LIFELINE

Call 1-800-284-7575

LIFELINE is a voluntary, confidential, FREE, service that provides benefits eligible employees and their dependents with counseling and referral services.  It is an employee benefit sponsored by HealthQuest, the State of Kansas employee health promotion program.


National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week
May 2007

Each year more than 17 million Americans will suffer from an anxiety disorder and more than 19 million Americans will suffer with a depressive illness. Often these illnesses manifest with not only emotional symptoms but physical symptoms as well. Individuals often believe the cause of their discomfort and pain is an undiagnosed physical illness. Anxiety and depression can happen to anyone at anytime. Below are a few of the most common symptoms.  Are you at risk?

  • Constant uncontrollable worrying
  • Feeling blue, sad, or hopeless
  • Sleeping problems, poor concentration
  • Anxiety attacks, nervousness, or tension
  • Feelings of intense anxiety in social situations
  • Loss of pleasure
  • Unexplainable aches, pains or headaches
  • Phobias


Anxiety, Part I

Anxiety is a state of the mind and body associated with worry, tension, and nervousness. Everyone experiences life stress and anxious moments. In fact, anxiety can help us cope with external dangers by increasing our awareness and getting our body ready to react.

When anxiety becomes overwhelming and interferes with daily life, a person may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health problems in the United States. Up to 25 percent of people in the United States will suffer from anxiety disorders sometime in their lives. Anxiety disorders usually begin in a person's late teens or early 20s. Anxiety disorders may occur with depression. Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, social phobia, specific phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders can be chronic illnesses that can grow progressively worse if not treated. Effective treatments are available.

Causes

The causes of anxiety and panic are not fully understood. Life experience may trigger anxiety. Chemical imbalances in the brain can also play a role. These imbalances may run in the family.

Symptoms

Anxiety can express itself in different ways. It may be ongoing or come in bursts, lasting only a few minutes. Panic attacks are short, intense bursts of anxiety accompanied by a sense of dread and physical reactions such as heart pounding and sweating. Generalized anxiety is an ongoing condition that is not usually a direct result of a well-defined irrational fear (phobia).

The two major symptoms of generalized anxiety are uncontrollable anxiety and worry. Other symptoms may include:

  • Muscle tension
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability or edginess
  • Insomnia or sleep disturbance
  • Difficulty concentrating

The symptoms of a panic attack may occur suddenly and repeatedly, including:

  • Fear of losing control or "going crazy"
  • Fear of dying or that something terrible is about to happen
  • Fear of embarrassment or humiliation
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath, smothering, sweating
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Feeling of choking
  • Nausea or abdominal discomfort
  • Numbness or tingling

Treatment

  • If you believe you have an anxiety disorder, see your physician.  If you are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, develop a treatment plan.
  • Share your treatment plan with people close to you. Talk to friends and relatives and explain what you are going through.
  • If your doctor prescribes medication, take it exactly the way it is prescribed. You may be tempted to stop the medication when you start feeling better. However, do not stop taking your medication until your doctor tells you to.
  • Tell your doctor if you experience side effects from the medication.
  • Keep all follow-up appointments with your doctor.
  • Keep in mind that it may take some time to start feeling better.
  • Talk with your doctor before trying any natural preparations for the treatment of depression, insomnia, anxiety, and stress. Over-the-counter preparations can interact with other medications and cause serious side effects.

Self-Care Steps for Anxiety

  • Learn relaxation techniques such as deep breathing.
  • Take time away from stress.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise can improve your health and sense of well-being and increase your ability to handle stress.
  • Avoid alcohol and don’t use illegal drugs.
  • Limit your intake of caffeine. It can make the symptoms of anxiety worse.
  • Practice confronting your fears.
  • See your doctor if your symptoms aren't improving.

 

Depression, Part II

HELPING A DEPRESSED LOVED ONE

When depression strikes, the depressed person isn't the only one affected. Everyone around them -- family, friends, and co-workers -- feels the impact.  Helping a loved one cope with depression can be key to his or her recovery. But it isn't always going to be easy. Here are some tips.

Get the facts. The first thing you should do is learn more about depression. Read up on its causes and treatments.

Get other people involved. You can't do this alone. Your friend or loved one may want you to keep his or her depression a secret. But that isn't healthy. It puts far too much pressure on you. So try to get a small circle of family, friends or even co-workers to help.

Ask what your loved one needs. Be direct. Unless you ask, you just won't know what your friend or loved one wants from you.

Don't try to solve the problem on your own. Your loved one needs professional help to get better. Depression is a real illness. You wouldn't try to cure a friend's diabetes on your own. You shouldn't try curing depression either.

Know your limits. There is a lot you can do to help your loved one. But you can't do everything. You can't make your loved one well. You can't watch him or her 24 hours a day. These things aren't in your power. In the end, your loved one has to want to get better, too.

Take threats seriously. Suicide is a very real risk of depression. If your friend or loved is threatening to commit suicide, take action. In a crisis, don't hesitate to call emergency services. You can't keep something this serious a secret.

NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT DEPRESSION

If you have questions about anxiety or depression, the HealthQuest LIFELINE program can be a great resource.  Call the toll-free line confidentially at 800-284-7575. 

For questions or concerns, contact the LIFELINE program administrator at 785-296-4304.

 

Summary of CORE LIFELINE Employee Assistance Services

Call LIFELINE 1-800-284-7575 at any time, day or night 7 days a week for help handling life's stresses. State of Kansas benefits eligible employees and their dependent children can receive the following benefits:

1-4 face-to-face sessions (per issue) with an EAP counseling service for a wide variety of problems:

  • Day-to-day stresses
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Major life traumas
  • Problems with co-workers or supervisor
  • Stress due to layoffs or furloughs
  • Marital and family issues
  • Drug and alcohol issues

The following services are also available:

  • Elder care consultations with an elder care specialist
  • Legal consultation with an attorney - one per year
  • Financial consultations with a professional
  • Extended benefit for employees and immediate family members for 6 months after any layoff action.
  • Healthy Life Programs
    • Life Coaching (employee only)
    • Healthy Weight Program (employee and dependents)

Take advantage of this valuable employee benefit. For help with the day-to-day stressors of life, simply call LIFELINE at 1-800-284-7575 any time, day or night 7 days a week. That's all you need to do. Just pick up the phone. Your call with be completely confidential.