The Impact of Infertility on Women’s Mental Health

Every day, women across the globe grapple with the heartbreaking reality of infertility. In fact, an estimated 6.1 million women in America experience infertility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infertility refers to the inability to conceive or take a baby to term after one year of trying (or 6 months for women 35 or older). 

While it’s a relatively common issue many women face, the topic of infertility is rarely spoken about. Why? For one, infertility is incredibly difficult to cope with and can have an immense impact on women’s mental health. 

Research published by the North Carolina Medical Journal shares the following:

“The most common mental health concerns reported by fertility patients are symptoms of anxiety and depression. The more physically and emotionally demanding and intrusive patients’ medical treatments become, the higher the reported symptoms of anxiety and depression. Each passing monthly cycle brings a roller coaster ride of emotions such as anger, betrayal, guilt, sadness, and even hope. With each friend who announces her pregnancy and with every pregnant woman she passes in the grocery store, the patient’s anxiety and stress can become overwhelming.” 

Conversations around infertility often focus on the physical aspects of conceiving. In this post, however, we’ll discuss how infertility can affect mental health and ways in which women’s health psychiatrists can help you deal with the emotional turmoil that arises. 

What Causes Infertility?

In a majority of cases, infertility is a product of ovulation-related problems. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal disorder and one of the most common conditions that can negatively affect ovulation. 

Caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones, Polycystic ovarian syndrome refers to the production of an abnormal amount of androgens, causing the ovaries to fail to regularly release or develop eggs. Other conditions that can cause infertility include:

  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Block fallopian tubes
  • Uterus deformities or abnormalities

Age is another primary reason approximately one-third of women over the age of 35 experience fertility issues. Poor nutrition, alcohol and tobacco use and weight-related problems are other factors that can lead to increased infertility risk. 

How Infertility Impacts Women’s Mental Health

Infertility and not being able to have children can be very traumatic for both women and men. Many women envision and plan to create a family of their own, and infertility can completely throw their life into disarray. 

In a similar vein, societal pressure is a very real and very powerful reality – and the inability to conceive can produce strong feelings of guilt. Infertility can cause a level of sorrow that, in many ways, is as distressing as the grief experienced after the loss of a loved one. 

According to NCBI, “Despite the prevalence of infertility, the majority of infertile women do not share their story with family or friends, thus increasing their psychological vulnerability. The inability to reproduce naturally can cause feelings of shame, guilt, and low self-esteem. These negative feelings may lead to varying degrees of depression, anxiety, distress, and a poor quality of life.”

It can truly be an emotional roller coaster for women and their partners. Each month, they experience the pressure of trying to conceive and must anxiously wait weeks before they are able to find out if they’re pregnant. Those who discover the painful reality that they’re not pregnant must repeat the cycle over and over again – circling through periods of feeling hopeful, followed by anxiety and depression with each negative test result. 

Women’s health psychiatrists help cope with all the areas of someone’s life that can be affected by Infertility. From sexual dysfunction and financial worries to relationship challenges and spiritual issues. 

How Women’s Health Psychiatrists Can Help

Coping with infertility is extremely difficult, but it’s not a battle you have to face alone. Talking to a women’s health psychiatrist and surrounding yourself with a strong support system is pivotal for protecting your mental well-being. 

The licensed, experienced professionals at Hudson Psychiatric Associates can help you overcome the negative and hurdles surrounding infertility while ensuring you find hope for the future. To learn more about our services, contact us today.

Key Differences Between BPD and Bipolar Disorder

According to the American Psychiatric Association, mental illness is a health condition defined by “changes in emotion, thinking or behavior (or a combination of these).” Having a mental illness is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, nearly one in five adults in the U.S. experience some form of mental illness each year. 

When left untreated, a mental health condition can completely disrupt everyday life – impeding one’s ability to interact with others, care for family and work. Similar to physical conditions, such as asthma or diabetes, seeking treatment and support are vitally important for coping with symptoms. 

There are two specific disorders that people tend to confuse with one another – bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD). While they may have some overlapping symptoms, the ailments are two completely separate diagnoses. Here’s a look at the differences between BPD and bipolar disorder. 

BPD vs. Bipolar Disorder: What’s the Difference?

BPD, or borderline personality disorder, is a mental health condition that makes it difficult for people to regulate their emotions. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates 1.4% of adults in America are diagnosed with BPD. 

Those experiencing BPD grapple with extended periods of intense emotion, leading to poor self-image, destructive behaviors and impulsivity. As a result, people with BPD have difficulties understanding and relating to others, self-regulating and maintaining stable relationships. 

In comparison, bipolar disorder causes extreme mood swings that cycle between emotional highs (mania) and lows (depression). When speaking about bipolar disorder, Mayo Clinic shares, “When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), you may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.”

These shifts in mood can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. Bipolar disorder is a more common mental health condition than BPD, impacting roughly 2.6% of adults. 

Symptoms of BPD

Along with instability in behavior and mood, those grappling with BPD have a warped perception of how they see themselves. From issues forging interpersonal relationships with others to impulsive actions in both their personal and professional lives, symptoms of BPD include:

  • A tendency to see things as one extreme or the other – a.k.a. Black or white thinking.
  • Severe mood swings
  • Unstable or distorted self-image
  • Continuous and rapid changes in one’s opinions, values and/or interests
  • Periods of intense anger
  • Suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviors
  • Recurring patterns of intense and volatile relationships in which feelings rapidly shift between love and hatred 
  • Feelings of dissociation
  • Intense fear of loneliness
  • Reckless and impulsive behavior
  • Inability to fully trust others
  • Episodes of intense anxiety, depression or anger

As with any physical or mental illness, each person’s diagnosis is unique and they may not experience all the above-mentioned symptoms. 

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Those with bipolar disorder undergo intense mood swings, alternating between states of depression and mania. 

Symptoms associated with depression may include:

  • Anxiety or bouts of panic
  • Feelings of worthlessness or even guilt
  • Prolonged spells of sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Changes in sleep or appetite
  • Intense pessimism or feelings of indifference
  • Socially withdrawn
  • Inability to concentrate – even on simple things
  • Irritability and anger
  • Inexplicable aches and pains in the body

Symptoms commonly associated with mania include:

  • Racing thoughts
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior
  • Heightened moods
  • Irritability or aggression
  • Inability to sleep
  • Lack of judgment
  • Inflated feelings of self-importance and confidence
  • In severe episodes, some may experience hallucinations or delusions

Treatment & Support for Both Illnesses

A mental health professional, and specifically a bipolar therapist, will help diagnose patients who experience the above symptoms. Don’t be surprised to hear questions revolving around the severity, frequency, duration and types of symptoms you experience. A bipolar therapist will also inquire about details like your family history to help them identify the root cause of the issue at hand and devise a proper treatment plan moving forward. 

When it comes to specific treatment options, it’s best to keep in mind that patience and time will be integral factors in managing your condition. For BPD, behavioral and therapy-related treatments are often used in conjunction with certain medications that help manage symptoms related to depression or anxiety

As for bipolar disorders, your bipolar therapist may employ one or more treatments, such as psychotherapy, medication and health-related techniques like meditation and exercise. 

While bipolar disorder and BPD have some overlapping symptoms, they are two different diagnoses. By seeking care, however, you’ll be better equipped with the tools and resources needed to manage symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. 

Experiencing some of the above symptoms? If you believe you may have BPD or bipolar disorder, our mental health specialists are here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to learn how we can provide you with the individualized care and support you need moving forward. 

The Importance of Social Interaction in a Post-Pandemic World

For over a year now, individuals across the globe have experienced trauma, isolation, fear and loneliness as a result of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly everyone – in some form or another – has some connection to the coronavirus – from contracting the virus to social distancing to losing a loved one. 

While the CDC’s new recommendation stating that fully-vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks (in the majority of situations) is certainly a step towards normalcy, many people are still grappling with anxiety, depression and a whirlwind of emotions as a result of the pandemic. 

Between the lack of in-person interactions over the past year, coupled with feelings of isolation, reconnecting with friends and loved ones is more important than ever for maintaining a healthy psychological state in our post-pandemic world. 

Getting Reacquainted with “Normalcy”

For the first time in ages, people are reintegrating themselves into society and connecting with those around them. However, resuming a “normal” life has proved to be a source of anxiety and depression for many individuals. Why? What we once considered an everyday routine has been vastly altered by shelter-in-place protocols and social distancing for such an extended period of time that simply jumping back into old patterns seems overwhelming. 

Our daily regimens are hitting the reset button, and as we cope with how to function, it’s important to remember that we are all struggling with similar battles and no one has to face this new reality alone

Cynthia Mulder of The Menninger Clinic shared, “People may experience a type of shock if they try to return to their old schedule. By resetting what we value, we find a new appreciation for what we no longer need and what helps us cope.”

The most crucial aspect of finding ways to help us cope in such a difficult time is via social connectivity and reconnecting with those we care about. 

Social Interaction is Vital for Mental Wellness

During the pandemic, social distancing protocols completely transformed the way we work, travel and even interact with our families. What’s more, these measures have disrupted the way we connect and interact with others. 

As naturally social creatures, we crave human interaction. Isolation and loneliness only serve to hurt our mental well-being. According to Psychology Today, “A meta-analytic review, which analyzed results of roughly 150 studies, underlines the relationship between loneliness on our health. It found a lack of social integration was more strongly associated with increased risk of death than were factors such as obesity or alcohol consumption.”

But while social interaction is important for our wellbeing, many people are finding the prospect of reentering the world both scary and anxiety-inducing. The good news? Feeling nervous, afraid or even guilty about reestablishing connections with friends and family is a perfectly normal reaction. 

Reconnecting in our post-pandemic world is important – but that doesn’t mean you have to dive head-first into it. Make choices that are comfortable for you and don’t shy away from seeking the guidance of a mental health professional to help you take those first steps. 

Some questions to start asking yourself include:

  • What type of self-care routine will I follow to take care of myself? Whether that’s exercising, cuddling up for an hour a day with a good book, meditating or another practice that’ll help you establish mental wellbeing. 
  • How do I plan on balancing my time at home with social time?
  • How should I schedule my calendar and social interaction time to keep my anxiety from bubbling over?

While we haven’t reached the end of COVID-19 just yet, with restrictions lifting it’s imperative to make an effort to reconnect with others. Staying socially and emotionally connected is an important part of maintaining a healthy mental state after such unprecedented times. 

Looking for help coping with anxiety, depression, fear or feelings of isolation? At Hudson Psychiatric Associates, we have the tools and resources needed to help you reconnect with yourself and others as the world slowly begins returning to normal. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

How the Pandemic Has Shaped the Future of Telehealth

Although restrictions are in the process of being lifted, and we can now see a promising light at the end of the tunnel, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted how businesses function and operate. The healthcare industry – and specifically the telehealth space – has been completely disrupted by the coronavirus.

Here’s a look at how the pandemic has reshaped the future of telemedicine, especially within the psychiatry field: 

Telehealth is Here to Stay

President Joe Biden has revealed that he plans on allocating funding and resources to the telehealth field – calling it an important facet of America’s healthcare system. While a long-term strategic plan for the telehealth field has yet to be unveiled by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), the congressionally appointed advisory committee did provide some recommendations for Congress. 

The committee first suggested that telehealth expansions temporarily continue – allowing researchers to collect and analyze data surrounding telehealth’s impact on accessibility to quality care. The committee also recommended that Congress continue providing Medicare coverage for telehealth services as well as pay physician fee schedule rates for services rendered. 

A Preference For the Future

Even as we begin transitioning back to our normal routines, there will be patients who are going to prefer virtual visits in lieu of in-office appointments. It comes as no surprise, as telemedicine offers patients a convenient and on-demand solution to seeking medical and mental health care. Healthcare facilities and private practices that continue to offer telehealth services will be able to tap into a wider patient pool and address staffing shortages (which subsequently will help reduce staffing burnout). 

Telehealth Numbers – Will They Remain High?

In a web-based survey, physicians predicted that telehealth numbers may experience a slight decline as the COVID-19 pandemic dies down. However, more psychiatrists than ever before said they plan to continue offering telehealth services to their patients as an alternative to in-patient visits. By doing so, they’ll effectively decrease patient wait times, offer more flexible solutions for obtaining care and ensure the healthcare industry continues to innovate as technology advances. 

Virtual Visits May Be Something Patients Are More Comfortable With

Telehealth solutions offered patients access to critical mental health care during the height of the pandemic when in-office visits weren’t possible. While some patients may prefer face-to-face interaction, others who are more introvertive may elect to continue receiving care via virtual means. Psychiatrists have been able to see that telehealth works better on certain patients.

For telehealth appointments, Hudson Psychiatric Associates offers the highest quality expertise, care and confidentiality in the New York metropolitan area.

The Impact of the Pandemic on Prenatal & Postpartum Mental Health

The pandemic has taken a toll – both physically and psychologically – on countless individuals across the country. There’s one group of people, however, who have faced enormous mental health impacts: expecting mothers.

Pregnancy is a beautiful gift, but it can be quite overwhelming and stressful at times. Now imagine having to give birth to a little bundle of joy in the height of one of the most unprecedented global crises in human history?

On top of unemployment, there have been long periods of quarantine, isolation, and the unfortunate loss of many lives. Women who have given birth during the pandemic or are currently pregnant are highly susceptible to developing anxiety and depression.

How Postpartum and COVID-19 Are Interconnected

For nearly an entire year, hospitals and healthcare facilities did now allow patients to have visitors or bring guests along to their appointments. Medical establishments implemented this policy to mitigate the spread of the highly-contagious COVID-19.

In the past, expecting mothers were accustomed to being surrounded by loved ones – both while attending sonograms and regular check-ups, as well as during labor. A significant other or parent would be there to hold her hand in support every step of the way.

As COVID-19 began running rampant, mothers were required to enter the hospital alone, with only medical staff for assistance as they went into labor. In addition to the lack of emotional support during the actual birth, there was no one by her side in the subsequent moments to celebrate the precious angel just brought into this world. Additionally, previously arranged help from family members in the postpartum period fell through due to quarantine, lockdown measures, and concerns of safety. Hired childcare help became nearly impossible to arrange. Because of this, we’re seeing a major impact on women’s mental health.

What Is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?

Postpartum depression was around long before the pandemic – a result of hormonal changes paired with long, sleepless nights taking care of a newborn. Combine a lack of sleep with the anxiety and worry that accompanies life as a new mother – i.e. concern over their health and well-being, and if you’re making decisions in the best interests of the baby – and it’s easy to imagine why postpartum depression has affected so many new moms. 

That sense of helplessness has only grown, as women have to digest the realities of the world around them. People are falling ill and dying daily, there’s economic and financial instability and no one knows for certain if or when “normal life” will return. It’s a lot to handle for anyone – especially those taking care of an infant.

Nationally, one out of eight women will experience postpartum depression.. Since the onset of the pandemic, that number has increased to one in every five women. Mothers normally worry about their newborn’s health – wanting to protect them from sickness and harm. But in a world where the uncertainty and challenges of COVID-19 exist, that fear is multiplied ten-fold.

Approximately 36% of new moms are now experiencing depression, an increase from the 20% reported prior to the pandemic’s arrival. 

Less Family Time

Many mothers rely on help from loved ones in the beginning stages of their infant’s life. Or, at the very least, they get to share in the joy and excitement with family, friends, and loved ones. Over the last year, social distancing protocols have barred a lot of new mothers from seeing those they care about and accepting help from family – an important part of addressing their own self-care and well-being.

Oluwatosin Goje, M.D., an OB/GYN at the Cleveland Clinic stated, “People have been separated from their loved ones for a long period of time — and delivery is a family-centered thing.”

What To Do If You’re Experiencing Anxiety or Depression in the prenatal or postpartum period- New Jersey Psychiatrists

If you’re experiencing the signs of anxiety or depression around pregnancy, ask your psychiatric practitioner about medications or strategies you can use in order to combat this common occurrence. It’s difficult experiencing symptoms during or after pregnancy, but you do not need to go through this alone. For more information on how Hudson Psychiatric Associates, LLC  can help you, contact us today.

How to Prepare for Your Online Psychiatrist Appointment

You typed in your Google search: “Virtual Psychiatrist Near Me,” decided to book an appointment with a Psychiatrist and now you’re a bit overwhelmed or anxious about what to expect. If this is your first experience speaking to a psychiatrist or mental health professional online, the best way to ease your nerves is to get prepared ahead of time.  

Prepping for an Online Psychiatrist Appointment

Prior to grabbing your laptop for your online Psychiatrist appointment, it’s essential to sit down and allocate some time to reflect on your thoughts and goals. To ensure you address everything that’s on your mind, create a list outlining questions you’d like to ask your virtual psychiatrist, along with what you’re feeling on an emotional level

It’s important to record as many details as possible, such as what triggers you, how you react in these situations and ways in which your life has been impacted as a result. Whether you’re struggling to quell burst of anger, feeling isolated, are burdened by racy, uncomfortable thoughts or scrolling through social media feeds causes you to feel like your life is “off-track” compared to others, document emotions, how often you’re experiencing them and whether or not you’ve tried any self-help techniques like meditation. 

Additionally, it will be important to tell your psychiatrist about your previous medication trials, any history of psychiatric hospitalizations, and any significant family history of mental illness.

Steer Clear of Labels

While the internet can be a tremendous resource in many facets of our lives, it can also, at times, be detrimental to our mental state. It goes hand-in-hand with something as harmless as Googling our symptoms when feeling under the weather. The results usually contain a myriad of possible ailments or infections that are severe in nature – when, in reality, it’s just a minor cold. 

The same applies to your feelings to triggers – avoid labeling yourself. Your online (but still local) Psychiatrist has the medical expertise necessary to provide an adequate diagnosis, and the last thing you want to do is negatively influence their assessment. It’s also important to remember that you aren’t defined by a label. 

What matters most is getting to the core of why certain feelings are manifesting and understanding how the experiences surrounding them are affecting your life. And that’s why you booked your online Psychiatrist appointment, right? To lean on their specialized knowledge and familiarity with the human psyche. 

Why It’s Helpful to Prepare a List for Your Virtual Psychiatrist

By taking the time to break down your feelings and all the details surrounding where they arise in your daily life, it’ll help provide the doctor with a very clear picture of what you’re coping with. Trying to come up with these particulars on-the-spot during your virtual appointment is nearly impossible to do. 

During your online psychiatrist appointment, you may uncover areas you forgot to write down – and that’s perfectly okay. The reason therapy is so effective is because it’s a journey that happens over time. And through your conversations, it’s likely a memory or specific moment may surface that you never connected to what you’re currently feeling. That’s the beauty of therapy. It’s important to keep in mind that your first few visits serve as a way to lay the foundation for future appointments. 

Steps to Take After Your First Virtual Psychiatrist Appointment

While the discussion with your Psychiatrist is still fresh in your mind, consider writing down some additional notes after your appointment. Maybe there are areas you’d like to chat about more in-depth during future online sessions. Or, maybe there are certain feelings you didn’t have the opportunity to address, but would certainly like to bring up in your next virtual visit. 

It’s also important to reflect upon how you feel about your connection with the mental health care provider post-appointment. After all, trust is a large piece of the healing process. Just like people, psychiatrists come with their own unique personalities, as well as areas they may specialize in. The goal is to find a professional you naturally jive with. Learn more about our team and get in touch with the experienced, knowledgeable professionals at Hudson Psychiatric Associates. With offices in Hoboken and Paramus, we’re open for either in-person or virtual appointments.

Child Psychiatry

Children’s mental health is an essential component of their overall health and development in early years. An adolescent’s optimal mental health can help them to transition into challenging young adult life with desired success. When a child is suffering from anxiety, depression or behavioral problems, a child psychiatrist can help to properly diagnose and treat underlying condition to provide early intervention. It is commonplace to label a child with behavioral problems as ‘lazy’ Or ‘difficult.’ Often times, child’s behavioral problems can be explained by underlying psychiatric illness. A comprehensive psychiatric evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist can provide therapeutic ways to address child’s behavioral concerns. An individualized treatment plan can be created to address the needs of each child and family.

Anxiety, Depression, Behavioral Disorder and Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders among children and adolescents. If left untreated, children’s mental health problems can have significant impact on their academic progress, social functioning and self-esteem. A variety of evidence-based treatment options are available to help children who are suffering from mental health disorders including play therapy, family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and medication treatment if needed. 

Mental health professionals including Child Psychiatrists and Child Therapists often collaborate with child’s parents, teachers, pediatricians and other relevant people to help child function optimally in school, home and other important settings.