Sleep Disorder: Narcolepsy

Sleep Disorder: Narcolepsy

By Crystal Tsui

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that affects daytime activities. It is characterized by overwhelming drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. Narcolepsy affects both men and women equally in roughly 1 in 2,000 people and can be passed down genetically, but the risk of a parent passing this disorder to a child is very low. Symptoms usually start to develop between the ages of 10- 30 years old and worsen for the first few years. The symptoms of narcolepsy will remain constant throughout life.

Some symptoms of narcolepsy include:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Hallucinations
  • Episodes of cataplexy (partial or total loss of muscle control that is often triggered by strong emotions such as laughter and joy)

Other symptoms include:

  • Transition to REM sleep is quick, usually 15 minutes
  • Insomnia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Automatic behavior (falling asleep while doing an automatic task, like driving, and continue performing task after falling asleep. When waking up and not remembering what they did)

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that seriously disrupts everyday life. Most common being:

  • Stigma of the condition- others might view individuals with this disorder as lazy or lethargic
  • Physical harm- increased risk of being in a car accident if a sleep attack occurs when driving
  • Low metabolism- individuals may be more likely to be overweight

Unfortunately, the exact cause is still unknown and there is no cure for narcolepsy. However, medications (stimulants), lifestyle changes, and support from others can help manage symptoms. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from narcolepsy and need help adjusting, 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 .




Hypnosis: What is it and how is it beneficial?

Alice Cordero

Hypnosis has almost always been portrayed in movies and books as an individual entering a sleep-like trance. Once the individual enters this state of “unconsciousness” he/ she unravels their truth, and shortly after awaken completely unaware that a session took place. It’s important for the general public to understand that this connotation of hypnosis is inaccurate.

Hypnosis by definition is a trance like state where you have heightened suggestibility and are fully conscious and alert. During a session the individual is fully focused, responsive, and less skeptical. The goal of hypnosis is to get the individual into a state of relaxation where the worrisome thoughts and experiences have subsided.

Hypnosis can be helpful for conditions including: chronic pain, stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, depression, grief, symptoms of dementia, ADHD, skin conditions, and behavior disorders like smoking, and nail-biting. It’s important to remember that during hypnosis the individual is always in control throughout the process. Although the therapist provides the patient with guidance throughout the session, the patient is always the main one in charge.

Some of the major benefits of hypnosis over the years include: losing weight, leaving bad habits, overcoming negative emotions, overcoming insomnia, and even improving daily life activities.

If you or someone you know is suffering from any of the conditions listed above or think they could generally benefit from hypnosis, 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



Sonya Cheema

A typical adult gets between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, but it varies from person to person. Those who struggle to get this amount of sleep may suffer from the sleep disorder, insomnia. Some people may experience acute insomnia, which lasts for a few days or weeks. Others may suffer from chronic insomnia, which can last a month or more. If you suspect you or a loved one has insomnia, look for these symptoms:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking up during the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling rested after a night’s sleep
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
  • Irritability, depression, or anxiety
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks, or remembering
  • Increased errors or accidents
  • Ongoing worries about sleep

If you or a loved one experience many of these symptoms, it may be wise to seek professional help. If serious enough, insomnia can drastically affect your everyday life. In the meantime, some tips that may help alleviate your insomnia are:

  • Keeping your bed time and wake time consistent day to day
  • Avoid or limit naps
  • Avoid or limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex
  • Create a relaxing night time ritual, such as taking a bath, reading, listening to music, etc.

If you or a person you know is struggling with insomnia, it may be beneficial to contact a mental health professional and receive therapy. The psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists at Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help. Contact the Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920. Visit for more information.


Source used:

Depression: Signs and Symptoms

Depression: Signs and Symptoms

By Daisy Lee

One of the most common mental health or mood disorders is one known as major depressive disorder, or more simply, depression. Although depression is not rare in the general population and awareness of it has been increasing, many people still struggle to spot depression. A lot of times, people can mistake depression for simply being tired or sad.

Depression can encompass many different characteristics, not all of which may manifest in a single person. For example, one person who is clinically depressed may have significant weight loss without intention while another person who is clinically depressed may have significant weight gain. The symptoms of depression are not always clear-cut. Here are a few common symptoms of depression:

  • Diminished interest or pleasure in activities
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain; increase or decrease in appetite
  • Insomnia (inability to sleep or stay asleep) or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation (slowed down movements)
  • Fatigue, lethargy, or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive/inappropriate guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation

As mentioned before, depression can be difficult to spot, even if you are familiar with the symptoms and what depression encompasses. If you or someone you know might be 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



Why Is Sleep So Important?

Why Is Sleep So Important?

By Daisy Lee

When we haven’t had a good night’s sleep, we often feel groggy and disoriented in the morning. Oftentimes, it feels like we haven’t slept at all. Getting enough sleep every night is essential to one’s health, both mental and physical, and contributes to one’s overall state of well-being.

Sleep has been proven time and time again to improve overall wellness and quality of life. Without it, humans and any other living, breathing creatures can’t survive. A good, sound night’s sleep ranging from around 7 to 9 hours is vital for maximum health and performance in life. A few benefits of sleep include:

  • Improved memory
  • Improved attention and concentration
  • Faster reaction time
  • Higher school performance
  • Decreased likelihood of accidents
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased risk of depression
  • Decreased likelihood of illness

Make sure to get your 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night for your best physical and mental condition. If you or someone you know is having sleep issues, 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



Worrying Excessively: How You May Have GAD and How to Cope With It

If you worry excessively without any apparent reason then you may have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (also abbreviated as GAD). Someone with GAD tends to worry about many aspects of their life, when there is really little to no reason to do so: they tend to anticipate the worst. People with GAD find it hard to relax, difficult to concentrate and get startled easily. This also leads to other physical symptoms such as fatigue, muscle tension and/or aches, headaches, trembling, irritability, sweating, twitching, nausea, lightheadedness, loss of breath, hot flashes and frequently going to the bathroom. However, it is important to note that these symptoms wax and wane and are not always exhibited together at the same time. In general, these symptoms start to appear slowly, as the onset of GAD is very slow. The risk of developing GAD starts in one’s late teens/young adult years, and doubles if one is female rather than male; however, no one is immune from developing it.

People with mild GAD can often function normally and carry out their daily tasks but for those with moderate to severe GAD, even carrying out the simplest tasks can become very difficult. Consequently, it is important to get help if you think you may have GAD. Luckily, there are many treatment options available including psychotherapy and/or medications. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a type of psychotherapy that teaches you how to restructure your thoughts, behaviors and reactions so that you can have a different outlook of your situation; it is especially effective in treating GAD. In addition, medication can also help to balance the neurotransmitters in your system that are associated with emotion, fear and worry. People also find hypnosis and relaxation are effective methods to help you gain control over your anxiety.

If you believe that you are a loved one has or may have an anxiety disorder, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit for more information.


By: Shivani J. Patel

Sleep Disorders- Psychotherapy- Bergen County, NJ

By: Michelle Dierna

Get the right amount of sleep!

Sleeping is one of the most vital functions of the human body. Sleeping is in the same category as eating and drinking. Without these essentials humans would not be able to keep their physical and mental health well and stable.  Sleep difficulties cause instability and hardships throughout many stages of life. Sleeping issues can arise from stress & anxiety, depression, drugs & alcohol abuse or simply bad sleeping habits. you can notice signs of sleeping disorders by noticing patterns of your behavior.

 For example:

  • sleeping during the day excessively.
  • high anxiety levels.
  • wakefulness.
  • hyperactivity as a reaction to certain medications.
  • inability to fall asleep.

 All of these issues fall into the category of someone suffering from sleeping issues that could potentially be a sleeping disorder. A person who does not go through their full REM sleep; also known as rapid eye movement is not getting the proper sleep necessary.  REM includes four stages to get to a full deep and healthy sleep. Typically when people wake from REM sleep they recall having strange dreams. Sleeping discrepancies should be monitored and confronted depending on the frequency and severity.

*Why? Because there could be more serious underlying problems, some resulting in more serious  disorders that can be long term if not treated properly such as:

  • Insomnia: is a very common sleeping disorder. The symptoms of Insomnia are similar to ones mentioned and include: waking up frequently during the night, having extreme difficulty getting into a deep sleep or any sleep at all, and not experiencing all the stages of REM sleep in a night.  This can occur several nights during the week, or every night for some who suffer from insomnia.
  • Other common serious sleeping disorders includes: sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy. If these disorders are not diagnosed and treated properly, they can cause very negative results in an individual’s health.

Talking to a doctor or therapist about symptoms as soon as possible is important, to prevent a possible path of destruction. Not getting enough sleep can affect your memory, Processing abilities, weight, and worsen depression & anxiety if present. Overall, it disables the individual’s body and mind and ability to function normally. external issues such as performance at work, home or school can be affected by sleep deprivation as well.

  • Sleeping disorders due to a mental health condition, medical condition or substance induced condition, all need specific treatment methods, all are disturbing the brain in different ways resulting in these sleeping disturbances. It can be difficult to exactly pinpoint what is causing the sleeplessness. Thus, recognizing the symptoms and your behavior can make the recovery process faster and help you get to the core of what is causing the problems in your sleep, which will help with a resolution.

* If you are not suffering from severe symptoms, relaxation & other therapeutic methods can be beneficial before falling asleep.

If you or a loved one happens to be experiencing sleeping issues that may be a sleeping disorder, it is important to recognize this and reach out to a professional and have it monitored depending of the severity. If you are in the Bergen County, New Jersey Or Manhattan area, Feel free to contact our offices of Psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists for an evaluation.

Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920

More detailed information can be found at



1.”Find the Right Therapist.” Types of Therapy. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2014.

  1. “Low-energy Diet Can Improve Sleep Disorder | TopNews.” Low-energy Diet Can Improve Sleep Disorder | TopNews. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2014.



Hypnotherapy – Why do we dream? – Bergen County NJ

By: Davine Holness

Nightmares or pleasant dreams: what are they for?

Nightmares or sweet dreams: what are they for?

Dreams are among the most common parts of our human experience, yet no one seems to understand them.  Dreams seem real and vivid while we’re in them, yet we usually forget them throughout the course of the day.  Dreams have mystified scientists and philosophers alike throughout the ages, but as we have gained knowledge on how the brain works, some viable theories have been put forth.

  1. To practice what we would do in certain circumstances.  Based on the parts of the brain that are increasingly activated during REM sleep, cognitive scientist Antti Revonsuo claims that sleep is a way of rehearsing fight-or-flight responses so that we are better at them when we are threatened in real life.
  2. To organize our memories.  Matt Wilson at MIT’s Center for Learning and Memory, after noting from the firing of neurons that lab rats dream of important junctures during their day, claims that dreams are a way to decide which memories are worth storing.
  3. To defragment our hard drive.  Over time our brains can get into the habit of thinking in certain ways that might be holding us back, such as defensiveness or obsessing.  According to geneticist Francis Crick, dreams, during which neurons fire randomly, give us an opportunity to loosen certain pathways and make new, useful ones.
  4. For emotional learning.  Ernest Hartmann, a doctor at Tufts, says that dreams let us put difficult emotions into pictures and confront them in a safe environment, away from the defensiveness of the conscious mind.
  5. Random firing of neurons.  Some claim that dreams have no meaning or purpose at all.  Dreams may just be the mind functioning as it always does, but free from the consciousness that seeks meaning in the madness.


If you’re having trouble with sleep or dreams, and are near Manhattan or Bergen County, New Jersey, feel free to contact Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy to talk to a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist.  Call (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit for more information.



Simons, I. (2009, November 11). What Do Dreams Do for Us?. . Retrieved June 3, 2014