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

 

 

Shyness and Introversion

Shyness and Introversion

By Crystal Tsui

We all know someone who prefers to stay in rather than go out and party or someone who barely talk in a group setting. We may call them shy, quiet, or maybe socially awkward. But they may just be an introvert. Introversion and shyness are often times used together. However, shyness revolves around the fear of negative judgment while introversion is the preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments. So it is possible for a person to be a shy extrovert, where the individual is afraid to speak up, fearing negative judgment, more so than exhausted in a certain social situation.

Despite the difference, there is also an overlap between shyness and introversion, e.i. many shy people are introverted. Some people are born with “high-reactive” temperaments that predispose them to both shyness and introversion. A shy person may become more introverted over time, motivated to discover the pleasures of solitude, other minimally stimulating social environments, and to move away from judgments. On the other hand, an introvert may become shy after continually receiving the message that there’s something wrong with them.

There’s a shared bias in our society against both shyness and introversion. Neither trait is welcomed in our society because studies have shown that we rank the fast and frequent talkers as more competent, likeable, and even smarter than slow and quiet talkers.

Here are 5 ways introverts can spend time that is deeply fulfilling and socially connected:

  1. Reading. Books transcend time and place. Studies have shown that reading fiction increases empathy and social skills.
  2. Enter a state of “flow” by doing work or a hobby that you love. Flow is the transcendent state of being, in which you feel totally engaged in an activity. People in flow don’t tend to wear the broad smiles of enthusiasm. When you watch them in action, the words “joy” and “excitement” don’t come to mind. But the words “engagement,” “absorption,” and “curiosity” do.
  3. Keep an informal quota system of how many times per week/month/year you plan to go out to social events and how often you get to stay home. This way you can plan which parties or get-togethers you can truly enjoy and which you don’t. So you are less likely to drive yourself mad thinking you should’ve stayed home.
  4. Have meaningful conversations.
  5. Spend time and show affection to the ones you love, whose company is so dear and comfortable that you feel neither over-stimulated nor anxious in their presence.

If you or someone you know is dealing with social anxiety or suffering from a disruption of their social life, 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.quietrev.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/QR_ebookMay8-2015.pdf

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-the-new-groupthink.html?_r=0

https://live.staticflickr.com/627/21427437162_910d54e08e_b.jpg

Depression: Burning Out

Depression: Burning Out

By Toniann Seals

While living in a face paced society burn out is typically inevitable. Maybe you have a stressful job, heavy course load at school or personal/family issues going on. These problems you may face in your lifetime could bring excessive stress and lead to burn out.

Signs of Burn Out:

  • Excessive or too little sleep
  • Not making time for your hobbies
  • Dreading the next day/negative thoughts
  • Overworking

After burn out occurs many people find themselves stuck at a standstill. They are not able to move forward in their work or complete simple daily tasks. Once you notice the signs above, take action immediately to help yourself.

Effects:

  • Lowered Self Esteem
  • Less productivity
  • Feelings of not being enough
  • Lack of happiness

If you or someone you know is suffering from burn out 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/.

Image:

http://www.gotoppm.com/stress-burnout-and-saying-no/

Relationships: Preventing Intensification of Arguments

By Zuzanna Myszko

It is not unusual to enter into arguments with one’s partner. In fact, even the most satisfied couples have an “unsolvable” problem and more than one “solvable” issue. In order to prevent arguments about these problems from escalating, the members of the couple must communicate effectively. Effective communication skills are especially important for people in romantic relationships because emotional escalation happens more rapidly in those relationships than in others. Also, once escalation begins, it is extremely difficult to regain control over one’s emotions.

Two skills that are worthwhile to develop in terms of relationship conflicts are:

  1. Use empathic responses.
  2. Use self-calming techniques.

Practicing empathic responses keeps heated emotions from intensifying. Empathic responses are important because they force the members of the couple to see the situation from the other’s perspective. This allows for more feelings of understanding and less defensive statements that might further hurt the other person.

Additionally, the development of self-calming skills allows for de-escalation. Self-calming techniques include taking time away from the discussion, “conscious breathing, positive self-talk, and self-compassion.” When one is able to keep anger at bay, he or she can approach the situation rationally. This results in the couple being able to focus on working toward a solution to the problem, rather than becoming defensive and angry.

In the end, when approaching an issue with a partner, it is important to remember that all people share the same emotional needs in romantic partnerships.

If you or someone you know is experiencing relationship troubles 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/.

Image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-and-man-sitting-on-brown-wooden-bench-984949/

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-it-together/201901/how-avoid-escalation-couple-conflicts

 

Depression: Can it be Effectively Treated in Adolescents without Medication?

By Samantha Glosser

Although antidepressant medications are typically seen as the first course of treatment for adolescents diagnosed with depression, many families do not want their kids to begin taking medication. This could be because of personal values and beliefs or because they cannot afford medication. In addition, almost half of all adolescents who begin treatment with medications eventually discontinue use due to the side effects or because they feel that it is not benefiting them enough. If you decide that medication isn’t right for your child, there are other options that are effective. One clinically proven method used to treat depression in adolescents is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBT is a short-term, goal-orientated therapy that focuses on changing patterns of thinking and behaviors that contribute to the patient’s issues. For example, your teenager may feel depressed because they are distorting the importance of certain events. This could start as simply getting a D on their final. However, their thoughts soon begin to spiral, and they begin to think that with this D on their transcript they will never be able to get into college or get a good job. CBT works by challenging this maladaptive thought pattern and teaches patients to replace these thoughts and consider alternative viewpoints. Recent studies have shown that CBT can be just as effective in treating depression as antidepressant medications and will lead to increased moods in adolescents. If you and your child have come to the decision that medication is not right for them, cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective treatment plan that just might be the right fit for your needs.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 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, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Martin, B. (2018, April 04). In-Depth: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/in-depth-cognitive-behavioral-therapy/?li_source=LI&li_medium=popular17.

Wood, J. (2018, January 21). For Teens, CBT in Primary Care Can Be Cost-Effective Versus Meds. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/01/20/cognitive-behavioral-therapy-cost-effective-for-teens-who-decline-antidepressants/131463.html.

ADHD: How Medication Helps Your Children

By Samantha Glosser

Stimulant drugs, such as Adderall and Ritalin, have been used for numerous years as the frontline treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. ADHD is a disorder characterized by the following symptoms: inattentiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The five to seven percent of children diagnosed with ADHD have difficulty concentrating, become disruptive and defiant, and have a hard time getting along with family members, peers, and teachers. These behaviors are clinically proven to improve with the use of stimulant drugs.

Treatment with stimulant drugs can improve classroom performance and behavior in children diagnosed with ADHD. But how does the medication do this? The medication works by targeting and improving specific cognitive processes, such as working memory, which is your ability to hold and manipulate information in your mind. Stimulants help kids store more information in their working memory, while also helping them to inhibit negative behaviors (i.e., raising their hand when they know the answer instead of shouting it out). Improvement of these cognitive processes also helps to increase attention span, which allows kids to stay on task for longer periods of time. If you believe medication is not the best option for your child, behavioral treatment and parent training can also be beneficial in improving these cognitive processes. Children can be trained to improve their self-control and sustain concentration.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 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/.

Nauret, R. (2018, July 31). Study Probes How ADHD Meds Improve Cognition & Behavior in Kids. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/07/31/study-probes-how-adhd-meds-improve-cognition-behavior-in-kids/137456.html

ADHD. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/adhd

Conduct Disorder

Conduct Disorder

By: Leah Flanzman

Conduct disorder is a behavioral disorder seen in children who display behaviors that deviate from societal norms and violate a number of social rules. Conduct disorder will typically present itself before the age of 16, and can have both genetic and environmental influences. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM IV-TR), this disorder is being increasingly diagnosed in more and more children throughout the United States. In the past few years, prevalence rates of children exhibiting symptoms of conduct disorder skyrocketed to as high as 10%.

Conduct disorder is typically divided into two types, childhood onset and adolescent onset, which are distinguished from one another by the age at which symptoms begin appearing. Childhood onset conduct disorder is diagnosed before 10 years of age, and adolescent onset is diagnosed if the symptoms arise after 10 years of age. Childhood onset is believed to be the more serious condition between the two and more resistant to treatment

The symptoms of conduct disorder can be broken down into four main categories. A child or adolescent is likely to have conduct disorder if they consistently display aggressive conduct, deceitful behavior, destructive behavior, or a violation of rules. Examples of aggressive conduct can include intimidating or bullying other children, physically harming people or animals with malicious intentions, or using a weapon. Deceitful behavior can be seen through lying, stealing, or breaking and entering.   Individuals will display destructive behaviors by intentionally destroying or vandalizing properties, and individuals will violate rules by skipping school, running away, or prematurely abusing drugs and alcohol.

A distinction lies in how the symptoms of conduct disorder are manifested between the genders, as it is more frequently diagnosed in boys. Boys are more likely to fight, steal, vandalize school property, and break school rules, whereas girls are more likely to lie, run away from home, use drugs, and engage in early sexual activity. Conduct disorder is unique in the fact that it is not always recognized as a mental illness, so treatment is commonly neglected. Early intervention for Conduct Disorder yields the greatest possibility for an improved long-term outcome so if symptoms begin to arise, seeking help immediately can be extremely beneficial.

If you or a person you know is struggling with conduct disorder, it may be beneficial to have them contact a mental health professional and receive therapy for their illnesses. 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 http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

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

Histrionic Personality Disorder

By: Cassie Sieradzky

Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by constant attention-seeking behaviors, a tendency to describe situations in an emotional manner, and discomfort when not the center of attention. Someone with this disorder may appear to be self-centered, flirtatious in inappropriate situations, and overly dramatic. Individuals with histrionic personality disorder may use their appearance to draw attention and their over the top emotions seem shallow and frequently shifting.

For a diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder to be given, five or more of the following symptoms must be present:

  • Self-centeredness, uncomfortable when not the center of attention
  • Constantly seeking reassurance or approval
  • Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior
  • Rapidly shifting emotional states that appear shallow to others
  • Overly concerned with physical appearance, and using physical appearance to draw attention to self
  • Opinions are easily influenced by other people, but difficult to back up with details
  • Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotion
  • Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are
  • Is highly suggestible

The cause for this disorder is unknown, but research suggests that early childhood experiences and genetics are involved. The recommended treatment for this disorder is psychotherapy.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from histrionic personality disorder, 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/

Histrionic Personality Disorder. (2017, April 19). Retrieved February 06, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/histrionic-personality-disorder

GAD: Symptoms and Treatment

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Written by: Cassie Sieradzky

General Anxiety Disorder is a psychological disorder that is characterized by extreme worry over every day experiences that is hard to control and interferes with daily functioning. The excessive worry happens more days than not for at least 6 months. The disorder often starts in the teen years or young adulthood, but can be seen from childhood throughout adulthood. Individuals with GAD may have trouble concentrating, they struggle to control their worries, feel easily tired, and may be irritable or on edge. These are some commonalities of the disorder, however children and adults diagnosed with GAD do have some differences regarding their worries.

Children with GAD tend to worry excessively about their performance in school or sports and catastrophes like war and hurricanes. Adults with GAD tend to have anxiety over health, finances, job security, being late, and everyday responsibilities. Children and adults may also suffer from physical symptoms like headaches and other unexplained pains. About 2.7% of adults have had GAD in the past year and about 5.7% of all U.S adults will experience GAD at some point in their lives.

GAD can be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both. Cognitive behavioral therapy is particularly successful in treating GAD. CBT teaches the patient how to think, behave, and react differently in situations that result in anxiety or worried. The goal is to curve the maladaptive thinking patterns associated with the disorder. Medications such as SSRIs and other medications that regulate serotonin help alleviate the symptoms of GAD.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from GAD, 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/

Sources:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: When Worry Gets Out of Control. (n.d.). Retrieved January  29, 2018, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad/index.shtml

Generalized Anxiety Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2018, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/generalized-anxiety-disorder.shtml