Alcohol Abuse: Put the Drink Down

Alcohol Abuse: Put the Drink Down

By: Kristine Dugay

Abusing alcohol means drinking a dangerous amount of alcohol at one time or developing unhealthy drinking habits. Sometimes people have one too many drinks when they’re celebrating with friends leading to hangovers or throwing up; this is not that. Alcohol abuse can lead to alcohol dependence, otherwise known as alcoholism. Alcohol abuse is defined as drinking too much and too often, while alcohol dependence is the inability to quit. This means you are physically or mentally addicted to alcohol. You become so dependent on it that it becomes your only way to function with day to day living. Alcoholism is a long-term chronic disease that is influenced by your genes and your life situation.

There are several symptoms you should make yourself aware of if you or someone you suspect is alcohol dependent:

  • Prioritizing Alcohol: Drinking will always be more important no matter what condition your body is in.
  • Increased Tolerance: You need to consume more alcohol to get the same effect.
  • No Control: You cannot quit drinking or control the amount you consume.
  • Damaging Personal Relationships: You continue to drink even though it harms your relationships and causes physical problems.
  • Signs of Withdrawal: Anxiety, sweating, nausea, tremors, hallucinations, and muscle cramps.

The longer a person is dependent on alcohol, the worse these side effects become. While many of the results are irreversible, some are even deadly.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have issues with alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/alcohol-abuse-and-dependence-topic-overview#3

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Low Self-Esteem: You’re Never Enough

Low Self-Esteem: You’re Never Enough

By: Kristine Dugay

Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough? Maybe you feel like you’re not deserving of praise or love because you’ve developed such a low opinion of yourself? Perhaps you could be suffering from low self-esteem. Self-esteem is the confidence in one’s own worth. If you suffer from low self-esteem, you’ll often find yourself continuously trying to perfect things, being afraid to take risks, being afraid to love, and not being able to trust anyone. Low self-esteem causes extreme fear and anxiety. Often, individuals with low self-esteem exaggerate the expectations of others and feel they don’t measure up.

Low self-esteem can contribute to the following consequences:

  • Failed relationships
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Loneliness
  • Lack of assertiveness
  • Easily discouraged
  • Anxiety
  • Social stress

This list only includes some of the consequences to low self-esteem. Many people suffer from debilitating conditions because of the negative impact their self-esteem has had on their life. Your self-worth impacts your overall health, and those who lack self-respect for themselves may suffer many negative consequences. These consequences may include drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, weak cardiovascular and immune systems, and stress and anxiety that can lead to heart conditions. The sooner you improve your self-esteem, the sooner you can make positive changes in your life.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have issues with self-esteem, anxiety, depression or interpersonal problems, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Source: http://www.getesteem.com/lse-symptoms/symptom-details.html

Sleep Paralysis: Waking Up Paralyzed

Waking Up Paralyzed

By: Kristine Dugay

Imagine waking up on any given day, you’re conscious, but you can’t move a muscle as if you’re paralyzed. If you find yourself unable to speak or move for a few seconds or minutes upon waking up or falling asleep, there is a great chance that you have sleep paralysis. On average, four out of every ten people may have sleep paralysis, and both men and women of any age can have it. Sleep paralysis occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. This condition occurs one of two times. If it happens as you are falling asleep, it is called hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. If it occurs as you are waking up, it is called hypnopompic or postdormital sleep paralysis. Though it may run in families, factors that may be linked to the condition include lack of sleep, sleep schedule changes, mental conditions such as stress or bipolar disorder, narcolepsy, certain medications, and substance abuse.

While being in this state of mind is extremely frightening, there is no need to treat this condition. Sleep paralysis is usually self-treatable and self-diagnosable. Although treatment depends on severity, the main way of treating sleep paralysis is improving your sleeping habits. However, treatment can also include treating any mental health problems that may contribute to sleep paralysis or using antidepressant medication if it is prescribed to help regulate sleep cycles. Sleep paralysis is most commonly found in those who are narcoleptic or have sleep apnea, but unfortunately it can affect anyone. Common symptoms include anxiety, hallucinations, and paralysis.

If you feel your symptoms cause anxiety, leave you very tired throughout the day, or keep you up during the night, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-paralysis#2 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcolepsy/basics/symptoms/con-20027429

Athletes and Psychological Issues

4 Psychological Issues Behind Athletic Performance

By: Kristine Dugay

1. Self-Confidence/ Self-Esteem

Sports demand trusting your ability to perform at your greatest level of competition, both physically and mentally. Self-criticism is the most difficult obstacle to overcome, yet it is the foundation in being able to achieve your goals. An athlete perceiving oneself as a failure is the most typical problem with self-confidence and it becomes a distraction to your athletic performance.

2. Stress and Anxiety

Whether it’s from a parent, coach or you, being reprimanded, criticized, or condemned for making mistakes or performing below expectations causes stress and anxiety. It becomes more difficult for athletes to perform when they are overloaded by the tension and pressure, and their ability to focus is impaired by their lack of judgement and diminished self-confidence.

3. Perfectionism 

Athletes will go to extreme measures to continue striving for perfection and go well beyond the recommended levels of training. Training too intensely for too long of a duration can result in injuries that are often neglected and cause extreme exhaustion on the body that lead to “burnout”. This can lead to depression, anxiety, irritability, and a high susceptibility to illnesses. Athletes tend to lose their composure and take their heads out of the game when they’re not performing at the level they expect to.

4. Relationships

Building a strong relationship with your coach and teammates is vital. Often, within young athletes favoritism occurs amongst the best players and this becomes demeaning and discouraging within an individual. Feelings can be easily hurt, but they can also be very hard to repair. As an athlete, you aspire to be recognized and appreciated and without this attention, it is difficult to perform your best.

Fortunately, methods are available to lesson these issues before and during athletic performance. Prevention of these consequences involves careful examination of the behavior and early intervention, as well as thorough review of goals, values, beliefs, and priorities.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may have issues with anxiety, relationships, stress, or self-esteem the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Source: http://www.sportpsychologytoday.com/youth-sports-psychology/common-mental-game-challenges-for-athletes/

Depression or Sadness?

Depression or Sadness?

By: Kristine Dugay

Have you ever woken up one morning and wish you hadn’t? Not because it’s Monday or because you didn’t want to get ready for work or school, but simply because you wish you’d never wake up. Everyone has their bad days and sad moods, but when sadness constantly appears for no apparent reason it could be depression. Depression versus ordinary unhappiness is distinguished by longer and deeper feelings of despondency. With depression, all aspects of your life seem less enjoyable, important, loveable, and interesting. Depression mentally and physically drains your energy and you begin to have the inability to experience happiness, excitement, love, connection, and purpose.

Sadness is often related to circumstance, whereas depression is related to a mental illness. Being seriously bummed out over a breakup or getting a bad grade on an assignment can be terrible, but you’re still able to enjoy your favorite foods and T.V. shows. On the other hand, depression takes away the things that used to be significant and exciting for you and turns them into something that you lack interest in. If you constantly experience the following, there is a great chance you are depressed:

  • Feelings of worthlessness and self-blame
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Fatigue/decreased energy
  • Restlessness

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has or may have depression, suicidal thoughts, or interpersonal problems, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201510/the-important-difference-between-sadness-and-depression

Anxiety: The Gender Disparity

Anxiety: The Gender Disparity
By Catherine Ferreira

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Studies have shown that gender differences in anxiety vary not only in prevalence, but in the severity of the disability. Anxiety disorders of almost every kind have been proven to have a more crippling effect on women than on men (McLean et. al. 2011). Potential reasons for this may include the responsibilities women have in addition to working—that is, taking care of children, home keeping and nursing the elderly. All this, combined with the stress of working a full-time job, has had a devastating effect on the state of women’s mental health. It is no surprise, then, that women, more than men, report greater levels of anxiety and depression.

This does not mean, however, that women are doomed to a life of misery. Measures can be taken to prevent or alleviate these mental health issues. If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety or depression and need diagnosis or treatment, the licensed professional psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling and Psychological Services can assist you. Contact our NJ or NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more.

McLean, C. P., Asnaani, A., Litz, B. T., & Hofmann, S. G. (2011). Gender Differences in Anxiety Disorders: Prevalence, Course of Illness, Comorbidity and Burden of Illness. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45(8), 1027–1035. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.03.006

It Was Forever & Now It’s Over—Finding Yourself After a Breakup

By: Dariana Taveras

We all know what you’re thinking when you incessantly click through their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts in search of any clue or suggestions that maybe, just maybe, they’ll be open enough to want you back. You swipe through old pictures of your relationship attempting to figure out when things started to change. You wonder if perhaps some other factor played into your breakup other than the reality that maybe your partner lost interest over time or was not suited to be the partner you hoped he or she would be. The following steps might help you through a difficult breakup:

  1. Stay away—any relationship is a two-way street and you shouldn’t and CAN’T convince anyone to love you or stay with you. If your partner no longer wishes to be in a relationship with you, please do yourself a favor and let them go!
  2. Do NOT make excuses— If they genuinely hurt you, you cannot pretend that their behavior is acceptable. Remember that you cannot apologize to yourself on their behalf, only your ex can do that.
  3. Write it all down— what you’re feeling and why you think you’re feeling that way.
  4. Change your environment—It serves as the facilitator for your emotional feelings. If something at home or in the places that you frequent reminds you of your ex, perhaps attempt to remove, redecorate or rearrange how those particular items are set up. Also, don’t be afraid to try new places!
  5. FOCUS ON YOURSELF– Now is your chance to really tune in to who you are. Indulge in new hobbies, spend time with your loved ones, and realize that you have the potential to find happiness within yourself.

If you are concerned that you or anyone you care about may be having relationship issues, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can assist you. They have successfully helped many with marriage, pre-marital, and relationship issues. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

PTSD: Veterans Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

By: Nicole Bieniasz

The physical impact that war has on soldiers has been well documented, however often times war leaves scars that are not visible to the naked eye. With countless men and women returning from serving our country, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), has been on the rise. PTSD is defined as, “A debilitating mental disorder that follows experiencing or witnessing an extremely traumatic, tragic, or terrifying event.” There are endless gruesome and traumatic events that soldiers encounter on the field such as bombings, shootings, or even near-death experiences. Not all veterans suffer from PTSD immediately after their return; there are cases where veterans can have delayed-onset PTSD that occurs months after the experience. There are three main symptoms that indicate whether someone is suffering from PTSD, which are:

1. Re-Experiencing Symptoms: The individual relives the experience through flashbacks. Reliving the experience through flashbacks causes certain emotions to arise such as fear and helplessness.

2. Avoidance and Numbing Symptoms: The person suffering with PTSD will make an effort to avoid any situation that might generate memories of the experience. Avoidance can be so extreme the individual will avoid specific smells along with sounds and sights. Feelings of numbness will cause someone to lose interest in matters they were once interested in.

3. Arousal Symptoms: After the traumatic experience, the individual is constantly on guard and alert to their surroundings. Being constantly alert causes difficulty in concentration, expression of anger, difficulty sleeping, and many other related symptoms.

Despite these three central indications of PTSD, there are other symptoms that have been prevalent in veterans who suffer from PTSD. Both men and women experiencing PTSD suffer from depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. According to Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs, “more than half of men with PTSD also have problems with alcohol.” Those who suffer from PTSD rely on alcohol to avoid the emotional distress caused by the decrease of endorphins after a traumatic experience. If veterans do not deal with their PTSD they might find it difficult to adjust, which in turn can cause unemployment, divorce, spousal abuse, and other interpersonal difficulties.

Different types of treatments have been tested and proven to be successful in many cases. The treatments that currently exist are:

  • Trauma Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Medication
  • Exposure Therapy

If you or anyone you care about may be struggling with PTSD, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling&Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

 

References:

Vasterling, J.J., Duke, L. M., Brailey, K., Constans, J. I., Allain, A. N., & Sutker, P. B. (2002). Attention, learning, and memory performances and intellectual resources in Vietnam veterans: PTSD and no disorder comparisons.Neuropsychology, 16(1), 5. 

http://psychcentral.com/disorders/ptsd/ 

Don’t Turn Your Back, Offer Your Help— How You Can Help Someone With Depression

By: Dariana Taveras

We tend to be so engaged in the countless facets of life that we often unconsciously neglect when someone we love is fighting an uphill battle. Our own daily affairs lead us astray, as we fail to consider that perhaps someone very near and dear is sadly conflicted. Perhaps they were energetic in the past and experienced difficult circumstances that lead to their feelings of hopelessness, lethargy, tiredness, lack of motivation, and unexplainable sadness. Although we may not be trained professionals in dealing with depression, there may be several actions we can actively pursue to help our loved ones feel seen, heard, cared for, valued, and understood.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you think your loved one may be enduring symptoms of depression:

  • Empathetically address your concerns with your loved one
  • Emphasize your willingness to support them
  • Offer your help— This may help you gain insight into how to effectively discuss any options your loved one may be open to trying
  • Be there for your loved one, do NOT give up on them!
  • Reassure your loved one that they ARE capable of making the necessary changes that can lead to a happier and healthier life
  • Whatever you do, do NOT blame yourself for your loved one’s depression

The most important thing to remember is that you alone cannot save anyone from their depression. All you can do is try to lend supportive ears to listen and a compassionate heart to understand them the best that you can.

If you are concerned that you or anyone you care about may be suffering from depression, the licensed professionals at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can assist you.  Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Relationships- Abusive Relationships- Bergen County, NJ

By: Michelle Dierna

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Abusive Relationships take many shapes and forms. The most commonly known forms of abuse are verbal and physical but there are other kinds as well. In romantically abusive relationships, usually the abuser yearns to have a sense of control and power in the relationship. Many abusers have similar behavior patterns and characteristic traits that can be recognized as “red flags”. It is highly important to recognize the “red flags” if you feel you might be in an abusive relationship. Abusive relationships, no matter what form, can be extremely harmful to a person’s self-esteem, often causing one to question one’s sense of identity. There is also the strong overlapping issue of someone constantly trying to control a  victims thoughts and actions. This results in the abuser punishing the victim are verbally and/or physically abusive.

Some abusers share these traits:

  • Charismatic & Charming: It may shock some, but many abuser can at first, come across as very charming and charismatic, both widely attractive features. The abuser usually projects himself/herself as the ideal mate, courting the other individual by showering them with compliments, admiration, even with sentimental gifts. All of these “charming” approaches are smothered onto the person the abuser is trying to court. This can lure any person into starting a romantic relationship if they feel these signs of affection are authentic.
  • Manipulative and Controlling: Most abusers use the skills of manipulation and control. Both are innate characteristic traits of abusers. This may possibly be due to the fact that the abuser has often been the victim of abuse. People that have abusive tendencies, usually learned by seeing, hearing or experiencing abuse in their past. This might help us understand certain behaviors of abusers, but absolutely does not excuse it. These behaviors can potentially become dangerous.

Usually a person who is manipulative will control the more “submissive” individual by observing and taking advantage of “weak” and “vulnerable” areas of the other person. For example: ” Your dad left you because you have extreme anger issues and now I have to deal with it, because no one else will”. This is the point when power fuels the dynamic of the relationship into an unhealthy relationship. One person in the relationship obtains more authority which makes them believe they can set the boundaries and place rules as to what is right and wrong in the relationship.  This bias is usually towards themselves. The victim of a master manipulator will either detect these behaviors at first and leave the toxic situation or give the abuser exactly the reaction he/she wants, by giving the abuser the satisfaction of having control.

  • Narcissistic: In simple terms, the whole world revolves around a narcissistic person He or she is typically self-absorbed. It is hard to develop meaningful communication with a narcissistic person because the conversations are usually about his or her own feelings and his or her views and his or her interests. Someone who is narcissistic finds it hard entertain opinions other than their own. Thus, they tend to be more close minded than most people.
  • Jealous and Aggressive: Many people in abusive relationships don’t realize the abuse; they grow scared or become comfortable in the cycle of abuse, feeling unworthy of their significant other. Jealousy is yet another way for the abuser to take control away from their significant other. Victims will get scrutinized over actions that may cause their partner-the abuser to feel jealous. People in healthy relationships fight and argue too, but abusive/ unhealthy relationships can be filled with words of discouragement and false accusations. What healthy relationships find petty, unhealthy relationships magnify. Insecurity plays a huge part in jealousy by abusers: if the abuser feels that he or she is losing authority and control over their partner they can escalate any situation fast. When the abuser has this feeling of entitlement, most likely because of narcissistic tendencies, it is not uncommon for jealousy to turn into rage that can lead to aggressive physical abuse.

Once a person touches you against your will or even threatens to, don’t ever take it lightly. If you are scared to leave your significant other, call a friend, a therapist or the police and discuss what happened immediately. Keep in mind that verbal abuse is no better than physical abuse; they both can intertwine quickly and the outcome could potentially be terrible. Thus, ask a few questions to yourself if you are unsure if you are in an abusive relationship and make sure to seek help as soon as possible.

*Some questions you can ask yourself:

 1.  Do you feel nervous or anxious around your partner?

2.  Does he/she criticize and embarrass you in front of others?

3.  Are you afraid of having a different opinion from that of your partner and voicing it?

4.  Does your partner exhibit jealousy and accuse you of cheating or having an affair?

5.  Does he or she threaten to hit you or harm you in any way?

6. Are you constantly criticized and made to feel that you cant live without your significant other?

Relationships can be extremely complex at time.  Many woman and men stay in abusive relationships because they may feel that staying is their only choice. They may feel controlled by their significant other and scared to leave because of what their significant other might do if they leave. If this is you, get help immediately.

If you or a loved one think you might be in an abusive relationship,or feel you may be suffering from any form of abuse; feel free to contact our Manhattan or Bergen County, New Jersey offices to make an appointment with one of our own therapists, counselors, psychologists or psychiatrists for guidance needed or an evaluation.

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

Visit: http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Sources:

1.”The Christian Broadcasting Network.” 12 Traits of an Abuser. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2014. .cbn.com/family/marriage/petherbridge_abusertraits.aspx.

2.”The Christian Broadcasting Network.” 12 Traits of an Abuser. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2014. .cbn.com/family/marriage/petherbridge_abusertraits.aspx.