Social Anxiety: Struggling to Reach Out

            It’s okay to want to be alone, but many people around the world resort to solidarity because they fear they’ll be judged by others in a social scene. Social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, is a mental illness categorized as a type of anxiety disorder that consists of an intense, persistent fear of being watched and/or judged by others. No matter what the situation is, if it involves other people, things become more challenging for them. It feels as though all eyes are on them and they’re terrified of making a spectacle of themselves in front of those around them, even friends and family. That’s why it tends to be a struggle for many sufferers of social anxiety to maintain any healthy relationships because they would rather push people away and avoid conversation than take the risk of feeling humiliated through judgment.

          The toll social anxiety has on some of its sufferers can lead to avoiding school and work as well as dropping many hobbies/activities all together because they’re simply too terrified to engage. In such instances, the disorder becomes a hindrance to everyday life because if they miss school and work, they’re losing out on education, money, and many other key things to sustain healthy living. Some signs that you may be suffering from social anxiety disorder are: when having to be around others; feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach, blushing, sweating or trembling, making little eye contact and speaking very softly, staying away from places where you see other people, etc. In this case, treatment comes in the form of psychotherapy, medication, or both. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is perhaps the most common form of treatment and teaches patients better ways of thinking and reacting to anxiety-inducing scenarios in order to best keep those unwanted emotions under control.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a 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/

Sources: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/social-anxiety-disorder-more-than-just-shyness/index.shtml

OCD: Exposure Therapy and Medication

OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and is a chronic, long-term disorder in which a person has uncontrollable reoccurring thoughts and/or behaviors that take over and are constantly repeated. These repetitions can take over one’s life; all they can focus on are one’s obsessions and nothing else. Obsessions are defined as “repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety,” while compulsions are “repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to their obsessions.” It’s a common disorder affecting about 1% of the U.S. on any given year, with a lifetime prevalence of OCD among U.S. adults falling at 2.3%. Symptoms can present themselves in a range of mild to serious, with about ½ of OCD cases falling under serious.

Exposure and Response Prevention, also known as ERP therapy, is a common form of treatment for individuals with OCD, but it can be very harsh and relentless. In simple terms, ERP therapy takes the OCD patient and places them at the forefront of their fears so that they confront them head on, with no protection. However, when doing this they’re guided by a trained therapist to ensure they don’t resort to their compulsive behaviors. An example of this type of therapy would be having a patient who suffers from germaphobia stick their hands in dirty water without washing their hands after. Over time they’re usually able to adapt to and overcome their fears, but it takes a lot of hard work. Unfortunately, this type of therapy doesn’t work for everyone and many individuals fighting OCD need medication instead, or a combination of both. Some common OCD medications are Zoloft, Prozac, and Luvox. These are all anti-depressants approved by the FDA to treat OCD.

If you or someone you know is struggling with obsessive compulsive 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.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/exposure-and-response-prevention

Anorexia: Silent Suffering

By: Elyse Ganss

Anorexia nervosa, commonly referred to as anorexia, is an eating disorder that includes symptoms of often an extremely low body weight, a fear of gaining weight, and body dysmorphia. People suffering from anorexia are usually consumed by thoughts of their body image.

Extreme focus on weight and shape is experienced by those who have anorexia. This often leads to a dangerous restriction of calories to lose and restrict weight. Those suffering from anorexia may excessively exercise, consume laxatives, or vomit after eating to stop weight gain. Even when the person suffering from anorexia reaches an extremely thin and unhealthy body weight/shape, they will not stop the restriction of food.

Anorexia can have serious health complications including heart problems, bone loss, infertility, kidney problems, and more. Anorexia is common with people who have perfectionist/high-achieving personality types. People suffering from anorexia feel as though they gain a sense of control by restricting their intake of food.

Anorexia can be undiagnosed for a long time if symptoms are not detected. It is common for people with anorexia to deny their eating disorder and not want to seek help. By meeting with a therapist, treatment plans can be established. Normally this would include a plan to get the person to a healthy weight, finding out what emotional issues the person is having, and changing their thought processes/outlook on their body image.

If you or someone you know needs support 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.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anorexia-nervosa/symptoms-causes/syc=2-353591

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa/default.htm

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https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-practice/202002/therapy-can-help-even-those-who-did-not-benefit

Mental Illness: How to Support a Spouse with Mental Illness

Mental Illness: How to Support a Spouse with Mental Illness
By: Isabelle Siegel

Every relationship has challenges, but relationships in which one partner has a mental illness can be even more challenging. The presence of mental illness in a relationship can leave both individuals feeling alone and helpless. However, it is not impossible to be in a happy, healthy, and successful relationship with someone with a mental illness. If you are wondering how to support your partner/spouse with mental illness, know that it is possible. Although your partner’s/spouse’s mental illness may at times feel all-consuming, certain steps can ultimately help manage the overwhelming ups and downs.

Develop an understanding of your partner’s/spouse’s diagnosis. It can be helpful to research the symptoms of your partner’s/spouse’s disorder in order to better recognize and label them as they arise. Having a basic understanding of what your partner/spouse is experiencing can help you to put yourself in his/her shoes and to gain insight into his/her struggles.

Just be there. Having a mental illness oftentimes makes people feel alone and as though they are a burden to their loved ones. The single most powerful way you can support your partner/spouse with a mental illness is to be there for him/her. Communicate that you are there for the highs and lows, and be ready to love your partner/spouse through them.

Do not let mental illness take over your entire relationship. Although it is important to communicate, try to keep your relationship balanced by limiting discussions about mental illness. Even when your partner’s/spouse’s mental illness feels all-consuming, continue to engage in activities that pull you and your partner away from thinking about his/her diagnosis and struggles.

Communicate openly how you feel. Regardless of a mental illness diagnosis, open communication is a critical component of any relationship. Be honest with your partner/spouse about how you feel, communicating any emotions with the goal of productively working through them.

Understand that your partner/spouse is trying the best he/she can. It can be easy to assume that a person with mental illness would feel better if only he/she tried harder. Oftentimes, people with mental illness are coping with their struggles in the best way they can.

Accept that it will be challenging at times. Being in a relationship with someone with a mental illness is going to pose challenges. It can arouse difficult emotions such as frustration, anger, resentment, sadness, etc. Allow yourself to feel these emotions and be willing to communicate them with your partner.

Most importantly, take care of yourself. 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.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/November-2018/How-to-Be-Supportive-of-Your-Partner-with-Mental-I
https://www.nami.org/Personal-Stories/How-To-Love-Someone-With-A-Mental-Illness
https://www.verywellmind.com/coping-with-a-mentally-ill-spouse-2302988

Image Source: https://images.app.goo.gl/1XXGCnGttHazLixy5

Alcoholism during COVID-19

By: Elyse Ganss

Alcohol sales have spiked during the coronavirus pandemic. According to Nielson, during the month of March alone, alcohol sales were up by 55%. Thus, it is clear that COVID-19 has caused an increase in alcohol consumption. This could have negative health effects as well as cause an alcohol dependency and subsequent addiction. Addiction can result in job loss, the disruption of relationships, and difficulties in performing normal, day-to-day functions.

Alcohol abuse causes chemical changes in the brain that create feelings of pleasure when consuming alcohol, which make an addicted person reliant on the use of alcohol. They must continually up their dosage to feel the same sensation of pleasure as tolerance develops. Risk factors for alcoholism include a family history of substance abuse, a mental health problem, binge drinking, high stress, and low self-esteem.

A mental health professional will aid the patient with creating a treatment plan. Usually a detox program will be created that includes medication to help the patient safely withdraw from alcohol usage. Unregulated withdrawal can cause seizures and other negative health effects. Therapy is typically recommended for addicted patients as it can help the patient work through the issues that may have caused them to turn to substance abuse. Finally, family or couples therapy may be recommended to repair relationships that may have been damaged because of addiction.

If you or someone you know needs support for alcoholism or substance abuse, 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.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/basics#symptoms

https://www.healio.com/news/primary-care/20200416/alcohol-consumption-during-covid19-pandemic-what-pcps-need-to-know

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369250

Image Source:

https://greatlakesrehabilitation.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Consequences-of-Alcoholism

Anxiety during COVID-19

Anxiety during COVID-19

By: Alexa Greenbaum

Reported rates of anxiety have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of people reporting anxiety and fear symptoms is well above historical norms. Polls have found that nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health. Hotlines have seen consistent results. During April alone, a month in which most Americans were in quarantine, the federal government’s distress hotline increased text rates more than 1,000 percent. In addition, dozens of states and locally run distress hotlines have reported sizeable increases in call volume as well. If you are experiencing anxiety during this time, you are not alone.

Americans who are in quarantine and sheltering in place are suffering. Outbreaks are stressful and symptoms of anxiety can include:

•    Fear and worry about your health and the health of your loved ones.

•    Changes in sleep or eating patterns.

•    Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.

•    Worsening of chronic health problems.

•    Worsening of mental health conditions.

•    Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. 

In particular, those who have reported high rates of fear and anxiety include:

•    Minorities

•    Women

•    Older people and people with preexisting health conditions who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as well as people who have mental health conditions including problems with substance abuse

•    Adults under the age of 34 (children and teens)

•    People who are helping with the response to COVID-19 (doctors, health care providers, and first responders

During this time, it is more important than ever to take care of your mental health. Asking for and accepting help is a sign of strength. Call your health care provider if you are experiencing stress or anxiety. Health care providers can help you by providing a procedure and referrals.

If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety 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://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-covid-19-is-doing-to-our-mental-health

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https://www.vox.com/identities/2020/4/16/21219693/coronavirus-anxiety-depression-mental-health-ptsd-covid

COVID-19: How to Cope with Stress During COVID-19

COVID-19: How to Cope with Stress During COVID-19

By: Alexa Greenbaum

In crisis situations, it is normal to feel overwhelmed with emotions. The COVID-19 pandemic can feel threatening, as there are many unknowns. For example, published information from reputable sources, such as in the media, news, articles, journals, government officials, and specialists in relevant fields of work often contradict one another. It is important to note that everyone deals with stress differently, nonetheless, focusing on being resilient in response to COVID-19 will help minimize stressors and allow growth from traumatic experiences.

In this time of many uncertainties and conflicting information, it can be difficult to be calm. Feeling a lack of control, fears, and ruminating on stressors can escalate undesirable emotions. These stressors can feel or be traumatic and as a result, especially in isolation, cause people to consciously think about how COVID-19 is stressful.

It is difficult to stay calm but to subside unwanted stress, taking a step back and identifying your fears and putting emotions into perspective is a great way to start the process of becoming resilient to chaotic situations. It is important to understand and accept that there are a number of things that are out of control in life and emotions cannot prevent stressful situations. As a result, growth is associated with reflection and cognitive processing.

In effort to overcome stress about COVID-19, some pathways to resilience include focusing on positive relationships, positive emotions, and hardiness. Connecting and not isolating yourself by supporting loved-ones, focusing on what is in your control, and connecting with larger social networks such as your communities can provide emotional and instrumental support. Communicating with others can also elicit positive emotions such as laughter and optimism and can influence the belief that one can grow from negative events.

Taking care of yourself during a time of crisis is of upmost importance. To do so, take time to unwind and give yourself a break from looking at the news, create a routine, and take care of your body and mental health.

If you or someone you know is experiencing uncontrollable stress 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://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

https://yalehealth.yale.edu/covid-19-managing-stress

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2017/05/13/6-ways-to-stop-stressing-about-things-you-cant-control/#7529342630db

Image Source:

https://www.nysut.org/news/2020/april/stress-management

COVID-19: Grief, Anxiety, and Loss

By: Elyse Ganss

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, people have lost not only family members, friends, and loved ones, but jobs, a daily routine, and possibly financial security. Being physically separated from people can produce feelings of loneliness, stress, isolation, anxiety, and frustration. What people may be experiencing is grief. Grief is defined as the acute pain experienced after a loss. The pain people are experiencing because of the loss of control felt since stay-at-home orders began can be seen as a form of grief.

Acknowledging and accepting the difficult time we are living in is essential. Some coping strategies include staying in touch with family and friends, spending time in the outdoors, or unplugging from social media. Staying in contact with loved ones will allow for feelings of isolation to lessen. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors reduces anxiety as has unplugging from social media. Similarly, starting to adopt a new sense of normal will help to lessen grief and anxiety. Taking up a new hobby and focusing on something other than the pandemic may help your adaptation to your new normal.

Dealing with grief can be overwhelming and speaking to a mental health professional may be needed for your recovery. Forming a treatment plan with a licensed psychologist, psychotherapist, clinical social worker, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or psychiatrist could be beneficial to ensuring you return to previous levels of functioning.

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.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/bravery-in-bereavement/202004/how-cope-bereavement-during-the-covid-19-pandemic

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-sickness-and-in-health/202005/covid-19-and-ambiguous-loss

Image Source:

https://www.pyramidhealthcarepa.com/grief-vs-depression

Grief: What is it?

By: Elyse Ganss

Losing a loved one can affect your feelings, actions, and thoughts. Emotions like loneliness, sadness and anger can be felt after a loss. Grieving involves all of these components and is commonly referred to as the acute pain that one experiences after a loss. If long-term or prolonged grief occurs, seeking support and psychological services may be necessary. A common symptom of long-term grief is an inability to move forward in life. Grief is not only experienced with the loss of a person. Losing a pet, job, or a role in life can cause grief.

There are said to be five stages of grief. These stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. However, as grief is a very personal process, every person is different and may not linearly progress through the stages. If you know someone who is currently grieving, the best thing to do is be present and check in with them. Pushing a grieving person to find closure can be perceived as insensitive and may upset the person more. Listening, sharing memories, and simply talking to the person are good ways to support a grieving individual.

Grief counseling is a form of counseling or psychotherapy where loss is the primary thing discussed or focused on. The mental health professional, whether it be a licensed psychologist, psychotherapist, clinical social worker, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or psychiatrist, will work with the patient to find the best course of treatment pertaining to the individual’s loss. Returning to previous level of functioning and working through the grief are the main goals of treatment. Finding the right support system to be there for you on your grieving journey is essential.

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.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/grief

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2017/10/coping-grief

Image Source:

https://tricy.cl/2t5Xyfq

Co-Parenting During COVID-19

Co-Parenting During COVID-19

By: Alexa Greenbaum

Co-parenting is challenging even during normal times. The crisis of COVID-19 can add to the stress of co-parenting. There are many aspects that make co-parenting even more difficult now than before. Some parents may have to work longer hours during the pandemic, whereas others may have reduced hours and are therefore struggling with finances; these are just a few extra stressors that parents are facing during this pandemic. Adding to the difficulty, different states handle custody arrangements differently, which adds confusion to the process.

Regarding custody, parents have to work together to ensure the safety of their children. Unlike before the pandemic, if they do not see eye to eye, they now have limited means of settling the matter in the justice system. State Supreme Courts such as in California, Maryland, and Texas, have issued that parents should follow their court-ordered processioning schedule during COVID-19. However, there are some exceptions including the event of a “lockdown” or a “shelter in place.” In other states, such as New York, the administrative judge has ordered to “act reasonably.” This uncertainty can spark conflict between co-parents as well.

To accommodate in this challenging time, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts released a joint statement of guidelines on March 19 to help separated parents create a plan during the health crisis. The statement says, “Family law judges expect reasonable accommodations when they can be made and will take serious concerns raised in later filings about parents who are inflexible in highly unusual circumstances.” Nonetheless, the major issue that co-parents are facing, concerning their children, is that many parents are losing the ability to have daily or normal interactions with their kids.

Healthy co-parenting through COVID-19 requires parents to put aside their differences and put their children first. Parents need to know that although this time is confusing for children, kids are generally resilient. Both parents should talk to their kids, whether it be in-person, from 6-feet apart, or virtually about the pandemic. Communication during this time is the best way for a child to have a sense of normality. Thus, this is a time for parents to embrace technology and do their best to work together as co-parents.

Kids are feeling overwhelmed too. Therefore, as a co-parent, focus on doing everything they can do to emotionally support their kids. Reassuring their child that we will get through this, that some changes are only temporary, and most importantly, they are loved is the best way to be there for their child during this time.

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.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2020-04-27/americans-struggle-with-co-parenting-during-covid-19

https://www.paleyrothman.com/legal-blog/co-parenting-during-covid-a-practical-guide

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Building-Resilience/Pages/Co-Parenting-through-COVID-19.aspx

https://www.thecenterforfamilylaw.com/afcc-aaml

Image Source:

https://nyulangone.org/news/divorce-co-parenting-covid-19-challenges-opportunities