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

The Stigma of Mental Health Therapy

By Veronica Oquendo

Those with psychological disorders have to suffer more than just the symptoms of their diagnoses. They also deal with societal negativity that are associated with someone who have a mental disorder, for example social disapproval and disgrace. Less than half of adults needing treatment delay it for their mental disorder for this reason, or do not seek treatment at all. The stigma creates unfair stereotypes and prejudices that cause discrimination in different facets of life including: the workplace, housing access, universities/school, family, and friends. One can be bullied, denied acceptance, ostracized, have limited opportunities, and be harassed. This also leads to self-stigma which is internalized negative attitudes and shame that people with mental illness have about their own condition.

There are ways to battle the stigma of mental illness:

  • Get treatment
  • Talk openly about mental health
  • Don’t isolate or feel shame
  • Join a Support Group
  • Choose empowerment over shame
  • Call out others perpetuating mental health stigma

Although, there is far less stigma in Western countries among the educated, there is still progress to be made. It is suggested in review by The Lancet that to reduce stigma  requires “large-scale contact-based interventions in high-income countries—involving service users as a core element, with sustained funding and engagement.” Early intervention with children and teenagers through an educational setting would also be helpful. Most importantly, access to mental healthcare as well as an increase in overall quality of treatment would be most beneficial.

If you or someone you know needs quality mental health therapy to help reduce the consequences of associated stigma, 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/mental-illness/in-depth/mental-health/art-20046477

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/stigma-and-discrimination

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)00687-5/fulltext

Nightmares: Normal or Disorder?

By: Sanjita Ekhelikar

We all know the horrible sensation of waking up in the middle of the night after a nightmare, a terrifying dream that occurs during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. These dreams are a normal response to stressors in our life, and occur both during childhood and in adulthood. However, when nightmares occur regularly and lead to impairment of one’s cognitive and social functioning, they can develop into Nightmare disorder.

Nightmare disorder is characterized by frequent occurrences of fearful dreams which can interfere with development, functioning, and sleep. People with the disorder are constantly woken up with the detailed recall of dreams that feel like a threat to their survival or security. In addition, such individuals tend to awaken very easily, and have difficulty functioning throughout the day. They are not taking any substances which could lead to the increase in nightmares and, therefore, show signs of the disorder.

Many of the likely causes of Nightmare disorder include mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, which cause people to stress throughout the day which can interfere with their sleep. In addition, any major life trauma can result in this growing distress. Finally, any sleeping disorder, such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, or sleep terror, can cause increased nightmares.

If you are experiencing extreme, recurrent nightmares, do not hesitate to reach out for help and seek treatment. You can speak to a psychologist or take anti-depressant medication to address the issues behind these dreams and to better reduce the unpleasant symptoms. Aside from this, setting a routine during bedtime, making oneself comfortable, exercising during the day, doing meditation before bed, and sleeping until sunrise are ways to better relax and try to prevent nightmares. It is important to take care of yourself and your health, both when you are awake and alert AND when you are asleep.

If you or someone you know is suffering from nightmares, 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/.

Depression: Can it be Effectively Treated in Adolescents without Medication?

By Samantha Glosser

Although antidepressant medications are typically seen as the first course of treatment for adolescents diagnosed with depression, many families do not want their kids to begin taking medication. This could be because of personal values and beliefs or because they cannot afford medication. In addition, almost half of all adolescents who begin treatment with medications eventually discontinue use due to the side effects or because they feel that it is not benefiting them enough. If you decide that medication isn’t right for your child, there are other options that are effective. One clinically proven method used to treat depression in adolescents is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBT is a short-term, goal-orientated therapy that focuses on changing patterns of thinking and behaviors that contribute to the patient’s issues. For example, your teenager may feel depressed because they are distorting the importance of certain events. This could start as simply getting a D on their final. However, their thoughts soon begin to spiral, and they begin to think that with this D on their transcript they will never be able to get into college or get a good job. CBT works by challenging this maladaptive thought pattern and teaches patients to replace these thoughts and consider alternative viewpoints. Recent studies have shown that CBT can be just as effective in treating depression as antidepressant medications and will lead to increased moods in adolescents. If you and your child have come to the decision that medication is not right for them, cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective treatment plan that just might be the right fit for your needs.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 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, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Martin, B. (2018, April 04). In-Depth: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/in-depth-cognitive-behavioral-therapy/?li_source=LI&li_medium=popular17.

Wood, J. (2018, January 21). For Teens, CBT in Primary Care Can Be Cost-Effective Versus Meds. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/01/20/cognitive-behavioral-therapy-cost-effective-for-teens-who-decline-antidepressants/131463.html.