Changes to the Brain

 By: Katie Connell

                For a long time, scientists believed that changes to brain structure only occurred during infancy and childhood. By the time one became an adult, it was thought that brain structure would remain largely permanent and that no more changes could occur. However, in the 1960’s, scientists discovered that changes to the adult brain were indeed possible. One thing that verified this were brain changes that occurred to patient’s brains that were damaged in injuries and accidents. Damage that occurred in certain parts of one’s brain resulted in healthier parts taking over. With this discovery came insight into other ways that the brain could be changed, specifically in the realm of psychotherapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a great example of a type of psychotherapy that can lead to long lasting changes to the brain. During a process called synaptic pruning, extra neurons (which transmit information) and synaptic connections (which permit neurons to transmit info) are eliminated to increase the efficiency of neural transmissions. One way this happens is by neurons being used more frequently. Those that aren’t used as much get eliminated, which improves the transmission of information. By repeated exposure and engagement in CBT (including thought shifting techniques and cognitive restructuring), neurons become strengthened, meaning less synapses and better transmission of neurons. Through the use of routine CBT, critical neural networks are able to change how we think and feel.

If you or a person you know is seeking CBT or other forms of therapy, the psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists at Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help. Please contact the Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920. 

Source:

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-brain-plasticity-2794886

 

 

Psychosomatic Disorders

Psychosomatic Disorders

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
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

There are many physical diseases and conditions that are prone to be exacerbated by psychological factors. Some conditions include:

  • Hypertension
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dyspnea
  • Tachypnea
  • Tachycardia

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/ .

Sources:

https://centerforanxietydisorders.com/treatment-programs/psychosomatic-disorders/

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwib8_iSpLTiAhWtTd8KHQaAC_cQjRx6BAgBEAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.abc.net.au%2Fradionational%2Fprograms%2Fallinthemind%2Fhypochondria-and-psychosomatic-illness%2F6866448&psig=AOvVaw1o8-BXYZWCSksnlzsZPuSV&ust=1558791237650609

Mental Health Stigma: Myths

Mental Health Stigma: Myths

By Toniann Seals

When you hear that someone has mental health issues there are a few myths that may come to mind. Below are a few common myths and why they are not true.

1. MYTH: “People with mental health problems are dangerous.”

  • Mental health problems do not imply danger. Most people are battling something internally and do not have any signs of being a danger to themselves or others.

2. MYTH: “People with mental health problems are unstable.”

  • Many people with mental health problems are high functioning and can control their emotions. They can make their own well thought out choices.

3. MYTH: “People with mental health problems are unsuccessful in their daily lives.”

  • Many people with mental health problems are able to perform daily tasks such as working and having hobbies. They can be CEOs of companies, thrive in their careers and make important decisions.

4. MYTH: “People with mental health problems are lazy.”

  • Sometimes daily tasks do get hard for some, but mental illness has nothing to do with laziness. There are many factors that go into these illnesses as well as reasons why some people cannot function as productively as usual.

5. MYTH: “There is no hope for someone with mental health problems.”

  • Many people go to therapy for treatment and work toward recovery.

Before you are quick to judge someone because of their actions or labeled illness, think more in depth about what they are doing and who they are as a person. Just because you hear something that generalizes a group of people, it does not mean it is true.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health problem 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.mentalhealth.gov/basics/mental-health-myths-facts

(Image) https://smallbizclub.com/startup/creating-a-plan/10-myths-vs-reality-business-plans-startup-investment/

Alcohol Abuse: College Students

Alcohol Abuse: College Students

By Toniann Seals

For many, college is the first time in one’s young adult life that they are away from their families and on their own. Without direct supervision they begin to experiment, especially with alcohol. Unfortunately, some find themselves victims of alcohol abuse and have a hard time fighting the addiction.

Identifying Alcohol Abuse:

  • Missing important assignments, classes or meetings because of alcohol
  • Vomiting each time you drink alcohol
  • Not able to control the amount you drink
  • Drinking before or during class/work
  • Constant feeling of regret after a night out of drinking
  • Inability to control your behaviors while under the influence
  • Binge Drinking

Some may claim that they are just trying to have “fun” in college, however being a college student does not make a person immune to the detrimental side effects of alcohol abuse.

According to the NIAAA, “Approximately 2 out of every 5 college students of all ages (more than 40 percent) reported binge drinking at least once in the 2 weeks prior.” Drinking too much alcohol in a short period of time can lead to health problems, injury and even death. Fitting in is not worth what could potentially happen to you. If you are drinking because of stress, a traumatic experience or bad breakup, professional help could be very beneficial.

If you or someone you know is dealing with alcohol abuse 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.addictioncenter.com/alcohol/binge-drinking/

(Image) http://allaboutaddiction.com/addiction/college-students-binge-drinking/

Suicide: Fighting Suicidal Thoughts

By: Sally Santos

If you are someone who is suffering with suicidal thoughts, you should be aware that most people that have attempted to commit suicide but did not succeed feel relieved that they did not succeed in ending their life. When things get tough sometimes your mind starts racing and you feel overwhelmed with emotions. Suicide doesn’t just happen on its own, it is led by many social risk factors some of them being:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Employment status
  • Lack of social support

Many people who have attempted to commit suicide will say that they were experiencing very intense feelings of hopelessness. They felt like they had lost control of their lives and that nothing is going to get better. But that is not true. In that moment it may feel hopeless but there are ways to help you feel better. You do not have to feel like you have to fight your battles alone. In order to steer away from those thoughts it is important to keep in mind a plan just in case your thoughts become too overwhelming. It is recommended to make a list of all the positive things that you have in your life such as:

  • Read a favorite book or listen to your favorite music
  • Write down positive things about yourself or the favorite aspects of your life
  • Try to get a goodnights sleep
  • Have a list of people you trust to call in case you want to talk

Always note that you can discuss how you have been feeling with a healthcare provider. They can provide you with the advice and help that you need in order to achieve a faster and healthy recovery. Lastly, as mentioned in an article in Psychology Today it’s important to “remember that you have not always felt this way and that you will not always feel this way”. The emotions and thoughts that you have now are temporary not permanent.

Article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201204/fighting-suicidal-thoughts

Image: https://www.teepublic.com/sticker/1813639-suicide-prevention-awareness-butterfly-ribbon

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, 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/.

 

Isolation vs. Loneliness: How They Both Affect Your Mental Health

By Stephanie Osuba

People are constantly throwing around the terms introvert or extrovert to describe their personalities. For example, a common thing for an introvert to do would be to cancel plans and spend the night alone, and chalk it up to being an introvert. Not that there is anything wrong with some people thriving without the company of others or needing some time to recharge alone. However, when does isolation become dangerous for your mental health? How often is it okay? And how is it related to feelings of loneliness?

The difference between isolation and loneliness is a physical one. To isolate yourself would be to physically separate yourself from the company of other people, intentionally or not. Loneliness is the internal feeling of being alone. That’s why when people are isolated, they don’t necessarily feel alone and in the same way, people who are constantly surrounded by others, like celebrities, can feel incredibly lonely. A recent study in the journal Health Psychology has found a relationship between isolation and loneliness: when one is more physically isolated, it produces more feelings of loneliness and vice versa. Both of these finding have been related to a higher risk of depression and mortality.

Tips on how to enjoy your “me time,” and also protect your mental health:

  • Set a Time Frame: How many times do you want to socialize a week? Or a month? Everyone’s answer to this is different, but try to stick to your number. It’s important to know what your social boundaries are, but also not to fall into a pattern of isolation.
  • Talk to Your Closest Friends: Your friends can often be the people who help you navigate social situations and hold you to social commitments. They are also the people that won’t overstep your social boundaries and to whom you can talk about anything with.
  • Volunteer or Join Clubs: Get out in the community and get to know the people in your neighborhood. Volunteer for a cause you believe in or join a local club that tailors to your interests. It’s a great way to meet new people and can help fill your “social quota” for the month.

If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues due to isolation or loneliness, 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: Plata, M., Psy D. (2018, August 29). When Isolating Yourself Becomes Dangerous. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-gen-y-psy/201808/when-isolating-yourself-becomes-dangerous.

Suicide and Mental Health Issues in College Students

By Samantha Glosser

Many students expect their college years to be the best years of their lives. They will achieve great academic successes, make life-long friends, go to the best parties, and enjoy living away from their parents. This idea is emphasized all around us in movies, TV shows, and social media posts. However, this is a glorified image of college that may not be the case for all students. In fact, according to a recent study by the American College Health Association, about 1 in every 11 college students have attempted suicide; 1 in 5 students has considered suicide and 1 in 5 students engage in self-harm.

How could these statistics be true when students are told that they are living in the best years of their lives? As it turns out, the college years are filled with numerous different stressors. These stressors include academic and career difficulties, intimate relationships, finances, personal and family health problems, issues with personal appearance, and death of family members and friends, just to name a few. 3 out of every 4 college students have experienced at least one of these stressors within the last year. These stressors are highly associated with mental health diagnoses, self-harm, and suicidality. The societal pressure that college should be the best years of your life can also be contributing to these statistics. If a student feels alone or thinks that no one else is experiencing similar feelings, it can push them closer towards self-harm and suicide.

If you or someone you know appears to be at immediate risk of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. If you are not at immediate risk, but appear to be suffering from suicidal thoughts or other mental health issues, 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: https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/09/11/survey-1-in-5-college-students-stressed-considers-suicide/138516.html

The History of Hypnotherapy

By Jennifer Guzman

Have you ever “zoned out” while driving and found yourself driving from one location to another without realizing how you got there? This is like how hypnosis feels, and is actually something we call “highway hypnosis”, in which you are in a natural hypnotic state.

Hypnosis is a technique that is increasingly being sought-after and used in today’s clinical practices, but little do people know that hypnosis is a technique that has been used for centuries, dating to as far back as the 4th and 5th centuries B.C. in Ancient Egypt! However, much credit is given to 18th century German physician, Frank Mesmer, who coined the term, “mesmerism” in reference to what we now call “hypnosis” and is the first dated medical practitioner to practice hypnosis for therapy. Mesmer utilized suggestion for his patients in order to cure their illness. One of the first patients with whom Mesmer used hypnosis had consisted of placing a magnet on her head in order to revitalize blood flow in her brain, which was believed to be the cause of her tooth and headaches. The magnet, coupled with Mesmer’s theatrical hand gestures had allowed the patient to believe that the fluids in her brain were stabilizing, when truly, the magnet and hand gestures had done nothing. In reality, the suggestions he was giving her were easing her aches. This discovery opened up a wide array of questions about hypnosis and brought about a new treatment to the field of psychology.

Following Mesmer was James Braid, who is regarded as the “Father of Hypnosis”. Braid delved into why hypnosis was effective during therapy session. He also conducted intensive research to identify key methods that could put someone into a trance state through analysis of the physiological components of hypnosis. Braid was the figure who coined the term, “Hypnosis”.
Much credit to modern day hypnotherapy must be attributed to 20th century psychologist, Milton H. Erickson, who created a multitude of hypnotherapy methods that are currently being used in today’s clinical practices. Erickson places great emphasis on language in order to tap into the unconscious mind. He also emphasizes the importance of allowing the patient to feel positive feelings with his aid. The methods help the patient heal through their own willpower.

Even Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, utilized hypnosis in his therapy, although he did not inherently acknowledge that what he sometimes performed on his patients was hypnotherapy. However, Freud discarded the use of hypnosis in his practice because his techniques did not work on his patients. In order to be properly hypnotized, the hypnotist should be a licensed mental health professional, such as the psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy.

Contrary to the popular belief that when someone is under hypnosis, they are not in control of their own bodies—this is a myth. When under hypnosis, you are free to intervene and break out of your trance state if you feel uncomfortable or become distracted; however, doing so will decrease the effectiveness of the session. In order to go through successful hypnosis, one must be willing to be hypnotized, open to suggestion, and trust the hypnotherapist.

Hypnotherapy is typically used to successfully treat issues such as Depression, Anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), weight gain or weight loss, Insomnia, smoking cessation, and more.

If you or someone you know is interested in hypnosis or psychotherapy, please contact our offices in New York or New Jersey to make an appointment with one of the licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. For hypnotherapy, please ask to make an appointment with one of our hypnotherapists 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 on our services, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255.

References:

Retrieved March 23, 2018, from http://www.historyofhypnosis.org/
Hammer, G.A. Orne, M.T. Hypnosis. Retrieved March 32, 2018, from https://www.britannica.com/science/hypnosis