About Laura Oliver

Laura Oliver has been employed in administration at Aurora Behavioral Health Services since 2002, and has worked in mental health & substance abuse clinics for over 20 years.

How can you contribute to National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week?

childrens mental health awarenessThe National Federation of Families recognizes May as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) identifies National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. The purpose of the awareness events is to support children with behavioral health challenges, debunk myths, spread awareness and promote positive mental health for all children. Mental health is important to overall health. Mental disorders are chronic health conditions that can continue through the lifespan. Without early diagnosis and treatment, children with mental disorders can have problems at home, in school, and in forming friendships. This can also interfere with their healthy development, and these problems can continue into adulthood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data shows that approximately 13 –20 percent of children living in the United States (up to 1 out of 5 children) experience a mental disorder in a given year. Data collected from a variety of data sources between the years 2005-2011 show:

Children aged 3-17 years currently had:

• ADHD (6.8%)
• Behavioral or conduct problems (3.5%)
• Anxiety (3.0%)
• Depression (2.1%)
• Autism spectrum disorders (1.1%)
• Tourette syndrome (0.2%) (among children aged 6–17 years)

Adolescents aged 12–17 years had:

• Illicit drug use disorder in the past year (4.7%)
• Alcohol use disorder in the past year (4.2%)
• Cigarette dependence in the past month (2.8%)

How can you contribute to National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week?

• Read our newsletter: How to help children & adolescents with behavioral health problems
Pediatricians should include screening for mental health concerns
• Help children access treatment options for mental health concerns

Hank the Ballpark Pup

HankHank’s popularity has taken off. He has been featured on television news stories, front page of newspapers, in InTouch and People Magazine and even has his own hashtag –  #BallparkPup.

Once a homeless stray in Maryvale, Hank has become the darling mascot of the Milwaukee Brewers. So why is the public so taken with Hank?

  • Dogs get your attention: According to the most recent American Humane Association, 62% of U.S. households own a pet, and dogs top the list as the most common household pet. So a majority of people connect to Hank’s story, and are interested in learning more.
  • Dogs = Trust: Everyone knows the unconditional love provided by a dog. They accept you, flaws and all – no judgment.
  • Dogs engage emotion:  Unconditional love makes people feel accepted, reduces loneliness and improves mood.

The reasons Hank has become so popular (and so quickly) are much the same reasons dogs are so effective in pet therapy. They have outstanding ability to sense human emotions – and find ways to subtly comfort in times of sadness. Initially used in a mental health facility in the 1700s, and then again by the American Red Cross in military convalescent care after World War II, pets as therapeutic partners is a valued approach today in both the physical and psychosocial arenas.

Research has demonstrated that pets lower anxiety and blood pressure levels and can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax,  Aurora Psychiatric Hospital has incorporated pet visits very successfully. The pet visits open doors and reach patients in ways humans sometimes can’t.  Currently 9 pet teams visit with patients 4 times each week, reaching over 200 patients every month. Most of the teams include certified therapy dogs, but there is even a certified therapy bunny, Betsy. Patients’ reactions are quite positive and they look forward to the pet visits. Benefits to patients and staff are numerous. Withdrawn patients open up. Happy memories are re-lived. Depression lessens. Self esteem increases. Patients get better.

Hank represents much more than the story of a rescued dog. He is a connection to our hearts.

For more information about pet visits at Aurora Psychiatric Hospital, read our blog.

Aurora Behavioral Health Services offers complete mental health treatment options, provided by highly trained professionals in a caring, confidential manner to meet individual and family needs. If you or someone you know needs help, contact us — online or by phone at 1-877-666-7223 — as soon as possible.

The Role of Psychology in Bariatric Surgery at Aurora Health Care

Betsy-Blair

Betsy Blair, PsyD

Psychology is an important element in Bariatric Surgery Programs.  Prospective patients attend an information seminar as their first step in the process.  The seminar reviews the process and preparation for surgery, including segments on psychological and nutritional preparation, as well as insurance requirements.  One or both of our surgeons speak as well, describing the various available procedures. Finally, a number of successful bariatric surgery patients talk and share their own experiences.

The prospective patient then makes initial appointments with one of our Registered Dieticians and the Psychologist.  The psychological evaluation consists of a depression and eating disorder screening and an in-depth clinical interview.

The three main components of the psychological evaluation are:

  1. Active versus passive sense of control.  If a patient presents saying “I have no self-control, I need surgery to make me stop eating the wrong foods,” they have a lot of preparation ahead of them. They will need to implement active strategies prior to being approved for surgery.  Motivation and confidence are also assessed.
  2. Emotional eating.  When some describes food as “my friend,” “my reward,” or “my comfort or distraction”, a referral for psychotherapy is usually warranted.
  3. Social support.  Unfortunately, many people will describe partners and families as being threatened by the person’s attempts to improve their physical health. We often discuss food from a family-systems perspective, as well as the role of envy or insecurity in relationships.

Levels of readiness:  The majority of patients evaluated are seen only once by the psychologist. Progress is monitored as they work with the Registered Dietician (RD), typically over a six month period.  There is a segment of patients that return for follow-up visits with the program psychologist, most often to help integrate and implement goals developed with the RD.  People who are resistant to a referral to psychotherapy are often followed in this manner.  Patients with a significant psychiatric history, untreated symptoms, those with chaotic and unstable support systems, emotional eating, or history of eating disorders are referred to psychotherapy. The psychological evaluation outlines goals for treatment when a patient is referred.

Case Conference:  The entire team (RD’s, psychologist, RN manager, insurance specialist and surgeon) meet weekly.  Every patient is reviewed and progress is evaluated.  When a patient has met all goals with their RD and psychologist (often based upon feedback from outside providers) then they are considered “cleared” and move on to meet with the surgeon, and have surgery scheduled.

Post-op follow-up

Follow-up with the Registered Dietician and psychologist are standard elements of the program. The patient meets with the RD frequently during the first 12 months following surgery. All postop patients meet with the psychologist six months following surgery. For many patients, this is a time when they are at risk of resuming old habits. For some patients, the 6 month mark is the moment to point out to the patient they are not yet successful with weight loss (eg someone may lose only 10# in the first six months.) In that case the psychologist will try to explore and enhance motivation, identify barriers to weight loss, or recommend more focused treatment.

Support group

ASMC Bariatric Surgery program has operated a monthly support group for close to ten years. A typical group has a scheduled speaker for 45 minutes. The large group breaks into smaller groups by surgery type, or dates of surgery. The group is very well attended, often including up to 30 participants, both pre and postop. The group is facilitated by trained support group facilitators, an RN and an RD. Feedback from the group indicates a high level of engagement and meaningful benefit to all participants.

The Bariatric Surgery Program, a Center of Excellence, has been active at Aurora Sinai Medical Center since 2002. Elizabeth Blair, PsyD is a clinical psychologist at Aurora Behavioral Health Services, and provides psychological evaluation for the ASMC Bariatric Program.

Do you know a survivor of suicide?

“Before today, I didn’t realize that there are others out there who feel exactly the way I feel.”   – Survivor from Alberta, Canada

“If telling my story can comfort another survivor, then I will continue to tell it. – Laurell Reussow, survivor

International-Survivors-of-Suicide-DaySaturday, November 23, 2013 is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s 15th Annual International Survivors of Suicide Day.

Thousands of survivors of suicide loss gather together around the world on this day for mutual support & practical guidance on coping with grief.  Survivor conferences will be held in cities throughout the U.S. and abroad, offering speakers, workshops, and sharing sessions.

Survivors of Suicide Day- Milwaukee Event

Individuals are encouraged to experience International Survivors of Suicide Day in person. It is a rare opportunity to be able to look around a room and know that every person there inherently understands part of what you are going through. A local event, sponsored by Mental Health American and Aurora Behavioral Health Services, will be held at Aurora St Luke’s Medical Center on November 23 from 9am – 1pm. Click here for details.

Watch Online at AFSP.org

You can visit the AFSP website on Saturday, November 23 to watch our program online from 1:00–2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time along with thousands of other survivors around the world.  Then connect with your fellow survivors of suicide loss and discuss issues brought up during the program by joining our live online chat starting at 2:30 P.M. EST on November 23rd. Karyl Chastain Beal will moderate the chat. Karyl is the long-time facilitator of the Parents of Suicide (POS) and Friends and Families of Suicide (FFOS) Internet support communities and a member of AFSP’s Survivor Council.

If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, or thoughts of suicide visit the web site for Aurora Psychiatric Hospital or contact us at 414-454-6777.

Aurora Behavioral Health Services offers complete mental health treatment options, provided by highly trained professionals in a caring, confidential manner to meet individual and family needs.  If you or someone you know needs help, contact us — online or by phone at 1-877-666-7223 — as soon as possible.

Sleep and Insomnia

Dr. Lisa Cottrell is a clinical psychologist at the Aurora Behavioral Health Center in Wauwatosa.

Dr. Lisa Cottrell is a clinical psychologist at the Aurora Behavioral Health Center in Wauwatosa.

National Sleep Awareness Week , March 2-9, 2014., is a public education and awareness campaign to promote the importance of sleep. Dr. Lisa Cottrell Ph.D., CBSM. Licensed Psychologist, Board Certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine, explains that there is effective treatment for insomnia.

How much sleep do we need?

Sleep need varies among individuals, but it generally changes as we age. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that school-age children (5-10 years) need 10-11 hours of sleep nightly, teens (10-17 years) need 8.5-9 hours and adults need 7-9 hours. According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, nearly 30% of adults reported an average of 6 hours or less of sleep per night in 2005-2007.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia, which is Latin for “no sleep,” is the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. Insomnia is also used to describe the condition of waking up not feeling restored or refreshed. Insomnia is the most common sleep problem among Americans. According to the National Center for Sleep Disorders research at the National Institutes of Health, in any given year, 30 – 40% of adults have some symptoms of insomnia and 10 – 15% of adults report that they have chronic insomnia.

What causes Insomnia?

Insomnia may be caused by a variety of reasons: illnesses or underlying medical conditions; stress, anxiety or depression; certain medications; sleep disorders or issues related to sleep hygiene.

What are the effects of Insomnia?

The lack of sleep can be harmful to living a healthy life. Insufficient sleep can cause difficulty concentrating, lower your ability to learn, and impair performance of daily tasks. Sleep deficiency has been linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors. Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity. When an underlying medical condition is causing insomnia, the insomnia can exacerbate the condition and health and sleep problems further deteriorate.

How is Insomnia treated?

Insomnia can be treated successfully. While there are medications available to treat difficulty falling and staying asleep, there is also an evidence-based approach to treat insomnia that does not require the use of medication.

Cognitive-behavioral treatment of insomnia (CBTI) is a short-term psychotherapy that is based on scientific knowledge about sleep. CBTI has been shown in research to be as effective as medication to treat insomnia in the short-term and more effective than medication in the long-term. However, you do not need to stop other treatment or medication while participating in CBTI.

CBTI involves meeting with a psychologist trained in the method. It is a short-term (6-10 sessions) treatment approach that includes monitoring sleep patterns, changing sleep-related behaviors, managing the sleep environment and learning strategies to cope effectively with thoughts or worries that interfere with sleep. People who engage in CBTI report high satisfaction with the method and significant improvements in sleep.

If you or someone you know is experiencing problems with sleep contact Aurora Behavioral Health Services at 877-666-7223 or visit our web site at Aurora Behavioral Health Services

Dr. Lisa Cottrell Ph.D., CBSM. Licensed Psychologist, Board Certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine is a clinical psychologist at Aurora Behavioral Health Center in Grafton, specializing in the behavioral and psychological treatment of sleep disorders. 

Screening for Depression: do you know someone who needs treatment?

Mental Illness Awareness Week, Oct. 6-12, 2013

National Depression Screening Day, Oct. 10, 2013

Aurora Behavioral Health Services

Aurora Behavioral Health Services

In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) in recognition of NAMI’s efforts to raise mental illness awareness. Since then, mental health advocates across the country have joined with others in their communities to sponsor activities, large or small, for public education about mental illness.

MIAW coincides with the National Depression Screening Day. National Depression Screening Day raises awareness and screens people for depression and anxiety disorders. NDSD is the nation’s oldest voluntary, community-based screening program that gives access to a validated screening questionnaire and provides referral information for treatment. More than half a million people each year have been screened for depression since 1991.

Know the signs of depression

On-line depression screening tool

Screening for depression is critical in getting individuals the treatment they need. Fortunately, recovery is possible-treatment works! The Intensive Outpatient and Partial Hospital programs for depression and anxiety at Aurora Behavioral Health Services offer hope for recovery. Programs are offered at Aurora Psychiatric Hospital, Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center and Aurora St Lukes  South Shore Hospital.

The Partial Hospitalization Programs provide intensive treatment six days per week, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Programming uses cognitive behavioral therapy to develop better coping mechanisms, improve management of symptoms, and promote healthy-living skills. This comprehensive approach to patient care incorporates group education and therapy, individual and family therapy, psychiatric evaluation, and medication management. This multidisciplinary team consists of psychiatrists, nurses, psychotherapists and case managers.

The Intensive Outpatient Program provides an alternative for individuals in need of longer and more frequent treatment sessions than can be provided with once-a-week individual outpatient therapy. The program is especially helpful for those struggling with severe depression or anxiety and who are using impulsive or avoidant coping strategies. A variety of program schedules offer flexibility for patients.

Watch a video about the Partial Hospital program for anxiety and depression

Watch a video about the Intensive Outpatient program for anxiety and depression

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or anxiety issues, please contact Aurora Behavioral Health Services at 877-666-7223 or visit our web site at Aurora Behavioral Health Services

Aurora Behavioral Health Services offers complete mental health treatment options, provided by highly trained professionals in a caring, confidential manner to meet individual and family needs.  If you or someone you know needs help, contact us — online or by phone at 1-877-666-7223 — as soon as possible.

Aurora Offers Primary Care Physician Training on Behavioral Health

Identifying Mental Illness

  • Parents of a teenage son visit their primary care physician to find out why he is suddenly failing classes
  • A new mother sees her obstetrician because she has been sleeping all the time and has lost her appetite.
  • A man and his wife seek advice from the physician to find out why he is absent from work so frequently due to illness
  • A young woman makes a suicide attempt several days after seeing her physician for feeling lethargic and down

woman-in-crowdPeople with mental illness or addictions often seek help for physical symptoms. People with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or addictions typically are seen in primary care more than any other setting.  In a recent NAMI survey, 89 percent of families responded that they had discussed mental health concerns with their child’s primary care physician. Addiction, depression and other mental health problems can go undiagnosed  and untreated.  Primary care physicians can play a critical role in identifying a mental health or substance abuse issue and making appropriate treatment referrals.

Nearly one in 10 Americans 18 and older is depressed, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study in the Oct. 1 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. One in four adults has a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Primary care providers have significant opportunities to identify behavioral health problems early and intervene in a manner that prevents further deterioration and avoids significant future costs. Screening and early intervention are priorities that may not only improve outcomes for individuals but also, over time, provide savings to the system.

In the primary care setting, physicians should look for signs of mental health problems, such as trouble sleeping and eating, experts say. In children, doctors should look for atypical behavior that begins suddenly, such as irritability or a drop in grades with a good student. Physicians should incorporate behavioral health screenings into wellness check ups for all patients, and routinely screen for depression, particularly with pregnant and perinatal women.

Mental Health America (MHA) believes that primary health care providers should be encouraged to identify signs of mental health or substance use issues at the earliest possible time. This position is also endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and (for depression) the United States Preventive Services Task Force.

Training for Primary Care Providers

Aurora Behavioral Health Services, in partnership with Kubly Foundation, is offering on-line CME modules for primary care providers on the following behavioral health related topics:

If you or someone you know would benefit from addiction treatment or mental health services, please contact Aurora Behavioral Health Services at 877-666-7223 or visit our web site at Aurora Behavioral Health Services.

Aurora Behavioral Health Services offers complete mental health treatment options, provided by highly trained professionals in a caring, confidential manner to meet individual and family needs.  If you or someone you know needs help, contact us — online or by phone at 1-877-666-7223 — as soon as possible.

Athletes and Eating Disorders; what parents and coaches need to know…

Elizabeth Hunkins is a therapist at Aurora Behavioral Health Center in Summit

Elizabeth Hunkins is a therapist at Aurora Behavioral Health Center in Summit

Sport activities offer such an array of benefits for individuals from improved confidence, self-esteem, social skills and healthy activity.  But when does having “fun” cross the line that places an individual at risk for possible eating disorder?

Competition in athletics can be a factor that leads to psychological stress, which increases risk factors for disordered eating patterns in males and females.  A study in 1992 found that 62 percent of females in sports suffered from eating disorders (mirror-mirror.org).  It is believed that since that study was completed that eating disorders among athletes continue to be on the rise.  Many parents, coaches and even physicians fail to recognize the signs of eating disorders in these individuals.  Athletes are at a greater risk of medical complication due to the demands they place on their body.

There are too many stories of athletes that have suffered from this disease. In July of 1994, top US gymnast, Christy Henrich died of multiple organ failure after a US judge told her she was “too fat and needed to lose weight to make the team”, and subsequently dropped to 47 pounds. She resorted to anorexia and bulimia, which eventually took her life.  Cathy Rigby, another Olympian suffered with this disease for 12 years and went into cardiac arrest two different times (mirror-mirror.org).  Not only is this happening on the elite level, it is happening on every level of competition in sports.

What are some early warning signs of an eating disorder in an athlete?

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Going to bathroom after meals
  • No breaks in weekly training (should have 1-2 days off per week)
  • Increased concern about body fat/calorie intake
  • Rigid behavior around food (refuses food groups, eating fat free/eating in isolation)
  • Social withdrawal from family and peers
  • Preoccupied with training/exercise and becomes upset if unable to workout
  • Will continue to workout even when ill/sick
  • Other areas in life becomes unmanageable (relationships, work, school)
  • Loss or irregular menses

Coaches need to educate themselves on the dangers of eating disorders and recognize early warning signs and intervene.  Education needs to be provided on healthy nutrition, and proper refueling.  Coaches need to be positive, encouraging and motivating; not harsh, negative and critical to athletes.  Parents should attend a training session to observe their child and the coach’s training.  A parent should not witness a coach pressuring their child to “WIN at any cost”.

Coaches should encourage athletes to develop a healthy routine with adequate emphasis on eating, hydration and life balance. Coaches should praise their efforts and their achievements.  If there are negative comments about an athlete’s appearance/weight and performance, then it is time to change coaches/programs for the well-being of the individual and seek assistance from a professional.

Liz Hunkins, LCSW is a therapist at Aurora Behavioral Health Center in Summit

If you or someone you know may be struggling with an eating disorder, please contact Aurora Behavioral Health Services at 877-666-7223 or visit our web site at Aurora Behavioral Health Services

Handling Holidays, Gatherings… and Food

Kristina Vollmer, PhD is a psychologist at Aurora Behavioral Health Center Sinai.

Kristina Vollmer, PhD is a psychologist at Aurora Behavioral Health Center Sinai.

Holidays and gatherings can be a particularly difficult time for many people who are trying to change their eating in order to live healthier lives. It is particularly difficult for people who are have undergone Bariatric Surgery, or are preparing for Bariatric Surgery.  Here are some tips and strategies to keep in mind so that you are able to thoroughly enjoy yourself without getting off track!

  • Recognize that you cannot control things the same way you do at home.  This may make you angry. It is important to recognize your frustration rather than to eat it.
  • Acknowledge your cravings – trying to ignore that you even have them sets you up to give in to them. Say to yourself:  “I really want (specific food), but this is the new me. I don’t need (specific food) to feel good about this holiday/occasion or to enjoy myself.”
  • Before you go out, take the time to imagine how the food will be at this event.  When will you eat? What will be served? How hungry will you be? Will there be foods that will trigger you to overeat? Will there be healthy foods that will satisfy you? Will there be foods that you want to treat yourself to? How much do you want to eat? How much and what do you need to eat? Now, being as realistic as possible, decide how you can handle the event in the most positive way for you.
  • Have a goal you DO want to accomplish at the event.  Make it about “doing something” rather than trying to prevent something.  It is fine to have food goals, but you also need to have personal, emotional, spiritual, and relationship goals as well. Remember, gatherings are suppose to be about enjoying each other’s company; not about the food!
  • After the event is over, think about what you could do the next time. Could you suggest a different place? Could you arrive after the eating is over? Could you help plan a healthier selection?
  • Review what was uncomfortable, and then strategize for how to handle it differently in the future. Review what worked well, and congratulate yourself for even small accomplishments.
  • Get adequate sleep!!  You will eat more calories and crave carbs/sugar/caffeine if you are sleep deprived.
  • Never arrive hungry.  Eat something before you go.  Have a protein bar or other items you can carry with you in case the food gets delayed.
  • Don’t skip meals and starve in an attempt to make up for what you recently ate or are about to eat.
  • Offer to bring a food so you know there will be at least one healthy choice there.
  • If at a restaurant, be the first to order so you are not influenced by others decisions. Plus, everyone else is too focused on trying to remember what they are going to order to pay attention to what you are ordering.
  • Have a loved one be an ally for you in the situation – fix a plate for you, help handle situations, help make good choices, help you leave if needed.
  • At social events, don’t fill silence with food. Many people will eat and drink because they don’t know what to say or how to act.  Instead, make an effort to get to know people beyond superficial small talk.  When we do that, we have a tendency to eat less.
  • Use small plates – if there is a salad plate use it for the meal.
  • Cover your plate with your napkin when you’re done so you won’t nibble unconsciously.
  • Arrive late, after food is served.
  • Try to avoid alcohol, it will lower your resistance.
  • Sit far away from the buffet line or kitchen.
  • Plan a walk with loved ones after the meal.
  • Have an “exit” plan.  Know when to use it!
  • It is OK to say no to cake!  If you watch, there are usually a few others who also decline.
  • Do things that keep you moving or keep your hands occupied. If it’s a social outing, bring a clutch instead of a purse, or keep a glass of water in your hand.  Volunteer to write down the gifts at a shower, bring games to play, help clean up, offer to take people’s plates when they’re done with them, offer to cut the cake or hand it out (and take note of the different ways people decline cake or other desserts!).
  • It is OK to throw food away.  Most of us have been made to feel guilty that there are starving people everywhere who would appreciate the food.  In reality, you eating the food is NOT going to help starving people any more than throwing it away will!  You can compost the food, feed other animals, or take it to a homeless shelter if it is truly too hard to throw away.

Remember, gatherings are supposed to be about enjoying each other’s company; not about the food!

Kristina Vollmer, PhD is a psychologist at Aurora Behavioral Health Center Sinai.

Aurora Behavioral Health Services offers complete mental health treatment options, provided by highly trained professionals in a caring, confidential manner to meet individual and family needs.  If you or someone you know needs help, contact us — online or by phone at 1-877-666-7223 — as soon as possible.

Can Eastern spiritual philosophies support recovery from addiction?

Spirituality has increasingly been recognized as a resource for treating addictions, ever since Alcoholics Anonymous introduced its 12-step program – with its recognition of a “higher power” – over 75 years ago. 

Join Dr. Ashok Bedi for a reading/signing/author event on Wednesday, July 17 at 7pm at Boswell Book Company, 2559 North Downer Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53211

Join Dr. Ashok Bedi for a reading/signing/author event on Wednesday, July 17 at 7pm at Boswell Book Company, 2559 North Downer Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53211.

The American Psychological Association confirms an association between spirituality and positive outcomes in substance abuse treatment. SAMSHA statesThe beneficial role that faith and spirituality play in the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse and in programs designed to treat and promote recovery from substance abuse and mental disorders has long been acknowledged.”

One study published in the October 2000 issue of Psychiatric Times showed that the measure of “importance of religion” was the best predictor in indicating lack of substance abuse.

The Residential Treatment Program at the Dewey Center of Aurora Psychiatric Hospital uses a holistic and evidence-based approach to drug and alcohol rehabilitation and recovery, including incorporating spirituality. The addictions program at Aurora Psychiatric Hospital includes group therapy provided by Dr. Ashok Bedi focusing on the benefits of Eastern spirituality philosophies in recovery.

Spirituality is part of the human experience in which we explore who we are and what our life is about. Some approaches to healing, such as mindfulness based therapies, incorporate Eastern spiritual practices, without a requirement to believe in a higher power or religion. This can be a good way to get in touch with your spirituality, without getting embroiled in ambivalence about your beliefs, or feelings of inconsistency between the therapy and your beliefs or lack of them. Eastern spiritual philosophies offer much wisdom for achieving health, happiness, and wholeness, including successful recovery from addiction.

“The goal is not to get patient feeling better for 1 month or 1 year” says Dr. Bedi. “The goal is to give them instruments that can make them feel better for the rest of their lives”.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, Aurora Behavioral Health Services offers treatment programs that can help. For more information, call 1-877-666-7223 or visit the Aurora Psychiatric Hospital website.