Drug Abuse During Covid-19

By: Catherine Cain

The stress and uncertainty Covid-19 brings is especially dangerous to those who abuse drugs or alcohol. The increased stress, mass layoffs and unemployment, and social distancing restrictions have caused a major uptick in the number of people who self-reported drug use over the last six months. Relying on these substances to make it through a day is not only detrimental to your mental health, but puts undue stress on your body’s immune system, ultimately weakening your ability to fight off infections and viruses.

Those who smoke or vape, whether marijuana or tobacco, are at a higher risk for contracting Covid-19 and may experience severe symptoms. Smoking and vaping lead to lung damage, as does Covid-19, which is why it is especially important not to let your addiction go unchecked.

Addiction may be hard to overcome, but it is not impossible. Covid-19 creates an environment where your addiction can progress quickly, because of the reduced social interactions and prolonged periods of isolation.

Here are some ways to help combat your addiction:

Contact a medical provider immediately.

Ask about medication to combat cravings.

Include your family/friends, so you have someone to hold you accountable.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, 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://medicine.umich.edu/dept/psychiatry/michigan-psychiatry-resources-covid-19/specific-mental-health-conditions/addiction-substance-use-recovery-during-covid-19-pandemic

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lipiroy/2020/03/16/addiction-treatment-facilities-are-they-prepared-for-covid-19/#3bf8b57044ea

OCD: Exposure Therapy and Medication

OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and is a chronic, long-term disorder in which a person has uncontrollable reoccurring thoughts and/or behaviors that take over and are constantly repeated. These repetitions can take over one’s life; all they can focus on are one’s obsessions and nothing else. Obsessions are defined as “repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety,” while compulsions are “repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to their obsessions.” It’s a common disorder affecting about 1% of the U.S. on any given year, with a lifetime prevalence of OCD among U.S. adults falling at 2.3%. Symptoms can present themselves in a range of mild to serious, with about ½ of OCD cases falling under serious.

Exposure and Response Prevention, also known as ERP therapy, is a common form of treatment for individuals with OCD, but it can be very harsh and relentless. In simple terms, ERP therapy takes the OCD patient and places them at the forefront of their fears so that they confront them head on, with no protection. However, when doing this they’re guided by a trained therapist to ensure they don’t resort to their compulsive behaviors. An example of this type of therapy would be having a patient who suffers from germaphobia stick their hands in dirty water without washing their hands after. Over time they’re usually able to adapt to and overcome their fears, but it takes a lot of hard work. Unfortunately, this type of therapy doesn’t work for everyone and many individuals fighting OCD need medication instead, or a combination of both. Some common OCD medications are Zoloft, Prozac, and Luvox. These are all anti-depressants approved by the FDA to treat OCD.

If you or someone you know is struggling with obsessive compulsive 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://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/exposure-and-response-prevention

Anxiety and Gastrointestinal Problems

By Kaitlyn Choi

Anxiety can manifest itself in many distinctive ways, including physical, mental, and emotional indications. It is often debilitating for individuals who experience anxiety; consequently, anxiety disorders impact quality of life and functioning in everyday activities. They are commonly associated with gastrointestinal problems.

The digestive tract is hypersensitive to change within and outside of the body. There are many ways in which stress and anxiety can create adverse effects in one’s digestive system. Anxiety causes high levels of arousal; the body can send signals to the stomach to stimulate the fight or flight response. Activation of the fight or flight response slows down processes that are unnecessary for escaping danger, one of them being the digestive system.

This response can alter the way that the stomach processes and digests food, which, in turn, causes nausea, vomiting, and indigestion. As anxiety is a long-term, chronic issue, these problems may accumulate and negatively affect the digestive tract over long periods of time. Although many individuals experience nausea and digestive problems, not all vomit. Vomiting usually occurs in cases of extreme anxiety. On the other hand, throwing up may be a conscious process because nausea creates a compelled regurgitation response, encouraging the body to vomit.

It is important that we debunk the myth that anxiety consists of just emotional and mental symptoms. In fact, many individuals experience both physical and mental discomfort.

If you or someone you know needs support with their mental illness, 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/anxiety https://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/symptoms/digestive-problems https://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/symptoms/vomiting

Image Source:
https://www.almrsal.com/post/866965



Marriage During Covid-19

By: Sarah Cohen

During Coronavirus, a lot of extra strain and anxiety have been placed on marriages. While research has shown that disasters uncover strengths in relationships it can also reveal issues. Even in the best relationships, we still always need a little bit of space from each other. 

Since Coronavirus has begun, applications for divorce have risen greatly in the Chinese city of Xi’an. While divorce rates do increase during times of stress, this is unprecedented. There aren’t just changes in routine and close contact without breaks, there are many other factors influencing marital stress during these times. An increased amount of new anxiety about health and keeping safe from Covid-19, unemployment and therefore financial insecurity, caring for elderly relatives with reduced strength immune systems, lacking social connection outside of the spouse, dealing with childcare and school issues, or simply managing chores and uncertainty about what will be in the future are just a few of the issues that could be causing marital stress. In addition, couples may be using different coping mechanisms during stressful times which clash with the other spouse. One might be active and attempt to be cheerful while the other might be hopeless and passive.

There are many ways to fight against this marital strain, here are a couple ways to combat it. By picking your battles you can limit the amount of arguments and issues you create in the home. Even further, you can put a time limit on your arguments in order for them not to affect every moment of the day, when the time limit is up you can put it all behind you. Create some alone time, when you make boundaries stick to them. Another way to get some alone time and be active is to exercise, even just by taking a walk. Speaking to other people over the phone or video chat so your spouse isn’t the only person you talk to is another good way to make sure you can have a little break. Lastly, focus on survival during these difficult times not creating issues and rifts between you and your partner.

If you or someone you know needs support with their marriage, 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/ .

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-discomfort-zone/202004/will-coronavirus-infect-your-marriage

https://time.com/5811146/coronavirus-married-relationship/

Teens During COVID-19

Teens During COVID-19

By: Alexa Greenbaum 

The COVID-19 crisis, social distancing, and government-mandated lockdowns have taken a toll on teenagers. For teenagers and young adults, friends are hugely important, and separation from their peers can be very challenging as bonding with peers is one of the essential developmental tasks of adolescents. During this time, parents need to understand and acknowledge their frustrations over being cut off from seeing friends. To help teens during this difficult time, adults should listen to what they’re feeling, validate those feelings, and then be direct about how you can work together to make this situation bearable. 

For most teens, it can be painful to lose experiences such as sports seasons, proms, plays, and graduations. Parents can help their teen children by loosening rules to help compensate for the socializing time lost with the school closing. For example, parents can allow their children to spend more time on social media, have more downtime, and allow teens to socially distance with their friends.

Teenagers can also benefit from getting adequate sleep, keeping a consistent sleep schedule, eating healthy meals, and exercising regularly. Healthy habits can increase and maintain positive moods. Healthy habits also help teens who are struggling with mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression and improve their ability to fulfill academic expectations. 

Parents who give teens room to share their feelings, listen to them without judgment, reassure them that everything will work out, and help them look forward to future plans and goals are other ways to support teens.  Parents should also watch for signs if their teenage child is struggling and may need additional support.

If you or someone you know is struggling during COVID-19 or another crisis, 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://childmind.org/article/supporting-teenagers-and-young-adults-during-the-coronavirus

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/Teens-and-COVID-19.aspx

Image Source: 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/keeping-teens-home-and-away-from-friends-during-covid-19

COVID-19: Teens in a Stressful Time

COVID-19: Teens in a Stressful Time

By: Alexa Greenbaum 

The COVID-19 crisis, social distancing, and government-mandated lockdowns have taken a toll on teenagers. For teenagers and young adults, friends are hugely important, and separation from their peers can be very challenging as bonding with peers is one of the essential developmental tasks of adolescents. During this time, parents need to understand and acknowledge their frustrations over being cut off from seeing friends. To help teens during this difficult time, adults should listen to what they’re feeling, validate those feelings, and then be direct about how you can work together to make this situation bearable. 

For most teens, it can be painful to lose experiences such as sports seasons, proms, plays, and graduations. Parents can help their teen children by loosening rules to help compensate for the socializing time lost with the school closing. For example, parents can allow their children to spend more time on social media, have more downtime, and allow teens to socially distance with their friends.

Teenagers can also benefit from getting adequate sleep, keeping a consistent sleep schedule, eating healthy meals, and exercising regularly. Healthy habits can increase and maintain positive moods. Healthy habits also help teens who are struggling with mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression and improve their ability to fulfill academic expectations. 

Parents who give teens room to share their feelings, listen to them without judgment, reassure them that everything will work out, and help them look forward to future plans and goals are other ways to support teens.  Parents should also watch for signs if their teenage child is struggling and may need additional support.

If you or someone you know is struggling during COVID-19 or another crisis, 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://childmind.org/article/supporting-teenagers-and-young-adults-during-the-coronavirus

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/Teens-and-COVID-19.aspx

Image Source: 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/keeping-teens-home-and-away-from-friends-during-covid-19

Parental Alienation Syndrome

By: Elyse Ganss

Parental alienation syndrome occurs when a child’s parent unconsciously works to turn the child against the other parent. This commonly occurs during divorce or custody battles. When saying negative things about the other parent, like blaming the other parent for their breakup, alienation turns the child against the other parent. Strategies can include brainwashing, alienating, and programming to cause distance between a child and parent. This behavior has negative effects for the relationship of the child and the other parent and can cause permanent damage.

The parent who unconsciously tries to turn the child against the other parent often exhibits narcissistic characteristics or tendencies in line with borderline personality disorder and are more concerned with their own feelings rather than the child’s well-being. Feelings that may be driving the parent’s behavior are anger and jealousy. Children benefit from the presence of both parents, unless a parent is abusive, and through parental alienation syndrome, children may become estranged from a parent.

If you have been experiencing anger about your co-parenting relationship and have been consciously or unconsciously taking it out on your child, you may be causing parental alienation syndrome. Children being alienated may experience anger, feelings of neglect, exhibit destructive behavior, and lack empathy. It is important to remember that no matter what you are feeling toward your former spouse, your child should not be brought into your separation, divorce, or custody battle. Supporting a child is the most important thing to do during a breakup and it may be helpful to bring the child to therapy to work through their emotions to prevent psychological damage.

If you or someone you know needs 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.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201802/parental-alienation-syndrome-what-is-it-and-who-does-it

https://www.healthline.com/health/childrens-health/parental-alienation-syndrome#effects-on-child

Image Source:

https://www.healthline.com/health/childrens-health/parental-alienation-syndrome

Mental Illness: How to Support a Spouse with Mental Illness

Mental Illness: How to Support a Spouse with Mental Illness
By: Isabelle Siegel

Every relationship has challenges, but relationships in which one partner has a mental illness can be even more challenging. The presence of mental illness in a relationship can leave both individuals feeling alone and helpless. However, it is not impossible to be in a happy, healthy, and successful relationship with someone with a mental illness. If you are wondering how to support your partner/spouse with mental illness, know that it is possible. Although your partner’s/spouse’s mental illness may at times feel all-consuming, certain steps can ultimately help manage the overwhelming ups and downs.

Develop an understanding of your partner’s/spouse’s diagnosis. It can be helpful to research the symptoms of your partner’s/spouse’s disorder in order to better recognize and label them as they arise. Having a basic understanding of what your partner/spouse is experiencing can help you to put yourself in his/her shoes and to gain insight into his/her struggles.

Just be there. Having a mental illness oftentimes makes people feel alone and as though they are a burden to their loved ones. The single most powerful way you can support your partner/spouse with a mental illness is to be there for him/her. Communicate that you are there for the highs and lows, and be ready to love your partner/spouse through them.

Do not let mental illness take over your entire relationship. Although it is important to communicate, try to keep your relationship balanced by limiting discussions about mental illness. Even when your partner’s/spouse’s mental illness feels all-consuming, continue to engage in activities that pull you and your partner away from thinking about his/her diagnosis and struggles.

Communicate openly how you feel. Regardless of a mental illness diagnosis, open communication is a critical component of any relationship. Be honest with your partner/spouse about how you feel, communicating any emotions with the goal of productively working through them.

Understand that your partner/spouse is trying the best he/she can. It can be easy to assume that a person with mental illness would feel better if only he/she tried harder. Oftentimes, people with mental illness are coping with their struggles in the best way they can.

Accept that it will be challenging at times. Being in a relationship with someone with a mental illness is going to pose challenges. It can arouse difficult emotions such as frustration, anger, resentment, sadness, etc. Allow yourself to feel these emotions and be willing to communicate them with your partner.

Most importantly, take care of yourself. It is important to understand that your partner/spouse is not the only one who needs support. Never feel guilty for prioritizing your own needs, and consider seeking therapy or other support in order to take care of your own mental health.

If you or a loved one needs support, 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.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/November-2018/How-to-Be-Supportive-of-Your-Partner-with-Mental-I
https://www.nami.org/Personal-Stories/How-To-Love-Someone-With-A-Mental-Illness
https://www.verywellmind.com/coping-with-a-mentally-ill-spouse-2302988

Image Source: https://images.app.goo.gl/1XXGCnGttHazLixy5

Depression: How to Support a Spouse with Depression

Depression: How to Support a Spouse with Depression
By: Isabelle Siegel

Depression can cause immense pain and suffering for more than just the individual diagnosed. The partners/spouses of individuals with depression commonly report feeling hopeless and helpless, unsure how to provide necessary support to their partner/spouse. Attempts to help may be met with apathy or even anger, further complicating a seemingly simple question: How can I support my partner/spouse with depression?

Develop an understanding of depression and how it manifests in your partner/spouse. It can be helpful to research depression, taking note of its symptoms and causes. Understand that depression is an illness and not a choice. You may want to create a list of your partner’s/spouse’s particular symptoms and triggers for depressive episodes in order to better understand his/her experiences.

As simple as it sounds, just be there. Depression may have your partner/spouse doubting that you love him/her and may make him/her feel as though he/she is a burden to you. Assure your partner that you are there for him/her and that you love him/her despite his/her illness.

Encourage him/her to get help. Depressive symptoms can interfere with one’s motivation and ability to get help, so continuously encourage treatment. Help your partner/spouse find a therapist and/or psychiatrist, bring him/her to appointments, and cheer him/her on as they undergo treatment.

Do things you both enjoy. One important treatment step for depression is known as “opposite action,” in which individuals with depression act opposite to how they feel. If they feel like laying in bed all day, for example, they should get up and out of the house. As a partner/spouse, you can help by encouraging your partner/spouse to act opposite to their depressive urges by engaging in activities that you both enjoy.

Understand the warning signs of suicide. Individuals with depression are more vulnerable to suicide, so it may be important to know signs that your partner is considering taking his/her life. These may include talking about suicide, social withdrawal, giving away belongings, or obtaining means of attempting suicide. If you believe that your partner is at risk for suicide, seek immediate help.

Most importantly, take care of yourself and seek therapy. Research suggests that having a partner/spouse with depression increases one’s own risk of developing depressive symptoms. It is important to understand that your partner/spouse is not the only one who needs support. Never feel guilty for prioritizing your own needs, and consider seeking therapy or other support in order to take care of your own mental health.

If you or a loved one needs support, 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.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/supporting-partner-depression
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325523
https://www.psycom.net/help-partner-deal-with-depression/

Image Source: https://www.rewire.org/support-partner-depression/

COVID-19: Why going outside can help with your mental health

COVID-19: Why going outside can help with your mental health

By: Alexa Greenbaum

While social distancing during COVID-19, going outside has become one of the few activities to escape the house. In states that are in lockdown, governors such as in New York, Washington, and Montana have strongly encouraged people to go outdoors to run, walk, hike, and bike while practicing safe social distancing. Although it is not clear why, studies have found that spending time outside has a positive effect on our general well-being, including mental and physical health. In fact, doctors have been issuing “nature prescriptions” as a treatment for a range of conditions including chronic stress, depression, anxiety, PTSD, as well as others.

Efforts around the world have been promoting the health benefits of time spent outside. Regardless of the level of physical activity, spending time outdoors for even just 20 minutes per day can lower stress hormone levels, boost self-esteem, and improve mood.

Time in nature serves as an escape from daily pressures. The outdoors has been found to build resilience, hope, happiness, and optimism even before the added stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional research also suggests that going outside results in a lower risk of developing psychiatric disorders.

Based on several existing literature, positive effects documented were often described as “psychological healing,” “increased sense of well-being,” and “restorative.” Thus, a form of healing to achieve, maintain or promote a positive mental health state. Nature is a critical component of overall health and a great place to start.

If you or someone you know is struggling from COVID-19 or another crisis, 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.forbes.com/sites/cassidyrandall/2020/04/09/why-going-outside-is-good-for-your-health-especially-right-now/#4479a8bd2de9

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cravings/201909/nature-s-role-in-mental-illness-prevention-or-treatment

https://time.com/5539942/green-space-health-wellness/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature

Image Source:

https://41nbc.com/2020/05/10/virus-outbreak