Parasomnia: Nightmares in Adults

Parasomnia: Nightmares in Adults

By Lynette Rivas

Nightmares are supposed to diminish as you grow up, right? While this is true for most of the population, it is not the case for some individuals. Research shows that between 2% and 8% of the adult population experiences frequent and distressing nightmares, otherwise known as parasomnia.

Nightmares are realistic and vividly disturbing dreams that awaken you from sleep. They most often occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is when most dreaming takes place, and occur closer to morning hours. Nightmares may include:

  • Vivid and upsetting dreams
  • Dreams involving threats to safety
  • Being awoken from the dream
  • Feeling anxious, scared, or sad as a result from the dream
  • Not being able to fall back to sleep due to the dream

For adults, nightmares are often spontaneous, but for some, there may be an underlying issue that can be used to explain these dreams. Nightmares can be triggered by stress, trauma, sleep deprivation, substance abuse, medications, or by simply watching a scary movie. Although nightmares occur occasionally compared to normal dreams, they are considered a disorder if they:

  • Occur frequently
  • Cause major distress throughout the day, such as anxiety or fear
  • Cause problems with concentration or memory
  • Cause daytime sleepiness

If these symptoms are occurring, then it is time to consult a doctor about possible treatments. The doctor will determine if the solution is through treatments and medication, or will give a referral to a psychologist or psychotherapist. Debilitating and frequent nightmares, or parasomnia, is a serious condition that can alter an individual’s life, so it is important to seek help if they occur.

If you or someone you know is experiencing debilitating/frequent nightmares 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 https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nightmare-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353515

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/nightmares-in-adults#:~:text=Nightmares%20in%20adults%20can%20be,to%20have%20the%20condition%20themselves.

https://iconscout.com/illustration/nocturnal-panic-attack-5222908

Anxiety Disorder: Caffeine Induced

By: Julia Massa

Starbucks, Dunkin, Wawa, and other “on the go” stops will never go out of business. Humans rely heavily on caffeine to get through their shifts, workouts, or even just to post a quick Instagram story. In fact, humans spend five to ten dollars on their caffeine cravings each day. However, there are several caffeine related disorders according to the DSM-IV, including caffeine intoxication, caffeine-induced anxiety disorder, caffeine-induced sleep disorder, and caffeine-related disorder not otherwise specified. Some symptoms of caffeine-induced anxiety include red face, shaking, muscle twitching, confused speech, sweating, insomnia, frequent urination, impulsive reactions towards minor inconveniences, and mood swings. Caffeine-Induced Anxiety is caused by the effect of caffeine on the brains neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine. This chemical increases stress hormones, like cortisol, which is linked to many mental disorders and may interact with medications a patient is already taking to manage their anxiety symptoms.

Caffeine is listed as a drug in both medical and psychiatric literature since it is a central nervous stimulant and can be fatal if a person exceeds the daily recommendation of 400mg. For those with anxiety, 200mg or less is the recommended dose. Though it is rare, consuming a caffeine pill of a high dose can lead to ventricular fibrillation and death. Caffeine is legal and unregulated, which is why many people do not realize how their medium hot caramel coffee with almond milk can exaggerate their anxiety symptoms or cause anxiety-related symptoms. When people limit their caffeine intake suddenly, they may experience withdrawal symptoms similar to addictive drugs like cocaine. These symptoms include headache, irritability, drowsiness, loss of focus, insomnia, stomach pain, etc. For this reason, many individuals continue to drink caffeinated beverages to prevent these symptoms. In fact, more than 97% of caffeine consumed by adolescents and adults come from beverages.

Though the prevalence rate for caffeine-induced psychiatric disorders has not been well established, there is a high comorbidity rate between caffeine and several mood and substance abuse disorders.

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, 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/

http://www.americanmedtech.org/files/STEP_Online_articles/353.pdf

https://www.dovemed.com/diseases-conditions/caffeine-induced-anxiety/

COVID Anxiety

By: Julia Massa

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked fear in many people from diverse populations, especially those who are immunocompromised. Research shows that pre-existing vulnerability to certain illnesses is a major trigger, so it is no secret as to why the pandemic has significantly affected those with autoimmune disorders. People are leaving their homes less, cities are vacant, parks are untouched, businesses are closing, and schools are silent while hospitals are loud, chaotic, and constantly moving. The pandemic has fueled OCD symptoms where people are commonly seen drowning their hands in sanitizer, hoarding their homes with cleaning products, clearing the shelves of toiletries, and constantly cleaning surfaces- no matter the location. There has been an increase in OCD diagnoses and symptoms of those who already have the condition are becoming more severe.

People are stressing over potential blood clots, painful lumps, infections, and even having something as little as an itch- the list tracks on. Illness anxiety is real and can disrupt an individual’s daily functioning. Individuals with this condition constantly google symptoms and surveil their body for any physical signs of illness- previously recognized as hypochondriasis. These constant rituals and safety behaviors can be detrimental to a person’s mental state. In addition, this “what if” mindset only reinforces an individual’s anxiety.  It can be very expensive dealing with this condition, as people tend to go to frequent doctor’s visits, whereas others may avoid going altogether. 

Psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavior therapy, can be an effective treatment for those with illness anxiety. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help an individual with illness anxiety manage their anxiety and stress without taking a trip to the doctor’s office. Anxiety can actually present with physical symptoms that an individual may think is from a serious illness, so finding ways to cope and deal with the excessive worries can lead to optimal outcomes.

Sources:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/pandemic-anxiety-is-fueling-ocd-symptoms-e2-80-94even-for-people-without-the-disorder/ar-AASYBeE?ocid=uxbndlbing

https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/health-anxiety-what-it-and-how-beat-it

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/illness-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20373782

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for illness-anxiety, 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/          

Night Terrors: Terror Filled Sleep for Children

Unlike nightmares, night terrors are consistent episodes of intense screaming, crying, trashing, or fear during sleep. These episodes are reoccurring and usually occur in children between the ages of 3-12. About 1 to 6 in 100 children have night terrors, which occur in both boys and girls and children of all races. Night terrors are very rare, occur 3-6% in children, and typically tend to run in families. About 80% of children have a family member who experiences the same thing.

How are night terrors different from nightmares?

  • Nightmares commonly occur during REM sleep, while night terrors do not and will occur during non-REM sleep. You might find that it is hard to wake your child during a night terror episode and they will most likely not remember what occurred the next morning.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Fast breathing
  • Sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Flailing around in bed
  • Screaming
  • Looks awake but confused
  • Not talking
  • Non-responsive
  • Cannot recognize that a parent is there
  • Acts upset or scared

What causes Night Terrors?

Night terrors are caused by an over-arousal of the central nervous system during sleep. The following factors have been noted in children who have experienced night terrors:

  • Overtired, ill, or stressed
  • Taking new medicine
  • Sleeping in a new environment
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Having too much caffeine

How can you help your child?

The best way to help your child is to wait it out and make sure they do not get hurt during the night terror episode. Also, it is important to note that it is best to not wake your child during the episode. Waking them during this episode can cause more disorientation and confusion. However, you can help prevent future night terrors by:

  • Reducing the child’s stress
  • Create a bedtime routine that is relaxing and simple
  • Make sure the child gets enough sleep
  • Do not let your child stay up too late

If night terrors occur repeatedly, talk to your child’s doctor to see if further evaluations and/or referrals are needed.

If you are someone you know appears to be suffering from issues linked to night terrors, 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://kidshealth.org/en/parents/terrors.html

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/night-terrors

Image: https://www.alaskasleep.com/blog/night-terrors-vs-nightmares-how-to-help-terrified-child

Procrastinating before bed? This might be why

By Katie Weinstein

Revenge bedtime procrastination is defined as the decision to sacrifice sleep for leisure activities. The reason it is called “revenge” bedtime procrastination is to get back at the day time hours for stealing away free time. Many people are tired when going to bed and intend to go to sleep, but chose to binge shows on Netflix or scroll through hours of Tik Toks without an external reason to stay awake, meaning there is an intention-behavior gap. 

Since revenge bedtime procrastination is still a relatively new idea in sleep science, the underlying psychology explaining this phenomenon is still being debated. One explanation is that daytime workload depletes our capacity for self-control, so we can’t fight our urge to stay awake to participate in leisure activities even though it means we will be better rested for the next day. Another explanation might be that some people are naturally “night owls” and are forced to adapt to an early schedule, so this is their way of finding time to recover from stress. A third explanation might be that, during the pandemic, domestic and work lives are blurred as people work overtime hours and do not divide work time from leisure time. 

The reason that it is important to be aware of revenge bedtime procrastination is because sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation can cause daytime sleepiness, which harms productivity, thinking, and memory as well causing physical effects such as insufficient immune function and increased susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 

In order to prevent revenge bedtime procrastination, try putting away technology 30 minutes before bed, create a regular bedtime routine, avoid caffeine late in the afternoon, and find time for leisure activities during the day. It is also important to recognize when you need help managing your procrastination and your sleep problems.

If you or someone you know is struggling with revenge bedtime procrastination or other types of sleep problems, 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/

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/revenge-bedtime-procrastination

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/revenge-bedtime-procrastination-a-plight-of-our-times#Tips-for-better-sleep

What Do Dreams Tell Us About Our Mental Health?

   By: Kassandra Lora

Have you ever wondered if dreams are a reflection of our subconscious trying to send a message or if they are just meaningless? What do these specific dreams tell us about our mental health?

    One type of dreaming, besides the occasional nightmares, is lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is when the dreamer is aware they are dreaming but, without waking up, they can control what they do in the dream as well as the outcome of the dream. Some people lucid dream regularly while others rarely and some cannot lucid dream at all. So, what does lucid dreaming show us about our mental health? In an article written in the PsychologyToday magazine, they discussed an observation conducted with a group of undergraduate students who participated in a sleep study. The results stated how, “Intense lucid dreamers had, on average, lower levels of psychological distress.” It was explained that individuals who have more intense lucid dreams had less depression, stress, and anxiety than individuals who had less intense lucid dreams.  However, those who don’t lucid dream at all had no difference in psychological wellbeing when compared to those who have very intense lucid dreams.  It is interesting to see how something like lucid dreaming can have such a perspective on psychological health.

    Besides measuring psychological distress, according to the Psych Central website, dreams have many mental health benefits as well. Some benefits of dreams include:

  • Helping you learn: Dreams allow your brain to make sense of new information that has been learned.
  • Being therapeutic to a person: dreams can help a person heal real-life emotions through dreams.
  • Helping you overcome your fear: lucid dreaming can allow you to practice facing and overcoming what you are afraid to do in real life.

If you or someone you know needs help regarding sleep and dreams, 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: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/social-instincts/201804/what-dreams-may-tell-you-about-your-mental-health

https://psychcentral.com/blog/brain-and-mental-health-benefits-of-dreaming#2

Image source: https://wallhere.com/en/wallpaper/781179

Insomnia: What factors cause it?

By: Elyse Ganss

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes an inability to sleep in regular increments. Insomnia can be caused by many issues including medical conditions, biological factors, and psychiatric conditions. Medical causes of insomnia include nasal/allergies, endocrine problems, asthma, neurological conditions, chronic pain, or gastrointestinal problems.

Insomnia can frequently co-occur with mental health disorders. Some psychiatric problems that may impact sleep include depression and anxiety. Depression includes symptoms of hopelessness, sadness, and a lack of energy. Severe depression is correlated with a higher risk for insomnia. Anxiety symptoms include stressful thoughts, general anxiousness, panic, or dread. Anxiety can make it so falling asleep feels impossible as you are consumed by thoughts/fears.

Lifestyle choices like naps, irregular sleeping patterns, and working on a laptop or phone close to when you are going to sleep can cause insomnia as well. Even certain foods and drinks can have a negative impact on your sleep. For example, drinks that have caffeine and are consumed up to 8 hours before going to sleep may cause insomnia.

Seeking therapy for insomnia may be helpful in decreasing symptoms. Typically, therapy will teach the patient how to replace negative thoughts as well as problem solving techniques in order to alleviate sleeping issues. Similarly, certain medications can be prescribed to help restore regular sleeping patterns if the insomnia is severe and has a long-term pattern.

If you or someone you know needs support for insomnia, 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.sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/what-causes-insomnia

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167

Image Source:

https://news.uthscsa.edu/wp-content/uploads

PTSD Researcher Finds Link between Stress and Trauma

By Diana Bae

Rachel Yehuda, PhD, is a distinguished researcher and Director of Traumatic Stress Studies Division at the Icahn School of Medicine of Mount Sinai. She has conducted numerous prominent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) studies and treatment. One of her most well-known studies researched Vietnam War combat veterans with PTSD and found that they had significantly lower cortisol levels than veterans without PTSD. Cortisol is a hormone that controls stress and although it is thought that more cortisol resulted in more stress, Dr. Yehuda showed that that is not the case. Thus, there needs to be a sufficient amount of cortisol to handle stress and reduce the risk of developing trauma. Now, Dr. Yehuda plans to test a drug, oral hydrocortisone, to see whether it can replicate the cortisol naturally produced in the body. If this drug is successful, it may prevent PTSD and other similar disorders.

Arista Psychological and Psychiatric Services understands the problems caused by PTSD and are dedicated to provide proper attention and treatment. If you or someone you know would like to set up an appointment for our counseling services, contact us at our offices in Paramus, NJ (201) 368-3700 or in Manhattan, NY (212) 996-3939. For more information, please visit our website https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Source: Inside, a publication of the Mount Sinai Health System, Issue: November 25 – December 15, 2019;  Picture Source: http:// www. thesuburban.com/life/lifestyles/can-trauma-be-transmitted-intergenerationally-oct-dawson-college-peace-centre/article_ea2d7bb0-b063-11e7-aee3-5b0d013065f7.html, https:// askopinion.com/how-to-deal-with-ptsd-aka-post-traumatic-stress-disorder

Sleep: The Different Stages of Sleep

Sleep: The Different Stages of Sleep

By Crystal Tsui

Have you ever wondered why at certain times of the night you tend to be more alert and other times you dream, unaware of your surroundings? That’s because there are different stages of sleep, more specifically five stages.

  • Stage 1
  • Stage 2
  • Stage 3
  • Stage 4
  • REM (rapid eye movement)

How do we determine what stage is what? Sleep researchers use an electroencephalogram (EEG), is a method used to monitor and record electric cortical brain activity, and other instruments to help determine the stages.

In Stage 1, researchers found that this cycle is the lightest sleep. On the EEG, the frequency is slower than when we are awake. Physically, our muscles relax and our breathing occurs at a regular rate.

In Stage 2, we are less likely to be awakened. Our heart rate and temperature decreases as our body is preparing to go into a deep sleep.

In Stage 3 and 4, we begin our deep sleep. It’s harder to be awakened because at this point our body becomes less responsive to outside stimuli. In these stages, our body starts to restore itself, stimulate growth and development, boosts immune function, and builds energy for the next day.

In REM, dreaming occurs, our eyes quickly jerk in different directions, heart rate and blood pressure increase, and our breathing become fast and shallow. This stage generally lasts up to an hour and begins about 90 mins after you initially fall asleep. This is an important stage because our brain starts to consolidate all the information we have learned during the day into our long-term memory.

In children, one cycle can last up to 50-60 mins and increases to 1-1.5 hours in adults. It is advised:

  • Babies (0 months – 11 months) get 14-18 hours
  • Toddlers (1-5 yrs) get 12-13 hours
  • Children (6-10 yrs) get 8.5- 11 hours
  • Pre-teens and teenagers (11-17) get 8-10 hours
  • Adults (18-65+) get 7-9 hours of sleep

If you or someone you know has trouble sleeping, 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/ .

Citation:

https://img.timesnownews.com/story/1535107553-sleep.PNG?d=600×450

https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/stages-of-sleep/

https://www.sleep.org/articles/what-happens-during-sleep/

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 http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/narcolepsy

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcolepsy/symptoms-causes/syc-20375497

https://www.o2pulmonary.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/narcolepsy-300×194.jpg