Depression & Anxiety: Overcoming toxic positivity

By Veronica Oquendo

Have you ever been through a bad event, like a break-up or loss of a family member, and then have someone say “stay positive” or “everything happens for a reason?” These are both examples of toxic positivity. Toxic positivity is an attitude that focuses on staying only positive, and rejecting any negative thoughts or emotions. It is especially relevant during the pandemic, with people brushing off the negative realities of Covid-19, and say it’s “just extra time for you” or “it’ll be over before you know it.” These people are failing to recognize the emotional exhaustion Covid-19 has brought upon us, with death of loved ones, prolonged social isolation, and anxiety over health concerns. It is usually not helpful to be toxically positive, as it can be detrimental to mental health.

The individual fails to process their emotions healthily, is forced to stay quiet over their struggles, and not feel connected to others. It is important to feel a full range of emotions, including the unpleasant ones.  Toxic positivity can leave you feeling shame or guilt over your feelings. One should instead, give oneself permission to feel painful emotions and remember that your feelings are significant and valid. One can manage the negative emotions in a way that does not deny their existence.

Toxic positivity is not helpful to others going through a dilemma. People that are utilizing toxic positivity are most likely minimizing the feelings of the one going through pain for their own comfort. Telling someone “stay positive” when they are going through one of the darkest periods of their lives, invalidates their suffering. Most people need someone to show support by listening to them, without judgement or advice, and being told their feelings are valid.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and 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.verywellmind.com/what-is-toxic-positivity-5093958

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-man-cave/201908/toxic-positivity-dont-always-look-the-bright-side

Phobias

By Veronica Oquendo

Phobias are defined in psychology as an intense and irrational fear of a specific object or situation. Currently, 9.1% of U.S. adults suffer from a specific phobia. Some of the most common phobias include: Acrophobia (heights), ophidiophobia (snakes), and Mysophobia (germs and dirt. The DSM-5 divides the phobias into 5 categories:

Natural/Environment Type: Thunder and lighting (astraphobia), Water (aquaphobia)

Injury Type: Injections (tryanophobia), Accidents (Dystychiphobia)

Animals or Insects: Spiders (arachnophobia), Dogs (cynophobia)

Situational: Enclosed Spaces (claustrophobia), Flying (aviophobia)

Other: Vomiting (emetophobia), Choking (Pseudodysphagia) 

Although, not all fears are considered phobias, it would need to fit the criteria of being: unreasonable and excessive, have an immediate anxiety response, have recognition that the fear is irrational and not required, avoidance or extreme distress, and be life limiting, have at least a six month duration, and not be caused be another disorder. Exposure to the phobia has been known to cause severe panic attacks. Treatment for phobias include: psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication management, exposure therapy, stress management techniques, and support groups.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a specific phobia, 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.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/specific-phobia

Mental Health Consequences During Covid

By Veronica Oquendo

COVID- 19 has shown to have devastating medical health consequences with the recent death toll at 425 thousand and rising. However, the mental health consequences may be overlooked, even though they are condemning, and can also lead to death from suicide. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Weekly Report surveyed and found that 40.9% of those reporting had at least one adverse mental health condition, an uptick from last year. The most vulnerable of the population affected were among age group 18-24 years old, minority racial and ethnic groups essential workers, unpaid caregivers for adults, and those already receiving treatment for psychiatric conditions. The highest increase in symptoms being from anxiety and depressive disorders (30.9%). Anxiety disorder was three times more likely to be prevalent this year than in 2019. Due to the overwhelming stress and worry caused by the pandemic, alcohol and drugs are used to cope in unhealthy proportions. Furthermore, past studies have shown links between social isolation and suicide. Due to the safety regulations of social distancing and quarantine for COVID-19, more people have been feeling lonely, frustrated, and bored causing a rise of suicidal ideation. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with the mental health consequences of COVID-19, 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.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6932a1-H.pdf

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifting-the-veil-trauma/202009/the-psychological-impact-covid-19

Anxiety: Going Back to School during a Pandemic

By Mizuki Wada

You know it’s time to get ready for school or work when you see the pumpkin displays and school supplies in stores. However, with the global pandemic going on this year there is far more tension and nervousness besides the first day jitters. From parents sending their kids, faculty going back to classrooms or students getting ready for in-person sessions, many of those could be feeling high pressure and anxiety. However, here are a few ways that could help you steer clear from overwhelming anxiousness.

  • Acknowledge– It is crucial to acknowledge your feelings and stress. Understanding the reason why you’re feeling a certain way is the key to finding a solution.
  • Attitude– Try to look at the big picture and find some positive factors of returning to school. Only looking at the negative aspects can cause the situation to be a lot scarier than it actually is.
  • Support– Find a support group! Whether it be your family or friends, having people that would listen to you talk is very beneficial. Try talking about how you’re feeling to those who understand you.
  • Knowledge– Educate yourself on the situation. People can tell you one thing, but are they really true? Limit your news intake and check whether these sources are trustworthy or not. There’s a difference between educating yourself and filling yourself with information.
  • Physical Health– Although it may sound irrelevant, mental health and physical health go hand in hand. Even if it’s a simple walk or a yoga session, moving your body physically can help alleviate stress. It’s important to keep a healthy body for a healthy mind.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Anxiety or any other mental illnesses, 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

Reference:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/beyond-the-doubt/202003/respond-instead-react-managing-covid-19-anxiety

https://www.realsimple.com/health/mind-mood/stress/manage-back-to-school-stress-coronavirus

Divorce Rates during COVID-19

Divorce Rates during COVID-19

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

COVID-19: Parenting in a Stressful Time

COVID-19: Parenting in a Stressful Time

By: Alexa Greenbaum

Parenting in confinement during COVID-19 has many challenges. For many, the home has become the office and the classroom, making it more difficult to be productive and motivated. During this stressful time in isolation, it can be very difficult to keep children occupied while also working remotely, dealing with finances, and navigating the danger of the coronavirus. However, by creating structure, setting boundaries, and encouraging open communication, parents can improve their family dynamic.

Parents are having to take on more responsibilities than ever before. Especially in a very uncertain time, it is normal for children and parents to feel anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed. As a result, many parents and children are reacting to today’s stressors by acting out or regressing to behaviors long outgrown. Due to the additional stressors that come with COVID-19, parents are taking on too much which is causing parents to feel stressed, frustrated, and resentful. According to the APA’s Stress in America survey, “73% of parents report family responsibilities as a significant source of stress.” This can erode the feeling of mutual support and respect that is crucial to a healthy relationship.

To help, creating some structure in your life, such as a routine and designating a workspace for children to do their schoolwork and homework can be an effective way to set boundaries and help a family cope with stress. Thanking your child for allowing you to do your work, is an effective tool as it positively reinforces your child to continue giving you the space you need to be productive.

Sharing and designating daily responsibilities can improve the quality of a parent’s relationship with their children. Working together as a family and designating different tasks is something you and your children can control, and it teaches children to focus on those things they can control when feeling stressed.

To help parents create a healthy family dynamic in the climate of COVID-19, the way parents talk to their kids may need to be readjusted as well. Initiating regular open conversations with their kids. Giving your children your undivided attention can help a family work together to better understand, acknowledge, and address any stressors children are experiencing. Calming your children’s fears is important.

Take advantage of this time together, it can be an opportunity for your relationship with your kids to grow, but don’t forget to take care of yourself! For support, discussing experiences with friends, relatives, or a telehealth mental health professional can be helpful. At Arista Counseling, we have a multitude of different therapists that can help you.

If you or someone you know is looking for support, 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.apa.org/topics/covid-19/parenting-during-pandemic

https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/managing-stress

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/little-house-calls/202003/parenting-during-covid-19

Image Source:

https://www.parkview.com/community/dashboard/dealing-with-parenting-stress-during-covid-19

Therapy: What is Music Therapy?

Therapy: What is Music Therapy?

By: Keely Fell

Music therapy is a relatively new form of therapy being used across the nation. According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is described as “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program”. (AMTA) To be considered a qualified music therapist, an individual must attend a school that is currently accredited by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). Upon completion of a degree, an individual will then take the National Examination Certification Board for Music Therapists, which will then give them the title of Music Therapist – Board Certified (MT-BC). While there are other certifications that an individual can acquire, most states will only recognize individuals with the MT-BC certification.

Music therapy can be used for a wide array of interventions, some of those being: stress management, pain relief, promoting the expression of feelings, physical rehabilitation, memory enhancement, and enhancing cognitive functioning due to early delays. The integration of music therapy into schools, rehabilitation centers, assisted living centers, hospitals, and hospice care is growing rapidly throughout the nation.

The integration of music therapy in hospitals has been growing rapidly as well. Using music to sooth patients before medical procedures, as well as using singing, instrument playing, lyric discussion, and forms of song writing to “allow the patients to reconnect with the healthy parts of themselves”. What was recorded is that with the use of music therapy, patients were able to achieve acute pain relief which then allowed them to rest.

Studies have shown that the brain reacts to music in a very different way than it reacts to anything else. When music enters the brain the first mechanisms that are triggered are the release of dopamine in the pleasure centers. Moving past just making an individual feel good, research has shown that music is associated with an increase in immunity-boosting antibodies, which means that music is also improving an individual’s immune system. Doctors have recently studied the use of vibroacoustic therapy in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, by using “low-frequency sound” to produce “vibrations that are applied directly through the body. The rhythmic pulses allow for stabilization of the disorientation.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, 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.ashford.edu/online-degrees/student-lifestyle/how-does-music-affect-your-brain

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/11/music

https://www.musictherapy.org/

https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6873880/music-brain-effect-scientists-mit-study

Learning How to Face Rejection

rejection

By: Tamar Asayan

Everyone has experienced rejection whether it was not getting the job you wanted, your friends not inviting you somewhere and posting about it online, or even having someone not like you back. Rejection is the loss of something you may have once had or wanted. It is similar to abandonment because it leaves you feeling less than and unwanted. Unfortunately, rejection is something that cannot be avoided and it is a part of life that everyone will have to experience. No matter how small or big the rejection you experience is, it is always going to hurt you and leave an emotional wound. Not only does rejection cause emotional pain, but it also damages someone’s self-esteem and effects one’s mood resulting in frustration and anger. An article, “Why Rejection Hurts So Much-and What to do About it” states, “The same areas of our brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. That’s why even small rejections hurt more than we think they should, because they elicit literal pain” (Winch). If you are feeling the pain of being rejected here are some ways to cope and overcome it in healthier ways.

  1. Acknowledge the pain and grief of loss
  • When you are rejected, you may feel embarrassed and don’t know how to exactly cope with it. You may repress your feelings and ignore the fact that you are in pain.
  • In order to accept rejection, you must accept the pain of what you are going through. Whether it is crying, going to therapy, exercising, or even journaling, it is important to relieve and express the emotions faced when being rejected.
  1. Don’t blame yourself
  • Most of the time you don’t understand why you have been rejected and naturally you place the blame on yourself.
  • The reason you believe you are at fault is because early in life you may have been taught to believe that you are not enough.
  • Do not take responsibility for what is out of your control.
  1. Put yourself out there
  • Rejection is part of the process which leads to success. Do not take it personally, it’s part of life.
  • Putting yourself out there can make you less sensitive to rejection; the more you are rejected the less it hurt us.
  1. Build your resiliency
  • To be resilient is to be able to recover or come back from a stressful or traumatizing event.
  • Resiliency can be learned by doing some of the following:
    • Having an open mind
    • Seeking solutions
    • Learning from an experience
    • Seeking support
    • Knowing your worth and strengths
    • Self-care

If you or someone you know is feeling rejected or dealing with rejection, call now to make an appointment to speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ (201) 368-3700 or Manhattan, NY offices at or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources: https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to-overcome-rejection-like-a-champ/

https://ideas.ted.com/why-rejection-hurts-so-much-and-what-to-do-about-it/

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/imperfect/2019/02/4-strategies-to-cope-with-the-pain-of rejection/

Image: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1327598/Why-rejection-good-you.html

Health and Weight

By Zuzanna Myszko

“Healthism” is a new term that has been coined because of the social link that has been created between morality and health. Because health is seen to be heavily related to weight, people who are overweight are often seen as “lazy” and “over-indulgent,” which are extremely harmful generalizations that make overweight people seem immoral.

Research has shown that the connection between health and weight is not as clear as we once thought. One may participate in health-promoting activities and still be overweight because of metabolic rate, genetics, biological influence, and environmental factors. Therefore, healthism stigmatizes the overweight individual and affects his or her self-image in all aspects of life.

Some specific factors that may be promoting weight gain include:

  • Increased accessibility to high-calorie foods and drinks.
  • Lower prices of high-calorie foods and drinks.
  • Increased prices of fruits and vegetables.
  • Living in food deserts, which are areas where affordable and nutritious food are hard to obtain.
  • Lack of public transport to get to grocery stores.
  • Low safety in some areas.
  • Environmental toxins.

Also, dieting, usually touted as the solution to obesity, has shown to be ineffective. People usually bounce back to the weight they were before beginning the diet. More importantly, dieters do not usually experience an increase in well-being and health outcomes.

Additionally, the judgment of others based on their weight implies that they should not be allowed to be responsible for their own bodies, which is an absurd assumption. All people have the right to autonomy when it comes to their bodies.

In the end, healthism has an excessively negative effect on the mental health of those impacted starting at a very young age. Many experience eating disorders as a result. Therefore, people who are generally termed “overweight” must focus on the facts and create a positive relationship with their body.

 

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from issues related to weight or eating disorders, 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/.

Image: https://playzoa.com/book-of-womens-exercise-pants-petite-in-spain.html

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/real-healing/201901/health-and-weight

Tourette Syndrome

By: Dianna Gomez

Tourette Syndrome is a type of tic disorder. A tic can be classified as an involuntary, repetitive movement or vocalization. Those diagnosed with this disorder will either suffer from vocal/phonic tics or motor tics. In general, vocal/phonic tics produce a sound. Examples of vocal/phonic tics include things such as sniffing, throat clearing, grunting, and shouting. Examples of more complex vocal/phonic tics include full words or phrases. These words or phrases are always out of context and may or may not be recognizable. In 10-15% of cases, words blurted out may be inappropriate such as curse words, ethnic slurs, or other words or phrases that are not viewed as socially acceptable.

Motor tics, generally, are movements. Examples of motor tics include eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, head jerking/bobbing, facial grimacing, etc. More complex motor tics include movements that involve multiple muscle groups at once. Examples of these movements are things such as hopping, jumping, twirling, etc.

While the exact cause of Tourette Syndrome is unknown, it has been confirmed that it is hereditary so genetics may play a role. There are, however, some treatment options that are available to help ease the symptoms. Medications for tics include Haloperidol, Pimozide, and Aripiprazole. Speech therapy is also another form of treatment for those with tics. Lastly, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is another method of treatment for tics. DBS is a relatively new procedure that utilizes an implantable electrode to alter the activity of brain circuitry.

If you or someone you know is suffering from Tourette Syndrome, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy 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. For more information, visit us at https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.