Recent studies show that young adults are postponing marriage to pay off student loans. Eliminating debt before marriage can significantly reduce household stress levels, but the fact is that many couples do not have that option. Their student loans are too high or their incomes are too low to pay off the debt in a short timeframe. If you and your spouse are trying to manage student loan debt in marriage, the following tips will help you stay on track.
Find a Repayment Plan that Suits Your Entire Household
If you have been paying off your student loans for a while, you may already have a repayment plan to suit your single lifestyle. That plan may not be ideal in your married life. For some couples, being married frees up extra money, allowing them to pay down their debts even faster. For other couples, being married increases their household bills and hinders their ability to pay off debt.
Assess your situation and determine if your repayment plan suits your household, not just you. If you can pay off your student loans faster, go for it! Otherwise, talk to your loan servicer about payment options that fit your available income.
Discuss How You Will Split Your Bills
It’s important to discuss how your student loans will be repaid. Will you each pay your own loans, or will you work together to pay off one person’s loans first? If only one of you has student loans, you must discuss whether the other person feels comfortable contributing toward the student loan debt. This is a touchy subject, but it is one you must address as a couple. You may work with a financial planner or a marriage counselor to discuss your options in a calm, respectful manner.
Keep Other Debts to a Minimum
Debt is an active and a passive stressor. It is something that weighs on your mind all day long, and it may spark intense anxiety when you actively think about it. This type of stress can be particularly damaging for couples because it is always around. You may be more irritable or more likely to lash out at your spouse because of the stress.
What’s the solution? Keep your debt to a minimum. If you are trying to pay off your student loans quickly, you may hold off on getting a new car or buying a house. If you cannot wait on a big purchase like that, try to keep the costs as low as possible. Instead of buying your dream home, get an affordable starter home that frees up more income for loan repayment. Once your student loans are clear, then you can put your money toward other investments.
Pay More Than the Monthly Minimums
Your minimum student loan payments may only cover your interest and a small portion of the principal. This means that you’ll be paying on your loans much longer than necessary. Even if you just put $50 extra toward your loan a month, that’s $600 extra a year! It will make a big difference in the amount of time your student loans affect your marriage.
Communicate with Your Spouse in a Healthy Way
One of the biggest goals in all marriage counseling programs is to teach couples how to communicate with one another. This keeps stress and tension down, and it reduces the chance of conflicts in the marriage. If a conflict arises, the couple has the tools to get through it together.
If you are interested in premarital counseling or marriage counseling in Wisconsin, contact Midwest Psychological Services at (715) 381-1980. You can learn how to speak honestly with your spouse, and you can gain insight into your spouse’s thoughts and feelings. Our marriage counselors will be there to guide you every step of the way.
Do you feel like you never see your spouse? You’re either too busy or too exhausted to cross paths from day-to-day. This is a common problem in the modern world, especially for couples with opposite work schedules. Nevertheless, it’s important to make time for your spouse and for your marriage as a whole. Here are some time management tips for married couples to help you balance the chaos.
Create a Schedule for Each Day
The schedule does not have to be rigid, but it should provide a general outline of how the day is going to go. This lets every family member know what he or she is expected to do in the day, and it clears time to potentially enjoy with one another. You might notice that your lunch times overlap or you have some free time together in the evening. Spend some time each night to make a rough plan for the following day.
Don’t Overextend Yourself
In the moment, it’s easy to say “yes” to every task and opportunity at work. You might also do this with your friends, committing to several events in a short frame of time. If you already have limited time with your spouse, you’ll shorten that even more by being a ‘yes man.’ Be realistic about your availability and only commit to what you can logically complete.
Plan Your Date Nights in Advance
Spontaneous date nights are fun, but they aren’t always feasible for busy married couples. If you and your spouse have hectic schedules, you may need to plan your date nights in advance. This could become a monthly event – the first Friday of every month is reserved for you. It could be something you plan a week in advance, if you don’t know your schedules far out. If you already have personal time planned out, you’re less likely to make commitments that would conflict with it.
Find Routines That Work for You
The human body thrives on routines. The more consistent your schedule is, the less your mind has to think about. Try to get yourselves on some sort of schedule. Go to bed around the same time, wake up around the same time, eat around the same times each day, etc. Your routines may not be the same, but if you each have them, you will naturally feel more energized. Knowing your partner’s routine will also help you plan when to spend time together. Something as simple as 30 minutes together for dinner can make a big difference.
Communicate throughout the Day
Just because you can’t see your spouse doesn’t mean you should feel disconnected. Talk to each other throughout the day whenever you can. A quick phone call at lunch or some texts during the day will keep you in each other’s minds. If you have some free time after you both get home, use it to tell each other about your days. This one-on-one time gives you a chance to vent about the day, and it gives your spouse a chance to feel involved with your life.
Work with Your Therapist to Further Balance Your Time
Some time management plans are tricky. If you’re having a hard time finding time to spend with your spouse, talk to your marriage counselor about it. Of course, this suggests that you have time to see a counselor. If you cannot see a couples counselor together, you could still come in for individual counseling. Your therapist can listen to your schedule and your concerns to provide helpful advice for your work/life balance. There is a solution for every problem, even if it takes a while to figure out. The counselors and therapists here at Midwest Psychological Services are here to help every step of the way.
Teletherapy and telepsychiatry are relatively new services in the world of mental healthcare. These programs allow patients to speak with a therapist or psychiatrist if they are unable to see them in person. While this is not a substitute for in-person therapy, it helps patients get the care they need when they cannot come into the office.
Midwest Psychological Services provides telepsychiatry in Hudson, WI. In this guide, we will take a closer look at how teletherapy and telepsychiatry work so you can decide if these programs are right for you.
What Are Teletherapy and Telepsychiatry?
Teletherapy and telepsychiatry are similar to traditional mental healthcare services. Instead of seeing a provider in person though, you speak over the computer. This is ideal for times when you cannot come in to the office, like when you are traveling or during inclement weather days. You still get the personalized care you deserve, but you can receive it in the comfort of your home.
Can I Use Telepsychiatry instead of Seeing a Psychiatrist in Person?
We do not recommend telepsychiatry as a replacement for in-person care. It can be used to supplement traditional psychiatry services, but it should not be used as a primary source of care. Patients have the best experiences and see the best results after speaking with a therapist or psychiatrist one-on-one. However, we understand that in-person appointments are not always feasible, which is why we provide tele services.
Is Telepsychiatry Secure?
Yes, telepsychiatry and teletherapy are secure. At Midwest Psychological Services, we use a HIPAA-compliant platform to ensure confidentiality in all tele services. The calls are protected by end-to-end encryption, so your personal information remains private and secure. We have a stringent data security policy to provide peace of mind for our patients.
Will Insurance Cover Telepsychiatry or Teletherapy?
Some insurance providers cover tele mental health services and others do not. To find out if your services are covered, call our office at (715) 381-1980. We will verify your insurance information to find out what your copay will be. We always provide transparent pricing, so you will never be caught off-guard by a surprise bill.
How to Get Telepsychiatry in Hudson, WI
If you are interested in telepsychiatry in Hudson, WI, call (715) 381-1980. One of our psychiatrists, Dr. Holmgren, offers confidential telepsychiatry for a wide range of clients. He provides flexible scheduling to accommodate your busy lifestyle, and he is fully licensed in psychiatry and medication management.Learn More
Dealing with anxiety is not only frustrating – it can feel devastating at times. Fears, phobias and nervousness soon dictate every step you take, making you feel not in control of your own body. If you are looking for anxiety treatment to remedy these feelings, there are options out there for you. The search for ‘natural anxiety treatment’ has become a recent trend, but what does that entail exactly? Moreover, do natural anxiety treatments work? We will answer those questions and others in this guide.
Types of Natural Anxiety Treatment
Just about anything can be considered ‘natural anxiety treatment.’ There are tons of supplements, facial stimulators, beads, crystals, chants and mantras that are labeled natural anxiety remedies. These solutions promise that they can stop panic attacks, reduce symptoms of anxiety, cure depression, and much more. In all reality, they’re usually nothing more than vitamins or folklore.
Why Natural Anxiety Treatments Usually Don’t Work
Most natural anxiety remedies are like fad diets. They may help some people for a certain length of time, but they are not effective in the long term. For instance, someone whose anxiety stems from a lack of sleep may benefit from taking melatonin at night. The increased sleep may make the anxiety feel less severe, but it’s not actually treating the problem. Someone whose anxiety stems from a past trauma might not feel any effect from a natural sleep aid.
Simply put, natural anxiety treatments are not personalized. They do not fit your specific needs, if they provide any benefits at all. A company can claim that its products treat anxiety, but that doesn’t mean they treat your anxiety. If you want real relief, you need a plan designed just for you.
That Doesn’t Mean You Need Medication to Treat Anxiety
Just because many natural anxiety treatments are ineffective, that does not mean that you need medication to treat anxiety. Yes, some people benefit from anti-depressants, mood stabilizers and other medicines to treat anxiety. However, there are plenty of people who are able to conquer their anxiety without any medication at all. Through a combination of therapy and simple lifestyle changes, you can dramatically reduce your anxiety symptoms. You don’t need a miracle supplement to do that. You just need the right person to guide you along the way.
A Far More Effective Solution – Personalized Anxiety Treatment
If you truly want to get rid of anxiety, therapy is the way to go. Your therapist will help you get to the root cause of your anxiety and understand your thoughts, feelings and reactions better. You’ll learn how to change negative thinking patterns that make anxiety worse, and you can bring closure to past issues that have fueled your anxiety.
At Midwest Psychological Services, we offer personalized anxiety treatment in Hudson, WI. No two people are exactly alike, and you deserve an individualized treatment plan that’s fit for you. Our anxiety therapists work with clients of all ages, and we would love to help you take control of your life again. Give us a call at (715) 381-1980 to schedule an appointment with an anxiety therapist near you.Learn More
“Which one should I see, a psychiatrist or a psychologist?” While some people may use those terms interchangeably, these professionals provide vastly different mental health services. In this guide, we will compare psychologists and psychiatrists to give you a better understanding of each provider.
What Is a Psychologist?
A psychologist is a person who holds a master’s degree or doctorate in psychology. These professionals typically work as counselors or therapists, helping people improve their lives with proven therapy strategies. Psychologists understand the how the human min works and how personal experiences can alter a person’s perspective. They may specialize in anxiety treatment, depression treatment, relationship therapy, self-esteem building, conflict resolution, and many other areas, depending on their passion.
Psychologists cannot prescribe medicine in most states. That is a task for psychiatrists, as we will discuss in the next section. Psychologists can perform psychological testing though, which is used to identify signs of autism, ADHD, PTSD, OCD, bipolar disorder, learning disabilities, and more.
What Is a Psychiatrist?
Psychiatrists attend medical school, just like a primary care doctor. They have a doctor of medicine (M.D.), and they are able to write prescriptions in most states. They must have a deep understanding of the human body and mind in order to prescribe the right medications for their patients.
Psychiatrists use their knowledge to correct chemical imbalances in the brain. For instance, a person with bipolar disorder may require mood stabilizers to control manic and depressive episodes. Some forms of medication management are short-term, and others may be lifelong experiences.
Should I See a Psychologist or Psychiatrist?
Psychologists and psychiatrists often work hand-in-hand. A psychiatrist will prescribe medication that helps a person who is already in therapy. The psychologist helps the patient understand the root cause of his or her struggles and finds a personalized solution for those obstacles.
Medication is not right for everyone. In fact, most mental health issues can be resolved through therapy alone. If someone does need medication, therapy can improve the effects of it. Nearly everyone can benefit from seeing a psychologist, but seeing a psychiatrist is not necessary for everyone.
Here at Midwest Psychological Services, we provide psychological and psychiatric services in Hudson, WI. We have several psychologists and psychiatrists on staff, and we will match you with the best professional for your needs. Our psychiatrists and therapists work together to provide top-level care for a range of mental health concerns. You can get the help you deserve from a team you can trust, right here in Hudson, WI.
Give us a call at (715) 381-1980 to schedule an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist near you.
With seniors graduating high school all across the nation this month, many parents (and kids!) are starting to face the reality of college as that first day on campus gets closer and closer. This nervous yet excited feeling is common and to be expected. But for the parent of a child who suffers from anxiety or depression, the prospect of being away from home for the first time can be terrifying.
As a parent, you’re probably one part excited for your child’s endeavor and 100 parts terrified that they won’t be able to cope with the added pressures of college on top of their mental illness. First, know you are not alone. According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is the #1 concern among college students (41 percent), followed by depression (36 percent) and relationship problems (35 percent). Twenty-four percent of college students take psychotropic medication for their anxiety and depression.
But even for those who are on medication, the concern about keeping up that routine can further worry parents. You likely have been the main advocate for your child up until this point, taking them to the doctor or therapist, refilling their prescriptions, reminding them to take their pills, and dealing with the fallout of bad days as you act as therapist yourself.
Now, you’re understandably worried that your child won’t be as diligent in maintaining his or her routine, what with all the added pressures of school work and complicated social lives. College and its lack of supervision can give students easy access to alcohol and drugs. Plus, it’s easier to fall through the cracks when you’re one little student out of thousands. Even students who have demonstrated a strong ability to function under pressure may really feel the effects of such a new and demanding environment.
Keeping an Open Mind
Of course, this isn’t to scare you away from sending your kid to college! Most kids with mental illness can and should attend college. It will likely do far more good for them than bad. Given the high stakes, though, parents should understand the potential dangers of their child’s safety while away from home for the first time.
About 40 million U.S. adults suffer from an anxiety disorder, with 75 percent of them experiencing their first anxiety episode by the age of 22.
That loss of control you feel right know is rooted in some reality. Remember, now that your child is 18, he or she is protected by privacy laws that govern the dissemination of medical information. You can no longer pick up the phone and call your child’s guidance counselor or chat with their therapist after a session for advice and specifics.
Your child is covered under the same privacy laws you are, such as those governing health: HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) as well as those governing academic information: FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). These laws can act as roadblocks for monitoring your adult child’s mental, physical and academic well-being. If your child becomes withdrawn or refuses to discuss mental health issues with you, you may understandably feel shut out, with little parental rights left.
There are proactive steps you can take to prepare for this, such as asking your child to sign a release that authorizes healthcare providers and college administrators to share their private medical and academic information with you. Your teen can be put at ease knowing they can specify which details they want shared, such as the fact that they are attending therapy sessions, as well as what they don’t, such as the contents of those sessions.
Know the policies and procedures of your child’s college and corresponding student health centers. Meet with the Dean of Students beforehand as well as therapists working within the on-campus counseling center. Check out the law enforcement office and disability office, too, to get your face out there and let people know you’re a concerned parent. They’ll be more likely to remember you and keep an eye out for potential problems. Provide your contact information in case of emergency.
Scope out local mental health professionals and nearby hospital emergency departments that offer psychological or substance abuse services. Keep talking with your child regularly to keep lines of communication open, offering your support and encouragement. Talk about the balance of privacy and access, and how you both feel about where those lines should be drawn.
College is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding and enlightening times of a person’s life. Take part in that excitement and joy for your child, but keep one eye open for the pronounced dangers that come when college mixes with mental health conditions.
Contact Midwest Psychological Services
To learn more about treatment for anxiety and depression for you or your college student, please contact us at (715) 381-1980 or fill out our online form.Learn More
Marriage is hard. No one ever said it was an easy road. Ironically, it can be very easy to fall into a rut of indifference through the years. The difficult part comes in heaving yourself and your spouse out of that rut to get back on the road. Many couples don’t make it. Others survive and manage to keep going, sometimes happily, sometimes not quite so. And still others embrace the new chance they’ve been given as a couple and fight through the hard times. The best way to do that is through marriage or couples therapy.
That’s because it’s all too easy to get on our own side in marriage. We get tunnel vision, really. And sometimes it takes another person – someone completely on the outside, unbiased to what we’re all about – to truly make us realize what we just can’t see when left to our own devices. It isn’t about the blame game, it isn’t about pointing fingers. It’s about a true collaboration of two people who love each other enough to try.
Communication: The Foundation of a Strong Marriage
Sadly, marriages end many times due to failure to communicate. It’s one of the simplest of bad habits: negativity tends to grow the more it is nurtured. Silence can kill a marriage far more quickly than any big fight can.
Most couples make three main communication mistakes in marriage:
- Yelling at your spouse: When you’re upset, you raise your voice. That anger creates tension, which builds and builds until it is released. Your spouse is an easy target for letting out all your disappointments. You may feel better in the moment but the damage those words can do will haunt you both for a long time. That’s because yelling unleashes lots of strong, negative emotions that will take center stage rather than your spoken message, says PsychCentral. This only serves to set up your partner to become defensive rather than responsive.
- Making it all about competition: Many people feel the need to “win” every argument. They stockpile bullet points to solidify their argument and use those to point blame. By building a case in your mind every time you have an argument, you’re also building a wall between the two of you. You’re exhausting and demoralizing your spouse rather than making it about a productive conclusion.
- Putting the focus on Me Instead of We. Perspective is everything. We tend to focus on how things affect us, when we should be looking to our spouse to see what their viewpoint is as well. In fact, take a step back from the issue itself and figure out ways you can infuse more mutual respect in your everyday interactions. Generosity and considerate behaviors can help nurture a marriage that may be a bit rocky at the moment. Instead of getting trapped into thinking “what’s in it for me,” do something good for the other person without expecting anything in return. Only you can stop the pattern of negativity with something positive.
Contact Midwest Psychological Services
Contact us at (715) 381-1980 if you are experiencing tough times in your marriage or romantic relationship. Midwest Psychological Services has several providers that bring training and experience to the table when it comes to family and couples therapy. Let us help you improve communication to resolve conflicts and finally begin to heal the wounds of unresolved issues.Learn More
We’ve all experienced rage at one time or another. In traffic…dealing with our toddler’s temper tantrum…an unfair call at the ball game. Anger is a normal outlet of emotion. Excessive, uncontrolled anger is not. Sometimes it gets out of control and takes a destructive turn, leading to problems at work, within your family, in your social relationships and indeed in the overall quality of your life.
You may not want to feel angry all the time. In fact, you may feel like you’re at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful force. It’s OK. You can understand anger and in that understanding, learn to control it.
Quite simply, this is an emotional state that can range from minor irritation to intense rage. Just like other emotions, such as happiness and sadness, it comes with certain physiological and biological changes such as elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Our instinct when feeling anger is to express it outwardly and aggressively. This is, after all, a natural instinct bred in us from our very beginnings – fighting to defend ourselves when attacked is a normal response to a perceived threat.
So, it stands to reason that a certain amount of anger is critical to our survival. However, verbally or physically lashing out at anyone or anything that makes us mad is socially unacceptable, not to mention unsafe and illegal. People typically have three main ways to deal with anger: express, suppress or calm.
Expressing your angry feelings in an assertive but not aggressive manner is certainly the most productive option. However, some people don’t know when to stop, crossing the line to become pushy, demanding, disrespectful and even abusive.
For those who find themselves angry all the time and can’t control it, anger management counseling or therapy could be a helpful option. The goal of anger management is to calm your emotional feelings down and thereby reduce the physiological responses that your anger causes. This is to help you internally (remember the high blood pressure thing?) as well as externally to those around you. While you can’t eliminate the people or things that enrage you, it is possible to change your response.
In addition to counseling, you can try at-home relaxation tools to help calm you down:
- Breathe deeply, from your gut, in and out.
- Slowly repeat a calming word or phrase such as “slow down,” “relax a bit,” or “take it easy now.”
- Picture a relaxing experience or place in your mind.
- Try slow exercises like yoga to relax your muscles.
Contact Midwest Psychological Services
If you feel you need help controlling your anger, please don’t hesitate to call us for an appointment at (715) 381-1980. Our therapists have vast experience in anger management techniques.Learn More
There has been plenty of talk and awareness about eating disorders in girls and women. In fact, as many as 10 in 100 young U.S. women have an eating disorder, stemming from stress, depression, poor nutritional habits, poor body image and food fads, says the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
However, there’s a hushed murmuring of the other victims of eating disorders: teen boys and young men. This is a damaging stereotype that often silences males from seeking treatment, such as teen counseling. The National Eating Disorders Association says eating disorders will affect 10 million males in this country at some point in their lives. Such eating disorders can range from binge eating and purging to laxative abuse and fasting. The numbers show that these disorders are nearly as common for boys and men as they are for girls and women.
Further compounding the issue is the stigma attached that keeps males quiet about their disorder: a double stigma, in fact, for having a disorder characterized largely as female or gay for trying to get help. On top of that, current assessment tests are designed for females, which can skew results and lead to misconceptions about how eating disorders manifest in males.
The hard facts are there:
- 30 million people of all ages and genders have an eating disorder in the United States.
- One person dies every hour as a result of an eating disorder.
- Eating disorders come with the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
- Eating disorders affect all races and ethnic groups.
- Risk factors range from genetics to environmental factors to personality traits.
Trapped under the stigma of a “girl’s disease,” boys suffering from eating disorders like anorexia can face challenges to: #1, even acknowledge there’s a problem and #2, seek the right kind of help. The stigma spoken of above isn’t just in the teen boy’s own mind; sadly, it’s a snap judgement on the part of medical doctors as well. Many families say they have to see five or more doctors before anyone takes them seriously and refers them to the right kind of help.
We may not realize it, due to the overwhelming emphasis in society on the pressures of girls to look good, but teen boys are at the same mercy of those high standards as well. They are lured in by the billboards and the gym ads featuring bulging biceps and glutes. Why do we assume girls are the only ones who are impacted by these images? Can teen boys not fall into the trap of “I want to look like that and will stop at nothing to achieve it”?
The truth is yes, they do. Studies show that with proper and early treatment, 60 percent of eating disorder sufferers can make a full recovery.
Contact Midwest Psychological Services
If you suspect your teenager is suffering from an eating disorder, get help now. Contact Midwest Psychological Services at (715) 381-1980.Learn More
Depression is a term that gets thrown around a lot by many people as an umbrella term to mean they are sad. However, there is a big difference between the two. Sadness is a normative emotional state, while depression is a serious condition that requires treatment, such as counseling and medication. People confuse the two perhaps because we tend to associate depression with its primary symptom of sadness, says Psychology Today, and therefore have a hard time deciphering the difference between these two common psychological states.
Let’s look at the difference between the two.
This is a normal human emotion. We all experience it to some degree on a regular basis, up and down, again and again. One day we may be sad, the next happy. Perhaps we may be sad for several days in a row. This emotion tends to be triggered by a specific event or experience such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or even just a bad week at work.
That sadness may go on for a few days or even a few weeks but as we get over the trigger, that sadness recedes like the tide.
By contrast, depression is an abnormal emotional state. This is a form of mental illness that pervades our entire thinking, emotions, behaviors and perceptions in chronic and long-lasting ways. You don’t have to suffer a particular event in order to be depressed. In fact, depression often comes on in the absence of such triggers. Your life may look perfect on the outside. You may seemingly have everything you want. In effect your life looks good on paper. But you still feel horrid inside.
Depression colors every part of our lives. Things you once enjoyed no longer bring you happiness. Things are not as interesting as they used to be. Pursuits that used to seem worthwhile just seem unworthy now. That’s because depression sucks out our energy, stalls our motivation and dampens our ability to feel true pleasure, anticipation, joy, excitement, connection and indeed meaning within our lives.
Depression makes us impatient, quick to temper and frustration. It breaks us down fast and hard, which means it takes much longer to bounce back up.
Symptoms of Depression
In order to be diagnosed with depression, you must display five of the following symptoms for a long duration, usually at least two weeks. Severity of symptoms will also come into play.
- Depressed or irritable mood
- Loss or decrease of pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Significant changes in weight or appetite
- Inability to get enough sleep
- Sleeping too much
- Feelings of restlessness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Difficulty concentrating, focusing and making decisions
- Thinking of death or suicide
Contact Midwest Psychological Services
Contact us at (715) 381-1980 if you find yourself saying yes to several of the above bullet points. Our therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists are here to help you. Please reach out.Learn More