Grief: Losing a Parent to Suicide

Grief: Losing a Parent to Suicide

By Emily Ferrer

Suicidal thoughts are one of the most dreadful experiences one can go through and it is even more dreadful when the act of suicide is carried out by someone you love. The impact of suicidal thoughts on an individual is grueling, painful, and terrifying. However, many people tend to forget about the terrifying and painful part that the individual’s family and friends go through as well. The attention around suicide is always so focused on the suicidal individual that many people forget about the impact it can have on their loved ones. In fact, have you ever thought about losing a parent to suicide? It may seem horrifying and extraordinary; but it is more common than you think. Individuals who are at most risk to die by suicide are adults over the age of 45. More specifically, women are most at risk between the ages of 45-54 and men are most at risk ages 85 and older[1]. Many people may find this shocking, as the media portrays suicide rates to be the most high in adolescents and teens, but this is just not the case. Older individuals usually have undiagnosed or untreated depression and anxiety, a lack of frequent social interactions, suffer from underlying illnesses that may increase their attempt to be more successful, and/or suffer from chronic illnesses that may increase their depression and anxiety[2].

As saddening as these statistics are, it is even worse to see that between 7,000 and 12,000 children lose a parent to suicide every year[3]. It is devastating for children to experience such a traumatic event in their lives, especially someone they loved, admired, and relied on unconditionally. Losing a parent to suicide is not like normal grief that you experience after losing someone to a physical illness or accident. Losing a parent to suicide is grieving on steroids. “Grief comes in waves and grief from suicide comes in tsunami waves”, is great quote that explains how dreadful suicide grief can feel. Children of parents who died by suicide can experience an enormous range of emotions that can cause them to feel very confused. These emotions include[4]:

  • Shock                              – Panic                                       – Despair
  • Confusion                       – Intense anger                          – Disgust
  • Denial                             – Intense sadness                      – Feelings of abandonment or rejection

It is important to know that losing a parent to suicide is extremely unfortunate and traumatic. The emotions tied to suicide grief are understandable and completely normal. Staying close to family and friends during such a difficult time is crucial and can enormously help with healing. It is also critical to feel the emotions you experience and to not turn them away as it is a part of the healing process. Seeking professional help if you are feeling overwhelmed with these emotions or experiencing them for a long time is also is a good way to heal in the healthiest way possible.

If you or someone you know is grieving a lost one due to suicide, 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com


Sources:

[1] https://www.samhsa.gov/suicide/at-risk#:~:text=Adults%20Over%20the%20Age%20of%2045&text=Eighty%20percent%20of%20all%20deaths,and%20access%20to%20lethal%20means.

[2] https://www.prb.org/resources/in-u-s-who-is-at-greatest-risk-for-suicides/

[3] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/children_who_lose_a_parent_to_suicide_more_likely_to_die_the_same_way#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%2C%20each,to%20suicide%2C%20the%20researchers%20estimate.

[4] https://psychcentral.com/lib/an-open-letter-to-children-who-lose-a-parent-to-suicide#mental-health-effects

Deep Brain Stimulation and Electroconvulsive Therapy: What are they?

Deep Brain Stimulation and Electroconvulsive Therapy: What are they?

By Emily Ferrer

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a brain surgery involving the implantation of electrodes in certain areas of the brain to treat different movement disorders such as OCD, dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy as well as other disorders such as depression and drug addiction[1]. These electrodes produce electrical impulses to regulate certain brain functions[2] and are controlled by a pacemaker-like device. This pacemaker is placed in your chest with a wire that runs from the pacemaker to the electrodes that were inserted into your brain[3]. The parts of the brain that the electrodes are inserted into are specific to the patient and their specific symptoms. For example, for a patient who suffers from severe OCD the electrodes would be placed in an area of the brain called the ventral capsule/ventral striatum, which has been found to be very effective for patients suffering from treatment resistant OCD at about a 61.5% positive response rate[4].

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a medical treatment usually preformed on patients who suffer from severe clinical depression and are treatment resistant to other options to help their condition[5]. The treatment involves small electric currents being passed externally through the patient’s skull between the voltage ranges of 180 to 460 volts. While there is still much controversy and incorrectly portrayed media about this procedure, it is significantly safer today than it was almost 100 years ago. The patient is put under general anesthesia at a hospital during the entire treatment and wakes up after not feeling anything from the procedure. The only thing patients feel after the completion of the treatment is an increase in positive mood. A study done in 2007 revealed that out of the patients who did and did not receive ECT for their treatment resistant depression, 71% of the participants in the experimental group, that received ECT,  found they had a positive response. This is significant when compared to the control group, who did not receive ECT, where only 28% of the participants found they had a positive response to just antidepressant medication[6].  ECT has gained a lot of popularity recently because of how quickly and effectively you feel the effects after a few treatments. The positive effects increase even more quickly when combined with psychotherapy in between the ECT treatments.

If you or someone you know is experiencing OCD or major depressive disorder and are interesting in pursuing these treatments, 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com


Sources:

[1] https://atm.amegroups.com/article/view/16268/html

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/deep-brain-stimulation/about/pac-20384562

[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/deep-brain-stimulation/about/pac-20384562

[4] https://iocdf.org/expert-opinions/expert-opinion-dbs/#:~:text=Another%20important%20development%20for%20treatment,targeted%20areas%20of%20the%20brain.

[5] https://www.webmd.com/depression/electroconvulsive-therapy

[6] https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.1997.tb09926.x

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): What is SAD?

            Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): What is SAD?

By: Julissa Acebo

Do you ever feel down, or not like your usual self during the shorter days in the fall and winter, and then begin to feel better in the spring and summer with longer daylight hours? This can be a sign of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression. So what exactly is SAD? According to Mayo Clinic, it is a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs in climates where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year. These mood changes begin and end when the seasons change. This can affect the way you think, feel, and handle daily activities.

Winter-Pattern SAD or Winter Depression

  • More common
  • Symptoms start in the late fall or early winter and go away during the spring and summer
  • Symptoms include oversleeping, overeating, weight gain, and social withdrawal

Summer-Pattern SAD or Summer Depression

  • Less common
  • Depressive episodes during the spring and summer months
  • Symptoms include trouble sleeping, poor appetite, anxiety, and episodes of violent behavior

If you or someone you know is experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/seasonal-affective-disorder

Retirement: The Pros and Cons of Early Retirement

Retirement: The Pros and Cons of Early Retirement

By Emily Ferrer

Retirement is thought to be one of the most admirable events that happen in one’s life. However, there is also a darker side to retirement that many people do not know about when making the big decision to take their 401K savings investment and leave their jobs. Retirement, although seemingly glamorous and freeing, can also be extremely lonely, unfulfilling, and cause major financial issues. The average age of retirement in the U.S. is 63 years[1] and the average lifespan of a person in the U.S. is 79.1 years[2].  This means that many people, on average, have 16 more years after retirement to accomplish everything they have always wanted to do. While 16 years may not seem like a very long time to some people, it can feel extremely long to many retired individuals who only make $1,620 a month through social security, become empty nesters in their homes, or have lost their spouse or friends to old age and illness. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the pros and cons before retiring from your job.

Pros:

  • May improve physical health by having more time to exercise, get outside, and eat healthier[3]
  • More time to travel
  • More time to pursue passions
  • More time for friend and family relationships

Cons:

  • May lead to decline in mental health (e.g. depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, panic)
  • May lead to feelings of loneliness and boredom
  • Feelings of loss of purpose in life
  • Lack of daily structure
  • Social Security benefits will be smaller if retiring earlier than your “full retirement age”[4]
  • Losing employer-sponsored health benefits
  • Outliving your savings

It is important to be aware of the issues that retiring early may cause. After retirement, it is vital to keep an active life style, both mentally and physically. This includes keeping up with preventive care, exercising regularly, eating and drinking healthily, staying social with friends and family, and finding a new purpose in life[5]. However, if you are struggling mentally due to early retirement, it is vital to seek professional treatment to avoid any more serious symptoms.

If you or someone you know is struggling with retirement and/or depression, 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com


[1] https://www.forbes.com/advisor/retirement/average-retirement-age/#:~:text=While%20the%20average%20U.S.%20retirement,retirement%20benefit%20is%20roughly%20%241%2C620.

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vsrr/vsrr023.pdf

[3] https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/073114/pros-and-mostly-cons-early-retirement.asp#:~:text=Pros%20of%20retiring%20early%20include,depressing%20effect%20on%20mental%20health.

[4] https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/073114/pros-and-mostly-cons-early-retirement.asp#:~:text=Pros%20of%20retiring%20early%20include,depressing%20effect%20on%20mental%20health.

[5] https://www.bankerslife.com/insights/healthy-aging/9-healthy-habits-for-healthy-retirement/

Avoidant Attachment Style: In Relationships

Avoidant Attachment Style: In Relationships

By: Brianna Richardson

Avoidant Attachment Style

Bowlby conceptualized four attachment styles that result from a child’s relationship with their primary caregiver. One of these three attachment styles is known as avoidant (also known as dismissive) attachment style. A child develops avoidant (dismissive) attachment style, when their primary caregiver is emotionally unavailable, or unresponsive to their child’s emotional needs.

Avoidant attachment style develops in children when his/her primary caregiver neglects or discourages their child’s outward expression of emotions.

This can look like:                                                                           

  • Minimizing the child’s feelings.
  • Mocking the child while he or she is crying.
  • Ignoring the child’s expressions of emotion.
  • Displaying annoyance towards the child’s expressions of emotion.
  • Rarely or never displaying affection.

How Avoidant Attachment Effects Relationships

As a result of a parent’s disregard for their child’s emotions, their child may portray avoidant attachment style by…

  • Detaching from their emotions and feelings.
  • Refusing to rely on anyone for emotional or physical support.
  • Distrusting others.

This can cause difficulty in forming new or in preexisting relationships during adulthood. Here are some examples…

  • Avoiding emotional closeness within their relationships.
  • Refusing emotional or physical help from partners.
  • Withdrawing during times of distress or during difficult conversations.
  • Never opening up about personal hardships or emotions.

If you or someone you know wants couples counseling 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/what-is-avoidant-attachmentources

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/avoidant-attachment#what-is-it

Bipolar Disorder: What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder: What is Bipolar Disorder?

By Lynette Rivas

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric health disorder that causes changes to an individual’s mood, energy, and their ability to function. Bipolar disorder is accompanied by mood episodes that can last distinct periods of times, such as days or weeks. This disorder is common among families where 80% to 90% of individuals with bipolar disorder have a relative with the same diagnosis.

Mood episodes are categorized as manic, hypomanic, or depressive. A manic or hypomanic episode is when the individual is abnormally happy or in an irritable mood for an extended period of time, that is at least one week. These episodes can also include a decreased need for sleep, faster speech, uncontrollable racing thoughts, distractibility, and/or increased risky behavior. To be considered an episode, these behaviors must represent a change from the individual’s usual behavior and the symptoms must be severe enough to cause dysfunction at work or in social activities.

A hypomanic episode is less severe than a manic episode. The symptoms need to only last for at least four days and they do not cause dysfunction in daily life. A depressive episode must be at least two weeks long and include an intense feeling of sadness, loss of interest in activities, feelings of worthlessness, increased or decreased sleep, restlessness, and/or difficulty concentrating. These symptoms must also be a change from the individual’s usual behavior.

There are three types of bipolar disorders which include: bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder. 

Bipolar I

Bipolar I disorder is when the individual has had at least one manic episode that may be followed by a hypomanic or a major depressive episode.

Bipolar II

Bipolar II disorder is when the individual has had at least one major depressive episode and one hypomanic episode, but has never experienced a manic episode.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder is when the individual has had at least two years, in adolescence, where there have been many periods of hypomania and depressive symptoms.

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition that is treatable with medications and psychotherapy, so it is important to seek treatment from a mental health professional if you experience any of these symptoms.

If you or someone you know is experiencing manic, hypomanic, and/or depressive episodes 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355955

https://psychiatry.org/patients-families/bipolar-disorders/what-are-bipolar-disorders

https://www.istockphoto.com/illustrations/bipolar-disorder

ADHD: Gender Disparities in ADHD Diagnoses

ADHD: Gender Disparities in ADHD Diagnoses

By Jackie Molan

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsive behaviors, difficulty paying attention, and high distractibility. ADHD is one of the most common disorders of childhood, but boys are much more readily diagnosed than girls. It is believed that the prevalence of ADHD across genders is approximately equal, even though formal diagnoses strongly favor boys. Females are often underdiagnosed with ADHD and misdiagnosed with other disorders, such as bipolar, depression, and anxiety. The symptom profile for ADHD is the same across genders, but the behavioral presentation of symptoms tends to differ greatly.

Females are more likely to exhibit more internalized behavioral symptoms, such as:

  • Daydreaming
  • Losing focus
  • Forgetfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Impatience
  • Low self-esteem
  • People-pleasing
  • Deep emotional reactions/overwhelm

Males, on the other hand, often display more external behaviors, such as:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Interrupting people during conversations
  • Losing items often
  • Anger outbursts

The external manifestation of ADHD symptoms makes the disorder more likely to be noticed in young boys by parents, teachers, and peers. Since young girls usually do not show such external symptoms, they tend to not receive a formal ADHD diagnosis until much later in life (if at all).

Regardless of gender, if you think you are experiencing any combination of ADHD symptoms, it is important to seek help from a mental health provider. A formal diagnosis from a professional can allow you to effectively manage your symptoms and improve daily functioning.

If you or someone you know is struggling with ADHD, 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/basics/adhd

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rethinking-adult-adhd/202203/why-adhd-in-women-is-so-often-overlooked

https://psychcentral.com/adhd/adhd-and-gender#recap

https://www.verywellhealth.com/add-vs-adhd-5193759

Parasomnia: Nightmares in Adults

Parasomnia: Nightmares in Adults

By Lynette Rivas

Nightmares are supposed to diminish as you grow up, right? While this is true for most of the population, it is not the case for some individuals. Research shows that between 2% and 8% of the adult population experiences frequent and distressing nightmares, otherwise known as parasomnia.

Nightmares are realistic and vividly disturbing dreams that awaken you from sleep. They most often occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is when most dreaming takes place, and occur closer to morning hours. Nightmares may include:

  • Vivid and upsetting dreams
  • Dreams involving threats to safety
  • Being awoken from the dream
  • Feeling anxious, scared, or sad as a result from the dream
  • Not being able to fall back to sleep due to the dream

For adults, nightmares are often spontaneous, but for some, there may be an underlying issue that can be used to explain these dreams. Nightmares can be triggered by stress, trauma, sleep deprivation, substance abuse, medications, or by simply watching a scary movie. Although nightmares occur occasionally compared to normal dreams, they are considered a disorder if they:

  • Occur frequently
  • Cause major distress throughout the day, such as anxiety or fear
  • Cause problems with concentration or memory
  • Cause daytime sleepiness

If these symptoms are occurring, then it is time to consult a doctor about possible treatments. The doctor will determine if the solution is through treatments and medication, or will give a referral to a psychologist or psychotherapist. Debilitating and frequent nightmares, or parasomnia, is a serious condition that can alter an individual’s life, so it is important to seek help if they occur.

If you or someone you know is experiencing debilitating/frequent nightmares 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nightmare-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353515

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/nightmares-in-adults#:~:text=Nightmares%20in%20adults%20can%20be,to%20have%20the%20condition%20themselves.

https://iconscout.com/illustration/nocturnal-panic-attack-5222908

Family Therapy: Reasons to Seek Treatment & What to Expect

Family Therapy: Reasons to Seek Treatment & What to Expect

By Jackie Molan

Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy aimed at improving communication and relationships within a family unit. The therapeutic environment offers a safe and confidential space for family members to express thoughts and feelings that they might otherwise be uncomfortable sharing. Family therapy is usually about 12 sessions in length, allowing the therapist to follow a method with a clear end goal that is understood by each family member. Even though this is a short-term type of therapy, it can teach skills and coping strategies that can be used to remedy family problems even after the course of treatment has ended.

Family therapy is typically sought out by families experiencing one or more of the following issues:

  • Parent/child conflict
  • Child behavioral problems
  • Financial stress
  • Grief
  • Anger issues
  • Communication difficulties
  • A family member’s substance abuse or mental illness (depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc.) is negatively impacting the rest of the family

It is important to know what to expect when starting family therapy. During the first session, the therapist will likely want to meet with the family as a group in order to gather information about the issue and see how family roles and dynamics operate. In the subsequent sessions, they may sometimes choose to meet with each family member individually to focus more on personal considerations. Overall, you can expect to gain the skills to:

  • Identify strengths and weaknesses within the family
  • Learn to effectively express emotions with family members
  • Analyze existing factors that may contribute to both present and future conflicts, such as family roles

Family stressors can turn into damaging problems if they are not addressed in a timely fashion. Family therapy provides the tools needed to restore a dysfunctional family to a more healthy, unified, and empathetic unit.

If you or someone you know is seeking family therapy, 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.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/family-therapy/about/pac-20385237

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/marriage-and-family-therapy

https://www.123rf.com/clipart-vector/family_therapy.html

Suicide: What is Suicide Grief?

Suicide: What is Suicide Grief

By Lynette Rivas

At some point in almost everyone’s life, they will experience losing a loved one, which can then be followed by grief. But what about losing your loved one to suicide? This type of grief is known as suicide grief, where an individual feels both despair and guilt after losing a loved one to suicide.

It is important to note that not everyone experiences grief in the same way or for the same amount of time. The intensity and the complexity of grief are determined by the relationship with the person that died, how the death occurred, any existing coping strategies, and if support is available. 

Suicide grief can be a period of intense emotions for some people. These include emotions such as shock, guilt, anger, confusion, and/or despair. These emotions can even be accompanied by nightmares, flashbacks, social withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, and/or loss of interest. Anyone that is experiencing grief should keep in mind that it is important to:

  • Keep in touch – reaching out to loved ones, friends, and spiritual leaders
  • Grieve in your own manner – everyone does not grieve in the same way
  • Do not rush yourself – grieving can be as short as a few days to as long as a couple of months

If the grief is too much to bear and becomes too intense, then it is time to turn to a mental health provider for help. Unresolved grief can become difficult over time to the point where the individual is no longer able to go back to their normal life. If the individual thinks that they might be unusually depressed, it is important that they seek professional mental health help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with grief 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/in-depth/suicide/art-20044900

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/suicide-prevention/after-a-suicide-loss/suicide-and-grief#:~:text=Grief%20in%20response%20to%20suicide,the%20stigma%20associated%20with%20suicide.

Image Source:

https://time.com/6117708/grief-isolation/