Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder

By: Julia Keys

It is typical to feel a bit nervous before public speaking or maybe a little anxious before a performance, however, for those with Social Anxiety Disorder, or SAD, even the smallest interactions with others can provoke feelings of extreme anxiety. Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by a strong and persistent fear of humiliation and embarrassment that could be caused by social situations. People with Social Anxiety Disorder struggle with feelings of self-consciousness that are produced by the possibility of judgement in social interactions. Oftentimes the distress caused by social situations can become so overwhelming for those with SAD that they begin to avoid everyday activities and responsibilities such as going to work, going to school, or picking up the phone.

Signs of Social Anxiety Disorder:

  • Anxiety about being with other people
  • Difficult time interacting with others, stuttering, trailing off, and reserved behavior are common
  • Self-consciousness in front of other people and feelings of embarrassment
  • Fear of being judged
  • Difficulty making and keeping friends
  • Blushing, sweating or trembling around other people
  • Other physical symptoms such as disorientation, shallow breath, diarrhea, muscle tension and upset stomach

Social Anxiety Disorder can be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both. A common affliction for those with SAD is the rumination that follows social interactions. New types of therapy are being developed to help those with SAD deal with this common symptom: post-event processing or PEP Mindfulness based therapies are aiming to target the feelings of shame, worry, and embarrassment that are caused by overanalyzing personal performance in social situations. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy helps people with SAD change unhealthy thought patterns that may be contributing to their anxiety. Medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds are often used in conjunction with psychotherapy. Social Anxiety Disorder affects over 19 million people across the US; however 35% of those suffering with social anxiety waited over ten years to seek treatment. Don’t hesitate to reach out and get the help you need.

If you or a loved one is struggling with social anxiety, do not hesitate to seek help by contacting Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.anxiety.org/social-anxiety-disorder-sad

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201904/the-one-dose-approach-help-social-anxiety-disorder

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

By: Julia Keys

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has been normalized and trivialized in society as a need for everything to be meticulously clean and organized when in reality it is a serious psychological disorder that can cause significant distress for those who have it. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by a pattern of uncontrollable reoccurring thoughts, known as obsessions, which can only be remedied by certain behaviors, known as compulsions. People with OCD are commonly depicted as being ultra-neat or afraid of germs, which is true for some people, but the way OCD expresses itself is unique to the individual.

There are several common themes that psychologists have determined when treating patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. One common theme is contamination. This may take on the literal meaning in which an object or place can be perceived as dirty, but it can also mean that contact with a person, place, or object will cause great harm. Checking is another typical behavior. One may check if something is safe or turned off over and over again. Checking can also express itself in the need for constant verbal reassurance, so a person with OCD may ask the same question over and over. People with OCD may be worried that they will suddenly lose control and hurt themselves or someone else. In efforts to qualm these obsessions, one may avoid certain places or people or have plans set in place that could prevent them from acting out these thoughts.

Common obsessions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
  • Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order

Common compulsions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
  • Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
  • Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting

When reading these lists one might think that these behaviors are relatively typical, however people with OCD spend an excessive amount of time and effort thinking about obsessive thoughts and preforming rituals to control them. A person with OCD may feel brief relief after preforming a compulsion, but they do not feel pleasure from such acts. Obsessions and compulsions are very difficult to control and may result in significant problems in one’s daily life or relationships.

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

Sources:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-ocd/201107/the-many-flavors-ocd

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Self Esteem: Low Self Esteem and Comparison

Self Esteem: Low Self Esteem and Comparison

Self Esteem: Low Self Esteem and Comparison

By: Julia Keys

It is easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others. We compare ourselves to others so often that they rarely even notice it. A social psychologist named Leon Festinger first proposed the social comparison theory in 1954 stating that humans look to others in order to evaluate their own self-image. Comparison is a necessary part of human cognition. We need to compare things in order to make choices. For example, imagine you are choosing between two different new cars to buy. One must compare the different traits of each car in order to make a well-rounded decision. Unlike cars, humans have unique and complex sets of experiences and genes, so comparing yourself to others isn’t logical. Unfairly comparing yourself to others is an unhealthy habit that can lead to low self-esteem, feelings of anxiety, and feelings of depression. Everyone has compared themselves to someone else at some point, but some people seem unusually preoccupied with it.

Here are some reasons why certain people tend to compare themselves to others frequently:

  • They feel like they have a lack of control over their life
  • Low self-esteem, low self-confidence, or low self-worth
  • History of being compared to a family member
  • Lack of self-knowledge/self-reflective skills

Ways to stop comparing yourself to others:

  • Limit social media use and when using, seek connection, not comparison
  • Take note of how often you compare yourself to others and mentally tell yourself to stop
  • Keep a journal with your own goals, aspirations, and self-reflections. Many times, people become so attached to certain ideals that they adopt from others that they forget to develop their own ideals. For example, if a child was told by his mother all his life that he must pursue a certain profession, they may be ignoring other career paths that they want to pursue. It is important to self-reflect so one can align their goals and behaviors to the wants and needs of their true selves.
  • If you do compare yourself, try to compare yourself to someone/something that is just slightly out of reach and well defined. When comparisons are general, one can get stuck in a rut of constant unfair comparisons instead of taking action and being able to achieve specific goals. Additionally, comparing yourself to something that is so out of reach can be discouraging. For example, if a woman compares body to an Olympic athlete, she is not setting a defined goal in order to be more like the athlete. In this case, it would be more helpful for the woman to aspire to be like her active friend who walks every day and schedule daily walks so she can exercise more.
  • Practice gratitude for your mind, body, spirit, and relationships
  • Only compare yourself to yourself, which is also known as internal validation. Internal validation is beneficial to your well-being and self-esteem.

If you or someone you know is struggling with low self-esteem or confidence issues, 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://blogs.psychcentral.com/childhood-neglect/2019/05/5-reasons-you-compare-yourself-to-others-and-how-to-stop-it/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201711/the-comparison-trap

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Stress and Anxiety: Differences Between the Two

Stress and Anxiety: Differences Between the Two

Stress and Anxiety: Differences Between the Two

By: Julia Keys

        It is normal to experience a certain degree of stress throughout the day, but when this stress becomes extreme, and with no discernible cause, it can start to become a problem.  It is important to distinguish the difference between everyday stress and clinical anxiety.

Although stress can be temporarily uncomfortable, it can motivate humans to get things done. There are two types of stress: eustress and distress. Eustress is beneficial to humans functioning. While it is not pleasurable in the moment, eustress contributes to a beneficial outcome. An example of eustress would be jitters before an exam or a particularly challenging workout. Eustress can enhance one’s performance. Distress, on the other hand, is a negative form of stress that is not usually beneficial to the experiencer. Some examples of distress could be legal problems or conflicts with a spouse.  Distress tends to negatively impact performance and can lead to feelings of anxiety or depression.

People with clinical anxiety such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), experience levels of distress and worrying that are more intense than everyday stress.  Whereas stress feels caused by external factors, anxiety tends to be generated internally. Oftentimes, people with anxiety will feel stress and anticipate negative outcomes before the anticipated event even happens.

Here are some key differences between stress and anxiety:

  • Stressor
    • Normal stress occurs in response to external stressors such as a fight with a friend or a job interview
    • People with anxiety oftentimes cannot find the source of their stress and therefore just getting through the day can be immensely stressful
  • Intensity
    • Stress is fleeting
    • Anxiety is ongoing and can last weeks, months, or even years
  • Symptoms
    • Stress is oftentimes accompanied by worrying, which subsides quickly
    • Anxiety can cause troubling symptoms such as dizziness, trembling, headaches and nausea
  • Impairment
    • Anxiety can be overwhelming and debilitating to the point where one may start to avoid necessary everyday activities that make them anxious

If you are struggling with anxiety, do not hesitate to seek help by contacting  Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hack-your-anxiety/201903/curious-about-the-difference-between-stress-and-anxiety

http://www.ulifeline.org/articles/439-anxiety-vs-anxiety-disorders

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Persuasion

Persuasion

By Crystal Tsui

Persuasion is the action or fact of convincing someone to do or believe something. It is used every day by individuals and even big corporations, whether it’s big adverts or a friend trying to get you to go see a concert with them. Persuasion and deception are often blurred; however, deception is the intent to “trick” someone into doing or believing something.

Some ways people persuade others are:

  • The authority bias: influenced by opinion or actions of people in a position of power.
  • Social proof: decide on how to behave by looking to what others are doing
  • Door-in-the-face technique: persuader begins with a large request and they will expect to be rejected. The persuader will ask for a smaller request (their intended goal) and rely on guilt for the victim to accept

Persuasion is used daily even if you are not aware of it. Adverts and sales people use persuasion for their job. However, you are the one doing the persuading and want to improve your skills; all you have to do is listen. Listening to the other person and always be on their side is the most important aspect of persuasion. Here are other ways to improve your persuading techniques:

  1. Be open to the recipient of the person you are trying to persuade. You want them to be relaxed
  2. Mirror their response. This gives the impression that their viewpoint has been fully received
  3. Understand their viewpoint on the subject
  4. Like the previous step, be more agreeable. People like agreeable people and they will be more willing to be accepting.
  5. Don’t use the word “but.” It negates all the previous effort on trying to be agreeable and open to their viewpoint.

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-new-teen-age/201905/psychological-persuasion-techniques-used-sexual-predators

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201310/want-be-more-persuasive-use-the-right-body-part-first

https://www.masscommunicationtalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Persuasion-Its-Components-Principles-and-Techniques.jpg

 

Am I Too Sensitive?

Am I Too Sensitive? 

Am I Too Sensitive?

By: Julia Keys

Has anyone ever said to you in passing, “you’re so sensitive”? Our society seems to shun sensitivity without truly understanding or appreciating it. Stereotypically, a “sensitive person” is portrayed as irrationally emotional or ready to cry at any moment. In reality, sensitivity is defined by psychologists as the amount someone reacts physically, emotionally, or mentally to external and internal stimuli. Researchers have actually coined a term for someone you may describe as “sensitive”: the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

Highly Sensitive People, (HSP), process their external and internal environments with more attention than typical people. About 20% of the population are estimated to be an HSP. Some evolutionary psychologists suggest that HSP evolved from people that needed to be hyper vigilant in their environments to survive. Nowadays, we do not need as much extra attention to survive, but HSP are still affected by their high level of sensitivity.

It is easy to think that HSP and introversion are interchangeable traits, however there are some key differences between the two that are important to understand. HSP are not always introverts, they may like being around other people, but certain social environments can be overwhelming to their senses. Also, introversion refers to one’s preference for spending time alone versus spending time with others while sensitivity is how one processes sensory input. Although some HSP are introverted, there are definitely a fair amount that are extroverted as well.

Signs of a Highly Sensitive Person

  • Easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby
  • Gets more anxious than typical people when there a lot to do in a short amount of time
  • Easily disturbed by violence or graphic images
  • Feels the need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where they can have relief from overstimulating environments
  • Makes it a high priority to arrange their life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations
  •  Notices or enjoys delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art
  • Has a rich and complex inner life
  • Was shy or sensitive as a small child

Being an HSP can sometimes cause distress. HSP can have feelings of anxiety or stress when they are in environments that are overstimulating. Certain environments that may be enjoyable for neurotypical people such as parties, outside markets, or concerts may present too much sensory input for an HSP to enjoy. As a result, some HSP may struggle with isolation or loneliness.

On the other hand, the Highly Sensitive Person can also benefit from their heightened sensitivities to stimuli. HSP tend to be observant and perceptive, picking up on small details that others would not. As a result, many HSP are highly creative and innovative. HSP are also naturally empathetic, making them sensitive to others’ emotions and needs. HSP that balance their attention between a healthy internal and external environment reach their highest potential.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the stress being a HSP may bring, and are seeking stress management, 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/live-life-creatively/201906/the-creative-power-the-highly-sensitive-person

https://hsperson.com/

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Bipolar Disorder: Signs of Mania and Depression

By: Julia Keys

      Bipolar Disorder is a psychological diagnosis that is characterized by the cycling of states of mania and depression. Mania can be described as an extreme elevation in mood while depression is an extremely low mood.

     There are two main diagnoses for people with bipolar disorder: Bipolar I and Bipolar II. People with Bipolar I experience the extremes of both mania and depression. Bipolar II involves milder and shorter manic episodes than Bipolar I, but still includes severe depressive episodes.

     There are two other lesser known types of bipolar disorder; cyclothymic disorder and bipolar disorder with mixed features. Cyclothymic disorder is a milder version of bipolar disorder where mood swings are still present, but are less severe. Bipolar disorder with mixed features is when a person experiences features of manic and depressive episodes at the same time.

Common features of a manic episode includes:

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Little concern for the consequences of actions
  • Racing thoughts
  • Fast speech
  • Impulsivity
  • Sleeping very little
  • Sometimes delusions and hallucinations

Common features of a depressive episode includes:

  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Eating too much or eating too little
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of pleasure in activities that were previously pleasurable
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you or someone you know is struggling with bipolar disorder, please contact Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to a licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Source:

https://psychcentral.com/lib/phases-of-bipolar-disorder/

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Obsessive Preoccupation with Perfect Health

Obsessive Preoccupation with Perfect Health

By: Toniann Seals

Everyone has heard of the phrase, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing.” Of course, it is not true in all situations, however with healthy living it may be.

Ways to stay healthy:

  1. Exercising daily
  2. Eating regularly
  3. Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet
  4. Walking/taking the stairs
  5. Improving strength
  6. Eating organic food

If you take these behaviors to an extreme, it could potentially become negative both physically and mentally. Chronic fatigue or body image issues may arise. If exercising gets in the way of daily activities and causes your energy to decline afterward you may need to cut down. Likewise, eating healthy food is amazing for the body; however excessive dieting, calorie counting, and fasting can lead to eating disorders and other mental illnesses.

This could also negatively impact family and friends as your lifestyle could possibly put them in a position where they feel the need to keep up with you.

Patience, as well as understanding that perfection should not be the “goal,” can erase any bad thoughts or influences. Work hard, yet take care of your mental and physical health. Moderation and balance are necessary for a healthy life.

If you or someone you know is dealing with unhealthy lifestyle habits or an eating disorder, speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

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Relationships: Toxic and Unhealthy

Relationships: Toxic and Unhealthy

By Toniann Seals

There are numerous signs of a toxic relationship that can help you identify the problem area. Here we focus on romantic relationships. Hopefully these signs will help anyone reading come to the realization that they may be in an unhealthy relationship and know there is a way out.

1. Your partner never compromises:

They seem to disregard your opinion or not allow your input in decision making as a couple.

2. Your partner is overly competitive:

They always try to go one step ahead of you to become more successful or they do not celebrate your accomplishments out of jealousy.

3. You are uncomfortable being yourself:

They make you feel like you have to act differently in front of them and throw away your old self.

4. Bullying is involved:

They embarrass you in front of your peers, tell you that you are never going to be good enough, or yell and fight anytime they are unhappy with you.

5. Your partner isolates you from family and friends:

They convince you that your family and/or friends are bad for you, feed you lies about them, or do not allow any interaction outside of the relationship.

6. Jealousy

They check your phone, track your location, and question your relationships with other people.

Although ending a toxic or abusive relationship is sometimes hard, it is necessary. Take note of these types of relationships and never settle for something that causes discomfort or unhappiness. Seek help when needed whether it is from friends and family or a professional.

If you or someone you know is suffering in an unhealthy relationship, 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 http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:

https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20976691,00.html?slide=117654#117654

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Anxiety: Test Taking

Anxiety: Test Taking

By Toniann Seals

Many students are exceptional in class, but find themselves below average on tests (both in class and standardized). How can the student who is continuously participating, going to extra tutoring sessions and always asking questions failing tests? There is a chance they are suffering from test taking anxiety.

Symptoms of test anxiety

While testing:

  • Shaking
  • Nausea
  • Forgetfulness
  • Hot flashes

Effects of test anxiety

  • Feelings of not being good enough
  • Feeling as though you are a failure
  • Negative thoughts
  • Lack of self esteem

Overcoming test anxiety is something that can be handled with a professional, however there are ways you can help yourself in the meantime.

Coping mechanisms

  • Begin studying early so you feel more confident and less anxious
  • Have open communication with your teacher so they understand what you are going through
  • Get enough sleep the night before
  • Meditation can help anxiety
  • Create affirmations and positive thoughts where you picture yourself doing well

If you or someone you know is dealing with anxiety speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Source:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/expert-answers/test-anxiety/faq-20058195

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