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Rogers is a comprehensive psychiatric hospital, nationally recognized for specialty residential treatment programs for eating disorders, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders for children, teens and adults.

Life. Worth. Living.

December 16, 2013 - 10:40am

Believe it or not, the first attempt to gather information about mental health was done to collect statistical information for the 1840 census. In fact, it was these early census recordings that distinguished early categories of mental health. It was not until post-World War II that the first edition of the DSM or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) was published. It was then this clinical and diagnostic tool, published by the American Psychiatric Association, provided description and diagnostic categories for clinicians working with mental disorders. Today, the DSM is still considered the authoritative guide by behavioral health professionals throughout the country, providing the common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders.

Why This Matters

Mental illness cannot be determined by a traditional, physical test. A blood test won’t tell you if you are depressed or anxious. Broken arms and pneumonia have physical symptoms. Mental illness is not as easily identified, leading to a need for a clear set of guidelines to help clinicians diagnose a condition. As we gain insight into these mental disorders, the DSM helps providers prescribe more effective treatment and acquire more accurate statistics and research. In addition, the handbook is used by researchers and health insurance companies. All in all, the changes may mean the difference between gaining access to treatment… or not.

2013 saw publication of the fifth edition of the DSM, culminating in a 14-year revision process. While the new edition has changes, it is important to realize that it is more about clarifying and looking at some of the disorders in a new way, due to research and feedback from mental health professionals.

For example, in DSM-5, the symptoms for diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were revised to allow those who have experienced different forms of trauma to get treatment. Previously a PTSD diagnosis was attributed more to those who had been in combat; the new edition is far more inclusive. In fact, it is also more explicit about what can be defined as a “traumatic” event. The previous edition included three major symptom clusters for PTSD, whereas the DSM-5 has four with more distinct criteria. In addition, children and adolescents can now be diagnosed with PTSD, and there is a subtype with separate criteria for preschool children.

Easier to Get Treatment

The DSM-5 takes into consideration the many years of experience that different clinicians and researchers have had with mental illness, using new language that makes it easier to identify conditions like PTSD. The updated guidelines may even help patients get insurance coverage for syndromes that looked and acted like a particular condition, but did not meet criteria in the previous edition. That means more patients can get treatment to recover from their symptoms and live a more meaningful, enjoyable life.

In addition, the DSM-5 neither hinders – nor addresses specific plans for – treatment. Everyone who had a diagnosis before DSM-5 will still have a diagnosis, and many who need care will find it easier to get treatment. If anything, the new classifications will lead to more specific diagnoses that open new pathways to treatment. As before, clinicians can continue working with patients to determine what’s best.

If you or someone you know needs treatment, call Rogers at 800-767-4411 for a free screening or request one online.

December 13, 2013 - 9:24am

By Jennifer B. Wilcox, M.A.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by obsessions or compulsions leading to distress, thereby interfering with overall functioning. Although a diagnosis of OCD only requires the presence of obsessions or compulsions, the majority of children usually experience both. OCD can appear any time between preschool and adulthood, but most commonly surfaces between ages 8 and 12 or between the late teens and adulthood. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 200 children and adolescents has OCD.

Obsessions are unwanted and intrusive thoughts, urges, or images that are recurrent and persistent, causing marked anxiety and distress. They are not simply worries about real life problems, but rather originate within the mind. Examples of common obsessions include:

  • Fear of contamination or germs
  • Fear of harm or danger
  • Fear of loss
  • Need for symmetry
  • Need for perfection

An attempt to suppress or neutralize these obsessions occurs in OCD through distraction, by avoiding triggers, or engaging in behavior or mental rituals that reduce distress. This action or unwelcome thought or action is a compulsion.

Compulsions are behaviors, rituals, or mental acts that a person feels driven to perform (often repeatedly) in response to an obsession, or according to rules that have rigidly been applied to his or her life. Compulsions may be directly associated with the obsession in an obvious way or seem completely unrelated. Examples of common compulsions include:

  • Washing and cleaning
  • Checking
  • Hoarding
  • Ordering and arranging
  • Repeating rituals

Research has shown that it is common for everyone to have occasional unwanted and intrusive thoughts or mental images, and most people do not place much importance on them. In people with OCD, the thoughts are considered highly important. This causes the person experiencing them to feel compelled to neutralize or suppress them in an attempt to deflect their anxiety and discomfort. Despite having somewhat limited insight--in comparison to adults--children and adolescents are often able to recognize their compulsions as being excessive, unreasonable, and even senseless. However, their anxiety still obliges them to engage in the activity.

Because everyone has these types of experiences, it is important to ask the following questions to help determine whether your child may need professional help:

  • Do the symptoms cause distress for the child?
    OCD is ego-dystonic, meaning it differs from the person’s beliefs and values, and is therefore quite upsetting. He or she does not want to have these thoughts or engage in these activities. It is important to determine whether this behavior is unwanted. For example, if the child gets a new game or toy and appears to be “obsessed” with it, ask yourself: Is this an unwanted behavior by the child?
  • How often is the child engaging in these symptoms? How much time does he or she spend engaged in them? Is it more than one hour per day?
    Children with OCD often spend one to several hours per day of their time preoccupied with the symptoms of OCD.
  • Do the symptoms interfere with normal activities such as getting ready in the morning, schoolwork, socialization with friends, family activities, and other enjoyable activities?
    In a child with OCD, the stress of day-to-day life tends to become overwhelming and even unmanageable for him and his family.

If these descriptions seem to describe your child, he or she may have OCD and it will likely be beneficial to consult a mental health professional.

At Rogers, OCD treatment includes personalized treatment plans. Through evidence-based treatment for teens and children, our OCD programs help alleviate symptoms and learn effective therapy strategies they can use the rest of their lives. For a free screening, call us at 800-767-4411.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
Baer, L. (2000). Getting Control: Overcoming Your Obsessions and Compulsions.New York, NY: Penguin Putnam Inc.
International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation (IOCDF)
Johnston, H.F., & Fruehling, J.J. (2002). Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children and Adolescents: A Guide. Madison, WI: The Progressive Press.
March, J. , & Benton, C. (2007). Talking Back to OCD. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
March, J.S., & Mulle, K. (1998). OCD in Children and Adolescents: A Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment Manual. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

October 15, 2013 - 12:54pm

By Mary Jo Wiegratz, Manager of National Outreach

This year the annual National Eating Disorders Conference was held in Washington, D.C., so members could participate in a Federal Lobby Day, which focused on bringing awareness and support for eating disorders. Rogers’ Medical Director of Eating Disorders Services, Theodore Weltzin, MD, FAED, FAPA, national outreach representative Jean Corrao and I took advantage of that opportunity.

This year’s focus was on increasing access to mental health treatment and strengthening research funding. A recent poll showed cost of care and insurance coverage are top factors impeding successful recovery. And research funding for eating disorders lags other conditions. In 2011, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided funding research for Alzheimer’s of which88 dollars was spent per affected individual; for schizophrenia, 81 dollars, and for autism, 44 dollars. However, for eating disorders it was only 93 cents per affected individual.

Working with NEDA, we were able to meet with aides of Wisconsin’s Congressional representatives or aides from Jim Sensenbrenner, Gwen Moor and Mark Pocan and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s offices. We encouraged their support of the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders (FREED) Act of 2013, which addresses additional research, improved training for health and school professionals and improved insurance reimbursement for eating disorders. And, we invited them to join and support the National Eating Disorders Awareness Caucus and support a key initiative seeking further federal research.

We also sought their support or sponsorship of the House and Senate versions of the Mental Health Improvement Act, which can help with access and coverage. Part of this bill would allow for Medicare coverage of treatment provided by marriage and family therapists (MFTs) and mental health counselors (MHCs) n addition to the licensed certified social workers (LCSWs) currently covered. Training is comparable for these professionals, but MFTs and MHCs – often the only resource in rural communities – are not recognized as providers by Medicare.

We had a good response from everyone we met. Sen.Baldwin previously played an important role in supporting the FREED Act.

It was certainly an interesting time to be on Capitol Hill, given the government shutdown. It was pretty quiet. But it did give us a sense of being at the center of the government and doing our small part to encourage these initiatives.

September 26, 2013 - 2:42pm

As parents, friends and family members, we’re consistently reminded to keep our medications out of sight and reach. For many, the assumption is that this step is meant to keep small children safe. In reality, however, young children are not the only ones in danger—adolescents and adults are also at risk, as they have access to unsupervised medicine cabinets. In fact, reports indicate that thousands of teens use a prescription drug intended for someone else every day.

Consider the Dangers

Although you may not think about protecting unused prescriptions from wandering eyes and hands during social occasions, you may want to consider that – for many who find these drugs – a party isn’t really a party without a “random drug spin,” i.e., raiding the medicine cabinet and taking something with unknown effects. The fun, they say, is in not knowing what they’re about to experience.

Unfortunately, the effects of taking these drugs may be worse than they realize. The American College of Preventive Medicine warns that our country is in the midst of an epidemic – widespread prescription drug abuse. Prescription and over-the-counter medications account for eight of the 14 most frequently abused drugs by high school seniors. Plus, adolescents say prescription drugs are much easier to obtain than illicit drugs. Even more shocking: The abuse of prescription drugs is higher than cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants and heroin for those over the age of 12. The sad truth is that many prescription medications are forgotten in medicine cabinets and can become the “entertainment” some adults and adolescents seek.

Immediate and Long-Term Dangers

When adolescents and adults seek entertainment in pills, often mixing them with alcohol in efforts to get drunk faster, they put themselves at risk in the present and future. In addition to immediate effects like reduced ability to pay attention, impotence, potential brain damage, heart attack, stroke and even death, they become exponentially more likely to become chemically dependent. In fact, statistics indicate that the number of adolescents entering treatment for addiction to prescription pain relievers has increased by more than 300% over the last 10 years. And other reports reveal that one in four adolescents questioned in 2012 admit to abusing prescription drugs at least once, which represents a dramatic increase of 33% in just four years. In total, 7 million people abuse or misuse prescription drugs every month.

What Can You Do?

Locking your medicine cabinet and disposing of unused prescriptions can help. Safe medication disposal can mean bringing your unused medication supplies to a “drop-off” site such as a local police department. Otherwise, to discard expired and unused prescription drugs safely, remove tablets/capsules from their original containers and mix them with undesirable substances, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds, before placing them in a container with a lid or sealed bag for disposal. Flushing them down the toilet is not recommended due to chemicals entering the water supply.

Visit dispose my meds for a listing of approved drug disposal sites.

If you or someone you love is abusing prescription drugs, Rogers offers a wide variety of addiction treatment options including withdrawal management and long term stabilization at the Herrington Recovery Center. Request a free screening online or call us at 800-767-4411.

September 20, 2013 - 9:57am

Dual-Diagnosis in AddictionAddiction and mental illness: a circular relationship where one often feeds the other. There are cravings, obsessions and addictions that initially seem to solve issues with self-esteem, body image, family or work problems. Studies show that nearly one-third of alcohol abusers and one-half of drug abusers also battle a mental illness. This makes it difficult to determine if the addiction half of the relationship occurred before, or as a consequence of, the disease.

Michael Miller, MD, director of the Herrington Recovery Center and addiction treatment at Rogers, says, “For too long addiction and mental illness have been treated as separate disorders. The success of treating the addiction is often rooted in simultaneously addressing mental health disorders that increase a patient’s tendency to provide inadequate self-care and use drugs and alcohol.”

At Rogers, our doctors and therapists are trained to assess and treat the entire person – mind, body and spirit, not just the addiction. Each patient works with a treatment team to develop a plan that allows them to take care of themselves and learn healthy ways to manage their anxiety and depression. Recovery is difficult, but, with integrated treatment, patients learn strategies to change the feelings and behaviors that led to substance misuse.

August 5, 2013 - 8:59am

The following post is part of a letter presented by Jerry Halverson, MD, FAPA, to members of the Speaker’s Taskforce on Mental Health during a public hearing for the state of Wisconsin. He was asked to provide an overview of mental illness and the challenges faced by those that suffer, as well as the professionals the treat them. Part one:

Anxiety and Depression TreatmentWhat is Mental Illness?

By Jerry Halverson, MD, FAPA Medical Director of Adult Services at Rogers Memorial Hospital

I will start with what a mental illness is not. It is not a choice. It is not a weakness. A mental illness is a physical and/or emotional manifestation of diseases of the brain. Caused by too much or too little of certain chemical actions in one part of the brain, this hyper/hypo activity is used to communicate and transmit messages within the brain. This may lead to symptoms that present as changes in thoughts, moods, or behaviors. Associated with distress and impaired functioning, these thoughts can have minor or dire effects that could include disruptions of daily functions, incapacitating personal, social, and occupational impairment or even premature death. The most common mental illnesses in adults are anxiety and mood disorders.

The term mental illness refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders. These brain diseases can be caused by genetics or external events/agents thus, altering the chemicals our brains produce and changing the brain behavior.

Mental illnesses are found in all races, genders and socioeconomic classes. They are found throughout our state, our country and our world. According to the World Health Organization, mental illness results in more disability in developed countries than any other group of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. Published studies report that about 25 percent of all U.S. adults have a mental illness and that nearly 50% of U.S. adults will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime.

Mental illness is an important public health problem in itself, but also because it is often associated with chronic medical issues such as dementia, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Data from the Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO) shows behavioral health ranks third in illnesses most costly to treat. Unfortunately the data most likely underreports these costs as it does not include substance use disorders, patients being treated for the wrong diagnosis or for under-diagnosed patients whose illness may lead to additional unhealthy behaviors.

We know mental illness tends to worsen outcomes in medical illnesses, in turn leading to increased costs and complications, higher death rates, longer hospital stays and less control over chronic health issues. Mental illness is also associated with use of tobacco and abuse of alcohol.

Making an accurate diagnosis and treatment options are additional challenges facing mental illness. Dr. Halverson addressed this with the task force as well, his thoughts shared in an upcoming blog.

July 17, 2013 - 9:18am

Child and Adolescent Treatment FacilityMaking the decision to send a child or teen to a residential treatment facility is often difficult for families. Programs like the Child Center's Parent University keep a family involved in treatment, helping families ensure a successful transition back home and reinforcing treatment and recovery needs.

Parent University helps parents and caregivers of children at Rogers Child Center become familiar with the treatment components and terminology a child will learn during his or her treatment. Through a series of educational seminars, our clinical staff works to help families feel more confident and comfortable applying the principles used.

These interactive presentations include:

  • An introduction to CBT and ERP concepts and applications
  • Parental accommodation
  • Behavioral modification
  • Thinking errors

"Our goal is to have parents think of themselves as a coach. Just like in sports, the coach is involved in the direction, training and support of (treatment) goals to create long-term success." says Eddie Tomaich, clinical services manager at the Child Center.

June 18, 2013 - 2:35pm

OCD treatmentRogers Memorial Hospital is proud to announce new facilities for the OCD treatment Center. The new property will offer more beds in order to provide greater access to care. Bradley C. Riemann, PhD, Clinical Director of the OCD Center, explains the decision to expand, “We’re dedicated to helping people with OCD and their families. With this expanded center, we’re making sure quality treatment is available to those who need it.”

The new OCD Center, situated on 23 wooded acres with lake frontage, is less than one mile from Rogers’ Oconomowoc hospital campus. The facilities are being renovated with residents in mind, featuring spacious common areas, serene lake views and natural light. Easy access to medical staff offices will foster a therapeutic environment.



June 11, 2013 - 9:53am

When a traumatic event occurs in someone’s life, it is expected for them to react with acute stress or even shock. It’s when the acute stress symptoms persist that it may be more than a healthy reaction. An acute stress reaction is a psychological response one goes through after experiencing some sort of trauma; it is the minds way of coping with feelings of intense helplessness. This becomes “Acute Stress Disorder,” if the reaction persists for over two days, but diminishes after about a month. Initially, the victim will experience confusion and a state of disorientation with an inability to comprehend what is going on around them. This is followed by either complete withdrawal from the situation or agitated, anxious responses and depression. The reaction begins within minutes of the event and typically disappears within hours to 2-3 days. If not, this is when acute stress becomes a disorder.

Those with acute stress disorder suffer the symptoms of an acute stress reaction repeatedly for up to a month following the traumatizing event. They will continue to re-experience the event through flashbacks, dreams or thoughts. They will also avoid any stimulus that reminds them of the event. Other symptoms that occur are depression, anger, and anxiety. There must be clear connections between the event and the onset of the symptoms to be considered acute stress disorder. As previously mentioned, it is when this disorder continues for more than a month that there may be a mental illness diagnosis such as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

With PTSD, these symptoms recur longer than one month, causing impairment in every day functioning. There are three criteria related to the symptoms of PTSD:

  1. Reacting to a traumatic event with feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror.
  2. Re-experiencing of the event, similar to acute stress disorder. However, PTSD is much more pervasive than an acute stress reaction.
  3. Conscious attempts to avoid stimulus reminding them of the event.

Many diagnosed with PTSD will also have a general decrease in emotional responsiveness. These symptoms may not show immediately after the event occurs; PTSD can take months to set in. If any of these symptoms were apparent before the event, the diagnosis cannot be PTSD.

PTSD can be treated with medications as well as psychotherapy, although not every mental health provider is trained or experienced to provide PTSD treatment. Therefore, it is vital to seek out help from a specialized provider. Rogers offers a variety PTSD treatment including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure Ritual Prevention. ERP is an exposure to stimulus followed by a reconditioning of the response. The best way to recover is to seek help and proper PTSD treatment.

Take the step: raise PTSD awareness. If you or a loved one may benefit from PTSD treatment, call 800-767-4411 for a free screening. You can also request a free screening for treatment at

May 9, 2013 - 8:57am

Often times when people hear the term “disordered eating,” they assume it’s another way of saying one has an eating disorder. However, these terms are not interchangeable. With an eating disorder, food intake and weight issues consume your thoughts and actions making it nearly impossible to focus on anything else; it is a mental illness. Eating disorders often cause multiple, serious physical problems and, in severe cases, can become life threatening. On the other hand, disordered eating is much more common and symptoms typically occur less frequently than those of an eating disorder. Changes in eating patterns due to temporary stressors, athletic events, or even an illness would be considered disordered eating. Disordered eating can be defined as an unhealthy relationship with food; whereas an eating disorder is a psychiatric illness that is far more complex.

Although both diagnoses are cause for concern, there are signs to look for to know whether this is a temporary change in eating patterns or a mental illness. Both eating disorders and disordered eating can be recognized by certain red flags; yet these symptoms remain constant in those with an eating disorder. Indications of either diagnosis include:

  • Restrictive dieting/skipping meals
  • Binging
  • Purging
  • Laxatives/Diet Pill abuse

These symptoms will demonstrate the unhealthy relationship the individual has developed with food and eating habits. However the following symptoms may only be apparent in those with an eating disorder due to the psychological effects:

  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Distorted body image
  • Persistent concern about being “fat”
  • Frequent mirror checking
  • Feeling ashamed, sad or anxious
  • Obsessive thinking about food, weight, shape
  • Compulsive activity

As the signs and symptoms illustrate, individuals with both disordered eating and eating disorders will develop atypical eating habits which can lead to nutritional deficiencies. One concern for those with disordered eating is that it can lead to an eating disorder. Monitoring the individual and helping them maintain healthy eating habits is crucial to avoid this from happening. When the unhealthy eating patterns become persistent and more frequent, and other symptoms, such as the psychological ones, begin to occur, the individual should seek medical help.

Those with disordered eating develop poor eating habits that occur inconsistently or less frequently, typically caused by a particular event. Those with an eating disorder have a constantly occurring illness that can consume their lives.

If you or a loved one may be suffering from an eating disorder, you can call 800-767-4411 for a free telephone screening, or complete an online screening request.


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