Emotional Support Animals: A Helping Paw for College Students

Emotional Support Animals: A Helping Paw for College Students

By: Liz Lynch

            Colleges have recognized that animals have an innate ability to reduce stress; this is why they organize campus events such as petting zoos and therapy dog visits around midterm and finals times. However, college students have taken a particular interest in Emotional Support Animals in recent years to help combat mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Unlike Service Dogs, Emotional Support Animals do not have specific training; this is a very important distinction as Service Dogs have life saving jobs that they are trained and licensed to do.  Emotional Support Animals on the other hand could be considered a pet with a project; but don’t let the cute name fool you though, their project is very important to the student’s mental health as they provide companionship and comfort 24/7.   

           Students who are interested in having an Emotional Support Animal with them at college must go through a short process before the animal is permitted on campus. They must receive a letter of recommendation from their licensed therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist explaining the circumstances that require them to have an ESA. The letter, vaccination forms, and a contract of responsibility must be signed and approved by the school before the arrival of the animal. Once the animal is approved and moved in their project begins!

ESA Benefits:

  • Reduce feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Lowers feelings of loneliness/ isolation
  • Offers a feeling of security and familiarity
  • Provides mental and psychical stimulation
  • Creates a feeling of responsibility and purpose

           If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from a mental illness, 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/

Picture: https://iptc.org/

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Depression at Work

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Depression at Work

By Jessica Burgess

Trying to work while depressed can often feel pointless. Being productive is difficult enough without adding on a state of depression. When depression goes untreated, it can lead to a loss of productivity. Depressed workers are more likely to be away from work than non-depressed individuals and also are less efficient at work based on a national survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association1. So do our jobs make us depressed? Or does our depression make us poor workers? Psychologists say yes and no.

Depression is not caused by our jobs, but our jobs can add to our depression. Depression is partially due to our hereditary predispositions2. To put it simply, some of the reason why we get depressed are due to the genes we inherit from our parents or grandparents. But not all people that inherit a risk for depression, end up depressed. Exhibiting depression may be due to environmental triggers, such as the workplace or other stressors.

As a result of certain triggers, many individuals exhibit depression which can have consequences in the work environment. In 2013, the leading cause of loss of productivity in the workplace was depression3. Some triggers that can lead to depression in the workplace are related to the workplace itself such as:

  • Work/life imbalance
  • Introvert/extrovert stress
  • Feeling trapped
  • Unclear guidance

Other causes may be more internal such as:

  • Guilt over being a working parent
  • Discomfort with those you work with3

Depression can limit how much we can get done at work and even how often we are at work. Similarly, work can trigger depression and make it worse.

If you believe you or someone you know is struggling with depression 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/.

Sources:

https://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/depression-at-work-is-it-you-or-the-job.aspx

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200306/depression-in-the-workplace

Image: http://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&id=D9902C622A3C0E724619B8C4D02543740152C55E&thid=OIP.zAY-bONbDHp9-u6gkNSL1AHaE6&mediaurl=https%3A%2F%2Fleadnetpro1.files.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F11%2Fsales-sad-woman-at-desk.jpg&exph=531&expw=800&q=sad+at+desk&selectedindex=5&ajaxhist=0&eim=1.2.6&ccid=zAY%2BbONb&simid=607996814585496006

 

 

Depression: Different Manifestations

By Zuzanna Myszko

Even though depression is seen as a single disorder, it can be characterized by a myriad of different symptoms. Two people who have both been diagnosed with depression may display completely contrasting feelings and behavior. In response, psychologists must attempt to tailor treatments to properly deal with the patient’s particular manifestation of depression.

People with depression are usually described as experiencing:

  • Sadness
  • Worthlessness
  • Fatigue

However, someone might outwardly display signs of aggression and anxiety while experiencing depression, which changes his or her therapeutic needs. Additionally, this brings up the issue of proper diagnosis. Clinicians must utilize interviews and standardized tests in order to determine the kind of symptoms the patient is experiencing, how many symptoms he or she has, and how long they have been present. These assessments also help the clinician see the extent to which the symptoms are impeding the patient’s day-to-day functioning, which is very important for treatment.

Some forms of diagnosis include:

  • DSM-5
  • Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D)
  • Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)

Tracking symptoms becomes important for the clinician to be able to accurately treat the patient. Usually, it becomes a process of trial and error, especially if medication is involved. However, the more accurate the tracking, the more pinpointed the treatment is because symptoms can be tackled individually. Neuroscientists and other mental health researchers are continuing to attempt to determine the underlying biochemistry of depression in order to eliminate some of the trial and error in treatment.

 

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or depressive symptoms, 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/.

Image: https://clemencebodin.wordpress.com/

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/7-billion-brains/201901/your-individual-depression

Depression in Children: What are the Signs?

By: Sally Santos

In children the most common mental health disorder is depression. When a child is going through depression it may affect their mental and physical health. As mentioned in a Psychology Today article the symptoms “must also interfere with the child’s functioning in normal daily activities.” Since children are still young they are not able to communicate their feelings well to others. Children with depression can be helped that’s why it is important for parents, caregivers and teachers to recognize the signs of depression. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Angry outburst
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased in energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Refusal to go to school

According to the National Alliance of Mental Health “Once a young person has experienced a major depression, he or she is at risk of developing another depression within the next five years.”

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/alphabet-kids/201009/20-signs-and-symptoms-childhoodteen-depression

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/alphabet-kids/201009/depressing-news-about-childhood-and-adolescent-depression

Image:

https://www.anxietymedications.net/childhood-depression-symptoms-and-signs-to-diagnose-stress-on-kids/

If you are a parent and are concerned about your child having depression call 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 in Children

By Samantha Glosser

Depressive symptoms in children are often not apparent to parents and teachers. In fact, a new study at the University of Missouri demonstrated that although 30% of 643 children reported feelings of mild to severe depression, parents and teachers often failed to notice symptoms in these children. This could be detrimental to children, because not noticing depressive symptoms can lead to long-term problems caused by depression. In addition, children with depressive symptoms, and depression, can be up to six times more likely to have deficits in social and academic areas.

If parents and teachers identify depressive symptoms as early as possible, it allows the child to work through their academic and social difficulties and prevent further development of depression. To better help our children, it’s important to first understand why symptoms often go unnoticed. This could be because depression in children can appear as irritability, rather than the typical sad mood most people associate with depression. Another reason is that parents and teachers see children in different settings, thus they often come to different conclusions about the presence of depressive symptoms (could be present in school, but not at home). Next, it’s important to become familiar with symptoms of depression. Parents and teachers should be looking for the following signs: feelings of sadness or loneliness, feelings of hopelessness, lack of energy, loss of pleasure and interest in activities, difficulties eating or sleeping, difficulties concentrating, feelings of guilt/worthlessness, and even thoughts of death or suicide.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from depression, 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/

Source: Pedersen, Traci. “Depressed Kids Far More Likely to Have Social, Academic Deficits.” Psych Central, 30 Aug. 2018, psychcentral.com/news/2018/08/30/depressed-kids-far-more-likely-to-have-social-academic-deficits/138292.html.

Depression: Can it be Effectively Treated in Adolescents without Medication?

By Samantha Glosser

Although antidepressant medications are typically seen as the first course of treatment for adolescents diagnosed with depression, many families do not want their kids to begin taking medication. This could be because of personal values and beliefs or because they cannot afford medication. In addition, almost half of all adolescents who begin treatment with medications eventually discontinue use due to the side effects or because they feel that it is not benefiting them enough. If you decide that medication isn’t right for your child, there are other options that are effective. One clinically proven method used to treat depression in adolescents is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBT is a short-term, goal-orientated therapy that focuses on changing patterns of thinking and behaviors that contribute to the patient’s issues. For example, your teenager may feel depressed because they are distorting the importance of certain events. This could start as simply getting a D on their final. However, their thoughts soon begin to spiral, and they begin to think that with this D on their transcript they will never be able to get into college or get a good job. CBT works by challenging this maladaptive thought pattern and teaches patients to replace these thoughts and consider alternative viewpoints. Recent studies have shown that CBT can be just as effective in treating depression as antidepressant medications and will lead to increased moods in adolescents. If you and your child have come to the decision that medication is not right for them, cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective treatment plan that just might be the right fit for your needs.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 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, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Martin, B. (2018, April 04). In-Depth: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/in-depth-cognitive-behavioral-therapy/?li_source=LI&li_medium=popular17.

Wood, J. (2018, January 21). For Teens, CBT in Primary Care Can Be Cost-Effective Versus Meds. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/01/20/cognitive-behavioral-therapy-cost-effective-for-teens-who-decline-antidepressants/131463.html.

Depression

By: Dianna Gomez

Similar to most mental health illnesses, depression does not discriminate. Depression doesn’t take into consideration what age, race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or religion a person is. In fact, not only does depression affect both men AND women, it may be experienced differently by each group as well. In general, depression is more commonly found in women then it is found in men. When it comes to women specifically, the higher rates of depression have been linked to biological, hormonal, life cycle, and psychosocial factors. It has been shown that hormones directly affect emotions and mood through brain chemistry. A time when women are especially at risk is after giving birth when physical and hormonal changes, as well as new responsibilities for their new born baby can be overwhelming. Postpartum Depression can also occur in new mothers and must be attended to immediately. When speaking about their depression, women are more likely to describe their experiences as feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and/or guilt.

When men are depressed, they are more likely to describe their experiences as having feelings of fatigue, loss of interest in things once enjoyed, irritability, sleep issues, etc. In attempt to relieve themselves of their depression, men are more likely to bury themselves in their work and find ways to keep themselves preoccupied so they aren’t forced to confront their feelings head on. They may also participate in risky or reckless behaviors. Alcohol and substance use is another coping mechanism that men usually turn to. This is usually followed by episodes of anger and aggression.

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. Despite this, there is still no known cause for this debilitating illness. That is why it is absolutely crucial that professional help is sought out.

If either you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can help 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 us at https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Depression: How Exercise can help Part 2: The Exercise Influence

Depression has a variety of causes and these causes are not easily eliminated despite their detrimental effects on a person’s life and relationships. Moderate to severe cases may only be manageable by pharmacology and therapy, which includes the therapy loved ones can also give by providing companionship, understanding, and love. For mild to slightly moderate cases, however, scientists have found through multiple research studies conducted on over 1 million patients, exercise alleviates some of the symptoms of depression in patients and also could potentially prevent depression developing from those not suffering yet. This means, to be clear, exercise is not a cure for depression, but it can help alleviate the symptoms.

Exercise is associated with endorphins. Endorphins are endogenous opioids naturally released by your body, which have a similar chemical structure and composition to morphine. Endorphins, like morphine, attach to opioid receptors within our body and block pain transmission while also producing euphoria. Euphoria is a rushing sensation of happiness, energy, and joy. This can be seen when runners experience the “runner’s high” after running for an extended period of time without feeling fatigued or pained. The bodies of those who exercise rigorously release these endorphins.

Not only are chemicals affected but so is the brain’s anatomy. Researchers at Harvard University contrasted patients with major depression before and after exercising. One major change researchers and doctors have found a noticeable size difference in the hippocampus of those with depression and those without. Patients with depression have a smaller hippocampus, which regulates mood. Dr. Michael Craig Miller has found that exercise helps increase nerve growth and connections within the hippocampus. This, he explains, has led to alleviation of some of the symptoms.

Another study done by conglomerating data on over 1,140,000 adults of different ethnicities and ages found that there was significant data indicating that there was a considerable link between mental health and exercise. The subjects were divided into 3 groups pertaining to their aerobic fitness. After studying depression diagnosis within these groups, the scientists found that those who were in the lowest tier (the least fit/active) were 75% more likely to be diagnosed with depression than those in the “fittest” tier. The second tier was 25% more likely to be diagnosed with depression than those in the “fittest” tier.

Additionally, researchers found, from collecting data from 25 studies, that subjects who were forced to do some moderately strenuous exercise (ex. Brisk walking) benefitted mentally from it as opposed to the control group where they were did not exercise. Researchers believe that concentrating on the exercise allowed subjects to stop ruminating and thinking negatively during that time, improving their mental health. Blood samples, drawn from patients with major depression before and after their exercise regimen, showed that subjects who exercised had different concentrations of inflammatory agents and hormones. A recent study conducted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology with nearly 800 six year old children over a span of four years found that children who exercised moderately showed fewer depressed symptoms than their counterparts.

Exercise can’t and won’t fix all problems that depressed patients endure; sometimes, it might not even help those who are suffering from severe depression and those with hormonal imbalance. However, if these studies show something, it is that exercise can help people not only physically but also mentally. So take a brisk walk one day when you’re feeling blue. It’s good for you!

 

If you find yourself depressed or becoming depressed or if you know someone who suffers from depression contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to speak with one of our therapists. Arista Counseling & Psychological Services  (201) 368-3700.

Depression: Why Exercise Can Help (part 1: what is depression?)

Eve Bae

With around 16.1 million Americans affected by major depressive disorder and around 3.3 million American adults affected by persistent depressive disorder1, it is imperative for health care professionals to figure out how to help patients suffering with their disorder. These statistics even exclude children and those under the age of legal adulthood, making the number of afflicted patients most likely greater. With the different types and degrees of severity of depression, it is difficult to state that there is one encompassing solution for this multifaceted diagnosis.

Depression is a state of being characterized by multiple symptoms such as depressed mood, diminished interest or pleasure, fatigue, negative feelings of worthlessness, difficulties with concentration or thinking which impair the patient’s daily life activities. The patient must have been feeling this way for at least the same 2 week period and all symptoms must be caused solely by this disorder. This condition can have a biological, social, or even environmental base. Researchers have found that people suffering from depression have a smaller hippocampus and other biological differences, which differentiate them from those who do not suffer from this condition. Another area explored and hypothesized is the role neurotransmitters play in this disorder. Harvard researchers, doctors, and psychologists acknowledge that the brain is a dynamic system with no one neurotransmitter as the sole cause for all patients but there may be different problematic neurotransmitters for each patient. When the fragile balance of serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, glutamate, and/or GABA is disrupted, it affects the brain and ultimately the patient, influencing their moods, emotions, and behavior.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

So how can exercise help this difficult disorder? Onto Part 2!

  1. adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
  2. photo: affinitymagazine.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/1468445687-depression.jpg

Snapchat Culture

By: Emily Mulhaul

Lights flashing, music blasting, society Snapchatting.

Unbeknownst to many, an external appearance doesn’t always match up with an internal experience. To further explain, just because on the outside someone seems they are having fun, does not always mean internally they are having fun. This knowledge can act as a relaxant to combat the initial jealousy of binge watching other’s Snapchat stories; However, if you find yourself “doing it for the Snapchat” (we all have) and are sensing incongruity with the way you appear on Snapchat and feel in reality, it may be time to look inside yourself. If “the struggle is becoming too real” and you’re at the point where you want to feel the way you appear on Snapchat, or experience the perceived feelings of other’s but have absolutely no idea where to start, talking it through with a licensed professional could guide you towards genuinely feeling these positive emotions.

The experienced psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling are here to help. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.