Sleep Difficulties? Here are 5 questions that will Help You Figure Out Why.

By Sally Santos

We all have gone through this. We have had a long day and we can’t wait to get in to bed to rest. But the moment you rest your head on the pillow you find yourself wide awake and staring at the ceiling. So then you ask yourself “why can’t I fall asleep?” Consider these 5 questions:

Do you take your phone to bed?

  • We spend all day with our phones tending to every notification that we receive. That can become a habit. So when you bring your phone to bed and you see your phones light up you are going to want to see what it is. So every night before you go to bed try to keep your phone away from your bed or at least set it on Do Not Disturb Mode. This ensures that your phone won’t ring for every notification

How much caffeine are you drinking?

  • If you are someone who consumes a lot of caffeine during the day and find yourself not being able to sleep at night consider consuming less caffeine or stop completely.

What do you do during the evening?

  • Avoid having a late meal. If you eat right before you go to bed that might keep you awake because your body is working on digesting your food.
  • If you are someone who works out try working out earlier because after you work out you may have increased energy and that may prevent you from sleeping at night.
  • If possible try avoiding difficult conversations before bed.

How are you using your bed?

  • If you are someone who works or studies in bed, you may be confusing your body. Instead of your body associating your bed as a place for rest it is associating it as a place of work.

Is there something specific that you are worried about?

  • Maybe you are going through a stressful situation and the thought of it is keeping you up at night. Try learning a relaxation method such as breathing gently or meditation.
  • If the situation is serious seek professional help you problem-solve the situation. You might be helped by relaxation techniques, hypnosis or sleep medication.



If you or someone you know is having sleep issues, 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


ADHD: Stimulant Drug Abuse

By: Nicole Bieniasz

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a very common disorder that is associated with symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The most effective way of managing ADHD symptoms is through the intake of stimulants, typically known as Adderall, Vyvanse, or Concerta. As diagnosis of ADHD increase, the prescription of these stimulant drugs increases as well. Since ADHD is difficult to diagnose and understand, many individuals seek this opportunity to imitate symptoms of ADHD in order to retrieve stimulant prescriptions and abuse their use. The abuse of adderall by college students has always been common, but now stimulant abuse is entering the workplace as well. As the demands of jobs and personal lives increase, stimulants are being used to help people enhance productivity. Although this may sound ideal, taking stimulants when not necessary can lead to major health problems. The use of stimulants can easily turn into an addiction, where withdrawal from the drug can cause fatigue, depression, and disturbed sleep patterns. Use of high dosage of such drugs can also lead into very serious cardiovascular problems such as strokes. Various complications are likely to occur if stimulant drugs are being abused and taken with the oversight of a doctor.

Despite the abuse, those who are prescribed medication for ADHD or ADD have a very positive experience. With the appropriate dosage of medication, those who suffer from ADHD experience a reduced amount of fidgeting, impulsivity, and other hyperactive behaviors. The symptoms of ADHD lessen because stimulants allow brain chemicals to increase, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, producing a focused and calmed mindset. The benefits of these drugs are prominent when taken appropriately as directed by doctor. It is very important to understand how medications work and when they should and should not be used.

If you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and might be suffering from drug abuse, the psychiatrist, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling and Psychological Services can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit for more information.

Sleep Deprivation: What Inadequate Sleep Does to Our Body

By: Nicole Bieniasz

Are you sleeping eight hours every night? Consider yourself lucky! Our fast-paced environment has fooled us into believing we can successfully function with almost no sleep. What some people forget is that an adequate amount of sleep is necessary for maintaining positive mental and physical health because our bodies repair and restore themselves at that time. Interfering with this restoration by cutting back on sleep will eventually take a toll on an individual because the brain is not taking in new information or strengthening memories. Here are some examples of how shorter hours of sleep take a toll on our brains and affect functioning:

1. Slower Thought Process: Sleeping less than the 8 average hours necessary causes lower alertness and concentration, which impairs judgment. Making decisions and judging situations is very prominent and important in the workplace and at home.

2. Impaired Memory: When individuals do not allow their brains to restore during sleep, the nerve connections that are responsible for memories are not strengthened.

3. Difficulty Learning: Slower thought processing and difficulty learning restricts the individual from picking up any new information, which is essential for learning.

4. Problems with Mood: Lack of sleep not only hurts work performance and relationships, it is also capable of leading to problems with mood. Depression and anxiety are linked to poor sleeping habits.

To avoid these problems, here are some ways to get a good night sleep:

  • Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule
  • Avoid heavy meals before bed
  • Minimize caffeine intake especially 6 hours prior to sleep
  • Exercise
  • Minimize hot and cold temperatures, noise, and light when going to bed
  • Develop a regular bedtime

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have trouble sleeping, 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.

Relationship Style: What Your Relationship Says About Your Parents

By: Nicole Bieniasz

Did you know your parents shape the relationship you are in today? The partners we select and the relationships we pursue are dependent on the attachment styles we develop as children. Parents are the first human beings to whom children develop an emotional attachment, which then dictates the different attachment styles they have. Attachment is a reinforced process that develops when parents respond and attend to a child’s emotional needs. Some parents will rush to their child the moment they cry, while other parents completely dismiss the action. The relationship the parents decide to have with their child determines the attachment style the child will have and grow into as an adult. There are four primary attachment styles that can be beneficial or detrimental towards an individual’s relationship as an adult. Here are the four attachment styles:

1. Secure Attachment: Children who develop a secure attachment see their parents as a secure base. The child feels independent and will continue to explore without the mother’s presence. Someone who is securely attached can easily be comforted in the absence of the mother even when it is clear the child only wants the mother. Relationships for this kind of individual reflect the mother-child relationship. A relationship with someone with a secure attachment is a healthy relationship where the person is honest, open, independent, loving, and empathetic.

2. Anxious/Ambivalent Attachment: A child who has an anxious/ambivalent attachment shows distress when the mother is not present and is not easily comforted upon her return. A child relies on their mother to fulfill constant needs and becomes clingy if their needs are not constantly met. A relationship with an individual like this is the opposite of a secure attachment. A person with this attachment faces frequent break ups and complains about cold/distant relationships. Anxious attachments cause a person to constantly seek a partner that will complete them.

3. Avoidant Attachment: This attachment differs from the two previously discussed. Avoidant attachment is seen in children when the child is indifferent about the parent’s presence. The way this person responds to parents and strangers is the same. Being in a relationship with this kind of individual is very difficult because this individual is emotionally distant. Avoidant individuals invest little or no emotional energy and find it very hard to connect with others.

4. Disorganized Attachment: This is a combination of anxious and avoidant attachments. The child has no definitive way of relating to those they love because this was never presented by the parent. Relationships for this person are very complicated because this individual experiences emotional storms due to the uncertainty of whether they want to be too close or too distant from the person. This individual trusts the same person they feel will hurt them the most.

Each of these attachment styles differ in their own way and are more complicated than others. If you are concerned that you or your partner are having problems, 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 for more information.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-How to Transform Negative Thoughts into Positive Thoughts!- Bergen County, NJ

By: Michelle Dierna

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.”

-William James

 Life can consists of day to day challenges that most people can’t control. However, one thing we can control is how to adjust and alter our mind. While reading this one might think; well how am I supposed to adjust my mind to think positively, when I can’t control the negative feelings that come first? Some might say well, I don’t have this issue I wake up and I feel grateful and look forward to the day and tasks ahead. The people who positivethoughtswake up with negative thoughts tend to try and justify them, from observation. For example; “It’s raining today so it’s going to be horrible day at work” or “my mom said I was not allowed to use the internet all day today because I am being punished, so today is going to be the worst day ever at school!”. When negative thoughts control someone’s mind to this extent the individual automatically unconsciously starts their day with a negative attitude. They already have pre-conceived notions on of how their day is going to play out. This negative attitude may be caused by anxiety, depression, family issues, stress, and external factors.

A significant, thought to keep in mind is; not everything in life is black and white. Thus, “all or nothing” approaches are detrimental to our mental health. “Well if lose my job I will lose everything, it will be so hard to find another job and it’s not fair” – this correlates with negative thinking. Hypothetically inserting the “grey” in this context; is almost like a silver lining when it comes to positive thoughts. This could lead to potentially giving anyone a new outlook on the options they actually have and can control. Thus, change negative thinking into positive thinking. Life is ever changing; therefore, to lead an emotionally healthy life we need to have balanced emotions, even when life takes us on emotional roller coaster rides when we least expect it.

There are a few tips on how to switch negative thinking to positive thinking; No one is alone! When you change negative thoughts to positive thoughts it can lead to a more fulfilling life and a more positive perspective on your lifestyle, which hopefully leads to lifestyle changes. Here are some words of advice to change the” black and white” mentality and dive into the grey areas! It will help you have a more positive way of facing issues on a daily basis; which reduces the negative thoughts and produces positive thoughts.

Some tips:

* Try not to use words such as always, never, impossible, flawless and dreadful because all these words leave no room for flexibility. Words that have more room for explanation lead to balance.

 Some examples of negative thinking turned around:

• “I can be an intelligent person and still do something stupid.”

• “There are parts of my life I enjoy and there are parts of my life that create stress.”

• “My children bring me joy and they sometimes drive me crazy.”

• “I can love my wife, and still be angry with her sometimes.”

*“The most important word in each sentence is and. The word and suggests a balance, it paints a shade of gray in our lives.”

It is important to realize when negative/toxic thoughts come into your mind and have the ability to be aware and dive into those grey areas and change the thought patterns; before they ruin your day, week and months! Stay open- minded and explore the other options your mind can dwell on, this is what will enhance your overall mental health. Always look for the positive, sometimes it will be hard to find but the silver lining but it is there. Mind over matter!

If negative thoughts are controlling your life, therapy may help.  Feel free to contact the Bergen County, New Jersey or Manhattan offices of Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy at (201) 368-3700or (212) 722-1920.  Visit for more information.


1. Blackwill, Alex. “10 Steps for Transforming Negative Thoughts into Positive Beliefs.” The BridgeMaker 10 Steps for Transforming Negative Thoughts into Positive Beliefs Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov.

2. Bundrant, M. (2014). How I Turned My Miserable Life Around. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 16, 2014.

ADHD: Signs and Symptoms

By: Jillian Curry

While most children have some trouble sitting still or paying attention in school, children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, show a persistent pattern of inattention and hyperactivity across many different settings such as in school, at home, and on the playground.

Your child may be displaying symptoms of inattention if he/she shows difficulty remaining focused during play activities, lectures, and conversations, seems distracted when spoken to (even when there is no distraction present), and has difficulty following through on instructions because of a tendency to become sidetracked.

These symptoms of inattention may exist on their own and may suggest the possibility of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) with no signs of hyperactivity present. However, if this inattention is accompanied by symptoms of hyperactivity, the diagnosis of ADHD might be more accurate. Your child may be displaying symptoms of hyperactivity if he/she always seems to be fidgeting, is unable to stay still/seated, has difficulty waiting, and has a tendency to blurt things out or interrupt others.

To be considered ADHD, these symptoms must have been present before the age of 12 and must be significant enough that they impair daily functioning. If you are concerned that your child may be suffering from symptoms of ADHD, feel free to contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists for an evaluation.

Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services (201) 368-3700, (212) 722-1920

More detailed information can be found at

Source: National Institute of Mental Health