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

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/

Habits: Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)

By Lauren Hernandez

            Body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) are a group of disorders composed of “self-grooming” behaviors in which a person might pull, pick, bite, or scrape one’s hair, skin, or nails. BFRBs can be considered “impulse disorders,” however; it is still undetermined whether they are either impulsive or compulsive behaviors. People suffering from BFRBs typically lack awareness towards engaging in the repetitive behavior. BFRBS are problematic when they occur repetitively and cause a person distress in their physical, social, and emotional lives. The cause of BFRBs is still being researched; however, for some, habitual behaviors such as biting nails, chewing on their cheeks, and pulling their hair may develop into an impairing pattern associated with other mental illnesses.

Most BFRBs are associated with anxiety disorders, impulse control disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorders because they are difficult for individuals for control. BFRBs not only have an emotionally distressing impact, as an individual may experience high levels of shame, but BFRBs can also cause physical injuries such as scarring, skin infections, or bald spots.

The most common BFRBs include:

  • Trichotillomania- compulsive hair pulling
  • Dermatillomania- Compulsive skin picking
  • Onychophagia- Compulsive nail biting

Treatment of BFRBs include cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, and supplements, however, there are lower rates of treatment success due to lack of research on the disorders and effective treatment methods. Treatment for BFRBs should be discussed with a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner in order to tailor treatment for an individual.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a Body-focused repetitive behavior, 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.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/body-focused-repetitive-behaviors

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/touchy-subject/201805/habitual-behavior-or-bfrb-disorder

Image Source:

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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