PTSD in First Responders

By Jillian Hoff

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is extremely common among first responders. This is because of their high exposure rate to traumatic incidents. Some of the common signs and symptoms for PTSD include flashbacks or dreams about the incident, losing interest in activities, refusing to talk about the event and sleep disturbances. Most first responders do tend to avoid seeking treatment for their PTSD. This typically is because of the stigma that surrounds mental health in general. These individuals might feel as though people will see them as weak for seeking the help they need, which is not the case. Often times when the individual does not treat their PTSD it will worsen, which since first responders do not get to just stop working makes their symptoms even worse.

Some ways that first responders can help their PTSD would be to have a support system. This especially could be the people who were also there during the traumatic event, this way they can talk about what happened and how it made them feel with an individual who was also there.  To gain positive coping strategies, it could be extremely helpful to engage in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This could help the person manage some of their stress that relates to the incident. Most importantly, the person needs to remember why they love being a first responder and all the positives that come from their job. While the negative times within this profession can be hard to handle, it is important to remember all the good that comes from what first responders do.

If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, 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://eraseptsdnow.org/first-responder/shining-a-light-on-ptsd-among-first-responders

https://www.suicideinfo.ca/resource/first-responders-trauma-intervention-suicide-prevention/

https://www.jems.com/administration-and-leadership/first-responders-and-ptsd-a-literature-review/

Eating Disorders Part 2: Black Women with Eating Disorders

By: Abby Erasmus

Black women in America have a unique experience; their intersecting identities make them one of the most discriminated- against groups in America, resulting in mental health issues. Eating disorders (ED), for example, are not new within the Black community. Black women live with EDs at similar rates to all ethnic and demographic groups- but often times in the shadows. The majority of ED studies focus on white women. This ignores the fact that ED causes and manifestation can be different in other populations. Further, the most commonly researched ED is Anorexia Nervosa (AN), yet AN is not the typical ED experience of Black women. Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Bulimia nervosa (BN) are the most common EDs among Black women, with Black girls being 50 times more likely to engage in BN behaviors than white girls. Because BED and BN aren’t frequently researched, they’re harder to correctly diagnose in patients; it is thus highly unlikely Black women will be diagnosed with an ED at all. To increase the likelihood that Black women will be correctly diagnosed and receive treatment, it is important to know the key symptoms of BED and BN. Listed here are some key symptoms:

BED: Recurrent, persistent episodes of binge eating & absence of compensatory behaviors like purging. The binge eating episodes are associated with 3 or more of the following: eating more rapidly than normal, eating until uncomfortably full, eating large amounts when not physically hungry, eating alone due to embarrassment of how much one is eating, feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or guilty after overeating.

BN: Recurrent episodes of binging that are characterized by eating an amount of food within a 2- hour period that is definitively larger than what most people eat in that time period, accompanied by feeling unable to stop eating/ control the amount one is eating & recurrent compensatory behaviors like: self- induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, excessive exercise, and more.

Additionally, stigma exists in the Black community in regard to receiving help due to complex stereotypes, histories, etc., and stigma in regard to EDs is dramatized as they are labeled a white woman’s problem. Once we call attention to ED prevalence and manifestation in the community, stigma will be reduced both within and outside of the community. This will then increase the likelihood that Black woman will receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for their ED. Further, when providers are made aware of the daily micro and macro aggressions that can result in poor mental health and potentially maladaptive coping mechanisms like an ED, providers will be prepared to address such issues during sessions. The nuanced narrative of EDs within the Black community must be disseminated.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating 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://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/new-dsm-5-binge-eating-disorder

https://www.centralcoasttreatmentcenter.com/blog-1/invisibility-of-eating-disorders-in-the-black-community-its-more-than-the-eating-disorder-stereotype

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519712/table/ch3.t16/

Beyond “Eating Disorders Don’t Discriminate”

Laziness: The Harmful Effects of the Term “Lazy” on Mental Health

By: Rebecca Fernandez

               “Lazy” is a common uncomplimentary term in modern vocabulary for when someone is unproductive. Think back to a time a group member failed to pull their weight in a group project, or a time someone procrastinated severely, leaving everything for the last minute and creating a poor final product. Consider even a time where you witnessed someone who, by early afternoon, was seemingly unable to bring themselves to get out of bed to start the day.

Whether it was yourself or someone else that you imagined, it’s easy to write off everyone in those examples as lazy. However, there’s a major issue with doing that – “laziness” is often not the cause of these situations. Rather, many mental health conditions can create issues that simulate behaviors identical to laziness.

Take, for example, disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression and other mood disorders, insomnia and other sleep disorders, and anxiety disorders including obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Each of these conditions can negatively impact a person’s ability to be productive, making them appear lazy. People with ADHD can often find themselves imagining all of the tasks they could be engaging in at once and becoming so overwhelmed they feel almost paralyzed. People with depression and other mood disorders often lack the mental energy to accomplish anything. Similarly, people with insomnia and other sleep disorders often lack the physical energy to accomplish anything. People with GAD may have a crippling fear that they won’t be good enough at something, preventing them from attempting to do the task in question. People with OCD may have a crippling (rational or irrational) fear that something bad will happen if they do specific things, preventing them from doing those things.

               All of these explanations are generalized and therefore may not apply to everyone with each listed disorder, or be the only applicable factor for each disorder’s effect on laziness. However, if you or someone you know has been consistently labeled as lazy, remember that “laziness” is often more than how it appears on the surface, and that actively struggling with mental health does not make a person a failure.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of “laziness” as described above that are getting in the way of day-to-day 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/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201410/the-psychology-laziness

Relationships; How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship

Relationships; How to Recognize a Toxic Relationship

By: Priya Desai

A toxic relationship can be hard to identify, especially when you are in the relationship. There are many instances where the people closest to you will notice first that the relationship you are in is not good for you. Here are signs of a toxic relationship that can help you identify if you are in one.

Signs of a toxic relationship:

  • Lack of trust

When you are in a relationship, both partners should have trust in each other. Trust varies from being loyal to your partner to trusting that they have the best interest in their mind when they are thinking about the relationship. Trust is the foundation of a relationship and without it, it can’t work.

  • Hostile communication

Hostile communication includes verbal abuse and physical abuse. This can be name calling, yelling, constant interruption, or throwing and breaking things.

  • Controlling behaviors

Your partner has no right to control your actions or beliefs. This can include telling you what’s right, secluding you from your closest friends/family, and requiring access to your personal social media accounts and phone.

  • All take, no give

If you feel as if your partner is not doing anything for you, but you are consistently taking orders from him/her, this is another big red flag. This includes always being the first one to text and always being the one to make plans to hang out with your partner. The feelings should be reciprocated all the time.

If you or someone you know is in a toxic relationship, 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://www.insider.com/toxic-relationship

https://www.healthline.com/health/toxic-relationship

Image Citation : https://www.google.com/search?q=toxic+relationship&sxsrf=AOaemvK-hHlQGKKmgsC6m_XxK_UptZleNA:1631133605274&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=2ahUKEwjX3_2YnvDyAhUaQfEDHao0DBMQ_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=794&bih=639#imgrc=TKmtKNeDMzkEOM

Social Anxiety; Going Back to Normalcy After the Pandemic 

By Jillian Hoff

As everyone starts to go back to their lives before the pandemic it is important to recognize that some individuals will feel uncomfortable after being in quarantine for so long. Some people will most likely feel some amount of social anxiety when going back out. It is important to recognize that most people are going to feel anxious when returning back to normalcy. Most people will just feel these emotions a different degree. Social anxiety is more than just feeling nervous. It could occur when a person feels as though they are being judged or being put down by the people around them when that isn’t the case. This will be normal as people go back to socializing in any type of setting. One major issue society might have would be to relearn social behaviors. Some things that we previously would not have thought about doing became common actions for us during the pandemic. Things like making facial expressions under our masks or talking during a meeting because that is what we got used to doing, is not going to be acceptable behavior when one’s in person.

It is important not to rush into socializing in person. Start by having in-person meetings or work once or twice a week and slowly add more days after you are comfortable. If you have an event that you need to go to, try planning a solution in advance that will make you most comfortable to be there. You can also practice mindfulness and deep breathing exercises as a way to gain some control over your anxiety. However, what is most important is to realize that everyone is getting back to normalcy and that others will feel the same way as you do.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for social 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/

Sources:

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2021/06/21/the-19th-explains-how-to-manage-postpandemic-social-anxiety

https://www.cedars-sinai.org/newsroom/managing-post-pandemic-social-anxiety/

https://tulsaworld.com/opinion/columnists/cartoon-post-pandemic-anxiety/article_453797b8-8804-11eb-a763-3371541a6ae8.html

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 http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/schizophrenia/what-is-schizophrenia

https://psychcentral.com/schizophrenia/schizophrenia-overview

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/schizophrenia

Photo Source:

https://www.psycom.net/schizophrenia

Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder; Distinguishing Between the Two

Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder; Distinguishing Between the Two

By: Stacey Rodriguez

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder (BD) have many overlapping symptoms, causing them to manifest similarly. BPD is characterized by a pattern of unstable emotion, behavior and self-image. Similarly, BD is marked by unusual and extreme shifts in energy and mood.

Mood swings in the context of BPD are more frequent, shorter lived, and triggered by situational factors; they are largely a product of a distorted perception of reality fueled by dysfunctional core beliefs. Contrastingly, manic and depressive episodes experienced by those with BD are not directly induced by external stimuli, but rather a result of chemical imbalances. These episodes last for a minimum of 7 days and can be intersected by symptom free periods. While impulsivity is a key marker in both, it is important to note that in bipolar disorder it occurs most frequently during periods of mania, whereas it is unrelated to mania in BPD.

A common correlation between the two disorders is family history. Though, history of trauma seems to be a distinguishing factor as it is most particular to BPD, whereas genetics seem to play a larger part in BP.

Though BPD and BD are distinctly separate, in some cases, they can co-occur. While being informed on the nature of these two disorders is beneficial, it is essential for an individual to seek help from a mental health specialist if either seem to be present.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality 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://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/June-2017/Borderline-Personality-Disorder-and-Bipolar-Disord

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324375#diagnosis

Image Source: https://ibpf.org/how-to-know-if-you-have-bipolar-disorder-adhd-or-borderline-personality-disorder/

Eating Disorders; How Stress Impacts Eating Disorders

By: Jillian Hoff

Stressful situations often can cause individuals to lean on food to cope. When someone has an eating disorder any stressful situation could possibly be one of the triggers for them. It is known that these individuals tend to have an increased desire to binge eat or restrict their diet so that they can feel more in control. This sense of stability to them is a means of a stress reliever. While stress in itself is not healthy for a person, the result of an eating disorder also tends to create problems for a person’s health. Eating disorders can often cause the individual to have a constant worry about their weight and the food that they are eating. At times this constant worry could lead to anxiety, low self-esteem and even depression. It is important especially for individuals who suffer from an eating disorder to find other ways to cope with stress so that they can try to decrease the chance of either binging or restricting food.

Some ways they can cope would to be to have some type of social support system. This would be someone that the individual can talk to at any time whether it is for emotional or financial help. The individual can also choose to focus on calming strategies like meditation or breathing exercises.  Writing down positive messages to yourself would also be a good coping mechanism especially due to the negative thoughts that they might feel due to their eating disorder. Some lifestyle changes could also help. This would include practicing time-management skills so that one does not feel overwhelmed. Also, by trying something new each day it could be used as a way to get your mind off any stressors in your life.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating 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://www.mirasol.net/learning-center/chronic-stress.php

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/binge-eating-disorder/stress-binge-eating-disorder

Burnout Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms & Strategies

Burnout Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms & Strategies

By: Stacey Rodriguez

The term “burnout” has been a popular buzzword for the past several decades. In 2019, Burnout became officially been recognized as a syndrome by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is defined as a reaction to chronic occupational stress, however, lifestyle and personality traits often play a role in exacerbating this stress.

 Causes often include:

-Working in a high pressure environment

-Work is mundane or unchallenging

-Lack of recognition/reward

-Not spending enough downtime socializing or relaxing

-Perfectionist tendencies 

The syndrome is characterized by three dimensions: exhaustion, reduced professional efficiency, and cynicism (pessimistic views). These symptoms can manifest physically, emotionally, and behaviorally.

Common symptoms entail:

-Feeling exhausted most of the time

-Decreased satisfaction and sense of achievement

-Frequent headaches or muscle pain

-Changes in appetite or sleep habits

-Isolating yourself from family and friends

-Procrastinating essential tasks

On the surface, burnout may seem like regular stress, though there are several key differences which make the two fundamentally different. For example, stress involves over-engagement, urgency and hyperactivity. If chronic, stress often leads to anxiety disorders and a weakened immune system. On the other hand, burnout is characterized by the disengagement which follows a period of continuous stress, during which emotions are blunted; this produces feelings of helplessness and hopelessness which may lead to detachment and depression.

Now, during the Covid-19 Pandemic, the syndrome has become increasingly more common as the online workforce has melted the boundary between work and home. It’s more important now than ever to have strategies readily available to combat Burnout Syndrome.

Here are some strategies you can try from home:

-Reframe your outlook on work: focus on aspects of work that you enjoy, how your role helps others 

-Set boundaries! Learn how to say “no” so that you don’t overextend yourself

-Eat a healthy diet: minimize sugar, refined carbs, and overly processed food

-Exercise regularly! Try to aim for at least 30 minutes per day

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for Burnout Syndrome, 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.verywellmind.com/stress-and-burnout-symptoms-and-causes-3144516

Image Source: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.range.co%2Fblog%2Fhow-to-prevent-workplace-burnout-on-your-team&psig=AOvVaw2MHvFFbkjHJ9HYa6aqG51h&ust=1631384314382000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAsQjRxqFwoTCND30I2B9fICFQAAAAAdAAAAABAV

Addiction: Recognizing and Coping with a Loved One’s Opioid Addiction

By: Lydia Gallagher

Opioids are a class of drug that can either come as legal prescription drugs, such as oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and others, or illegal street drugs, like heroin. Misuse of prescription painkillers often leads to addiction, after to the cheaper and more available option of heroin. Opioid addiction, formally known as Opioid Use Disorder, is a heartbreaking disease that causes turmoil to the life of the addict and their loved ones. Recognizing the signs of an opioid addiction is an important step on the road to recovery and rehabilitation.

The common symptoms of opioid addiction are as follows:

  • Weight loss
  • Drowsiness
  • Cravings for opioids
  • Isolation
  • Frequent flu-like symptoms
  • Stealing from family or friends
  • Slurred speech

Addiction is hard to fight alone, and many people need their loved ones to help them. Addiction never discriminates and anyone can fall victim to it. Opioid Addiction doesn’t just hurt the one who is addicted. Family and friends can find it emotionally draining and upsetting to see their loved one suffer from this damaging disease. If you have a loved one suffering from opioid addiction, it is important to be there for them and encourage them to get help. It is also vital to take care of yourself and seek therapy to help you become less distressed.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an opioid addiction, 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.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/step-by-step-guides-to-finding-treatment-drug-use-disorders/if-your-adult-friend-or-loved-one-has-problem-drugs/how-to-recognize-substance

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/opioids/science-of-addiction.html