PTSD: Trauma

PTSD: Trauma

By: Elizabeth Lynch

                   Every day you unknowingly pass by, interact with, or speak to someone who is suffering from PTSD. In the US alone 70% of adults experience some kind of trauma throughout their life; 20% of them will develop PTSD from the events they faced. While PTSD is known to develop more frequently in women than in men this mental illness does not discriminate across gender, race, sexual orientation, social status, or age. This is what many people don’t realize about PTSD. It doesn’t just affect those who go off to war. It can affect anyone who experienced a major trauma.

Experiencing the following could lead to the development of PTSD:

  1.        Sexual Assault or Rape
  2.        Severe beating or physical assault
  3.        Serious accident or injury (car or train accident)
  4.        Being a victim of or witnessing a shooting or stabbing
  5.        Sudden, unexpected death of a family member or friend
  6.        Child’s life-threatening illness which can affect both child and parents
  7.        Witness to murder or serious injury
  8.        Natural disasters

Look for the signs:

       Behavioral

  • Irritability
  • Social Isolation
  • Self-Destructive Behavior
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Easily Startled

       Psychological

  • Flashbacks
  • Mistrust
  • Avoidance of places, people, or things that serve as a reminder of trauma
  • Difficulty Remembering

       Sleep

  • Frequently Disturbed
  • Nightmares/Terrors
  • Insomnia
  • Bed wetting

       Mood

  • Guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Loss of interest
  • Hopelessness
  • Fear
  • Tension/ Anxiety

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 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


Psychopaths and Sociopaths

By Stephanie Osuba

People often tend to use the terms psychopath and sociopath interchangeably while both disorders are listed under the category of antisocial personality disorders in the DSM-5, there are some distinctions. Shared traits between the two include: a disregard for the law, morality, and human rights; not feeling any remorse; and having violent tendencies.

The first major distinction is that psychopaths are born, while sociopaths are made. Psychopaths are a product of genetics and, from research, they have a physiological defect that leads to an underdevelopment of the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and emotion (the amygdala). Sociopaths, on the other hand, are a result of a history of repeated childhood trauma and physical or emotional abuse. Because of this distinction, sociopaths are capable of forming attachments and feeling empathy in very restricted situations. They are more emotional in that they are nervous and easily agitated. They are prone to emotional outbursts and exhibit fits of rage. Crimes committed by sociopaths are often spontaneous, messy, and unorganized.

Psychopaths are exceptionally dangerous. They are completely incapable of forming attachments to anything and have absolutely no remorse for the things they do. They simply do not feel. Psychopaths are excellent manipulators who mimic emotion to get people to trust them. They are often very successful, smart, and charismatic which leads others to believe that they are normal. Some psychopaths even have families and other long-term relationships with people who are unaware of their diagnosis. Crimes committed by psychopaths are meticulous, premeditated, and often have a contingency in place. Even the violent ones. Psychopaths make up at least 40% of all serial killers.

Source: Bonn, S. A., Ph. D. (2014, January 22). How to Tell a Sociopath from a Psychopath. Retrieved from 

If you or someone you know appears to be exhibiting signs of psychopathy or sociopathy, 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

PTSD: The Realities of Trauma

ptsd-bergen-county-nj-therapyHave you experienced a particularly terrifying event that you can’t seem to forget? Do images of the event suddenly intrude into your mind? Do you blame yourself for the thigs that happened? Is it becoming overwhelming and even unbearable? If so, you may be experiencing trauma. Often, when something overly frightening or dangerous happens, an individual may experience the effects of trauma. Examples of such events include but are not limited to rape, sexual/physical abuse, war, and other life-threatening events. Even witnessing such events can be traumatic.

Common signs of trauma may include:

  • Feeling overly sensitive and overwhelmed
  • Overreacting in situations and not understanding why
  • Recurring images of the event, possibly in the form of nightmares
  • Feelings of dissociation/feeling disconnected with the body
  • Anger, sometimes directed towards the self
  • Blaming yourself and being confused about what is wrong you

When trauma goes untreated, a condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder can arise. It is characterized by more severe symptoms, such as feelings that the event is repeating itself, recurring nightmares and memories of the event, avoiding reminders of the event, and an inability to form trusting relationships.  Symptoms of trauma or PTSD usually show up within about three months of the event–however, sometimes signs of traumatic stress can show up years later. It can be treated with medicine and therapy, and the length of treatment tends to vary with each case.

If you feel that you may be experiencing the effects of trauma, no matter what severity it may be, remember that it is not your fault that you are feeling this way and that you need not feel this way forever. It takes courage to seek help, but it is very possible to get your life back and move past it. Remember that you are not alone. Statistics show that in any given year, 5.2 million Americans have PTSD. In fact, June is PTSD Awareness Month. This year, National PTSD Awareness Day is on June 27, 2015.

ptsdawareness-bergen-county-njIf you or a loved one live in Manhattan or Bergen County New Jersey and might be suffering from trauma or PTSD, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can assist you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.  Visit for more information

Written by Kassandra C.

Traumatic Brain Injury: Signs of Depression

Traumatic Brain Injury“Brain Injury Can Change Your Life”

By: Jessica Ortega

The majority of survivors of moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI) have significant long-term neurobehavioral changes and increased rates of psychiatric illness. Cognitive deficits are the most common complaints of traumatic brain injury survivors. However, many of these injured individuals may not be aware of behavioral or emotional changes because they are focused on the changes in more concrete domains such as motor functioning. This can be devastating for both the injured person and the caregivers.

Over half of people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury experience depression. Physical changes in the brain due to injury and emotional response to injury can leave you struggling to adjust. Some symptoms of depression are:

  • Feeling down, sad, or hopeless
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Feeling worthless, misunderstood, lonely and frustrated
  • Disturbed sleep patterns and changes in appetite
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Tiredness and a lack of energy
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Therapy can help you recover emotionally, if you are concerned that you or anyone you care about may be struggling with depression after suffering a traumatic brain injury, the licensed counselors and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can assist you in feeling better about the present and hopeful about the future. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists at (201)368-3700 or (212)722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit for more information.

Turning Trials into Triumph: Lessons from the Life of Maya Angelou

By: Davine Holness

Abuse: from selective mutism and PTSD to fame and fortune

Abuse: selective mutism turns to triumph

On May 28 2014, author and activist Dr. Maya Angelou passed away peacefully in her home.  Her work has touched the lives of many, and her story can inspire us today.  Despite the physical abuse and psychological trauma of her past, she rose to great financial success, world renown, and a fulfilled life.

At the age of eight, Angelou was raped by her mother’s then-boyfriend.  She told her brother who told the rest of the family.  When the law found Angelou’s rapist guilty but only jailed him for one day, her uncles retaliated by beating the rapist to death.  Angelou felt that her words had killed a man, and so out of fear and guilt she stopped speaking.  This selective mutism – a psychological problem that affects many children worldwide – lasted for nearly five years of Angelou’s young life.  With the help of a teacher and literature, she was able to find her voice.  She eventually turned this painful past into several autobiographies and poems, as well as a passion for activism and supporting those who suffered like she did.  Her life is an example of how finding and pursuing a passion can help you overcome devastating circumstances, and how a troubled past doesn’t have to hold you back.  Though recovering from the pain of traumatic experiences is a struggle, rebounding can propel you into greater success.

For help recovering from a painful experience (such as verbal abuse, physical abuse, or rape) or selective mutism/, feel free to contact the Manhattan or Bergen County, New Jersey offices of Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy at or (212) 722-1920.  Visit for more information.