The Wakeup Call I Needed

Happy Birthday to Me, The Wakeup Call I Needed

A Story by Ileana Miranda, Benefits Educator at Sapoznik Insurance

Visiting the doctor gave me the wakeup call that I needed. I had just turned 60 years old and went for my annual check-up. Everything seemed normal until the doctor prescribed cholesterol medicine. My heart sank. Never in my life did I have cholesterol issues, but on my 60th birthday, this changed. Happy birthday to me!

Having the attention of my doctor, I was desperate for him to give me another option. He told me it was time to get into shape, stop eating everything in sight and stop starving myself when I feel guilty.

Driving home from the appointment, I had a rush of feelings that I was forced to confront. Was the reason I was feeling uncomfortable with myself, not fitting into my clothing, and my lack of energy due to my unhealthy lifestyle? The wheels were turning in my head, and I knew I had to make a change.

At first glance, I may not appear unhealthy or overweight, but my body was telling me otherwise. There is nothing worse than feeling down about yourself, and my weak attempts to lose weight made me feel worse. Having turned 60, I thought my age was the reason I was feeling increasingly tired. It wasn’t. It was my poor diet and my on the go lifestyle that had finally caught with me.

Having observed our internal health and wellness efforts over my tenure at Sapoznik, provided me the environment I needed to make a change. They offered seminars for healthy eating, rumba classes and so much more. But frankly, I wasn’t ready to make the drastic change that I needed to. My responsibilities at work require that I am available to clients at any given moment, thus spending most of my time on the road. I convinced myself that eating fast food multiple times a week was the only option.

Enter Sapoznik’s latest endeavor, UnitedHealthcare’s Real Appeal. Real Appeal is a weight loss program designed to help people like me learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle. The program is provided to eligible members over the age of 18 at no additional cost as part of our benefit plan with United. Through Sapoznik’s partnership, they provide support, instructions and one on one coaching. Taking an active role in my diet, I have lost 30 pounds in three months.

At this point, I don’t even consider it a diet. It is a lifestyle change, and approaching it one day at a time has made all the difference. The best part about the program is that the weight loss is sustainable.

The biggest lesson that I have learned is that there is no secret to healthy eating habits; it is taking the time to prepare your food in advance and not waiting until the last minute. In the moments where I feel weak, it is incredible to have a support system to get me back on track. Not only have I lost the weight, but I feel amazing on the inside and found a new pep in my step. Spending time with family is a joy.  Sharing jeans with my daughter is a bonus, and not having to take cholesterol medication is the cherry on top.

Multiple Storms and a New Category Introduced: What Dealerships Need to Know About Hurricanes

Preparation is key to getting through any natural disaster. In Florida, the main risk to your dealerships are hurricanes and tropical storms. As hurricane season begins earlier each year, there is no time like the present to start.

Ask yourself these questions:
  1. Could business continue if the city or streets near my dealership are closed?
  2. How could I serve my customers’ needs if my facility needed to close for months?
  3. Could my business survive if it was closed for weeks or months?
  4. Will it affect deliveries or my business contacts?

As reported by the American Red Cross, almost half of all small businesses affected by a major disaster, such as a tornado, flood, earthquake or hurricane, do not reopen their doors because they were unprepared. Even if your dealership is not in danger of a storm, there are plenty of other natural disasters to worry about and having a plan is vital.

Preparation Is Key

Consider incorporating the following before disaster strikes:

  1. Check local flood maps and have your building inspected by a licensed professional to ensure the roof and other connections comply with the wind loading requirements for your area.
  2. Consider installing impact-resistant film on your windows.
  3. Gather a list of vendors and telephone numbers that are critical to your daily operations. If you heavily rely on one or two vendors, consider adding one outside of your area.
  4. Prepare a list of companies that can assist you in recovery efforts, such as removing debris, moving and computer services.
  5. Prepare a list of your employees and their contact information.
  6. Arrange for communication with clients, customers, and employees to keep them informed.
  7. Diversify your customer base, products, and sales locations, this will prevent significant loss if most of your customers are affected by the hurricane.
  8. Take before and after pictures of the business for insurance purposes.
  9. Shut down all incoming power, electric, gas, water lines, computers, copiers, etc. to not create excessive surge when power is restored.
Prepare for Business Continuity and Recovery

Dealers in South Florida should be concerned about flood damage. While business interruption and many property and casualty policies do not cover flood damage, The National Flood Insurance Program includes the option of buying the coverage.

Beyond reviewing the policies, have your business appraised every five years, conduct an inventory of your supplies and equipment, and leave this information in an off-site location.

In the wake of a disaster, the primary goal should be to restore customer confidence by getting the doors open as soon as possible.

Additional tips, provided by the Florida Automobile Dealers Association:
  1. Be aware of your responsibility to mitigate damages following a storm. Your insurers require you to secure your premises and prevent further damage from wind and rain following a storm.
  2. Develop a plan for your replacement inventory; several dealers noted that it was vital to remove damaged vehicles before new inventory can be brought in.
  3. Most dealerships have difficulties locating skilled labor to help with damaged roofs and other structural work. Contact contractors in advance as supplies may be unavailable after a major storm.

A disaster preparedness plan is something you hope you never use but, proper planning can give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your business is ready, willing, and able to shift into disaster response mode, if necessary.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice.

 

 

The Perfect Fit: Tailor your Healthcare Coverage to fit your Employees

Choosing the right healthcare coverage is difficult and often seems like a one-size-fits-all package: expensive coverage with options you may not need.

Whether you’re a CFO, HR Director, or company leader, you’ve got a difficult decision to make. How do you keep employees happy and control costs in a high insurance premium environment? Going with a traditional, fully insured health insurance plan may not help you reach your goals, but you’re not sure what alternatives exist.

If only you could design your own plan….

You’d choose a plan you could monitor for cost-effectiveness and retain your talented staff members. It would have the benefits designed specifically for your employee demographics without paying for benefits you don’t need. And it would fit your budget.

Creating your own healthcare insurance plan is no longer a dream, but a reality. So, how do you do it?

Find a reliable partner that can provide you with these 6 things:

1. Data Analytics

To control costs, you must understand what is driving those costs and monitor them regularly. With a data analytics dashboard, you don’t just hope and pray your costs to stay in line. You have immediate access to your plan’s performance and the individual factors that drive costs including pharmacy claims, utilization rates, and clinical outcomes. You can’t control what you don’t monitor – but we give you the tools to keep your costs and plan aligned.

2. Disease Management

Recent studies indicate that rising healthcare costs can range in the million-dollar (or more) for chronic illnesses. Keeping on top of those conditions and managing their outcomes can make or break your budget. Find a partner that can provide you with the management tools you need to monitor and address these difficult conditions and their impact on your company.

3. Wellness Management

Healthy employees are the key to controlling healthcare premiums. Investing in their health can play a huge part in holding down premiums. Explore innovative, easy to understand wellness programs that encourage your staff to stay healthy by engaging with their providers.

4. Employee Demographics

Your company’s line of business and employee demographics are the basis for designing insurance plans. Whether you’re a car dealership, tech startup, non-profit or call center, you have specific demographics that drive the cost of your plan. Understanding how to leverage those demographics to create a tailored plan is the key to creating cost-effective plans that keep employees happy.

5. Technical Integration

Gone are the days of unused paper benefit booklets, claim forms, and enrollment applications. HRIS systems increase efficiency for both the HR department and employees. Find a partner with an intuitive system designed to easily integrate with most HRIS systems to make it easier for your HR department and employees to have access to their enrollment, payroll, and benefits information.

6. Plans Your Employees Will Enjoy

In this era of unprecedented low unemployment, losing key staff members is a significant hardship on the entire company. Valuable benefits that are easy to access, meet their own and family needs, and have affordable premiums are key to keeping staff members productive and around for the long term. With options for Telemedicine, EAP, HRIS system access, keep your talented staff around for the long term.

Benefits should be designed to fit your unique needs, at a price you can afford, and that employees will like and use. Here is a case study from our friends at Evolution Healthcare that will walk you through the advantages of a customizable, self-funding insurance plan.

If you want to find out more about how to create a unique plan that fits your budget, satisfies your team members, and lets you keep more of your profits contact Sapoznik today!

Why Wellness? A Story by Mary Kreischer

“Why Wellness?” The definition today of wellness is the process of becoming aware and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. It’s more than being free from illness; it is a process of change and growth. “…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

My journey, or my awareness, started when I was 10.  I was around my older relatives and was exposed to all their health issues. Some were physical, and some were mental.  We had cancer, heart disease, depression, and alcoholism, to name a few.  My parents would talk to my sister and me to help us understand what was going on around our family. I was one of those kids that always asked, “why,” and observed everything.

Some of my older relatives worked in factories where the environment was not ideal, and many of them had heart and lung issues. Most of my family members were overweight, smoked and drank regularly. My one great uncle never married and was a male nurse who always cared for whoever in the family needed it. Once they were all gone, including my grandmother who died horribly of cancer, (his sister, whom he was the closest to), he lost his purpose in life, fell into a deep depression, started drinking and died shortly after.

My father smoked from the time he was a young teen, developed lung cancer, and died at the age of 57.  My mother, also a smoker, had emphysema and her heart finally gave out, but she made it to 75. My Father-in-law, also a smoker, died from hardening of the arteries from smoking and had a major heart attack at 71.  Two Brothers-in-law…gone at 57 and 51.

My husband and I always kept an eye on our children’s and personal health.  I stopped smoking at 19, my husband never smoked.  We were mindful of our weight, and we would diet and exercise when necessary. I would research and learn all I could and nurture health not destroy it. I even studied nursing to learn more.

After years of seeing so many factors play parts in an individual’s well-being, whether it be environmental, physical or mental, I learned that the human body has an enormous capacity to heal itself if given the right atmosphere and tools.  I became an advocate and wanted to support others to do the same.  I want to help people come to the same awareness that I did.  Today, with my clients, if I can reach just one person at a time and help them to change and encourage their awareness, then I have done something good in this life.” – Mary Kreischer, CCWS, Sapoznik Insurance

Are You Protected?

Imagine This

Imagine you had a machine in your living room that generated $100,000 per year. Would you spend 3% of that $100,000 to ensure that machine keeps working?

Imagine you had a Triple Crown racehorse that generated over a $1,000,000 a year in winnings.  How far would you go to protect your winning racehorse? Would you insure the horse?

Having traditional medical insurance is essential. However, it doesn’t cover every expense related to an injury or illness, and bills can quickly pile up.

Why do you need disability insurance?

For working-age individuals, a disability refers to a medical condition that reduces your ability to perform your office duties, and the risk is higher than most employees realize. Nearly one-third of employees will miss more than one month of pay due to injury or illness, and unfortunately, over one-quarter of Americans entering the workforce today will become disabled before they retire.

Disability insurance is designed to protect you in the event of an unexpected illness, accident, or death. You may be skeptical about needing disability insurance, especially since 70 percent of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. Ask yourself if you could afford to be disabled and without a paycheck for weeks or months, in addition to having to pay medical bills.

According to a recent survey from Bankrate, 57 percent of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $500 unexpected expense, nearly 23 percent of Americans have less than $100 saved for a car repair, and 25 percent of Americans have less than $100 in savings for medical expenses. If not prepared, an unforeseen medical expense can bankrupt you.

With disability insurance, you have coverage that provides you with income protection should you lose time on the job due to an injury or illness, which means you will receive a partial replacement of lost income. Some causes of disability are mental disorders, spine and joint disorders, arthritis, back pain, cancer, diabetes, heart attack, etc.  Unfortunately, the risk of disability is greater than most employees realize.

Less than 10 percent of disabling injuries and illnesses are work-related; the other 90 percent are not, so workers’ compensation does not cover them.

Are you protected?

Health insurance provided by your employer guarantees that the doctors, the hospital, and the nurses, get paid. Who assures that you get paid? Paying a small premium now can help protect you financially later. Disability insurance can offer you peace of mind with short- and long-term disability coverage options.

Studies show that working-age adults are more likely to suffer from lengthy disabilities in any given year than they are to die. Unless it is offered through their employer, most adults have little, if any, disability insurance coverage, and when you become disabled and lose time at work, your source of income is eliminated. In addition to lost income, you are most likely experiencing an increase in medical expenses to deal with your disabling injury or illness.

The possibility of becoming disabled is very real for working Americans, and so are the financial consequences and costs associated with it. For more information about protecting yourself and your family against an unexpected disability, contact Sapoznik Insurance, your current insurance broker or human resources department today.

Lowell Richard, a New York native, almost made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as his mother went into labor while attending. Residing in Florida since 1975 and a graduate of the University of South Florida, he has spent the last 31 years providing quality health, life, and disability insurance products to both his group and individual clients.  Lowell is particularly passionate about disability insurance due to unfortunate accidents and debilitating sicknesses that have affected his immediate family.  Lowell joined Sapoznik Insurance in January of this year and is eager to be working with such an established and diverse organization.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. 

Top Reasons for Workplace Discrimination Claims

Last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) settled more than 99,109 workplace discrimination claims—securing more than $398 million from employers in the private and public sectors. Discrimination lawsuits can be time-consuming and expensive for employers and result in a loss of employee morale or reputation within the community.

Top 10 Causes of Discrimination Claims:

Per the EEOC, below are the top 10 reasons for workplace discrimination claims in the fiscal year of 2017:

  1. Retaliation—41,097 (48.8 percent of all charges filed)
  2. Race—28,528 (33.9 percent)
  3. Disability—26,838 (31.9 percent)
  4. Sex—25,605 (30.4 percent)
  5. Age—18,376 (21.8 percent)
  6. National origin—8,299 (9.8 percent)
  7. Religion—3,436 (4.1 percent)
  8. Color—3,240 (3.8 percent)
  9. Equal Pay Act—996 (1.2 percent)
  10. Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act—206 (0.2 percent)

The percentages add up to more than 100 percent because several lawsuits were filed alleging multiple reasons for discrimination.

What Should Employers Do?

Employers should take the following six steps to protect themselves from discrimination claims:

  1. Audit their practices to uncover any problematic situations
  2. Create a clear anti-retaliation policy that includes specific examples of what management can and cannot do when disciplining or terminating employees
  3. Provide training to management and employees on anti-retaliation and other discrimination policies
  4. Implement a user-friendly internal complaint procedure for employees
  5. Uphold a standard of workplace civility, which can reduce retaliatory behaviors

For more information on discrimination claims and for tips on how to protect your business, contact Sapoznik Insurance today.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. 

Tips for Selecting a Mental Health Professional

For many Americans seeking help from mental health professionals, selecting a provider is an important decision that should be made carefully. Credentials, competence and your comfort level with the provider are worth considering.

There are different types of professionals out there to help. The following are the most common for mental health care:

Psychiatrists

Have medical degrees, can prescribe medication and have completed three years of residency training (beyond medical school) in mental health care.

Psychologists

Have a doctorate in psychology and, generally, complete one or two years of internship before licensure.

Professional Counselors

Have a minimum of a master’s degree in a mental health discipline, and at least two years of post-graduate supervised experience.

Marriage and Family Therapists

Typically have a master’s degree or doctorate in marriage and family therapy, and at least one year of supervised practice.

Social Workers

Have a minimum of a master’s degree in social work and at least two years of post-graduate supervised experience.

Who’s the Best Fit?

Finding the right mental health professional requires a bit of work. If you are depressed or have another serious mental illness, it can be challenging to do that work on your own. If you are in this situation, ask family, friends or your primary physician for assistance. Here are some reliable ways to locate a provider:

  • Through referrals by physician, friends or family members
  • Ask your health insurance company for a list of providers
  • Check your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at work for a referral

Also take into account factors that are important to you like age, race, gender, religion and cultural background. It is not wrong to rule out certain providers because they don’t meet the criteria; you will be establishing a long-term relationship with this person, and you need to feel as comfortable with him or her as possible.

9 Essential Questions to Ask

  1. What types of treatment do you provide?
  2. What is your training or experience with my problem area?
  3. How will we determine treatment goals?
  4. How will we measure my progress?
  5. What do you expect from me?
  6. What are your office hours?
  7. How do you handle emergencies?
  8. Do you charge for missed appointments?
  9. Are you in my health plan’s provider network?

Mental Health Awareness is Key to Getting the Help You Need

Mental illness affects one in five adults in the United States each year; that’s about 43 million people.  The most prevalent mental illnesses are depression and anxiety, affecting 18.1% of ages 18 years and older each year. Emotions are healthy. Humans are designed to experience grief, loss, sadness, and fear. However, if these healthy emotions turn to anxiety or depression, it may be a sign of a deeper issue. Anxiety disorders are treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive the treatment they need.

Reacting to a stressful or life-changing event such as losing a job, or losing a loved one is healthy. As we look to take care of our minds and bodies, it is important to realize the point where sadness turns into depression or worry turns into anxiety attacks.  Being mindful of these distinctions is crucial. When you start to drown your feelings by drinking a few glasses of wine at night to de-stress, or your mood starts to limit your day-to-day activities, this is an indication it is time to stop for a moment and seek help. Depression and anxiety can be a serious condition, impacting every aspect of your life, from your appetite to sleeping.

Most people turn to their primary care health provider; others reach out to a mental health professional for counseling, and some might need more intensive treatment to stay safe and stabilized. Knowing when to ask for help is critical. Keep in mind that if you are feeling down, people are acting concerned about you, and others are helping you more than usual, it is time to ask a professional for help.  There is no shame in asking!

I have patients that routinely tell me that the money spent on counseling is the best investment in themselves they have ever made. Be mindful of how you are feeling. If you are struggling or if you notice that things aren’t right, take the time to talk to your doctor or mental health professional to get back on track and start feeling like yourself again.

Here are six quick tips to help you manage your anxiety and depression:

  1. Turn your bedroom into a Zen palace
  2. Keep a regular bedtime hour
  3. Have a routine one hour before bedtime
  4. Avoid devices with screens, anything that causes stress or mental stimulus before heading to bed
  5. Exercise regularly
  6. Go outside every day

Dr. Nelson is Director of Clinical Services at The Florida House Experience in Deerfield Beach.  The Florida House is an innovative treatment center for mental health and substance use disorders that utilizes a whole person model treating clients medically, clinically, and with the latest technology in order to live happy and productive lives.

Are E-Cigarettes Safe?

In recent years, electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, have flooded the market. Many people are turning to e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking; however, questions remain about their safety and effectiveness.

What is an Electronic Cigarette?

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices typically made of plastic or metal. E-cigarettes are often created to look like tobacco cigarettes or cigars, and commonly used in place of smoking a tobacco product.

E-cigarettes vaporize the liquid, which usually contains nicotine and other chemicals. The act of inhaling vapor through an e-cigarette is known as “vaping.” Over the past several years, e-cigarette offerings have increased, with hundreds of brands and thousands of flavors to choose.

Why Use an Electronic Cigarette?

Many people are looking to e-cigarettes as a way to slowly wean off traditional, tobacco-containing cigarettes. The amount of nicotine in the vaporized liquid varies, thereby allowing people to reduce the amount of nicotine they use over time gradually. Since vaping e-cigarettes so closely resembles the act of traditional smoking, some believe that e-cigarettes offer a more natural transition to a smoke-free lifestyle than nicotine gum and patches do.

Health Hazards

The vital difference between traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes is that electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco. However, they still do contain some of the chemicals found in conventional cigarettes like nicotine (unless you choose a nicotine-free cartridge).

Nicotine is a highly addictive stimulant and can cause increased blood pressure and an elevated heart rate. Some e-cigarettes have also been found to contain formaldehyde, a chemical that has the potential to cause cancer.

Adverse effects of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes may include pneumonia, congestive heart failure, disorientation, seizures and other health problems. Nicotine has also been linked to reproductive health problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and respiratory problems.

E-cigarette Regulation

E-cigarettes have been called a “gateway” to smoking and criticized for targeting teenagers with candy-like flavors like chocolate, birthday cake, and cotton candy. When e-cigarettes first entered the market, there was no minimum age requirement for purchasing them.

However, on May 5, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it is banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Retailers will now be required to verify that all customers are at least 18 years old, and they will no longer be able to distribute free samples. E-cigarettes must also now carry warnings that they contain the addictive substance, nicotine.

Additionally, the FDA requires all e-cigarettes that went on sale after February 2007 to get FDA approval. The e-cigarette market was virtually non-existent before 2007, so this means that every e-cigarette, as well as every flavor and nicotine level, will need to be approved. E-cigarette makers have two years to gain FDA approval for their products.

In Summary

While e-cigarettes were initially promoted as a way to help people quit traditional cigarettes, doubts remain about their safety and long-term health consequences.

For more information on how to quit smoking using FDA-approved methods, visit smokefree.gov.

Mental Health Awareness: Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders affect over 57 million adults in America—more than 26 percent of the U.S. population.

Anxiety disorders commonly occur in conjunction with other mental or physical illnesses, last at least six months and can get worse without treatment. There are six types of anxiety disorders: panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, specific phobia and generalized anxiety disorder.

Panic Disorder

This condition affects about 6 million U.S. adults and is twice as common in women. It is characterized by sudden attacks of terror—known as panic attacks—which are usually accompanied by a pounding heart, sweating, dizziness and/or weakness. During these attacks, sufferers may flush or feel chilled, their hands may tingle or feel numb and nausea or chest pain may occur. Panic attacks usually produce a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom or a fear of losing control. They can occur at any time—even during sleep. About one-third of people who experience panic attacks become so fearful that they refuse to leave home. When the condition progresses this far, it is called agoraphobia—a fear of open spaces.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD sufferers have persistent, upsetting thoughts or obsessions, and use rituals to control the anxiety these thoughts produce. Most often, the rituals end up controlling the person with OCD. For example, if someone is obsessed with germs and dirt, he or she may develop a compulsion for excessive hand washing. OCD is estimated to affect over 2 million adults in the United States.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD develops after a traumatic event or experience that involved physical harm or the threat of it. PTSD is common in war veterans, but it can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as kidnapping, abuse or a car accident. People with PTSD may startle easily, become emotionally numb (especially to people with whom they used to be close), lose interest in things they used to enjoy, and become irritable, aggressive or violent. They avoid situations which remind them of the original incident, and anniversaries of the incident are usually very difficult. PTSD affects nearly 8 million adults in the United States but can occur at any age.

Social Phobia

Also called social anxiety disorder, social phobia is diagnosed when individuals become overwhelmingly anxious and excessively self-conscious in everyday social situations. People with this phobia have an intense, persistent and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of doing things that will embarrass them. They may worry for days or even weeks before a dreaded situation. Many with social phobia realize that their fear is unwarranted, but are still unable to overcome it. This phobia affects about 15 million American adults.

Specific Phobias

A specific phobia is an intense, irrational fear of something that actually poses little or no threat—such as heights, escalators, dogs, spiders, closed-in places or water. These types of phobias affect over 19 million adults in the United States and affect women twice as often as men. Like social phobia, sufferers understand that these fears are irrational, but feel powerless to stop them. The causes of these phobias are not well understood, but symptoms usually appear in childhood or adolescence and continue into adulthood.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

People with GAD go through the day filled with exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to worry about. An estimated 6.8 million American adults have GAD, and it also affects women twice as often as men. GAD is diagnosed when a person worries excessively about a variety of everyday problems for at least 6 months. Physical symptoms accompanying this condition include fatigue, headaches, irritability, nausea, frequent urination and hot flashes.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In general, anxiety disorders are treated with medication, specific types of psychotherapy or both. Before treatment begins, a doctor must conduct a careful diagnostic evaluation to determine whether a person’s symptoms are caused by an anxiety disorder or a physical problem. Sometimes alcoholism, depression or other coexisting conditions have such a strong effect on the individual that treating the anxiety disorder must wait until those conditions are brought under control.

Those with anxiety disorders usually try several different treatments or combinations of treatment before finding the one that works for them.

How to Get Help

If you think you have an anxiety disorder, the first step to take is to visit your physician. He or she can determine if your symptoms are caused by an anxiety disorder, another medical condition or both. If an anxiety disorder is diagnosed, you will be referred to a mental health professional.

For more information, contact the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) at www.nimh.nih.gov or

866-615-NIMH (6464).

Source: NIMH