The Relationship between OCD and Eating Disorders

The Relationship between OCD and Eating Disorders

By: Suzanne Zaugg

Eating disorders are characterized as obsessive, repetitive thoughts, and ritualistic behaviors. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic long lasting disorder that characterizes uncontrollable thoughts or behaviors that an individual may feel they need to repeat certain things over and over. Statistics show that people with eating disorders are more likely to show signs of OCD, due to the overlapping traits of both OCD and eating disorders.

Understanding the similarities and differences between eating disorders and OCD can help develop a more comprehensive understanding of a patient that presents both of these disorders. People with an eating disorder may experience intrusive thoughts about food and body image, and may develop ritualistic behaviors. Examples of ritualistic behavior pertaining to eating disorders include body checking for any changes in shape or size, frequent weight checking, and skipping meals. An important distinction between OCD and eating disorders lies in the relationship between the thought and action of the individual.  People with OCD are typically interested in ridding themselves of their thoughts and feelings whereas; people with eating disorders may feel more tied to the components of this disorder and feels as if it is a part of their identity.

Since both eating disorders and OCD share overlapping diagnostic characteristics, treatments will look similar. Both exposure therapy and cognitive behavior therapy are very helpful treatments for both eating disorders and OCD. Exposure therapy is a psychological treatment that involves exposing the patient to the anxiety source or its context without the intention to cause any danger. Also, cognitive-behavior therapy is a treatment approach that helps you recognize negative or unhelpful thought patters.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy 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 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.waldeneatingdisorders.com/blog/eating-disorders-and-ocd-a-complicated-mix/

Anxiety and Tests

Anxiety and Tests

 As universities are opening up and students are returning back to the classroom, students may feel increases in test anxiety as they return to an academic setting. While some anxiety may be a good motivator for studying, a crippling amount of anxiety can result in a decrease in grades and an increased risk of mental health issues. Here are some tips to conquer testing anxiety.

  • Study Smarter, Not Harder: Make sure you’re prepared for the test. Don’t cram and don’t spend too long stressing over the subject. Ask friends and family for help, and set goals to help you reach your potential in different subjects.
  • Focus on the positives: Negativity can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you tell yourself you’ll do poorly, you’ll end up not having the motivation to study and thus do poorly. Practice positive self-talk and set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Build Good Habits: Manage your time wisely. Make sure to get enough sleep the day before the test and eat something nutritious the morning of the test.
  • Do Relaxation Exercises: There are a number of ways to alleviate physical symptoms. Do breathing exercises, count backwards from one hundred, and meditate. Find out which relaxation technique works best for you.

            As everyone returns to the classroom there will be an adjustment period. Be proactive in helping your test anxiety and practice the methods that work best for you.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an anxiety 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/

SOURCE: https://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-guide/treating-test-anxiety#references

Abuse: Signs of Gaslighting in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Abuse: Signs of Gaslighting in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

By: Julia Taormina

An emotionally abusive relationship can sometimes go undetected, as there is no physical evidence of abuse. Thus, it is important to be aware of signs that can indicate you or someone you know is in an emotionally abusive relationship. One of the most unnoticed signs is gaslighting.

As defined by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, “gaslighting is an extremely effective form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity, which gives the abusive partner a lot of power.” Gaslighting is typically gradual throughout the course of a relationship, making it easy to go unnoticed in the beginning stages. It can start out with small comments such as: “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” or “you’re too sensitive,” and leave you questioning yourself.
Listed below are multiple gaslighting techniques an abusive partner may use:

  • Withholding: pretends not to understand or refuse to listen
  • Countering: questions the victim’s memory of events
  • Blocking / Diverting: changes the subject or questions the victim’s thoughts
  • Trivializing: makes the victim’s feelings appear unimportant

Throughout the gaslighting techniques, there is a consistent theme of an abusive partner invalidating the victim as a whole. The victim may find they are constantly second-guessing themselves, feel as if they are going crazy, constantly make excuses for their partners’ behaviors, cannot do anything right, and overall feel that something is wrong in the relationship but cannot quite put it into words. If you feel any of these may apply to your relationship, you are not alone.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy, 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/

Source:
https://www.thehotline.org/resources/types-of-abuse/

Image Source:
https://themighty.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Untitled-design-2020-08-07T105137.107-1280×427.png?v=1597442092

Borderline Personality Disorder in Men

Borderline Personality Disorder in Men

By Jenn Peraza

Borderline Personality Disorder (also known as BPD) is a personality disorder that is categorized in the DSM-V by intense fears of abandonment, emotional instability in everyday life and relationships, and a distorted sense of self. Studies have found that while BPD is equally as prevalent in men as it is in woman, statistically speaking, seventy-five percent of people with BPD are female. So why are females most likely to get diagnosed with BPD?

While the criteria for men and women with BPD are the same, men and women are more likely to exhibit different maladaptive behaviors. Women will most likely self-harm through eating disorders and cutting while men will more likely self-harm using substances and head banging. Due to this, men are more likely to end up in prison for violent behavior while women are more likely to seek mental health resources to deal with their self-harm.

There’s also a societal stigma around men receiving mental health help. While women are seen as emotional creatures, men are seen as unemotional and are told to “suck it up” or “man up” when they’re upset. Another factor is that the maladaptive behaviors of BPD are discouraged in women and encouraged in men. Men who have tumultuous relationships, aggressive behavior, and exert violent behavior are more likely praised in society than women who express the same symptoms.
Despite this, it is necessary to clear one’s mind of what is seen as typical behavior for men and to encourage the men in your lives to seek mental health help. By overcoming stigmas, more men can receive the necessary help for BPD and live fulfilling lives.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for a personality 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/

SOURCE:  https://www.verywellhealth.com/borderline-personality-disorder-in-men-5096081

Managing Eating Disorders during the Holidays

By: Suzanne Zaugg

Holidays are a described as being, “the most wonderful time of year” filled with joy and love, it is a time when families to come together. Most, people are gathered around in the season of giving celebrating their holiday cheer, while, people with mental health issues, struggle more throughout the holiday season. According to the American Psychological Association, 38% of people tend to feel their stress increase during the holiday season, which can lead to physical and mental health disorders, such as eating disorders. Signs of an eating disorder include feeling stressed around food, fearful of weight gain, guilt after eating, and missing events that are food focused. These signs tend to increase through the holiday season, so it is important to keep an eye out if you or a loved one start to experience these or similar symptoms. Learning ways to manage relationships with food is a great way to feel better through the holidays, for those who have eating disorders.

Strategies to get through the holiday season:

  1. Show self-compassion. Give yourself compassion through the difficult holiday season.
  2. Ask for help. Find a family member or friend as a support person during meal times.
  3. Have a holiday coping plan. Plan out your “fear” foods (ones that make you feel stressed and anxious) and favorite foods, and then give yourself permission to eat them.
  4. Remind yourself that food provides nutrient value. Holiday foods connect us with culture, heritage, loved ones and traditions. Holiday foods are not considered “unhealthy”.
  5. Give yourself permission to feel satisfaction from eating.
  6. Set healthy boundaries. Choosing not to engage in diet talk or leaving a family function early are important ways to manage food anxiety.
  7. Practice self-care. Whether it is cuddling your pet, connecting with loved ones, or just taking time for yourself. Self-care is beneficial to your overall health.
  8. Take one day at a time. Make short term goals, which are easier to achieve and which will boost your overall mood, in order to make the most of gathering with loved ones.

By learning to understand and recognize the signs of an eating disorder, you can help the people in your life who are struggling.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York and 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/

Source:

https://news.llu.edu/health-wellness/tips-and-tools-for-handling-eating-disorders-around-holidays

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Understanding the Diagnostic Criteria

By: Abby Erasmus

Post- traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that individuals can develop after experiencing a traumatic event. Traumatic events are defined by incidents that have the capacity to provoke fear, helplessness, or horror in response to the threat of injury or death. Further, as stated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed; DSM- 5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013), one must display 4 types of symptoms to be diagnosed with post- traumatic stress disorder.

The first type is symptoms of re-experiencing the event in which the individual has unwanted recollections of the event (i.e. nightmares). The second type is symptoms of avoidance that include avoiding thoughts and feelings in regard to the incident as well as external reminders of the event (i.e. people, places). The next type of symptoms is symptoms of negative alterations in cognition and mood associated with the traumatic event (i.e. exaggerated negative beliefs/ expectations about oneself). Lastly, individuals will experience marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with the event (i.e. exaggerated startle response). Additional criteria includes length of symptoms in which symptoms should persist for longer than one month, severity of symptoms in which they should cause significant clinical distress, and cause of disorder such that symptoms should not be linked to the effects of drugs or substances.

It is also important to note that individuals can have a “delayed expression” of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which, according to the DSM-5, occurs when the “full diagnostic criteria [of PTSD] are not met until at least 6 months after the event” (APA, 2013). To restate, symptoms can manifest long after this 6 month window. The DSM-5 also states that having had a prior psychiatric disorder such as depression, and emotional problems such as anxiety problems, serve as risk factors in developing PTSD after one experiences a traumatic event. This relationship also works in reverse; experiencing a traumatic puts one at an increased risk for developing other psychiatric disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and at risk for the worsening of GAD symptoms if they had been diagnosed prior to the PTSD diagnosis.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for post- traumatic stress 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.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207191/box/part1_ch3.box16/

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra012941

Eating Disorders Part 5: Eating Disorders among Latina Women

By: Abby Erasmus

Latina women are caught between two cultures and are therefore at risk of experiencing acculturative stress (a term discussed in “Eating Disorders: Part 4”). As mentioned previously, increased acculturative stress is linked to an increase in eating- related pathology, thus disordered eating patterns are not uncommon among Latina women. The rate of occurrence of eating disorders among Latina women is equivalent to the rate of the general population of U.S. females; however, anorexia nervosa (AN) is rarely noted in Eating Disorder (ED) studies in regard to Latina women. This does not mean AN does not exist among Latina Women, AN is just thought to be the least prevalent in the community. Researchers have found that bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED) are the most common, with lifetime prevalence rates of 2% to 2.3-2.7% respectively. Further, researchers have identified key differences in the presentation of both dietary restriction and drive for thinness in comparison to European- American white women. Latina women are less likely to engage in dietary restriction, and if they do, it is often followed by a binge- eating episode. Latina women also find themselves caught between the thin ideal belonging to Western culture and the curvy but flat- stomached ideal belonging to the Latinx community, and these conflicting body image ideals can result in disordered eating behaviors. Additionally, and quite similarly to Asian American culture, food is the love language of the Latinx community, yet, similarly to Asian American women, these women will be scrutinized for gaining weight. Latina women also experience the paradox, and providers should keep this paradox in mind to understand root causes of EDs within the Latinx community.

Binge eating within the Latinx community is associated with significant levels of distress as well as psychopathology, and is often accompanied by obesity. Despite reporting significant levels of distress, the majority of Latina women do not seek treatment, and when they do, they often refer to primary care doctors in which obesity is the only thing that gets identified. Their ED goes unnoticed. In order to correctly diagnose EDs among Latina women, providers must understand the high prevalence rates of BED, BN, and binge- eating behaviors within the population which, in turn, can result in obesity. Once the ED is addressed, obesity can be addressed. Again, with cultural competency added into the equation of treatment, Latina women’s EDs will be correctly diagnosed and they will receive proper treatment.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy 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://yourlatinanutritionist.com/blog/eating-disorders-among-latinas

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2680162/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4078895/

Eating Disorders Part 4: Eating Disorders among Asian- American Women

By: Abby Erasmus

Unique cultural values and experiences of Asian Americans can lead to the development of an eating disorder for individuals in the community. Similar to Western culture, Asian American (AA) culture idealizes the thin body and individuals face scrutiny from family members if they don’t meet this ideal; paradoxically, food is said to be the love language of Asian culture. Many AAs report being “force fed” by the same family members who criticize their weight. This creates pressure and anxiety around food, and due to this paradox, the complex relationship between food, love, and weight, bulimia nervosa (BN) tends to be the most pervasive ED in the AA community. Furthermore, AAs have to go through the process of acculturation: they must adapt to the practices and values of the dominant culture while maintaining their own. This can result in acculturative stress which is a positive predictor of disordered eating. In turn, research shows that AA college students report higher rates of restrictive eating, purging, and muscle building in comparison to their white counterparts. Also, second generation AA women report more ED behaviors than first and third generation women. This gives us insight into who is more likely to be affected within the community and what the ED behaviors are.

Different cultural values in the AA community such as interdependency, a complete reliance on the family for help rather than a stranger (therapist), and stigma surrounding mental health in general, contribute to the lack of help seeking. Further, some mental health providers are unable to recognize ED- like behaviors in the AA community as they are an under researched group when it comes to this pathology; lack of diagnosis and treatment can thus lead to poor prognosis. Once EDs are officially seen as a disorder that affects all ethnic and demographic groups at similar rates, stigma can be lessened and providers will recognize ED symptoms in this community. Again, cultural competency must be encouraged. Providers should understand the unique stressors AAs face like acculturative stress, as well as the complex relationship between food, showing love, and the idealization of the thin body. Although anorexia nervosa is prominent in the AA community, BN and binge- eating behaviors are the most common in the community; 1.50% are diagnosed with BN and 4.74% experience binge eating behaviors (See Eating Disorders Part 1 for DSM definitions). Once providers are more familiar with BED and BN, as well as the unique factors AAs face, they will be able to have culturally appropriate treatment for AAs with EDs.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy 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.eater.com/2019/11/19/20955556/my-discomfort-with-comfort-food

https://centerfordiscovery.com/blog/eating-disorders-and-the-api-community/

https://www.medainc.org/eating-disorders-in-the-asian-american-community-a-call-for-cultural-consciousness/

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/anorexia-for-an-asian-american-a-recovery-story

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01950/full

https://anad.org/get-informed/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/

https://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2014.6b4

How Social Media Affects Mental Health

By Jillian Hoff

In a world where most individuals are obsessively using social media, it can be detrimental to a person’s mental health.  Some of the most common symptoms that come from excessive use of social media include an increase in anxiety, depression, isolation, and fear of missing out (FOMO). Humans need social interaction, which can be given through social media but only to an extent. Humans need an in person social interaction with the people around them to feel connected. There is a reliance on social media to be able to connect with others now, especially during the pandemic. The convenience that comes from using social media may seem like it is beneficial but it the overuse of it can be the reason for your decline in mental health.

How to know when social media is affecting your mental health:

  • You start spending more time on social media than with your friends in person.
  • You compare yourself to others on social media.
  • You find yourself being distracted while you are at work or school.
  • Using social media is disrupting you sleep.

Ways to improve on mental health after a social media addiction:

  • Turn off your phone at certain times of the day.
  • Keep your phone or tablet in a different room when you are completing a task or going to bed.
  • Use social media in an active way instead of passively. This means you are using social media for a purpose.
  • Take on a new hobby or adventure to new places as a means of meeting new people and getting off of your phone.
  • Interact with others when you go somewhere instead of sitting on your phone.

Know when to put down your phone, it will make all the difference in your mental health!

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy, 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.riseservices.org/the-impact-of-social-media-on-mental-health/

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mental-health.htm

Eating Disorders Part 3: Eating Disorders in the LGBTQ Community

Members of the LGBTQ community experience an array of challenges that pose as risk factors in developing an eating disorder. Many members of the community experience fear of rejection from individuals they are close with and those outside their immediate circle; they often experience verbal or non- verbal violence, PTSD, discrimination, inability to meet the body image ideals within some LGBTQ contexts, internalized homophobia or transphobia, and more. These negative experiences can lead to depression or anxiety, which in turn can result in unhealthy coping mechanisms like an eating disorder. Past research indicates that about 54% of LGBT adolescents have been diagnosed with a full blown eating disorder (ED), and an additional 21% of LGBT adolescents reported they suspected having had an ED at some point in their lives. Further, about 61% of LGBT adolescents in one study reported that they had engaged in at least one disordered eating behavior in the past year. These statistics emphasize the importance of learning about the diverse, root causes of EDs within the community and how they manifest.

EDs manifest differently in the sub- groups of the LGBTQ community, and are experienced at higher rates compared to their straight or cis- gendered counterparts. In one study, adult and adolescent lesbians reported more binge eating, purging, and laxative use than their heterosexual counterparts, as well as the highest rate of binge- eating compared to any other sexual orientation. Lesbian women also report the highest rates of weight- based self- worth, while bisexual women have been found to report the highest levels of eating pathology compared to lesbian and gay men. Further, gay men report a higher likelihood of engaging in exercise with the intention of losing weight, restrictive eating, fasting, bingeing, purging, and diet pill use compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Lastly, transgender and gender- nonconforming youth seem to be at particular risk for developing an ED; this is due to all risk factors mentioned above, as well as conflicting gender identity and being dissatisfied with their body.

Despite these findings and the clear prevalence rate of such pathology within the community, and increased rates in relation to their straight/ cis- gendered counterparts, many members do not seek help. Many LGBTQ individuals fear their therapist or doctor won’t understand the unique problems within their community. In order to increase rates of treatment, we need to strive for cultural competency in which providers understand the unique experiences of LGBTQ individuals that can lead to EDs, and what EDs look like within the subgroups of the community.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy 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://jeatdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40337-020-00327-y

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/general-information/lgbtq

https://jeatdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40337-020-00327-y

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/eat.23257