By: Yael Berger
Bipolar, also known as manic depression, is a mood disorder characterized by extreme highs and extreme lows. Extreme highs are called mania while the extreme lows are called depression. It is seen in both adults and children and tends to run in the family. If you have a close relative with Bipolar disorder, you have an increased chance of developing the disorder. According to the national institute of mental health, “an estimated 4.4% of U.S adults experience bipolar disorder at some time in their lives.” There are two different types of Bipolar that are often difficult to distinguish between.
Bipolar I patients commonly present with these symptoms:
- An episode of extreme mania lasting at least one week and usually an episode of severe depression lasting at least two weeks
- Mania is characterized by irritability, mood swings, and possibly excessive spending, drinking, excessive sexual behavior etc.
- Less need for sleep
- Increased self-esteem, speech, thoughts, distractibility
- Rapid mood swings
- Can have a break with reality
- Hallucinations, delusional or paranoid thoughts
- Usual onset: around 18 years old
Bipolar II patients commonly present with these symptoms:
- An episode of hypomania lasting at least four days and always accompanied by an episode of extreme depression lasting at least two weeks
- Hypomania is a milder form of mania but it is still noticeable to others
- Typically are prescribed antidepressants with mood stabilizers
- Usual onset: around mid-20s
There are a few key differences between bipolar I and bipolar II. The main difference is that Bipolar I often begins with mania while Bipolar II often begins as a depressive episode that is later diagnosed when an episode of hypomania occurs. Bipolar II is sometimes wrongly diagnosed as depression at first because it often starts as a depressive episode. Bipolar I is usually obvious and severely disrupts a patient’s life while Bipolar II can be less noticeable. However, once a hypomanic episode in Bipolar II patient causes severe impairment it would then be categorized as Bipolar I. Bipolar I can lead to hospitalization more often than Bipolar II because of the extreme mania that occurs. A combination of medication and therapy can help both Bipolar I and II.
If you or someone you know has any type of Bipolar 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/
Antidepressants: What Happens When You Stop Taking Your Medication
Antidepressants: What Happens When You Stop Taking Your Medication
By: Julia Keys
Anti-depressant discontinuation syndrome occurs when a person suddenly stops taking their anti-depressants. Sometimes individuals decide to go off of their medication because of side effects such as weight gain, nausea, or sexual dysfunction. Another common reason why individuals stop their medication “cold turkey” is because they may feel as if the medication has changed their personality. Anti-depressants are not meant to change one’s personality, but sometimes they can cause fogginess or fatigue which can make the patient feel “not like themselves” or “out of it”. However, abruptly going off medication can cause symptoms that are more painful and severe than the side effects one might feel on an anti-depressant that is not right for them.
The effects of anti-depressant discontinuation can be felt as early as a couple hours to as late as a couple days after missing a dose depending on the type of anti-depressant. Symptoms are typically ameliorated within six to twenty four hours after taking the missed dose.
Symptoms of Anti-depressant discontinuation syndrome:
- Problems with balance
- “brain zaps” or “brain shocks”, the sensation of a jolt of electricity running through the head, neck or limbs
Unlike illegal drugs, phasing out of anti-depressants can be a painless process if done correctly. In order to go off of anti-depressants successfully, one must slowly wean themselves off the medication with the help of a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.
Tips to prevent or minimize anti-depressant discontinuation syndrome:
- NEVER stop taking medication without talking to your doctor
- Follow your doctor’s directions exactly when going off your meds. If you start to feel any of the symptoms of anti-depressant discontinuation syndrome contact your doctor as soon as possible
- Set a reminder on your phone or computer to take your medication each day
- Always keep your medication in the same place
- Make sure to keep on top of your doctor’s appointments by putting them in a calendar so that you will never run out of medication by accident
If you are struggling with mental health issues and are in need of treatment, do not hesitate to seek help by contacting Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .
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Low Self Esteem: Imposter Syndrome
Low Self Esteem: Imposter Syndrome
By: Julia Keys
Do you ever feel like no matter how much you accomplish, you still are inadequate compared to others around you? Feeling fraudulent about one’s achievements is so common that psychologists have given it a name: Impostor Syndrome. People with Impostor syndrome doubt their own accomplishments and have a fear of being exposed as a fraud among their colleagues. Despite the fact that people with Impostor Syndrome have great external evidence for their accolades, they still cannot be convinced that they deserve what they have accomplished.Those with Impostor Syndrome often attribute their success to external factors such as luck or good timing.
Impostor Syndrome can be caused by perfectionism and fear of failure. However, if you are afraid you won’t be perfect or that you will fail, then you will be discouraged from going after new goals! The constant pressure found in those with Impostor Syndrome can cause feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment, and at its worst, depression and anxiety.
One group of people that are especially prone to Impostor Syndrome are highly successful women. The discrepancy between external achievement and internalization of achievement within successful women may be caused by our society’s standards. Gender roles have greatly shaped what it looks like to be a successful man versus what it looks like to be a successful woman. Successful men are stereotypically in positions of power while successful women are stereotypically in caretaker’s positions. The type of achievements that constitute success in our culture, such as obtaining a high degree, being financially successful, or being promoted to a leadership position are more aligned with the stereotypes of male achievement, which may explain why when women achieve such goals, they feel like frauds.
No one should have to feel like a fraud, especially if they prove to be very high achieving. If you or someone you know can relate to the information above, 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/ .
By Crystal Tsui
Psychosomatic disorder affects both mind and body and it occurs when a physical disease is exacerbated or caused by mental factors or vice versa. Psychological factors can cause physical symptoms when there is no physical disease. There are many factors that are involved with psychosomatic disorders, such as
- Biological traits
- Genetic and environmental factors
- Family influences
- Learned behavior
Some symptoms of psychosomatic disorders include:
- Generalized pain
- Shortness of breath
There are many physical diseases and conditions that are prone to be exacerbated by psychological factors. Some conditions include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy is often the treatment for psychosomatic disorders and it helps individuals cope with their problems (eg. stress, anxiety, depression) and understand that their mental health is connected to their physical health. Most healthcare professionals try to treat the individual, taking into account the mental, social, and physical factors that may contribute to a disease.
If you or someone you know has psychosomatic 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/ .
Stress Reduction: The Benefits of Yoga Stress Reduction: The Benefits of Yoga
By: Julia Keys
Yoga is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices that originated in ancient India. Yoga became popular in the United States in the 1960’s as a way to feel a natural “high” without the use of substances. Today, yoga is practiced in the U.S. as a way to relieve stress, exercise, practice spirituality, and to heal the mind and body.
Researchers have found a myriad of benefits of yoga on mental health. Studies show that practicing yoga helps people reduce anger and anxiety, improves sleep, decreases Post Traumatic Stress, and improves daily mood. Yoga’s benefits can all be traced back to its physiological effects on the heart and the nervous system. Yoga incorporates various breathing and meditation exercises alongside physical movement. Yogic or meditative breathing has been shown to increase heart rate variability, or HRV. HRV is simply the distance between each heartbeat. The goal of yogic breathing is to increase the time between each heartbeat. Slower heartbeats can relieve stress and anxiety. Faster heartbeats are correlated with poor emotional regulation.
There are many different types of yoga from which one can choose from. For those seeking yoga that focuses on meditation and breathing, Ananda and Hatha classes would be a good choice. Those seeking more rigorous and physical forms of yoga may want to take Ashtanga or Kundalini classes.
If you or someone you know is having trouble with stress, anxiety or regulating emotions, 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/ .
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By: Julia Keys
Bipolar Disorder is a psychological diagnosis that is characterized by the cycling of states of mania and depression. Mania can be described as an extreme elevation in mood while depression is an extremely low mood.
There are two main diagnoses for people with bipolar disorder: Bipolar I and Bipolar II. People with Bipolar I experience the extremes of both mania and depression. Bipolar II involves milder and shorter manic episodes than Bipolar I, but still includes severe depressive episodes.
There are two other lesser known types of bipolar disorder; cyclothymic disorder and bipolar disorder with mixed features. Cyclothymic disorder is a milder version of bipolar disorder where mood swings are still present, but are less severe. Bipolar disorder with mixed features is when a person experiences features of manic and depressive episodes at the same time.
Common features of a manic episode includes:
- Increased self-esteem
- Little concern for the consequences of actions
- Racing thoughts
- Fast speech
- Sleeping very little
- Sometimes delusions and hallucinations
Common features of a depressive episode includes:
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Eating too much or eating too little
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of pleasure in activities that were previously pleasurable
- Suicidal thoughts
If you or someone you know is struggling with bipolar disorder, please contact Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to a licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .
Seasonal Affective Disorder: Not Just the Winter Blues
By Jessica Burgess
As spring finally approaches, many are hopeful for longer and brighter days in hopes that it will heighten their mood and ease them of the ‘winter blues’. But how typical are these mood shifts and when are they cause for concern? Season Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that is related to changes in season, often goes overlooked by the average person and just considered normal winter blues. However, SAD has many of the same symptoms and risks as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
Most people with SAD tend to show symptoms beginning in the fall and ending before spring but some show symptoms in the spring and progress through the summer months. Either way, the disorder follows a pattern of seasonal change, where the symptoms get worse towards the end of the season. Symptoms of SAD include:
- Feelings of depression almost every day, all day
- Sleeping problems
- Weight gain or loss
- Changes in appetite
- Feelings of hopeless, worthlessness or guilt
- Lower interest in activities you used to find interesting
- Low energy
- Thoughts of death or suicide
If you think or someone you know is suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com
Grief: Ways to Cope
By Toniann Seals
The death of a loved one requires coping skills that not many people know how to develop. In this case, grief is the feeling of sadness and loss in relation to someone no longer in your life.
Ways to cope:
- Join a support group
- You may find comfort in being around others who can relate to your pain and experience.
- Be open
- Try not to bottle up your feelings. Express them and address them as soon as needed.
- Accept your differences
- Do not worry about how long your grieving process is or if you are reacting properly. Everyone grieves differently and it is all up to the individual.
- Take care of yourself
- Try not to neglect your hobbies, hygiene or health because these will help you through the day.
- Seek counseling
- If you feel that it is difficult handling the grieving process on your own, contact a psychologist or psycho therapist who can help you overcome your loss.
If you or someone you know is having a difficult time grieving speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.
Suicidal Ideation: The Inner Voice of Chaos
By: Elizabeth Lynch
Having a mental illness can be extremely scary especially when suicidal thoughts creep into the mind. These thoughts are known as suicidal ideations; which are not uncommon in people suffering from mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other mood disorders. Suicidal ideations often consist of frequent thoughts about committing suicide but they can extend as far as incomplete attempts. Not everyone with a mental illness attempts suicide. However, many have fleeting thoughts about it which can grow into a more dangerous situation if left unaided.
If you or someone you know may attempt suicide or are experiencing any of the following actions, get immediate help now!
Please call 911 or the suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255
- Detailed planning
- Having a step by step plan
- Role playing
- Sitting with a bottle of pills or standing on a chair with a noose
- Incomplete attempts
- Usually constructed not to be completed or discovered
- May be fully intended to cause death
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or experiencing any of the following thoughts please seek medical help from your doctor or mental health professional:
- Fleeting thoughts
- Example: “I’m nothing” or “I’m worthless”
- Extensive thoughts
- Example: “I wish I was dead” or “the world would be better without me”
- Intrusive thoughts
- Example: “I could crash my car right now”
Additional Warning Signs:
- Withdrawal from social contact
- Mood swings
- Changing of routines
- Self-destructive actions
- Increase use of drugs and alcohol, reckless driving
- Giving away personal belongings for no logical reasons
- Acquiring the means to commit suicide
- Stockpiling pills, unexplained purchases of razor blades, knives, or guns
- Unexplained notions of love followed by a goodbye that is seemingly to final
If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from Suicidal Ideations, 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/
Depression: Burning Out
By Toniann Seals
While living in a face paced society burn out is typically inevitable. Maybe you have a stressful job, heavy course load at school or personal/family issues going on. These problems you may face in your lifetime could bring excessive stress and lead to burn out.
Signs of Burn Out:
- Excessive or too little sleep
- Not making time for your hobbies
- Dreading the next day/negative thoughts
After burn out occurs many people find themselves stuck at a standstill. They are not able to move forward in their work or complete simple daily tasks. Once you notice the signs above, take action immediately to help yourself.
- Lowered Self Esteem
- Less productivity
- Feelings of not being enough
- Lack of happiness
If you or someone you know is suffering from burn out speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.