Increased Drug and Alcohol Use during the Stay at Home Order

By Eleanor Kim

The Coronavirus pandemic has left the whole world isolated with very little to do aside from school or work. As the stay at home orders continue, individuals have been forced to find other means of coping or simply passing the time. Some individuals have found coping mechanisms that have ignited newfound purpose during such bleak times; however, others have embarked on less than beneficial pastimes, turning to drugs and alcohol as a means of “getting through” the pandemic. Cases of substance use disorder, or SUD, have skyrocketed since the official declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic with cases of patients who have experienced overdoses and other complications related to substance abuse increasing as well. In a recent survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 13.3% of respondents stated that they have either started or increased substance use in order to cope with the stress and emotions caused by COVID-19 and the subsequent national emergency. With the world in such an unstable and worrisome state, it is not surprising to see individuals seek comfort in any way that they can, especially as those individuals face new and or preexisting stressors and anxieties through isolation.

As the pandemic continues, the surging mental health and substance abuse epidemics have shown to go hand in hand with one another. In fact, throughout the pandemic, there has been a 62% increase in worry, a 51% increase in sadness, a 51% increase in fear, and a 42% increase in loneliness. It was also revealed that within the past year, there has been a 32% increase for non-prescribed fentanyl, a 20% increase for methamphetamine, a 12.5% increase for heroine, a 10% increase for cocaine, as well as an 18% increase in suspected drug overdoses. These increases have not gone unnoticed. Those that already struggled with substance abuse or other mental health disorders have found stay at home orders increasingly difficult given the limited access to their usual treatment and support groups. Those who wish to begin receiving professional help with their substance use have had harder times finding adequate care given the decrease in in- and out-patient support and treatment over the past year. These limitations have fed into the increases in mental health struggles and SUD cases, leaving those who have been affected feeling desperate and out of control.

Substance abuse is not the answer to these difficult and isolating times. There is still hope for those who wish to seek other, more benevolent means of coping with the pandemic and for those who wish to begin treatment for their substance use disorder. Telehealth is one way that individuals with SUD, or other destructive coping mechanisms, can begin receiving professional help and therapy. Counselors and therapists are available to talk with you or anyone you know who may be dealing with substance use disorders during this time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, 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/.

Resources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/09/addressing-unique-challenges-covid-19-people-in-recovery

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7219362/

https://www.ehstoday.com/covid19/article/21139889/drug-abuse-on-the-rise-because-of-the-coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm

Image Source:

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/covid-crisis-exacerbating-lgbtq-alcohol-abuse-studies-find-n1257008

Covid Vaccine and Mental Illness

By Veronica Oquendo

The Covid-19 vaccine is becoming eligible for those who are in need of it most, which include people that are elderly, have immunity deficiencies, and respiratory complications. There are sound concerns for those with severe mental illness that are in need of the vaccine, but they are not being prioritized. One reason for this is that individuals with severe mental illness are people from a disadvantaged group based on both medical and socioeconomic risk factors. These individuals are more likely to have health comorbidities like cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, chronic kidney disease, immunodeficiency, and cancer. Moreover, the mortality rate for those with severe mental illness is three to four times higher than for those who do not have mental illness. They are more likely to be smokers, or be obese, which both are associated with a higher risk of death when infected with Covid-19. Additionally, they are more likely to work in unsafe environments, live in overcrowded areas, or be homeless, which are all associated with an increased chance of getting Covid-19. For all these reasons, individuals with mental illness are at higher risk to contract and ultimately fall fatal to Covid-19. Therefore should be ensured to be among those who are vaccinated early.

If you or someone you know is in the need of help with mental illness please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey arrange an appointment with one of our licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. You can 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.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(20)30564-2/fulltext

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/people-with-mental-health-conditions-are-at-high-risk-for-covid-19-so-why-arent-they-being-prioritized#Severe-mental-illness-increases-COVID-19-risks

Physician Burnout during a Global Pandemic

By Eleanor Kim

Physicians and nurses around the world have been at the front lines fighting the coronavirus and saving the lives of those infected. Now more than ever, citizens are coming to realize the importance of those within the medical field and the bravery that comes with entering medicine. That being said, there has been an immense amount of pressure placed upon healthcare workers, often causing stress, anxiety, and depression. At the end of the day, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers are humans and can feel the effects of burnout during such a heightened and high stakes moment in medical history.

Burnout is when someone becomes overwhelmed by the demands of their daily life, becoming emotionally and physically exhausted and creating a sense of depersonalization and weakened personal accomplishments. Burnout is a common occurrence among physicians and nurses given the great amount of pressure that comes with saving lives. That being said, these feelings of burnout have skyrocketed given the additionally taxing nature of current frontline medical work such as the stress of isolating from friends and family, the extended hours of work, the tragic lack of medical supplies, and the fear of contracting or spreading the virus, to name a few. Physicians are also left to deal with the other struggles and anxieties that the past year has brought upon the general population regarding economic, political, racial, and other personal effects of the pandemic.

During these elongated periods where healthcare workers are left sleep deprived, improperly fed, and overall anxious about the current status of the pandemic, they are exposed to both mentally and physically long lasting effects. In 2020, there have been a record number of physicians who have reported feelings of burnout and other mental health concerns since the start of the pandemic. Should these issues go untreated, there is an increased risk for depression, self-medication, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. Burnout is more than just stress; it is a mental health crisis and should be treated as such.

If you or someone you know is feeling the effects of physician and healthcare worker burnout, 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/.

Resources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lipiroy/2020/05/17/doctor-heal-thyself-physician-burnout-in-the-wake-of-covid-19/

Image Source:

https://blog.frontiersin.org/2020/04/14/more-than-a-third-of-medical-staff-suffered-insomnia-during-the-covid-19-epidemic-in-china/

Mental Health Consequences During Covid

By Veronica Oquendo

COVID- 19 has shown to have devastating medical health consequences with the recent death toll at 425 thousand and rising. However, the mental health consequences may be overlooked, even though they are condemning, and can also lead to death from suicide. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Weekly Report surveyed and found that 40.9% of those reporting had at least one adverse mental health condition, an uptick from last year. The most vulnerable of the population affected were among age group 18-24 years old, minority racial and ethnic groups essential workers, unpaid caregivers for adults, and those already receiving treatment for psychiatric conditions. The highest increase in symptoms being from anxiety and depressive disorders (30.9%). Anxiety disorder was three times more likely to be prevalent this year than in 2019. Due to the overwhelming stress and worry caused by the pandemic, alcohol and drugs are used to cope in unhealthy proportions. Furthermore, past studies have shown links between social isolation and suicide. Due to the safety regulations of social distancing and quarantine for COVID-19, more people have been feeling lonely, frustrated, and bored causing a rise of suicidal ideation. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with the mental health consequences of COVID-19, 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.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6932a1-H.pdf

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifting-the-veil-trauma/202009/the-psychological-impact-covid-19

Anxiety: Feeling Anxious Returning to Work During a Pandemic?

Feeling Anxious Returning to Work During a Pandemic?
By Emma Yasukawa

As the state reopens, many workers can finally return back to their jobs. With that being said, there are many people who are dreading the thought of having to return back to their job after working remotely for months. Adapting to any sort of change takes a little bit of getting used to, but when you add the risk of possibly contracting COVID-19, anxiety levels are heightened.

If you are feeling anxious about returning to work after a mandatory quarantine, you should not feel alone, and there are ways to overcome your anxieties. Talking about your feelings is important, whether or not it is to your colleagues or manager, because chances are you are not the only one who is feeling anxious. See if you can come up with a solution with your boss. Maybe they can suggest only coming in a few days a week for the first couple of weeks to help ease your anxiety. It is important to keep in mind that businesses are also following the new COVID-19 guidelines in order to protect the safety of their workers.

Getting into a routine is another way to help reduce anxiety levels significantly. Due to the COVID lockdown, it has thrown off many individuals daily routines. It is important to give yourself a week, or even a few, to get back into a healthy sleep schedule, exercising and eating correctly. Doing all of this will improve your anxiety levels and help you feel more prepared for what is to come.

Be kind to yourself. It is hard transitioning from doing nothing all day and having zero responsibilities, to working a full 9-5 schedule, Monday through Friday. Remember to take time for yourself before and after work. Do things that make you happy and relaxed.

If you or someone you know needs support with their anxiety, 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.stylist.co.uk/life/coronavirus-anxiety-return-to-work-offices-reopen-covid-secure/401175

Image Source: https://tandemhr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/tandem-hr-going-back-to-work-after-covid-19-blog.jpg

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

COVID-19 and Domestic Violence

COVID-19 and Domestic Violence
By: Isabelle Siegel

When the COVID-19 pandemic began and stay-at-home orders were first put into place, it was predicted that domestic violence rates would soar. With people confined to their homes, it was only natural that the potential for abuse would become higher. At the onset of the stay-at-home orders, the United Nations Population Fund estimated that just three months of quarantine would yield a 20% increase in domestic violence worldwide. Why? Without work and other escapes from the home, people are forced to remain with their abusive partners at all times. Moreover, orders to remain at home complicate the process of seeking support from friends and professionals. Other factors such as higher stress levels, alcohol use, and economic anxiety may also contribute to increased rates of domestic violence.

However, there has been a surprising decrease in reports of domestic violence. In fact, domestic violence arrests are down a shocking 40%. Is the rate of domestic violence truly decreasing, or is something else at play?

Unfortunately, the statistics paint a misleading picture. In reality, anecdotal evidence suggests that domestic violence is at a high. Experts suggest that the drop in reports of domestic violence is just that: a drop in reports, not in incidents. Victims quarantining with their abusers are simply less able to call for help, as evidenced by the fact that more calls to hotlines and the police are coming from neighbors and other witnesses. Domestic violence calls most frequently occur when the abuser is not home or the victim is at work. With fewer opportunities to be apart from their abuser, victims are forced to remain silent. Other pandemic-related factors further render victims less likely to seek help. For example, victims report avoiding going to the hospital for domestic violence-related injuries due to fear of catching COVID-19.

Moreover, instances of domestic violence seem to be becoming increasingly violent amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Despite the overall decrease in domestic violence reports, there have been increases in rates of domestic violence-related shootings and murders.

If you or a loved one needs support for domestic violence, 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.nytimes.com/2020/04/17/nyregion/new-york-city-domestic-violence-coronavirus.html
https://www.themarshallproject.org/2020/04/22/is-domestic-violence-rising-during-the-coronavirus-shutdown-here-s-what-the-data-shows
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/making-sense-chaos/202005/why-the-increase-in-domestic-violence-during-covid-19

Image Source: https://www.bpr.org/sites/wcqs/files/styles/x_large/public/202004/AdobeStock_182729028.jpg

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