Stress in College

By: Hannah Pierce

Experiencing stress in college is inevitable. Moving away from home, adjusting to independence, managing difficult classes and a social life are all common stressors. When you go away to college you are leaving your social support network at home and learning how to balance your time between school, friends, and health. Feeling stressed or anxious is completely normal. Everyone experiences stress when making significant life changes such as going to college.

Stress can have negative effects physically, emotionally, mentally, and academically. When people begin to feel stressed, they often start taking less care of themselves which takes a toll on their immune system. Stress can also negatively impact relationships. It can make people more emotional and can cause them to lash out, become defensive or irritable.

Time management is a key to success in college. If stress becomes overwhelming it is important to balance everything and use time management to ensure that your schoolwork won’t start to decline.

Coping mechanisms are different for everyone. Try to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety in which ever ways work best for you. Some people may go to the gym, some may read a book, listen to music or watch their favorite movie, and others may confide in friends or mental health professionals.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing stress, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com for more information.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2011/03/31/stress-college-causes-combat.html

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Eating Disorders

By Miranda Botti

There are at least three different types of eating disorders, specifically anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder. These typically affect young women in their teenage years but can also present in childhood or adulthood in both men and women. Eating disorders are a mental illness that can potentially lead to serious physical issues that may require medical attention. Anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder are often comorbid with depression, anxiety, and/or substance abuse and are life-threatening disorders that require clinical attention. Researchers have not yet found any one cause for any of these specific disorders but have found an interaction between genetic, psychological, biological, and social factors that all contribute to the onset of an eating disorder.

 

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Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an intense fear of weight gain and an extremely limited intake of certain foods causing the individual to be of tremendously low body weight. Those afflicted with anorexia possess a distorted body image, often seeing themselves as overweight. Some individuals with anorexia will also purge the little food they allow themselves to eat through self-induced vomiting, extreme exercise, or abuse of laxatives. Anorexia nervosa often has harmful physical side effects such as mild anemia, low internal body temperature, and loss off menstrual cycles in women and girls.

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Bulimia

Bulimia nervosa involves intense binge-eating followed by purging behavior, often through self-induced vomiting, extreme exercising, or the use of laxative abuse. Those afflicted feel they have no control over these behaviors. A bulimic is usually of healthy body weight or slightly over-weight and has an intense fear of weight gain. Since one typically feels intense guilt and shame for their actions and they purge in secret. Physical symptoms that arise as a result of induced vomiting are tooth decay, gastrointestinal problems, inflamed esophagus, and severe dehydration.

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Binge-eating disorder

Binge-eating disorder is characterized by extreme binge-eating, over which the afflicted feels to have no control. Unlike bulimia, binge-eating episodes are not followed by purging behavior. Those suffering are often overweight or obese and feel intense distress, guilt, and/or shame over their binge-eating and body image. This often leads to more binge-eating behavior as a method of coping with negative emotions. Physical side-effects include high blood pressure and risk for cardiovascular disease.

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Treatment

Treatment for these three eating disorders include psychotherapy (individual, group, and/or family), and/or medication to treat any co-occurring depression, anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder. Nutrition counseling may be helpful. Medical treatment may also be necessary for any of the physical side-effects caused by any of these maladaptive eating behaviors.

 

If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/anorexia/warning-signs-symptoms

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/index.shtml

 

Bipolar Disorder in Homeland

By Miranda Botti

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic-depressive disorder, often shows its troubled face in Hollywood. The vast majority of the time, however, the character who wields this troubling disorder is shown through a very negative light. Certainly, bipolar disorder is a very difficult mental illness to possess, however, those afflicted can still be great individuals who do great things. One Hollywood character, Carrie Mathison from Homeland, deals with intense and at times debilitating bipolar disorder, but, is at the very top of her field. Carrie works as a CIA agent, consistently solving the toughest of cases and working to recruit new assets. Carrie is the cinematic proof that our society needs to move past the idea that bipolar disorder prevents you from achieving greatness.

Although Carrie Mathison is an incredibly gifted individual who works as one of the United States’ top spies, her bipolar disorder is very real and the show keeps it as so. She is impulsive, at times irrational, and when she is off her lithium medication, her mind races and she speaks somewhat incoherently, being the only one able to decipher what she says. When her mania dissipates and the depression kicks in, she is bed ridden for days, unable to break through the dark shadow that hangs over her. Carrie’s episodes are very realistic and provide a great example of what it is like to live with bipolar disorder. For this, Carrie is the perfect representation of a highly intelligent, successful individual that, despite her mental health issues, continues to contribute to society. This is a message that should be spread throughout Hollywood. For many, art imitates life, and to a large extent that is true. However, representing individuals afflicted with mental illnesses as inept, violent, and dangerous is not only extremely inaccurate, but also unfair. People with mental illness should be portrayed not only because of their mental illnesses but also because of their positive qualities. As Carrie Mathison, and thousands of people every day prove, mental illness does not totally define anyone nor does it stop anyone from making a meaningful impact or from being a positive, influential person. I hope to see more characters like Carrie Mathison in Hollywood’s future, accurately portraying mental health issues.

 If you or someone you know is suffering from Bipolar disorder, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shrink-speak/201411/homeland-true-portrayal-mental-illness

 

OCD: What It’s Really About

By Miranda Botti

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or more commonly referred to as OCD, is a psychological disorder in which those afflicted experience recurring distressing, intrusive thoughts, images or impulses (obsessions) and attempt to remedy and alleviate such thoughts with repetitive actions (compulsions).  Such intrusive, repetitive thoughts are often constant worries about one’s health or the health of family members or loved ones, as well as fears about bad things happening to loved ones. Common compulsions include but are not limited to: repeatedly checking things, such as if an oven is off or if a door is locked, excessively cleaning oneself and/or handwashing, and compulsive counting. Many OCD patients are able to understand that their thoughts are irrational and unlikely to be remedied by their compulsive actions but continue to struggle to control their obsessions. Most people are typically diagnosed with OCD in their late teens to early 20’s, although onset at any age is possible.

The knowledge of the causes of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is still yet to be discovered however, risk factors include: genetics, brain structure and functioning, and/or the environment. Treatments include medications that act to inhibit the reuptake of the neurotransmitter called serotonin (SRI’s and SSRI’s), as well as the less frequently prescribed antipsychotic medication; psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); the approach of a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Research for treatment of OCD is up and running and clinical trials look to determine the effectiveness and safety of new treatments in order to help individuals in the future.

 

If you or someone you know is suffering from OCD, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

Information taken from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

What exactly is a “Panic Attack”?

by Sarah Moore

Panic Attacks: What are they?

We’ve all heard of panic attacks before, on television, in the movies and even in day-to-day conversation. In today’s age, people tend to use the term lightly, as an expression of a reaction to a stressful event or fearful encounter. One might say, “When I heard that the company was planning to downsize next year, I just about had a panic attack”. But to use the term this way does not describe what a panic attack truly is: a sudden, unexpected feeling of overwhelming and disabling anxiety, often with no premeditating cause.

So what exactly does a panic attack involve? The DSM-5 defines a panic attack as involving four (4) or more of the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • A feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Feelings of unreality (derealization) or being detached from oneself (depersonalization)
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Chills or hot flushes

While it’s true that anyone can experience a panic attack, they are most commonly associated with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Specific Phobias. Does this mean someone who experiences a panic attack has one of these conditions? Not necessarily. The DSM-V defines the diagnostic criteria for Panic disorder as suffering from frequent, often unexpected panic attacks. In addition, at least one attack must be followed by the fear that more attacks will occur, causing an individual to change his or her behavior in order to avoid triggering such attacks. It is important to note that other possible causes for panic attacks, such as side effects from drugs or medications must be ruled out before someone can be diagnosed with any of the above disorders. Panic attacks can be debilitating, but with the right treatment, recovery is possible.

If you believe that you or a loved one has or may be suffering from panic attacks, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Please contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment, or visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com for more information.

Depression: Why Exercise Can Help (part 1: what is depression?)

Eve Bae

With around 16.1 million Americans affected by major depressive disorder and around 3.3 million American adults affected by persistent depressive disorder1, it is imperative for health care professionals to figure out how to help patients suffering with their disorder. These statistics even exclude children and those under the age of legal adulthood, making the number of afflicted patients most likely greater. With the different types and degrees of severity of depression, it is difficult to state that there is one encompassing solution for this multifaceted diagnosis.

Depression is a state of being characterized by multiple symptoms such as depressed mood, diminished interest or pleasure, fatigue, negative feelings of worthlessness, difficulties with concentration or thinking which impair the patient’s daily life activities. The patient must have been feeling this way for at least the same 2 week period and all symptoms must be caused solely by this disorder. This condition can have a biological, social, or even environmental base. Researchers have found that people suffering from depression have a smaller hippocampus and other biological differences, which differentiate them from those who do not suffer from this condition. Another area explored and hypothesized is the role neurotransmitters play in this disorder. Harvard researchers, doctors, and psychologists acknowledge that the brain is a dynamic system with no one neurotransmitter as the sole cause for all patients but there may be different problematic neurotransmitters for each patient. When the fragile balance of serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, glutamate, and/or GABA is disrupted, it affects the brain and ultimately the patient, influencing their moods, emotions, and behavior.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

So how can exercise help this difficult disorder? Onto Part 2!

  1. adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
  2. photo: affinitymagazine.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/1468445687-depression.jpg

Good Grief: Part 5

By: Sam Reiner

And now we have come to the last part of my blogs on grief. So far we have gone over what you will be going through while grieving and how long grief should last. But now we must ask, how can you move on? Well that’s easy, you know you can move on when you’ve hit the acceptance stage and start feeling better. You may start to feel better in small ways at first. You could find it easier to get out of bed in the morning or you could have burst of energy. You will begin to feel like your old self again and you will start to reorganize your life to accommodate the loss. This may cause you to have a series of ups and downs. One day you may feel amazing but the next you feel absolutely terrible. You may feel guilty or disloyal for moving on and that this is a completely normal feeling. It is also normal to feel grief on birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or other special times. However, it’s important to remember is that all these feelings are completely natural.

And just like that, we have reached the end. At the beginning of part 1 I hoped to answer 3 questions about grief. What will I feel, how long will I feel it, and how can I move on? If I did my job correctly, I have been able to answer all these questions so you are better prepared to face the hardship that is grief.

If you or someone you know is grieving, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Good Grief: Part 4

By: Sam Reiner

Over the last few parts we have been discussing the 5 stages of grief, using Zelda to further explain each stage. Now that we are done with the stages and Zelda we must now move on to the next topic, “How long does grief usually last?” Seems simple, but really this is an extremely difficult question to answer for the simple fact that people experience grief in different ways. Some people are able to feel better after 6 weeks while others can take up to 4 years to really get over a loss. In reality, the only one that really knows when you should be done with grieving is you. It is a process whose time table only you can decide. That being said there are ways to help you get through the grieving process a bit quicker. Some ways include:

  • Talk about how you’re feeling with others.
  • Try to keep up with your daily tasks so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • Get enough sleep, eat a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can make you feel more depressed.
  • Get back into your normal routine as soon as you can.
  • Avoid making major decisions right away.
  • Allow yourself to cry, to feel numb, to be angry, or to feel however you’re feeling.
  • Ask for help if you need it

Now before I wrap this part up I have to mention that it is important to tell the difference between normal grieving and depression. Although they share very similar symptoms, the feelings associated with grief should be temporary. If you don’t start to feel better over time, it is very likely you have depression. But how long is too long? Again, that’s up to you as when you are grieving it is important to be self-aware of your emotions. The only way to know it’s been to long is when you feel that it’s been too long.

If you or someone you know is grieving, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Good Grief: Part 3

By: Sam Reiner

(once again to understand what I am talking about read the first 2 parts)

Despite all your bargaining, you eventually realize that there is nothing you can do to stop or reverse what happened. With the realization that there is no escaping fate comes the desire to disconnect and retreat inward, which leads to stage 4: Depression. The sadness sets in as you begin to understand the loss and realize its effect on your life. This is when you will feel overwhelmed, regretful, and lonely and in the game, this can be seen at the Great Bay. It is here that you me Lulu, a Zora who has lost her egg, simply standing in silence gazing out to the sea. The loss of her eggs has caused her to retreat inward and become depressed, which is very common for people who have just lost a loved one.

However, as the old saying goes “This too shall pass.” Stage 5: Acceptance. This is when you finally accept the reality of your loss, and although you may still feel sad you can now begin to move forward with your life. In game, this is signified by the Land of the Dead, Ikana Valley. It is here that you meet Sharp, a ghost you help reach acceptance with his mistreatment of his brother. A very literal representation of acceptance, but a more symbolic example is the Stone Tower, where you climb up towards the heavens. As you climb you will also need to create 4 twin statues (one for each town) with the 4 being symbolic of the past 4 stages of grief. Much like these statues, during the stages of grief you feel dull and lifeless but they are essential in order for you to go through the grieving process. This is even shown in game as you must leave the statue behind when you go up to the next floor, symbolizing passing though the stages of grief. By leaving them behind you can make your way to the top in order to obtain enlightenment and then flip the tower putting the heavens at your feet, solidifying your acceptance. You even have to fight the Garo Masters, beings literally described as “Emptiness cloaked in darkness.” These are clear symbols to the internal battle between light and darkness on the road to acceptance and also shows your victory over the empty feelings that come with grief. By overcoming the darkness and emptiness inside you and reaching the top, you show that you have accepted the past and are ready to face the future.

And with that, we have reached the end of the 5 stages of grief. Now that you know what to expect when faced with grief, it now becomes a question of how long with it last? Unfortunately this is getting pretty long so I’m going to have to save that for next time.

If you or someone you know is grieving, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Borderline Personality Disorder

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Borderline Personality Disorder

By: Daniela Chica

BPD or borderline personality disorder is characterized by patterns of ongoing depression, anger or anxiety. Because people with borderline personality disorder experience intense moments of emotional distress, they may be impulsive or have unstable relationships. People with this disorder experience sudden shifts in mood. Their interests and values change rapidly. Traumatic events can trigger an episode of mania in people with borderline personality disorder, but other small, and otherwise ordinary events, can also trigger an episode. Because the symptoms of BPD vary from person to person, the disorder can be misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed. This is why it is especially important to seek a qualified mental health professional that can determine whether or not a person has BPD or simply bipolar disorder. Some common symptoms of BPD are:

  • Ongoing and constant feelings of emptiness or the need to self-harm
  • Intense emotional outbursts that may last a few hours or a few days
  • Participating in dangerous or impulsive behavior such sexually inappropriate acts, reckless spending, and/or substance abuse
  • Actively and desperately avoiding imagined or real abandonment
  • Uncontrollable and recurring anger management issues

If you or someone you know has obsessive compulsive disorder and needs help, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and 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, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.