Schizophrenia: The Debilitating Disease

Schizophrenia, one of the most debilitating of mental illnesses, is a serious mental disorder that affects the way one thinks, feels, and behaves. Typically first diagnosed around ages 20-25, Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the US population. Though it is uncommon, Schizophrenia may be genetic, making it a common issue in families who may suffer from it. If a parent has Schizophrenia, the child has a 10% chance of also developing it. 

Contrary to popular belief, Schizophrenia is NOT defined as multiple or split personalities but instead may include:

  • Positive Symptoms: (Those that are abnormally present)
    • Delusions
    • Hallucinations
    • Disorganized speech
    • Trouble thinking
    • Lack of motivation
  • Negative Symptoms: (Those that are abnormally absent)
    • Lack of pleasure
    • Inability to perform daily tasks
    • Becoming distant from friends and family

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Schizophrenia. However, antipsychotic medications and injectables are available to help suppress symptoms and allow those suffering to live a normal life. Over the years of research we have found that Dopamine plays a large role and has a connection to Schizophrenia, which will hopefully lead to more information regarding the disorder. 

If you or a loved one is suffering from Schizophrenia, please contact Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit .


Photo Source:

Hypochondria: Somatic Symptom Disorder

Alice Cordero

A condition once called Hypochondria now falls under the name Somatic Symptom Disorder. Somatic Symptom Disorder is characterized as extreme focus on physical symptoms. When one places extreme focus on physical symptoms – such as fatigue and pain- the individual usually experiences emotional distress and problems functioning in their daily lives.

Those diagnosed with somatic symptom or hypochondriasis disorder often consider the worst case scenarios about their symptoms, which often leads the individual to frequently seek medical care. The individual’s health concerns become such a crucial focus in their life that they in fact become disabled.

Symptoms of somatic symptom disorder may include:

  • Sensations in a specific area ( whether that be shortness of breath or pain) or more general sensations, like weakness and fatigue
  • Excessive thoughts, feelings, behaviors and worrying
  • Checking the body repeatedly for any sort of abnormalities

When one is diagnosed with somatic symptom disorder it is important to keep a positive outlook, because stress and negativity pave the way for the development of symptoms. Those with a history of substance abuse and high levels of sensitivity to pain are commonly seen with this condition.  Anxiety, depression, and OCD are conditions that are often diagnosed as accompanying somatic symptom disorder.

For somatic symptom disorder treatment normally involves cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness- based therapy, and medication such as antidepressants. With the proper treatment research has revealed that recovery is possible using the proper strategies to eliminate as much pain as possible.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from Somatic Symptom Disorder (Hypochondriasis), 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 us at