Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorders, ADHD, Et al: How to Support a Friend with Mental Illness

By: Sarah Cohen

When helping a friend with a mental illness, the first step should be assessment of their symptoms. Sometimes they just might be going through a difficult time, but if certain common symptoms associated with mental health issues persist it is imperative to respond sensitively. Majority of the time, friends will just want to know they have your support and that you care about them. A good way to show your support is by talking to them. If you provide a non-judgmental space for them to speak about their issues it will help encourage them to be open with their problems. Let them lead the conversation and don’t pressure them to reveal information. It can be incredibly difficult and painful to speak about these issues and they might not be ready to share everything. If you aren’t their therapist do not diagnose them or make assumptions about how they are feeling, just listen and show you understand. If someone doesn’t want to speak with you, don’t take it personally, just continue to show them you care about their wellbeing and want to help as much as possible. Just knowing they have support can give them the strength they need to contact someone who can help them.

If a friend is having a crisis, such as a panic attack or suicidal thoughts, you must stay calm. Try not to overwhelm them by asking a lot of questions and confronting them in a public setting. Ask them gently what would be helpful to them right now or reassure them. If they hurt themselves, get first aid as soon as possible. If someone is suicidal, contact the suicide hotline at 800-237-8255 immediately.

The best way to help someone is by connecting them to professional help. By expressing your concern and support you can show them that they can get help and their mental health problems can be treated.

If you or someone you know needs support with their mental illness, 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.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/supporting-someone-mental-health-problem

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk/friends-family-members

Marriage During Covid-19

By: Sarah Cohen

During Coronavirus, a lot of extra strain and anxiety have been placed on marriages. While research has shown that disasters uncover strengths in relationships it can also reveal issues. Even in the best relationships, we still always need a little bit of space from each other. 

Since Coronavirus has begun, applications for divorce have risen greatly in the Chinese city of Xi’an. While divorce rates do increase during times of stress, this is unprecedented. There aren’t just changes in routine and close contact without breaks, there are many other factors influencing marital stress during these times. An increased amount of new anxiety about health and keeping safe from Covid-19, unemployment and therefore financial insecurity, caring for elderly relatives with reduced strength immune systems, lacking social connection outside of the spouse, dealing with childcare and school issues, or simply managing chores and uncertainty about what will be in the future are just a few of the issues that could be causing marital stress. In addition, couples may be using different coping mechanisms during stressful times which clash with the other spouse. One might be active and attempt to be cheerful while the other might be hopeless and passive.

There are many ways to fight against this marital strain, here are a couple ways to combat it. By picking your battles you can limit the amount of arguments and issues you create in the home. Even further, you can put a time limit on your arguments in order for them not to affect every moment of the day, when the time limit is up you can put it all behind you. Create some alone time, when you make boundaries stick to them. Another way to get some alone time and be active is to exercise, even just by taking a walk. Speaking to other people over the phone or video chat so your spouse isn’t the only person you talk to is another good way to make sure you can have a little break. Lastly, focus on survival during these difficult times not creating issues and rifts between you and your partner.

If you or someone you know needs support with their marriage, 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/the-discomfort-zone/202004/will-coronavirus-infect-your-marriage

https://time.com/5811146/coronavirus-married-relationship/

COVID-19: Coping with Anxiety

By: Melissa Molina

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic might be upsetting and stressful for individuals. Anxiety and fear about the virus and what could happen can be overpowering and cause forceful feelings in adults and children. General well-being activities, for example, social distancing or wearing masks, can cause individuals to feel detached and forlorn and can result in anxiety. Nonetheless, these activities are important to decrease the spread of COVID-19.

Being able to cope with anxiety due to COVID-19 is important and here are some tips on how to do just that:

  1. Educate yourself and your loved ones on what to do if one is sick. Contact a healthcare provider before starting any self treatment for the coronavirus.
  2. Take breaks and do not over-stress yourself with reading fake news, social media and/or conspiracies.
  3. Isolate and protect yourself but stay connected with friends and loved ones.
  4. Find a new hobby, something to keep you busy and something you can control.
  5. Focus on positives: cooking, reading a new book or tv shows.
  6. Practice self care: try to eat well balanced meals, get plenty of sleep and unwind by taking deep breaths.

It is completely ordinary and justifiable to feel anxiety in the time of COVID-19. Indeed, uneasiness is a solid response to new, perhaps difficult conditions. It can provoke us to focus, prepare, and guard ourselves. However, your anxiety, when coped with, can in turn transform from something that controls you to something that can help you.

If you or someone you know needs support 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/ .

Sources: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hope-resilience/202003/coping-anxiety-in-the-age-covid-19 https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/coronavirus-anxiety.htm

Picture Source: https://images.app.goo.gl/kLzf9JG3FSaXdWFi6

Teens During COVID-19

Teens During COVID-19

By: Alexa Greenbaum 

The COVID-19 crisis, social distancing, and government-mandated lockdowns have taken a toll on teenagers. For teenagers and young adults, friends are hugely important, and separation from their peers can be very challenging as bonding with peers is one of the essential developmental tasks of adolescents. During this time, parents need to understand and acknowledge their frustrations over being cut off from seeing friends. To help teens during this difficult time, adults should listen to what they’re feeling, validate those feelings, and then be direct about how you can work together to make this situation bearable. 

For most teens, it can be painful to lose experiences such as sports seasons, proms, plays, and graduations. Parents can help their teen children by loosening rules to help compensate for the socializing time lost with the school closing. For example, parents can allow their children to spend more time on social media, have more downtime, and allow teens to socially distance with their friends.

Teenagers can also benefit from getting adequate sleep, keeping a consistent sleep schedule, eating healthy meals, and exercising regularly. Healthy habits can increase and maintain positive moods. Healthy habits also help teens who are struggling with mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression and improve their ability to fulfill academic expectations. 

Parents who give teens room to share their feelings, listen to them without judgment, reassure them that everything will work out, and help them look forward to future plans and goals are other ways to support teens.  Parents should also watch for signs if their teenage child is struggling and may need additional support.

If you or someone you know is struggling during COVID-19 or another crisis, 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://childmind.org/article/supporting-teenagers-and-young-adults-during-the-coronavirus

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/Teens-and-COVID-19.aspx

Image Source: 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/keeping-teens-home-and-away-from-friends-during-covid-19

Perfectionism: Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)

Perfectionism: Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)
By: Isabelle Siegel

Oftentimes when people say “I’m so OCD,” what they really mean is “I’m a perfectionist.” Perfectionism is a trait characterized by a rigid need to be perfect: that is, without flaws. Although perfectionism is often thought of as being a positive trait, it can be maladaptive in many ways. Perfectionists tend to have unrealistically high standards, to take longer to complete tasks, to struggle with collaboration, and to place immense pressure on themselves. When perfectionism is extreme, it may meet criteria for Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD).

OCPD, not to be confused with OCD, is a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of inflexibility and a fixation with perfection. This fixation can interfere with one’s ability to complete tasks, one’s interpersonal relationships, and other aspects of one’s life. People with OCPD attempt to control life using details, rules, lists, order, organization, and/or schedules. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, OCPD is diagnosed when an individual demonstrates:

  • a fixation with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules
  • perfectionism that interferes with task completion
  • overemphasis on work and productivity, leaving no time for leisure or relaxation
  • a fixation with morality and ethical responsibility
  • hoarding of objects and/or money
  • an inability to delegate tasks to others
  • an overall rigidity and/or stubbornness

Like other psychological disorders, OCPD can be treated with therapy and medication. Therapies for OCPD emphasize identifying and modifying maladaptive behavioral patterns, as well as targeting triggers (such as stress) for overly perfectionistic behavior.

If you or a loved one demonstrates symptoms of OCPD, 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:
https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/perfectionism
https://www.ocduk.org/related-disorders/obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder/clinical-classification-of-obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder/

Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Signs_of_OCPD_1.png

Depression: How to Support a Spouse with Depression

Depression: How to Support a Spouse with Depression
By: Isabelle Siegel

Depression can cause immense pain and suffering for more than just the individual diagnosed. The partners/spouses of individuals with depression commonly report feeling hopeless and helpless, unsure how to provide necessary support to their partner/spouse. Attempts to help may be met with apathy or even anger, further complicating a seemingly simple question: How can I support my partner/spouse with depression?

Develop an understanding of depression and how it manifests in your partner/spouse. It can be helpful to research depression, taking note of its symptoms and causes. Understand that depression is an illness and not a choice. You may want to create a list of your partner’s/spouse’s particular symptoms and triggers for depressive episodes in order to better understand his/her experiences.

As simple as it sounds, just be there. Depression may have your partner/spouse doubting that you love him/her and may make him/her feel as though he/she is a burden to you. Assure your partner that you are there for him/her and that you love him/her despite his/her illness.

Encourage him/her to get help. Depressive symptoms can interfere with one’s motivation and ability to get help, so continuously encourage treatment. Help your partner/spouse find a therapist and/or psychiatrist, bring him/her to appointments, and cheer him/her on as they undergo treatment.

Do things you both enjoy. One important treatment step for depression is known as “opposite action,” in which individuals with depression act opposite to how they feel. If they feel like laying in bed all day, for example, they should get up and out of the house. As a partner/spouse, you can help by encouraging your partner/spouse to act opposite to their depressive urges by engaging in activities that you both enjoy.

Understand the warning signs of suicide. Individuals with depression are more vulnerable to suicide, so it may be important to know signs that your partner is considering taking his/her life. These may include talking about suicide, social withdrawal, giving away belongings, or obtaining means of attempting suicide. If you believe that your partner is at risk for suicide, seek immediate help.

Most importantly, take care of yourself and seek therapy. Research suggests that having a partner/spouse with depression increases one’s own risk of developing depressive symptoms. It is important to understand that your partner/spouse is not the only one who needs support. Never feel guilty for prioritizing your own needs, and consider seeking therapy or other support in order to take care of your own mental health.

If you or a loved one needs support, 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:
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/supporting-partner-depression
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325523
https://www.psycom.net/help-partner-deal-with-depression/

Image Source: https://www.rewire.org/support-partner-depression/

Personality Disorders: What are they?

By: Elyse Ganss

According to the Mayo Clinic, “a personality disorder is a type of mental disorder in which you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving.” Those who have personality disorders struggle when interacting and trying to get along with others and tend to think their erratic thoughts are normal. Personality disorders can be grouped into three different clusters.

Cluster A is characterized by odd/suspicious thinking or behavior. Examples of cluster A personality disorders are paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder. Cluster B includes emotional/impulsive behavior, dramatic tendencies, and unpredictable thinking. Examples include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. Finally, cluster C is characterized by anxious thinking and behavior. Avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are examples of cluster C personality disorders.

Personality disorders occur through an interaction of genetic and environmental influences. Risk factors for personality disorders include a family history of mental illness, an unstable or abusive childhood, and variations in brain chemistry. Typically, personality disorders emerge in teenage or emerging adulthood years. Through the combination of therapy and medication, personality disorders can be managed.

If you or someone you know needs support for a 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.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/personality-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20354463#:~:text=Overview,relating%20to%20situations%20and%20people.

https://www.healthline.com/health/personality-disorders#outlook

Image Source: https://psychcentral.com/news/u/2019/05/therapy-teenage-girl-psychologist-large-bigstock-1024×76

Bipolar Disorder: How to Support a Spouse with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder: How to Support a Spouse with Bipolar Disorder

By: Isabelle Siegel

Bipolar Disorder is characterized by alternating manic (“elevated, expansive, or irritable mood”) and depressive (“depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in life”) episodes. The disorder causes significant suffering for the individual diagnosed, as well as his/her loved ones. It can be extremely difficult to support a partner or spouse with Bipolar Disorder, but it is possible with the right mindset and preemptive actions.

Develop an understanding of Bipolar Disorder and how it manifests in your partner/spouse. Psych Central suggests creating a list of warning signs that your partner/spouse starts to exhibit before or while entering a manic or depressive episode. This will help you to better understand your partner/spouse, as well as enable you to interpret his/her behaviors in the context of the disorder.

Learn what helps (and what does not help) when your partner/spouse is in a manic or depressive episode. When your partner/spouse is stable, work together to create a list of actions you can take to alleviate symptoms when he/she is in a manic or depressive episode.

Communicate. As cliche as it sounds, open communication is integral to maintaining a relationship with someone who has Bipolar Disorder. It is important that each partner/spouse feels heard and validated at all times.

During manic or depressive episodes, understand your partner’s/spouse’s behavior in the context of the disorder. During episodes, it is important to view your partner’s/spouse’s actions and words as symptoms of a disorder rather than as reflective of his/her true feelings. If your partner/spouse says something hurtful, for example, try to understand the role that the disorder is playing in causing this behavior.

Allow yourself to feel frustration, upset, or any other emotion. Understand that Bipolar Disorder is an illness and that it is normal for difficult or conflicting emotions to arise. Do not feel guilty for feeling frustrated, upset, angry, resentful, or even for wanting to leave your partner/spouse at times. All of these feelings are normal.

Most importantly, take care of yourself and seek therapy. Understand that your partner/spouse is not the only one who needs support and never feel guilty for prioritizing your own needs. It can be beneficial to seek therapy or other support in order to take care of your own mental health and to work through difficult emotions.

If you or a loved one needs support and help understanding yourself and/or a family member, 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:
https://psychcentral.com/blog/helping-your-partner-manage-bipolar-disorder/
https://www.nami.org/personal-stories/living-with-someone-with-bipolar-disorder
https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/relationship-guide
https://www.psycom.net/bipolar-definition-dsm-5/

Image Source:
https://medium.com/@christinacare/a-guide-to-supporting-a-partner-in-therapy-f0d64575558

COVID-19: Divorce Rates

COVID-19: Divorce Rates

By: Alexa Greenbaum

Quarantined married couples are causing an increase in divorce rates during the coronavirus crisis. While accesses to courts are limited at this time, many professionals believe that there will be a rush to the courthouse when operations resume. For example, New York divorce attorney Marcy Katz stated, “when restrictions are lifted, I do not doubt that there will be an overwhelming number of filings.” This has been consistent with recent data. According to reports from a multitude of cities, husbands and wives have begun filing for divorce since emerging from government-mandated lockdowns.  

People, including spouses, are not accustomed to spending so much one-on-one time together. Through daily struggles, increases in fear, poor coping skills, and emotional and financial stress, these factors can take a toll on marriages, increase tensions, and ultimately negatively affect a relationship. Katz has also suggested that increases in divorce rates may also be because people are coming to terms with their mortality and want to make positive changes in their lives. Higher rates of domestic violence have also been reported from numerous sources during this time, which she explained is an additional component in many relationship breakups. This is because this time of uncertainty is causing conditions such as extreme stress and threaten the status quo, therefore encouraging many to make major life-changing decisions.

In response to an increase in divorce predictions, the AAML is conducting a nationwide survey to yield figures on just how widespread the lockdown breakdown of marriages.

If you or someone you know is experiencing conflict with their partner from COVID-19 or another crisis, 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://abcnews.go.com/US/surge-divorces-anticipated-wake-covid-19-quarantine/story?id=70170902

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-31/divorces-spike-in-china-after-coronavirus-quarantines

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/singletons/202004/more-babies-or-more-divorces-after-covid-19

Image Source:

https://lawlawfirm.com/rising-divorce-rates-during-the-coronavirus

Therapy: Reasons Not To Delay Mental Health Treatment

Therapy: Reasons Not To Delay Mental Health Treatment
By: Isabelle Siegel

The median delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment-seeking is a shocking ten years. In other words, people are suffering silently and without help for nearly a decade before they even speak to a professional. Before choosing to delay treatment, it is important to consider the many benefits of seeking therapy sooner rather than later.

Seeking therapy earlier decreases the likelihood that symptoms will worsen. Among those who chose to delay treatment, 37% reported that their symptoms worsened. This can in turn make treatment more difficult when it is finally sought out and, overall, can complicate the therapeutic process.

Seeking therapy earlier decreases the likelihood that physical symptoms will develop. Unaddressed mental illness symptoms can lead to physical consequences including obesity, heart attack, stroke, gastrointestinal issues, and general increased risk for disease.

Seeking therapy earlier decreases the degree to which symptoms interfere with one’s life and relationships. A hallmark of mental illness is interference with quality of life and relationships. People who choose to delay mental health treatment are more likely to lose their jobs, drop out of school, experience financial troubles, and get divorced.

Seeking therapy earlier decreases the risk of comorbid disorders. People with untreated mental illness are more likely to develop comorbid disorders. Comorbid substance use disorders are particularly likely to arise as a result of people self-medicating with alcohol and/or drugs. These comorbid disorders further complicate treatment when it is finally sought.

Seeking therapy earlier decreases mortality rates. Neglecting mental health problems increases one’s risk for self-harm, suicide, and accidents (e.g., overdose, car accidents). In fact, the majority of suicide attempts are due to untreated mental illness.

Seek treatment now. If you or a loved one needs support, 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:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361004/
https://deserthopetreatment.com/co-occurring-disorders/going-untreated/
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/oct/09/mental-health-patients-waiting-nhs-treatment-delays

Image Source: https://www.news-medical.net/health/Cognitive-Behavioral-Therapy-for-Anxiety.aspx