Insomnia: How Depression Is Related to Insomnia

By Kim Simone

Symptoms of insomnia occur in approximately 33% to 50% of the adult population and undoubtedly affect a variety of areas of an individual’s life. In addition to a complaint of dissatisfaction with sleep quality or quantity, individuals may have difficulty falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, and early-morning awakening with an inability to fall back to sleep. These difficulties may occur at least 3 nights per week and be present for at least 3 months.

Oftentimes, these sleep disturbances affect various parts of an individual’s daily life. As a result of poor sleep, individuals struggling with insomnia may display difficulties behaviorally, socially, academically.

Those struggling with depression oftentimes present with symptoms of insomnia, as the condition may influence their quality and/or quantity of sleep. Depressive symptoms often influence an individual’s quality of sleep and how much they sleep.

On the contrary, those struggling with insomnia oftentimes present with symptoms of depression. Since feelings of depression may cause individuals to lose interest in their daily activities and withdraw from those closest to them, therapy is often the treatment of choice to alleviate the depressive symptoms that result from a lack of quality and quantity of sleep.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be useful in the treatment of insomnia. CBT-I is a form of CBT specifically aimed in treating the sleep condition. It concentrates on the specific thoughts and behaviors that disrupt sleep and helps in reframing the negative thoughts that may be associated with concepts related to sleep, such as “bed” and “sleep”.  As a result of CBT, anxieties related to sleep may be lessened, therefore, lessening the prevalence of insomnia.  

Sufferers of insomnia may need to speak to their therapist weekly over the course of two to three months to see an improvement in the quality and quantity of their sleep. As a result, symptoms of depression may be lessened, which may further improve the quality and quantity of their sleep.

If you or someone you know is struggling with insomnia and is seeking 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://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12119-insomnia#:~:text=They%20affect%20up%20to%2070,at%2010%25%20to%2015%25.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/insomnia

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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): a Cognitive Behavioral Approach

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): a Cognitive Behavioral Approach

By: Jasmyn Cuate

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a combination of cognitive and behavior therapy, supported by empirical-based evidence that teaches patients skills to cope with and change unhealthy behaviors. The main goals of DBT are to teach people how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.

DBT focuses on four key areas in therapeutic skills:

  • Mindfulness: focuses on improving your ability to accept and be present in the current moment, helping you use healthy coping skills instead of using negative impulsive behaviors
  • Distress tolerance: teaches you how to feel intense emotions without reacting impulsively or using self-injury or substance abuse to escape from it. Helping you prepare for intense emotions and cope with a more positive long-term outlook
  • Emotion regulation: teaches you how to identify, label, and change your emotions without judging them– learning how your emotions shape your behavior and what obstacles prevent you from managing your emotions, reducing your emotional vulnerability and helps you have more positive emotional experiences
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: allows you to communicate more effectively with others, become more assertive, maintain self-respect and respect for others, while keeping a relationship positive and healthy

DBT goes through a multistage approach where the therapist first treats the patient’s most self-destructive behavior followed by the therapist addressing quality-of-life skills, then focus on improving the patient’s relationships and self-esteem, with the last stage focusing on promoting more joy and relationship connections. Standard comprehensive DBT is often used in the following settings:

  • Individual therapy: with a trained professional, you learn how to apply DBT skills to specific challenges and situations in your life­– patients agree to do homework to practice new skills and fill out diary cards which are completed daily to keep track of their emotions, urges, behaviors, and skills used throughout the week and brought to weekly sessions for the therapist and client to discuss and see if there’s progress being made. Diary cards are designed to record instances of target behaviors, thoughts and urges, and the use of behavioral skills client’s applied to cope with the problem
  • Group skills training: patients have the opportunity to role-play new behavioral skills and interact with others
  • Phone coaching: with DBT, your therapist is available by the phone for in-the-moment support between sessions if you’re in a difficult situation and need guidance

While your therapist works with you through the DBT approach, it can be challenging to stay motivated. Therefore, therapists have consultation groups,which are a group of professionals who met regularly helping one another to navigate potential stressors, monitor their devotion to treatment, develop and increase their skills, and sustain their motivation to work with high-risk, difficult-to-treat clients.

DBT was developed by Marsha Linehan, originally intended to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD) and suicidal behaviors but has been modified to treat other mental health conditions and have been effective in treating:

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Substance use or impulsive behaviors
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) or suicidal behavior
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Overall, DBT offers validation for patients, helping them understand their actions within the context of their personal experiences without necessarily agreeing that their actions are the best approach to solving a problem. This helps patients become more likely to cooperate and work towards self-acceptance and change. The best way to find out if DBT is right for you is to talk with a professional. They will evaluate your symptoms, treatment history, and therapy goals to see if DBT is the best treatment option for you.

If you or someone you know is seeking for dialectical behavior 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.webmd.com/mental-health/dialectical-behavioral-therapy https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/dialectical-behavior-therapy

https://www.verywellmind.com/dialectical-behavior-therapy-1067402

https://psychcentral.com/lib/an-overview-of-dialectical-behavior-therapy

COVID-19: Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health of College Students

COVID-19: Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health of College Students

By Celine Bennion

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us in more ways than just illness itself. From strict isolation measures to mask mandates, several necessary health protocols have changed the way we carry out our daily lives. This is especially true for college students who were forced to transition to online learning, shifting the established routines they once knew.

At the onset of the pandemic, students residing on campus were forced out of their dorms to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Without a place to stay on campus, they moved back home, forcing a drastic change in living situations. Even commuter students had to adjust to new norms, as they were no longer allowed to study on campus. With siblings also engaged in online school and parents working from home, their learning environment quickly changed from a quiet classroom to a bustling household. These changes posed several challenges, as many students found it increasingly difficult to stay focused in lectures and successfully absorb the material they were presented with.

Additionally, because students could not be present on campus, they were no longer able to engage in everyday social interactions. Meeting up with friends to study, attending club meetings, and participating in sports were no longer an option after transitioning to remote learning. These fundamental social interactions are vital for college students to maintain their wellbeing and to properly develop as individuals.

The major academic and social changes that transpired due to the pandemic led to a serious rise in reports of mental health challenges. According to a 2020 Active Minds survey on college students, about 75% of respondents indicated that their mental health had declined during the pandemic. Students specifically reported increased levels of anxiety, loneliness, sadness, and stress. With the many changes that students quickly had to manage, these feelings are understandable.

The rise of mental health challenges has prompted numerous universities to initiate changes to the psychological services that are offered to students. Many students have access to Telehealth counseling sessions and other mental health resources through their university. These resources allow students to obtain proper assistance for navigating their personal challenges.

It is essential that universities acknowledge the struggles their students are facing and make appropriate changes to support them through this difficult time.

If you or someone you know is seeking 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.northjersey.com/story/news/education/2021/09/13/nj-colleges-covid-student-burnout-stress-mental-health-toll/5716116001/

https://online.maryville.edu/blog/stress-in-college-students-recognize-understand-and-relieve-school-stress/ (photo)

Post-College Anxiety

Post-College Anxiety

By: Julia Massa

Post-college anxiety, or Post Commencement Stress Disorder, though not an official medical diagnosis, is used to describe the uncertainty and anxiety college graduates often feel as a result of their achievement. With both internal and external expectations to “measure up,” graduates find themselves conflicted, depressed, and pressured. Graduates may fear failure due to not finding a job as well as feel pressured to pay back their student debt without having a secure job or realizing that career path just isn’t for them. Furthermore, they may feel alone due to moving back home and changing their social contexts. In fact, 53% of 18-to-24 year old graduates live with their parents after graduation. Homesickness is a cycle, perhaps.

From being a student at the mere age of five to an actual member of society can lead to an identity crisis. Additionally, college students may have trouble sleeping, concentrating, become less interested in socializing, experience shortness of breath or rapid heart rate, feel a lack of control of their life, or numb these feelings with alcohol, drugs, or binge-eating.

Feeling nervous about the future is a normal reaction to uncertainty, especially if you thrive on consistency and routine. Graduates can address feelings of uncertainty by practicing test runs for job interviews, “zooming in” and looking at each step, getting feedback from multiple resources like resume writers or networking events, and embracing the chaos. When life becomes complex, it is important to practice self-care and remind yourself that it is not a bad day- just a complex one. Moreover, if a graduate is stressed about finances, they can be financially proactive and learn banking, create an emergency fund, SAVE little by little, or create a realistic payment plan to pay off their loans. 

Graduating is a bittersweet experience. Adjusting to change can be scary, but in the case of college grads, they are on the path to prosper. Though it is easier said than done, it is important to embrace each chapter and live day by day.

If you or someone you know is struggling with post-college 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://extension.wvu.edu/food-health/emotional-wellness/post-graduation-stress#:~:text=Lushkin%20lists%20these%20common%20symptoms,in%20a%20reasonable%20length%20of

https://www.careercontessa.com/advice/how-to-deal-post-grad-anxiety/

https://www.psycom.net/college-graduation-anxiety-expert-advice/

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March: National Self-Injury Awareness Month

March: National Self-Injury Awareness Month

By: Julia Massa

March is self-injury awareness month. Raising awareness educates those who do not self-harm and reaches out to those who do.

Self-injury or self-harm is characterized by hurting oneself on purpose to release painful emotions, process or distract themselves from their negative feelings, feel something when feeling numb, punish themselves, or develop a sense of control in their life. Self-harm can manifest differently for everyone, including cutting, scratching, burning, carving words into the skin, punching oneself, piercing skin with sharp objects, pulling out hair, or picking at existing wounds. Due to the stigma and shame that surrounds self-injury; many people do not report it. The current self-injury prevalence from statistics in over 40 countries explains that 17% of people partake in self-harm throughout their lifetime and the average age an individual begins to self-harm is 13. 50% of people seek help from friends, but do not commonly seek professional help. Cutting is the most commonly used form, with 45% resorting to cutting to relieve their pain. Since 2009, there has been a 50% increase in reported self-injury among young females.

Warning signs of self-harm include scars, fresh cuts, burns, scratches, bruises, wearing long sleeves or pants even in hot weather, impulsiveness, rubbing an area repeatedly to create a burn, having sharp objects on hand, questioning personal identity, and feelings of worthlessness. Self-harm can cause permanent scars, uncontrollable bleeding that can result in death, infection, addiction to the behavior, shame or guilt, avoiding friends and loved ones, becoming ostracized from loved ones who do not accept or understand the behavior, and interpersonal difficulty from lying to others about their injuries.

With the devastating consequences of self-harm and rates significantly increasing, it is important to advocate for those suffering to try to prevent them from engaging in these behaviors. Additionally, resorting to therapy to treat the underlying cause, such as overwhelming feelings and mood disorders, and finding better ways to cope may be the most effective route for those suffering from self-injury to take. For some, art therapy may help people process emotions and grab a marker instead of a sharp object. Individuals suffering can also text the crisis text line at 741741 when impulses to self-harm come on suddenly.

If you or someone you know is engaging in self-harm, 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 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.crisistextline.org/topics/self-harm/#what-is-self-harm-1

https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Self-harm

Depression and Anxiety Post Retirement

By: Ashley Marron

While many people look forward to retirement and its freedom, it can also trigger anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, the chance of a person facing clinical depression increases by 40% after retirement. People tend to give lots of thought when planning their retirement; whether it’s traveling the world, pursuing new hobbies, or spending more time with family and friends. However, they often overlook the psychological impact of retiring from work. While many new retirees find retiring to be a great relief from escaping the daily grind, they also find that after several months they may miss the sense of identity, meaning, and purpose that came with their job. They lose the structure that their job gave their days, as well as the social-aspect of having co-workers. Retirees may now feel bored and isolated, rather than free, relaxed and fulfilled. They may even grieve the loss of their old life, and feel stressed or worried about how they will now spend the future.

Retiring is a major life change, and it can seriously take a toll on one’s mental health. Seeking help from a professional can help provide coping mechanisms with these challenges of retirement. Therapy can also help in the treatment of depression and anxiety. There are certainly healthy ways to adjust to this new chapter in your life, and it should be an exciting time, not a negative experience. Therapy can help to ensure that your retirement is both rewarding and happy.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for depression or 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.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/post-retirement-depression-recognizing-the-signs/ss-BB1fWAss

Image Source

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/post-retirement-depression-recognizing-the-signs/ss-BB1fWAss

Anxiety Disorder: Caffeine Induced

By: Julia Massa

Starbucks, Dunkin, Wawa, and other “on the go” stops will never go out of business. Humans rely heavily on caffeine to get through their shifts, workouts, or even just to post a quick Instagram story. In fact, humans spend five to ten dollars on their caffeine cravings each day. However, there are several caffeine related disorders according to the DSM-IV, including caffeine intoxication, caffeine-induced anxiety disorder, caffeine-induced sleep disorder, and caffeine-related disorder not otherwise specified. Some symptoms of caffeine-induced anxiety include red face, shaking, muscle twitching, confused speech, sweating, insomnia, frequent urination, impulsive reactions towards minor inconveniences, and mood swings. Caffeine-Induced Anxiety is caused by the effect of caffeine on the brains neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine. This chemical increases stress hormones, like cortisol, which is linked to many mental disorders and may interact with medications a patient is already taking to manage their anxiety symptoms.

Caffeine is listed as a drug in both medical and psychiatric literature since it is a central nervous stimulant and can be fatal if a person exceeds the daily recommendation of 400mg. For those with anxiety, 200mg or less is the recommended dose. Though it is rare, consuming a caffeine pill of a high dose can lead to ventricular fibrillation and death. Caffeine is legal and unregulated, which is why many people do not realize how their medium hot caramel coffee with almond milk can exaggerate their anxiety symptoms or cause anxiety-related symptoms. When people limit their caffeine intake suddenly, they may experience withdrawal symptoms similar to addictive drugs like cocaine. These symptoms include headache, irritability, drowsiness, loss of focus, insomnia, stomach pain, etc. For this reason, many individuals continue to drink caffeinated beverages to prevent these symptoms. In fact, more than 97% of caffeine consumed by adolescents and adults come from beverages.

Though the prevalence rate for caffeine-induced psychiatric disorders has not been well established, there is a high comorbidity rate between caffeine and several mood and substance abuse disorders.

If you or someone you know is struggling with 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/

http://www.americanmedtech.org/files/STEP_Online_articles/353.pdf

https://www.dovemed.com/diseases-conditions/caffeine-induced-anxiety/

Men & Eating Disorders: The Quiet Struggle

By: Valeria Dubon

When discussing eating disorders, many people associate it towards women and their own personal struggles with the disorder. Although women often do carry the burden of trying to look a certain way and appeal to a certain body type, many people do not realize how those same standards negatively affect men and in what ways. Some of the reasons as to why eating disorders in men are not as studied and understood compared to women are simply due to factors such as:

  • The stigma associated with males seeking help 
  • Eating disorders in men having different symptoms compared to women
  • Strong association with eating disorders and women in the media

Previous statistics indicate that men make up about ten percent of eating disorders. However, one thing to acknowledge is that many men refuse to come forward with their disorder. This in turn validates the argument that the real number of men who suffer from eating disorders is much higher.

There are several key differences when it comes to men and women suffering from this disorder. For example, males with eating disorders are at a much older age on average compared to females; they also tend to have greater risk of psychiatric problems such as anxiety/depression and engage in more suicidal behaviors. One of the most common forms of eating disorders in men is called muscle dysmorphia, which is essentially a type of body dysmorphia; its core symptom is a fear of not being muscular enough. Other symptoms associated with it may include compulsive exercise and use of supplements. 

When it comes to treatment, the biggest hurdle for men is simply getting rid of the stigma that eating disorders carry. Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and family based therapy are shown to be effective, both of these are also effective when dealing with women who have eating disorders.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for eating disorders, 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.verywellmind.com/male-eating-disorders-4140606 

Psychotherapy: Benefits of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

By: Jasmyn Cuate

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that focuses on helping people recognize and change negative thinking patterns into positive, healthier ones. This method is an action-oriented approach helping to overcome any psychological problems or mental distress. The goal of REBT is to help people respond rationally to situations that would cause stress, depression, or other negative feelings. How does it work?

The ABC model is one concept of REBT. The model suggests that we may blame external situations for our unhappiness and it is our interpretation of these situations that truly causes the psychological distress. ABC stands for:

  • A: Activating event, when something happens in your environment
  • B: Belief, describes your thoughts about the situation
  • C: Consequence, which is your emotional response to your belief

With REBT, your therapist will help you learn how to apply the ABC model in your daily life. Your therapist may help you identify the activating event before encouraging you to figure out which belief led you to your negative feelings. Once you’ve identify the underlying issue, your therapist will work with you to change those beliefs and your emotional response towards the issue. Before changing your belief, a process called disputation takes place where your therapist will challenge your irrational beliefs using direct methods such as asking questions which causes you to re-think or have you imagine another point of view that you may have not considered before. REBT can help with Anxiety, Social anxiety disorder, distress, Depression, Disruptive behavior in children, Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Psychotic symptoms.

Benefits of REBT:

  • Reduce feelings of anger, depression, anxiety, and distress
  • Improves health and quality of life
  • Better social skills and school performance

REBT helps you understand that you are worthy of self-acceptance no matter what even if you or others are struggling; there is no need for shame or guilt because everyone makes mistakes and it’s normal to feel some discomfort. REBT gives insight that others are also worthy of acceptance even if their behavior involves something you don’t like. Overall, REBT helps you have a healthy emotional response on learning from a situation and moving on. This allows you to understand that negative things will sometimes happen in life therefore there is no rational reason to always expect it to be positive when faced with a situation.

If you or someone you know is seeking for cognitive behavioral therapy or rational emotive behavior 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/

Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-2796000

Trauma: The Impact of Inter-generational Trauma

The concept of intergenerational trauma was first recognized in 1966, by Canadian psychiatrist Vivian M. Rakoff, MD, when she discovered high rates of psychological distress among children of Holocaust survivors. Intergenerational trauma is trauma that isn’t just experienced by one person but extends from one generation to the next. Some of the examples are domestic violence, alcohol and drug, refugees, and survivors of combat/war trauma.

Trauma affects genetic processes, possibly by   epigenetic mechanisms affecting DNA function or gene transcription. Furthermore, microglia is the brain’s immune system. When in a constant trauma reactive state, microglia can eat away at the nerve instead of enhancing growth, which then can lead to genetic changes. Researchers have much to discover about its impact and how it looks within certain populations.  

Everyone is susceptible to intergenerational trauma, but there are specific populations that are vulnerable due to their histories. For instance, populations that have been systematically exploited endured continuous abuse, racism, and poverty. Like survivors of the 2004 tsunami in Asia or African Americans in the United States

A wide range of behaviors were observed in the offspring of Holocaust survivors: feelings of over‐identification and fused identity with parents, impaired self‐esteem stemming from minimization of offspring’s own life experiences in comparison to the parental trauma, tendency towards catastrophizing, worry that parental traumas would be repeated, a sense of a shorten future, mistrust and behavioral disturbances such as experiencing anxiety, traumatic nightmares, dysphoria, guilt, hypervigilance and difficulties in interpersonal functioning. Trauma can mask itself through learned beliefs, behaviors, and patterns that can become engrained.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for intergenerational trauma, 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.health.com/condition/ptsd/generational-trauma

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6127768/

Illustration by therapist Ayan Mukherjee