Work-life balance: are you tipping over the edge?

Kimberlee Moster, Aurora Behavioral Services therapist

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield hosted a Women’s Health Initiative Event held September 8 at the Country Springs Hotel in Waukesha.  This was the fourth year that Aurora Health Care has partnered with Anthem to bring this event to Anthem’s client businesses and prospective clients.

Over 150 community businesswomen attended the event, which included on site health screenings, health information, local health providers and vendors, chair massages, interactive exhibits, healthy cooking demonstrations and “Healthy Chat” presentations.  The keynote speaker was author and nutritionist, David Meinz,  known as “America’s Personal Health Improvement Expert”.

Kimberlee Moster, LPC, a therapist with Aurora Behavioral Health Services, provided one of the Health Chat presentations, discussing Work–Life Balance.  “This is an issue so important for working women.” said Kim. “With all the roles women must fill, it’s hard to find the balance needed to stay healthy and happy. When we overextend ourselves in our work or at home, we are under-extending ourselves in every other aspect of our lives”

Here are some of Kim’s recommendations for finding balance.

  • Prioritize:
    • Prioritize your reasons for working. Focusing on the rewards of work helps to maintain a more positive attitude about your job.
    • Prioritize your responsibilities at home. Anytime someone feels burdened with too many responsibilities it is usually because the priorities have not been discussed.
  • Don’t set unrealistically high expectations for perfection – watch out for “shoulds”
  • Careful of the need to do and have it all – “have to” vs “need to” vs “want to”
  • Practice deep breathing or relaxation exercises
  • Set limits
  • Delegate
  • Have a support system

If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, you may find it helpful to work with a therapist. Contact Aurora Behavioral Health Services at 877-666-7223 or visit our web site at Aurora Behavioral Health Services

Prescription painkiller abuse approaches “plague” proportions

Recent stories have continued to highlight the ongoing problem with heroin and prescription opiate abuse in our communities. These instances, along with many others in the past several years, are increasingly occurring in suburban areas.

Dr. Lance Longo, Medical Director of Aurora Psychiatric Hospital

According to Lance Longo, MD, Medical Director of Addictions at Aurora Psychiatric Hospital, the path to becoming a heroin user typically starts with abuse of recreational drugs such as marijuana or alcohol. Some young people begin to experiment with prescription opiates, gaining access from the family medicine cabinet or by getting them from friends or associates off the street.

Other people begin exposure while being treated for a problem with pain. Percocet and Oxycodone are two of the more commonly abused pain medications. And the abuse of prescription pain medications is more common among young people than many realize. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA,) over 11% of young adults ages 18-25 used a pain medication for non-medical purposes in 2010.

For some people, it does not take long to become physically dependent on opiates. People initially begin to abuse the medication for the high they experience, but soon they may need it just to feel normal. Dr. Longo indicates that some people experience withdrawal symptoms after only a week of daily use. For an individual who has become dependent on the medication, it becomes increasingly expensive and difficult to acquire the medication they need to avoid withdrawal.

At this point, they may turn to heroin as a less expensive and more accessible way to acquire the drug. Heroin can be snorted or taken intravenously which produces an immediate effect for the user. This accelerates the downward spiral of addiction.

Treatment alternatives are available for opiate dependence. The Opiate Recovery Program at Aurora Psychiatric Hospital, for example uses medication (Buprenorphine) along with an intensive therapy program to assist with recovery. Programs like this can be help in developing the coping skills and support system needed to maintain sobriety.

For more information on opiate abuse and treatment, visit the SAMHSA website.

Aurora Behavioral Health Services offers complete mental health treatment options in a caring, confidential environment.  If you find you may be struggling with stress that is causing significant physical or emotional impairment in your lifecontact us — online or by phone at 1-877-666-7223 — as soon as possible.

Is it healthy to feel depressed about the Brewers’ loss?

My husband woke this morning grumpy and ornery. At the office, co-workers are noticeably quiet and subdued, as if their grandmother was ill.

The Brewers lost!

Some fans will be emotionally down for days afterwards, don’t want to talk to anyone, and certainly don’t want to see any sports scores or highlights or other reminders of the team’s failure. Their failure was our failure.

Leading social psychologist Robert Cialdini has noted that “winning and losing teams influence the morale of a region, a city, or a college campus. A substantial segment of the community may actually have clinical features of depression when their team loses. People become ‘blue’ for several days, disoriented, and non-productive, whereas if they win, they are pumped up and active. In many cities, an atmosphere of depression and failure prevails after the loss of a significant game. The fans were counting on their team to delivery a victory-to make their day-and instead they feel personally let down.”

The life of a sports fan is a strapped-in roller coaster ride of emotional ups and downs. Sports can generate such a high rush of adrenalin, especially when your favorite team is playing a long awaited game. When your team wins, you’re filled with elation and confidence. When your team loses, you feel deflated and let down. The emotional highs and lows are magnified in two particular situations: when your team faces a hated rival or when your team is playing on the big stage with a championship on the line, like the Milwaukee Brewers last weekend.

In any sport, only two teams can participate in that sport’s championship game. Those two teams have a lot to be proud of. Out of all of the teams in the league, they are the two who were good enough to vie for the coveted title. It stands to reason that, win or lose, both teams should feel good about their accomplishments.

But reason has nothing to do with the sadness fans feel when their team loses. And that sadness is strangely magnified after a championship game loss.

Depression is a serious condition that often requires a doctor’s treatment. Yet, many people use this to describe how they feel after the Milwaukee Brewers lost Sunday’s game. More times than not, those who say they feel depressed after a team loss are actually simply experiencing a depressing situation – and the cloud will lift in a day or two.

If you continue to experience feelings of depression for several weeks, you may need to seek the help of a trained therapist. If you or someone you know may be suffering from depression use our free, confidential, online depression screening tool.

Aurora Behavioral Health Services offers complete mental health treatment options in a caring, confidential environment.  If you find you may be struggling with stress that is causing significant physical or emotional impairment in your lifecontact us — online or by phone at 1-877-666-7223 — as soon as possible.

How does mental wellness affect a pregnancy?

In today’s blog, we provide this wonderful example of integrated medicine at Aurora Health Care.

I have a patient who is pregnant in the last 5 weeks of her pregnancy.  She is a “high-risk” patient, as her previous pregnancy did not go well with regards to a breach birth and her own blood pressure elevating to the point where she needed to be put on blood pressure medication to bring it down.

She was referred by her OB GYN for anxiety – as each week she has been going in for her blood pressure check she has been extremely elevated resulting in subsequent tests to determine if the baby is doing well. We have worked together with deep breathing and visualization to assist in lowering her blood pressure.  We have worked in coordination with her doctor’s office to have her blood pressure taken in our office.

Now her blood pressure has been in the “normal” range and no further tests have had to be conducted on the baby – further provoking anxiety in the mother.

The patient is ecstatic that she has been able to lower her blood pressure with the techniques.  We will continue to work in collaboration with her doctor’s office up until she delivers the baby.  As an added service, since she is having the baby here in our facility I am able to offer to her the ability to visit her in the hospital if she needs me.

Weeks later, here is the follow up:

The baby has been born.  I went down to visit them in the hospital here – Mom, baby, Dad, and baby brother are all doing fine. Mom and Dad were very appreciative for the visit and will be coming back in after they are all settled in for some brief additional extended family work.

Integrative medicine is a philosophy of care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences affecting a person’s health. Aurora Health Care’s integrated delivery model helps us to coordinate and simplify care, improve quality, keep costs down and improve our patients’ overall health care experience.

Aurora Behavioral Health Services offers complete mental health treatment options in a caring, confidential environment.  If you find you may be struggling with stress that is causing significant physical or emotional impairment in your lifecontact us — online or by phone at 1-877-666-7223 — as soon as possible.

Change your attitude, change your world

This week kicks off several nationally recognized events that raise awareness of mental health issues:

In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). Since 1990, mental health advocates across the country have joined together during the first full week of October in sponsoring many kinds of activities.

Mental illnesses are medical illnesses. One in four adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year. One in 17 lives with serious, chronic illness. On average, people living with serious mental illness live 25 years less than the rest of the population. One reason is that less than one-third of adults and less than one-half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment.

The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help when they need it. That’s why awareness is so important. We want people to understand mental illness and join a dialogue in our community. The more people know, the better they can help themselves or help their loved ones get the help and support they need.

When mental health care isn’t available in a community, the results often are lost jobs and careers, broken families, more homelessness, more welfare and much more expensive costs for hospital emergency rooms, nursing homes, schools, police and even courts, jails and prisons.

National Depression Screening Day, held annually during Mental Illness Awareness Week in October, raises awareness and screens people for depression and related mood and anxiety disorders. NDSD is the nation’s oldest voluntary, community-based screening program that provides referral information for treatment. More than half a million people each year have been screened for depression since 1991.

For more information visit the NDSD website, or visit our free, confidential, online depression screening tool.

You can increase awareness and reduce stigma of mental illness now — and begin changing attitudes, changing lives!

Aurora Behavioral Health Services offers complete mental health treatment options in a caring, confidential environment.  If you find you may be struggling with stress that is causing significant physical or emotional impairment in your lifecontact us — online or by phone at 1-877-666-7223 — as soon as possible.