The Effects of Agoraphobia

The Effects of Agoraphobia

By: Michaela Reynolds

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that causes an individual to feel an intense fear of being overwhelmed, unable to escape, or unable to get help. Due to this intense fear and anxiety, people will often avoid new places and unfamiliar situations. New places or unfamiliar situations include: open or enclosed spaces, places outside their home, crowds, and public transportation. Usually, Agoraphobia begins with a stressful event that makes an individual feel distressed and in turn, limits their contact with the world. This limitation of contact causes avoidant-behaviors with time the individual remains confined to their home. Agoraphobia is also caused by a stressful life event that triggers a panic attack. Due to the unpleasantness of panic attacks, the individuals will avoid any place or situation that will trigger another panic attack. These instances show that agoraphobia develops over time, rather than happening all at once.

The signs of agoraphobia are similar to a panic attack disorder, but the following symptoms can still occur:

  • Chest pain or rapid heart rate
  • Upset stomach
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Sudden chills or flushing
  • Fearfulness
  • Hyperventilation
  • Excessive sweating

If you or someone you know is struggling with agoraphobia, 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/15769-agoraphobia

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/agoraphobia#complications-of-agoraphobia

 Image: https://www.rismedia.com/2020/11/05/are-you-agraid-you-might-have-agoraphobia/

February: Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

By: Julia Massa

Teen dating violence, also known as intimate partner violence or intimate relationship violence, affects one in three teenagers, ages 12 to 19 nationwide. This population is likely to experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from their partner before entering adulthood. The abuse can take many forms including stalking, harassment, or physical or sexual abuse. In fact, 10% of adolescents report being a victim of physical violence prior to experiencing sexual assault or rape. Girls are more vulnerable to experience violence in their relationships and are likely to develop suicidal ideations, eating disorders, or use drugs. In addition, adolescents are likely to carry these behaviors into future relationships.

The month of February signifies the undying efforts to raise awareness for teen dating violence by promoting advocacy and education to younger individuals so that they can notice the red flags and escape potential abuse from a partner. This year’s theme for Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month is “Talk About It,” which encourages younger individuals to participate in conversations differentiating both healthy and unhealthy relationships. It is important to note that this is an issue that affects not only teenagers, but their families, friends, and the community as a whole. Many cases go unreported since victims are hesitant and scared to open up to their family or peers about it.

Safety planning guides, participating in the That’s Not Cool Ambassador Program, attending webinars, supporting youth led projects, and advocating through social media platforms are various ways an individual can spread awareness and enhance their knowledge on ways to help victims notice patterns of abuse. On February 8th, it is encouraged to wear orange to show victims that they have our support and attention. Love is Respect.

If you or someone you know is struggling with being in an abusive relationship, 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://youth.gov/feature-article/teen-dating-violence-awareness-and-prevention-month

Image Source:

COVID Anxiety

By: Julia Massa

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked fear in many people from diverse populations, especially those who are immunocompromised. Research shows that pre-existing vulnerability to certain illnesses is a major trigger, so it is no secret as to why the pandemic has significantly affected those with autoimmune disorders. People are leaving their homes less, cities are vacant, parks are untouched, businesses are closing, and schools are silent while hospitals are loud, chaotic, and constantly moving. The pandemic has fueled OCD symptoms where people are commonly seen drowning their hands in sanitizer, hoarding their homes with cleaning products, clearing the shelves of toiletries, and constantly cleaning surfaces- no matter the location. There has been an increase in OCD diagnoses and symptoms of those who already have the condition are becoming more severe.

People are stressing over potential blood clots, painful lumps, infections, and even having something as little as an itch- the list tracks on. Illness anxiety is real and can disrupt an individual’s daily functioning. Individuals with this condition constantly google symptoms and surveil their body for any physical signs of illness- previously recognized as hypochondriasis. These constant rituals and safety behaviors can be detrimental to a person’s mental state. In addition, this “what if” mindset only reinforces an individual’s anxiety.  It can be very expensive dealing with this condition, as people tend to go to frequent doctor’s visits, whereas others may avoid going altogether. 

Psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavior therapy, can be an effective treatment for those with illness anxiety. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help an individual with illness anxiety manage their anxiety and stress without taking a trip to the doctor’s office. Anxiety can actually present with physical symptoms that an individual may think is from a serious illness, so finding ways to cope and deal with the excessive worries can lead to optimal outcomes.

Sources:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/pandemic-anxiety-is-fueling-ocd-symptoms-e2-80-94even-for-people-without-the-disorder/ar-AASYBeE?ocid=uxbndlbing

https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/health-anxiety-what-it-and-how-beat-it

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/illness-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20373782

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for illness-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/          

What Do Dreams Tell Us About Our Mental Health?

   By: Kassandra Lora

Have you ever wondered if dreams are a reflection of our subconscious trying to send a message or if they are just meaningless? What do these specific dreams tell us about our mental health?

    One type of dreaming, besides the occasional nightmares, is lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is when the dreamer is aware they are dreaming but, without waking up, they can control what they do in the dream as well as the outcome of the dream. Some people lucid dream regularly while others rarely and some cannot lucid dream at all. So, what does lucid dreaming show us about our mental health? In an article written in the PsychologyToday magazine, they discussed an observation conducted with a group of undergraduate students who participated in a sleep study. The results stated how, “Intense lucid dreamers had, on average, lower levels of psychological distress.” It was explained that individuals who have more intense lucid dreams had less depression, stress, and anxiety than individuals who had less intense lucid dreams.  However, those who don’t lucid dream at all had no difference in psychological wellbeing when compared to those who have very intense lucid dreams.  It is interesting to see how something like lucid dreaming can have such a perspective on psychological health.

    Besides measuring psychological distress, according to the Psych Central website, dreams have many mental health benefits as well. Some benefits of dreams include:

  • Helping you learn: Dreams allow your brain to make sense of new information that has been learned.
  • Being therapeutic to a person: dreams can help a person heal real-life emotions through dreams.
  • Helping you overcome your fear: lucid dreaming can allow you to practice facing and overcoming what you are afraid to do in real life.

If you or someone you know needs help regarding sleep and dreams, 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.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/social-instincts/201804/what-dreams-may-tell-you-about-your-mental-health

https://psychcentral.com/blog/brain-and-mental-health-benefits-of-dreaming#2

Image source: https://wallhere.com/en/wallpaper/781179

PTSD Researcher Finds Link between Stress and Trauma

By Diana Bae

Rachel Yehuda, PhD, is a distinguished researcher and Director of Traumatic Stress Studies Division at the Icahn School of Medicine of Mount Sinai. She has conducted numerous prominent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) studies and treatment. One of her most well-known studies researched Vietnam War combat veterans with PTSD and found that they had significantly lower cortisol levels than veterans without PTSD. Cortisol is a hormone that controls stress and although it is thought that more cortisol resulted in more stress, Dr. Yehuda showed that that is not the case. Thus, there needs to be a sufficient amount of cortisol to handle stress and reduce the risk of developing trauma. Now, Dr. Yehuda plans to test a drug, oral hydrocortisone, to see whether it can replicate the cortisol naturally produced in the body. If this drug is successful, it may prevent PTSD and other similar disorders.

Arista Psychological and Psychiatric Services understands the problems caused by PTSD and are dedicated to provide proper attention and treatment. If you or someone you know would like to set up an appointment for our counseling services, contact us at our offices in Paramus, NJ (201) 368-3700 or in Manhattan, NY (212) 996-3939. For more information, please visit our website https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Source: Inside, a publication of the Mount Sinai Health System, Issue: November 25 – December 15, 2019;  Picture Source: http:// www. thesuburban.com/life/lifestyles/can-trauma-be-transmitted-intergenerationally-oct-dawson-college-peace-centre/article_ea2d7bb0-b063-11e7-aee3-5b0d013065f7.html, https:// askopinion.com/how-to-deal-with-ptsd-aka-post-traumatic-stress-disorder

Phobias

By: Estephani Diaz

The average person has at least two or more fears that they wish to never encounter. Some are afraid of heights, while others are terrified of flying. Others scream at the sight of a spider on the wall and others fear being lost in a large crowd of people. Now, phobias are more intense than you average fear. Phobias are defined as a persistent fear of a situation, activity, or thing causing one to want to avoid it.

Phobias are categorized into three separate types: social, agoraphobia and specific phobias. Social phobias would include the fears of public speaking, crowds, meeting new people, etc. Agoraphobia is the fear of being outside. For example, those with agoraphobia are afraid of shopping centers or public transportation due to the belief that it is unsafe. Lastly, specific phobias are directed to exact things and/or situations. This would include: aichmophobia (fear of sharp objects), coulrophobia (fear of clowns), nomophobia (fear of being without a cellphone), and many more.

Common responses to coming in contact with your phobia/s are:

  • Rapid heartbeats
  • Sweating
  • Panic attacks
  • Strong desire to get away
  • Shortness of breathe
  • Stress
  • Nausea

According to research, phobias can be developed after experiencing a traumatic event and/or influenced by one’s upbringing, culture or lifestyle. For example, if an individual is a victim of a car accident, it is possible for them to develop a fear of driving, known as Vehophobia.

Recommended treatment for those with phobias is to seek psychotherapy and if needed, medication. It is also suggested to expose oneself to their fear/s or similar situations to slowly overcome them.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a phobia/s, 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/.

Self-Harm

Self-harm is a way of expressing feelings that can’t be put into words by deliberately harming the surface of your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. It’s the release of pain and tension one feels inside. It’s a distraction from overwhelming feelings and emotions, from no emotion at all, and can be used as a way to punish oneself.  It’s a way to feel control.

Dear readers that self-injure,             
            Maybe you feel ashamed, maybe you think no one would understand, maybe you think you won’t be left alone again, and quite honestly you might be scared of hearing that you’re crazy. But hiding who you are and what you feel is a heavy burden. We have all been there in one way or another. Truthfully, the secrecy and guilt of self-harm affects your relationships with your friends and family members and the way you feel about yourself. It can make you feel even more lonely, worthless, and trapped. But you are not crazy, and you are definitely not alone.

Why You Should Stop:

  • The relief is short lived.
  • Keeping the secret is a lonely and a difficult journey.
  • You can hurt yourself badly, on purpose or not, and misjudge the damage you’ll do.
  • Those who care for you, even those who are unaware of the situation, would be broken to know it.

How to Rid Yourself of the Mechanism:

  • Communicate with somebody you can confide in. A friend, a family member, a teacher, etc.
  • Give yourself time to heal.
  • Seek out professional help and begin to both work with and understand your emotions.
  • Sprint, draw, paint, sing, scream, run, cry, and do whatever you can to make your impulse go away in that moment.

How to Help Someone that Does Self-harm:

  • Don’t judge.
  • Respect the person’s time needed to heal.
  • Offer support, even if you might not completely understand.
  • Help find therapy, and offer to help reach out to more adults and professionals.

By Isabelle Kreydin

 If you or someone you know is self-harming and needs help, 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.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/cutting-and-self-harm.htm