all eat away at different relationships that we have in our lives, such as family, friends and loved ones. The main reason that we are alive on this planet is because of the relationships/human connections that we have with others. When eating disorders appear, they can diminish and break down these relationships causing negative thoughts and behaviors to surround everything around you. The more progression that eating disorders make on an individual, the more negative effects take place on not only them, but those around them as well.

Eating disorders are known to create feelings of isolation, hopelessness and separation. It is very common for loved ones to feel as though they have lost someone, when they watch someone they care about battle with an eating disorder. Though at one point there might have been a very strong bond between people, eating disorders tend to destroy any chance of hope/love a person might have for others; as these hopelessness/loveless emotions rise, the people that once cared for the person battling the eating disorder, eventually break off, due to feelings of hopelessness, or even the feeling of being replaced by the vicious monster inside of them

Family members of individuals that are suffering with eating disorders, know that your presence is wanted, even though it might not always seem like it and it does make a difference to them. Loving someone at this point in their life, might just be the encouragement that they need to fight for their life. Recovery is possible and never lose hope. Relationships can be fixed, and recovery is beautiful.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or family relationships pertaining to their eating disorders, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or psychotherapist at Arista Counseling and 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/

Image Source: https://www.sovteens.com/health-and-wellness/emotional-impact-eating-disorders-families/

Sources: https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/treatment-for-eating-disorders/family-role/how-eating-disorders-can-affect-relationships

 

Bipolar Disorder: Loving someone with bipolar disorder, the ups and downs

Bipolar Disorder: Loving someone with bipolar disorder, the ups and downs
By Zoe Alekel

Loving someone with bipolar disorder can be a challenge if you don’t have the right tools and knowledge to help both you and your loved one. The first step in loving someone with bipolar disorder would be to understand what it means to be bipolar. Although you may never know exactly how your loved one feels, it is important to understand and educate yourself about their behaviors and emotions. According to the Mayo Clinic, bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). To understand what your loved one is going through, it is key to remind yourself that your loved one can’t always control these emotional mood swings—and more importantly it is not a reflection of you or how they feel about you.

It is understandable that it can be difficult to understand these seemingly sudden and intense mood swings, and your loved one struggling with bipolar disorder may already know this and feel bad about how it affects you. Make sure you approach them with kindness, and always ask them what you can do to help them. Sometimes space and understanding that the mood swing will pass is enough support for your loved one. No matter how involved or uninvolved they want you to be with their mental health, always respect their wishes.

One thing you can do to help you cope with your loved one’s bipolar disorder is to find others that have loved ones with bipolar disorder as well. Additionally, you can reach out to a therapist to share your feelings and the struggles that you experience as someone who has a loved one diagnosed with bipolar disorder. A way you can further educate yourself on bipolar disorder is to visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website. NAMI provides credible information for those with loved ones diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and suggests you can try the following to help a family member or friend with bipolar disorder:

  • Recognizing and preventing serious mood episodes/ mood swings
  • Being able to recognize the warning signs of mania and depression
  • Making sure your loved one is taking their medication regularly and consistently (as directed)
  • Communicating and making time to talk to your loved one about their feelings when they feel ready
  • Remaining calm and rational with your loved one
  • Keeping a positive attitude and a clear mind to help your loved one the best you can
  • Reaching out for psychological support for you and your loved one

If you or someone you know is struggling with bipolar 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 http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources: https://nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder/Support#:~:text=NAMI%20and%20NAMI%20Affiliates%20are%20there%20to%20provide,about%20bipolar%20disorder%20or%20finding%20support%20and%20resources.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/insight-is-2020/201206/bipolar-disorder-loving-someone-who-is-manic-depressive

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955#:~:text=Both%20a%20manic%20and%20a%20hypomanic%20episode%20include,sprees%2C%20taking%20sexual%20risks%20or%20making%20foolish%20investments

Image Source: https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=Yu1OAouO&id=1B4D516A8A17EF4EE248CCCBAD2EC46DA7E6585F&thid=OIP.Yu1OAouOT_6cQM6Ql4oDYQHaLW&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fi.pinimg.com%2foriginals%2f13%2fbb%2f82%2f13bb82bf3d3c1b28a560d610c2d17fad.jpg&exph=1128&expw=736&q=loving+someone+with+bipolar+disorder&simid=608040637685434558&ck=DC1BFB40548A0FA375883D67352A1C1F&selectedIndex=21&FORM=IRPRST&ajaxhist=0

COVID-19 and Suicide

By: Isabelle Siegel

The COVID-19 epidemic quickly became an international crisis, impacting each and every one of us to varying degrees. Even for those of us who do not personally know someone affected with COVID-19, the mental health toll that the virus is taking is pervasive. In fact, calls to one national mental health hotline have increased by 1000% in April alone. 

One unfortunate secondary consequence of COVID-19 and its effects on public mental health is increased suicide risk: It is predicted that the suicide rate will drastically increase in the coming months. This is likely the result of the anxiety surrounding COVID-19, coupled with resulting economic stress and social distancing.

National Anxiety

The threat of COVID-19 serves as an immense stressor, having the potential to increase the rates of onset of mental health conditions and/or to exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions. According to the Washington Post, nearly half of Americans cited COVID-19 as being harmful to their mental health.

Economic Stress

COVID-19 has brought about an unprecedented economic crisis, with unemployment rates skyrocketing. Previous research has documented that suicide rates tend to increase by 1.6% for each percentage point increase in the unemployment rate. This means that with current unemployment rates estimated at around 15%, we may see a 24% increase in suicide rates.

Social Distancing

Increased suicide rates may also be an unintended consequence of social distancing measures. Ironically, what is keeping us physically safe and healthy may be putting our mental health at risk. Humans require connection to survive, especially in times of duress. In times of forced isolation, it is only natural that the risk of suicide will increase. Social distancing measures are also limiting access to community and religious support systems, as well as to mental health care—all of which have been demonstrated to lower suicide risk. 

How can suicide risk be addressed in the era of COVID-19?

Despite the stress associated with the COVID-19 crisis, measures can still be taken to lower suicide risk through awareness of risk factors, increased access to teletherapy, and maintaining social connections (via Zoom, FaceTime, etc.).

If you or a loved one appears to be at risk for anxiety, depression, or suicide, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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/

The Less Talked-About Side of OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

By: Isabelle Siegel

When thinking about OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), most people instinctively think of those who care about cleanliness and tidiness. In fact, it is not uncommon to use the phrase “I’m so OCD” to imply that one agonizes over neatness and order. This perception of OCD is not without reason, as many people with OCD do obsess over germs, contamination, and order and engage in excessive hand washing, cleaning, and ordering.

However, it is important to note that this is not the reality for many other sufferers of OCD. OCD is a wide-ranging disorder involving the presence of obsessions—“repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety”—and compulsions—repetitive behaviors performed to relieve the anxiety. These obsessions can take nearly any form, with contamination and order being only two of them. Some other common obsessions include thoughts about: losing control or going insane, harming oneself or others, unwanted sexual ideas or images, and/or religion. For example, it is well-documented that people with OCD may experience intrusive thoughts about homosexuality, pedophilia, violence and aggression, and/or suicide.

Many people with these less talked-about OCD “themes” take longer to realize that they have OCD because their symptoms are not in line with the stereotypical hand washing and tidying. These individuals often engage in different compulsive behaviors to alleviate anxiety. These behaviors may include mental compulsions such as repeated checking and rumination (that is, repetitively reviewing and evaluating one’s thoughts and their meanings). For example, the individual who obsesses about violence and aggression may repeatedly check that he/she has not unintentionally harmed those around him/her.

It is ultimately important to acknowledge this less talked-about side of OCD in order to encourage sufferers to acknowledge their symptoms and to guide them to get the treatment and help that they need. 

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from OCD, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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/

Sources:
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml
https://iocdf.org/about-ocd/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/overcoming-self-sabotage/201002/rumination-problem-solving-gone-wrong
Image Source:
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/obssessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd.htm

Dementia: What are the different dementia diagnoses?

Dementia: What are the different dementia diagnoses?

By: Keely Fell

Dementia is among one of the most prevalent conditions in individuals over 60. In 2019, a record 50 million individuals, worldwide, were living with a diagnosis of some form of dementia. Dementia is defined as a syndrome where there is major deterioration in memory, behavior, and thinking, which limits an individual’s ability to perform everyday tasks.

When diagnosing dementia, doctors will look at six areas of cognitive functioning. Those areas are:

  • Complex attention: Which is the area that refers to sustained focus and switching between tasks.
  • Learning and memory: This is the area that recalls recent and remote memory, as well as performing tasks.
  • Executive Function: This refers to skills such as prioritizing, paying attention, and planning.
  • Language: This refers to expression in written and spoken forms.
  • Perceptual-Motor Function: This understands shapes, directions, and locations.
  • And lastly, Social Cognition: Which refers to the ability to interact with others by recognizing facial expressions and body language.

Dementia is used as an umbrella term for many different sub-dementia disorders. The most common in the United States is, Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is when the neurons in the brain are slowly decaying overtime causing cognitive deficits in memory, and over time total mental ability. After Alzheimer’s the next most common dementia diagnosis is Vascular Dementia. Vascular dementia develops when the brain is deprived of essential nutrients and oxygen. Over time an individual with Vascular Dementia may experience mental slowness, aphasia, and trouble with basic functions such as, walking or urinating. This is different from Alzheimer’s because with Vascular Dementia, an individual is experience problems in memory retrieval. Dementia with Lewy Bodies is a type of dementia that has a combination of features of both Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Generally, an individual diagnosed with Dementia with Lewy Bodies may experience muscle symptoms that are accompanied by cognitive deficits as well. Less common than most other dementias is Frontotemporal Lobar Dementia. This dementia appears with behavior and language changes.  Frontotemporal Lobar Dementia is caused by progressive nerve cell loss in the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes.

A dementia diagnosis can be hard, and understanding how it affects the brain can help with coping with a diagnosis.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, 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.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia/types-of-dementia/frontotemporal-dementia                                                                                    https://www.asccare.com/5-interesting-facts-dementia/                                              https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dementia https://www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers/article/whatdementia?gclid=Cj0KCQiAkePyBRCEARIsAMy5Scsycdvh3p-rWx10ZmnEFZCbjdCY8f6JnSc4vJKHO9EO7qiuqshYqHMaAugEEALw_wcB

Image Source:

https://www.dfwsheridan.org/types-dementia