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Memorial Day Gratitude

Posted by on May 27, 2019 in Gratitude, Holidays | 0 comments

Memorial Day Gratitude

On this Memorial Day, the staff members at Agor Behavioral Health Services, Inc. honor those service men and women who gave the ultimate...

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Sleep Deprivation & Children

Posted by on May 24, 2019 in Children, Children's Mental Health Awareness, Family, Sleep Issues, Teens, Toddlers | 0 comments

Sleep Deprivation & Children

You have heard of adults suffering from sleep deprivation, but children suffer from sleep deprivation too. While the effects of sleep deprivation are detrimental for both adults and children it is more so for children as they are still growing and developing. Sleep deprivation compromises emotional and physical health; it also affects attention span, irritability and increases risk-taking behavior. Children need more sleep than the recommended 7-9 hours stipulated for adults. If a child falls asleep within half an hour of going to bed, wakes up on time without much of a struggle and does not take to daytime napping, he/she can be said to have rested well. Sleep deprivation can lead to a decline in the overall cognitive process. The inability to concentrate, poor decision making and impaired memory, as a result of sleep deprivation can combine to bring down a child’s academic performance. Lack of sleep can hamper a child’s performance in sports too. How Much Sleep is Enough? According the National Sleep Foundation, needed sleep depends on age. The recommendations are as follows: Newborns (0-3 months) – 14 – 17 hours Infants (4-12 months) – 12-15 hours Toddlers (1-2 years) – 11-14 hours School-aged (6-13 years) – 9-11 hours Teenagers (14-17 years) – 8-10 hours Young Adults (18-25 years) – 7-9 hours Sleep Deprivation Signs If you suspect your child is suffering from sleep deprivation, here are some signs to look out for which may help you determine whether you are right in your suspicion. A sleep-deprived child may display the following signs: Under-eye dark circles Absenteeism from school Inability to focus attention Hyperactivity Mood Swings Depression Aggressive Behavior Low impulse control Cause and Effect Sleep deprivation in children can be a result of medical problems that disrupt sleep. Treatable medical conditions that lead to childhood sleep deprivation are restless legs syndrome, insomnia, and obstructive sleep apnea. Children suffering from chronic diseases such as gastroesophageal reflux, rheumatoid arthritis, and other psychiatric/neurological conditions are also predisposed to sleep deprivation.   Continued sleep deprivation can lead to hormonal imbalances. It can also contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Lack of sleep makes children less immune to diseases their bodies do not get ample time to relax and rejuvenate itself. Inadequate sleep can make children more inclined towards binge-eating and other such unhealthy habits. Conclusion Sleep deprivation in children is a common complaint. Several physical and emotional factors can affect a child’s sleep. It is important for a growing child to get an adequate amount of sleep as lack of it may affect their mental and physiological development. Speak to your pediatrician or primary care doctor if you believe your child is not getting adequate sleep. The doctor will check for any underlying medical conditions and, if necessary, refer you to a sleep specialist who can help. Resources National Sleep Foundation: How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need – https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessive-sleepiness/support/how-much-sleep-do-babies-and-kids-need Sleep Tips for Kids – https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-disorders-sleep-tips-kids What to Do if You Can’t Sleep – https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/cant-sleep.html Need more help? The therapists at Agor Behavioral Health Services are available to help individuals and families cope with sleep disorders and related mental health issues. Contact us today for more information or to  schedule an appointment by calling...

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Support for Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by on May 23, 2019 in Alzheimer's/Dementia, Mental Health Awareness, News, Other Resources, Relationships, Resources, Therapy | 0 comments

Support for Alzheimer’s Disease

It can be difficult to cope when your friend or family member is affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, but there are ways in which you can help him or her. You can improve their quality of life with your efforts and be a proud caregiver. Ideas to support a loved one who has Alzheimer’s Disease Learn as much as you can about the disease. If you are made aware of how Alzheimer’s affects the brain and body, you can anticipate emerging symptoms and be ready to deal with them. Reach out for support. You can access support and information from support groups, classes and family members who are battling the same to provide additional care tailored to suit your patient’s condition. You can also make use of the tips that they provide to carry out your daily activities more efficiently while also acting as a caregiver. Connecting with others facing the same problems as you can help alleviate your stress and anxiety.  Prepare yourself. Patients with Alzheimer’s may have emotional outbursts arising out of their frustration. They may be anxious and irritated throughout the day. They could say or do hurtful things unintentionally in their agitation. You will need to keep your calm and presence of mind in these moments to manage the situation and help lessen the patient’s distress.  Force participation. The patient may be unable to carry out their daily tasks, but this should not mean that they stop trying. Progress might be slow but the process matters more here than the outcome. The individual will feel much better if he or she knows they  can still exercise some control over their lives by participating in daily chores and activities. Be flexible and step in to complete the task if the patient begins to get frustrated at not being able to complete the task.  Encourage nostalgia. Patients with Alzheimer’s are often able to remember their past memories more clearly than their immediate memory. Reminisce with them as their ability to remember the past can assure them of themselves. Maintain a routine. Plan out your day in advance, scheduling what needs to be done. Include the patient in this routine; it will help anchor them. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be a challenge but following the above-mentioned ways may help ease your task. Other suggestions are available at the resources listed below. Resources for Alzheimer’s Disease Information Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet – https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet What is Alzheimer’s? – https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers Alzheimer’s Disease: The 7 Stages of the Disease – https://www.webmd.com/g00/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-disease-stages Alzheimer’s Association Resources – https://www.alz.org/help-support/resources Need more help? Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease is difficult. The therapists at Agor Behavioral Health Services are available to assist families navigating diagnosis and treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease. Contact us today for more information or to  schedule an appointment by calling...

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Anxiety in Children

Posted by on May 22, 2019 in Anxiety, Children, Children's Mental Health Awareness, Counseling, Family, Mental Health Awareness, News, Self Esteem, Social Anxiety, Social Skills, Therapy | 0 comments

Anxiety in Children

Anxiety under certain situations is normal. For example, when a child is taking a test or when he or she is asked to speak or perform in front of an audience – these are situations where it is normal for children to experience some anxiety. But what if a child is always worrying, always anxious? When the anxiety of a child is disproportionate to the situation it can be termed as an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder in children is difficult to gauge because children are not very good at expressing their problems and anxious children are usually quieter. So how do you tell if a child has an anxiety disorder? Types of Anxiety Disorders General Anxiety Disorder – This is when a child worries almost every day over everything. Other than the usual things that children worry about, like homework or tests, kids with General Anxiety Disorder tend to worry about little things like playing with friends, riding the school bus or sometimes even about greater things like war or the climate or their loved ones’ safety. This makes them lose focus on school activities and have an effect on their general health as they tend to lose sleep and feel sick. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – This causes children to show certain obsessive, repetitive behavior called compulsions. Some examples of this kind of behavior are repeatedly washing one’s hands, always arranging personal belongings in a particular order or checking constantly if the door is locked. There are many other similar traits of this disorder unique to each person, which they might perform almost like a ritual. Separation Anxiety Disorder – This is the anxiety an older child might feel when separated from a parent. This is completely normal in infants or toddlers but as a child grows older, he or she usually learns to be comfortable away from the parents. But children with Separation Anxiety Disorder will miss out on any other activity to stay close to their parents. Social Anxiety Disorder – In this case, the child is too anxious of being judged when in a social gathering or performing in front of a crowd. They are too afraid of having all eyes on them and tend to panic or freeze under such situations. This might also lead to Selective Mutism in some cases, where a child chooses not to talk in a gathering although he or she speaks perfectly well at home or with family. Specific Phobia – This is an intense, inexplicable fear of a certain thing which might not be fearful to others. For example, fear of thunderstorms, fear of heights or fear of closed spaces, to name a few. Any anxiety disorder must not be neglected and professional help must be sought to deal with it. An experienced and qualified therapist can help your child develop coping strategies to combat anxiety. For some children, talk therapy combined with medication may be recommended. Need more help? The therapists at Agor Behavioral Health Services are available to help children and families experiencing anxiety disorders. Contact us today for more information or to  schedule an appointment by calling 630-621-5824....

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How to Choose a Mental Health Provider

Posted by on May 21, 2019 in Counseling, Education, Mental Health Awareness, News, Resources, Therapists, Therapy | 0 comments

How to Choose a Mental Health Provider

It is important to find a mental health provider who understands your unique needs and problems. If you have never sought out a mental healthcare professional, this can be a daunting task. Tips to help find the therapist you need Figure out what sort of mental health provider you need – Do you need – a therapist, a psychiatrist, a psychiatric nurse, a physician or a professional counselor. It is easier to ask for help when you know where to go to ask for help. How do you pick? If you have health insurance, you will want to pick someone from within your plan. If you are not sure of the type of mental health professional you need, your primary care physician can usually guide you in this decision. Ask for referrals – Ask your general physician for recommendations. Ask your friends and family if they have anybody they can refer. Search internet and phonebook listings. You may even contact up local mental health awareness and care organizations. Websites such as Psychology Today offer referral services. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists Check their qualifications – Before choosing a therapist, verify that they have the educational and professional qualifications required for the job. Are they experienced in the field or are they fresh out of school? Do they have a specialty area? All of this can have great bearing on how effective your treatment turns out to be. Try to understand their approach – All mental health providers have separate approaches that they use to tackle the problems of their patients. One size does not fit all; seek a clinician who will use a personalized approach to address your concerns. Talk to them and find out what their philosophies are and which area is their specialty. Find out the length of their sessions and fees – Many talk therapy sessions are an hour long; some psychiatry maintenance visits are 15- 20 minutes long. Verify, prior to your appointment, the session length and what the fees will be. If you have insurance, request confirmation that the practice accepts your plan. What if the mental health provider you chose turns out to be wrong for you? Sometimes, we choose a provider who is experienced and well-versed with the treatment plan you require for your mental health only to find that their approach is not working for you. It happens all the time. Do not lose heart! It is okay to change providers if you find your current therapist is not a good fit. In time, you are sure to find a mental health professional you will be able to trust and build a relationship with. It is very important to have a level of comfort with your mental health provider as you will not be able to communicate with them honestly and to your benefit otherwise! Need more help? The therapists at Agor Behavioral Health Services are available to help individuals and families  cope with mental health issues. Contact us today for more information or to  schedule an appointment by calling...

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Exercise and Depression

Posted by on May 20, 2019 in Anxiety, Depression, Exercise & Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness | 0 comments

Exercise and Depression

Regular physical activity has been found to be beneficial for preventing and managing symptoms of depression. When you have anxiety or depression, going for a run or stepping on your treadmills can be the last thing on your mind. However, if you can manage the motivation – they can work wonders! While the link between exercise and depression/anxiety isn’t quite clear, exercise has been found to have a positive impact on our moods. In fact, exercise may even work to ward away depression from re-occurring again. Reasons how exercise can help ease depression and anxiety It is good distraction – When you are actively engaged in performing physically, you are concentrating on the task at hand. You are no longer feeding the negative cycle of thought that often exists with depression. It releases feel-good hormones – Feel-good hormones, or endorphins, get released in our bodies when we do any challenging physical activity. This release of of endorphins can help improve mood and overall sense of well-being. It is a healthy coping mechanism – Exercise is a positive way to try and manage your weak mental health. Gives you confidence – When you have a workout plan in place, you also set specific goals and gains. Being able to challenge yourself into doing more repetitions of an exercise or meeting your workout goals motivates you to carry on. When you see the results on your body, you feel confident and ready to face the world. You get to be around people – Depressed people often tend to isolate themselves. They spend their time alone, having cut everyone off and engage in more negative thinking. When you join a gym or a sports club, you are walking into a social space. You will be sharing this space with other people and forced to interact with them. A simple smile or wave your way can help improve your mood. Humans are social by nature, human connection is important to our well-being If the thought of exercise seems to be too much, try taking a walk around your block or in a nearby park. Devoting as little as 30 minutes to daily exercise can significantly lower anxiety and depression. Need more help? The therapists at Agor Behavioral Health Services are available to help individuals and families develop strategies to incorporate exercise in plans to cope with mental health issues. Contact us today for more information or to  schedule an appointment by calling...

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Diet and Mental Health

Posted by on May 17, 2019 in Depression, Diet & Mental Health, Health and Fitness, Mental Health Awareness, News | 0 comments

Diet and Mental Health

Ample research has been conducted to find that there is an explicit connection between the diet we consume and our mental health. A well rounded and nutritious diet is not just healthy for our body, it is healthy for our brain too. Consuming a healthy diet can be a definitive step in preventing the occurrence of mental health disorders. The link between a healthy diet and depression People who partake of a diet rich in whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, fish, legumes and unsaturated fats are about at a 35% lower risk of developing depression when compared to those who do not. Eating highly processed, sugary and fried food, on the other hand can increase your risk of developing depression by 60%. Diet and mental health in children If the mother of a child eats food content which is high in sugar, fried or highly processed while pregnant, the child may prone to emotional problems as they grow up. The same holds true for a child who consumes a similar diet in the earlier stages of their life. Children who eat healthy foods almost halve their risk of developing depression. Children who eat junk food regularly are an 80% risk for depression. How does food affect your brain? The diet we eat is related to our hippocampus and how it functions. The hippocampus is responsible for our mental health, learning and memory. People who eat clean and healthy are found to have more hippocampal volume than those who do not eat a healthy diet. Eating more whole foods is beneficial to your moods; research shows that people who improve their diets experience often a drop in their depression. What nutrients should you look for in your food? Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D and B Group Vitamins are all important nutrients that regulate brain functioning. Vitamin D improves mood, B Group Vitamins regulate the neurotransmitters in our body and Omega 3 fatty acids reduces risk of depression. Final thoughts A healthy diet is just as important in preventing mental health complaints as is a good night’s sleep, following a healthy lifestyle and having a strong support system. Try to stay away from overly-processed, fried and high-sugar content food products, and choose fresh and nutritious wholesome food instead. Not only will you feel healthy and energized physically, it will boost your wellness too – cutting down your chances of developing depression or similar mental health problems. Need more help? The therapists at Agor Behavioral Health Services are available to help individuals and families develop strategies to cope with mental health issues. Contact us today for more information or to  schedule an appointment by calling...

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Sleep and Mental Health

Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health Awareness, News, Sleep Issues | 0 comments

Sleep and Mental Health

Sleep is of utmost importance to our health and well-being. It rests both our body and mind; getting enough sleep helps us strengthen our memory and process information better. Lack of sleep can be extremely detrimental for our mental health. It can lead to anxiety and depression. Sleep and mental health share a closely bound relationship. Those suffering from a mental health issue are often subject to sleep disturbance, causing exhaustion and lethargy during the day. Insomnia and difficulties in maintaining a regular sleeping pattern were once seen as symptoms of mental health complaints. Now, it is widely understood that sleep deprivation can often lead to the development of mental health conditions. The causative factors behind such interrelation between sleep and mental health have not been fully understood yet. However, neurochemists and neuroimagists have found that lack of sleep can lead to negative thinking and emotional vulnerability while a good night’s sleep builds mental and emotional resilience. How does sleep deprivation affect us? Sleep deprivation affects the level of hormones and neurotransmitters in our body, which impact the brain negatively, impairing emotional regulation and thinking. Our sleep habits have such a direct bearing on our mental health that mental health practitioners often ask about our sleep patterns before making their diagnosis. Sleep issues that exist with mental health diagnoses make these conditions more difficult to treat. Often, people who suffer from insomnia have a 40% chance of also suffering from a co-existing mental health condition. However, it is not always the other way around. Mental health complaints can exist in an individual without any glaring sleep problems. It has been found that those suffering from a mental illness usually spend more time in a lighter sleep than in the deeper restorative sleep. Skipping the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep is harmful for us mentally as we fail to derive the emotional and cognitive benefits of sleep inherent in this sleep stage. Without appropriate REM sleep, we are moody, irrational, more prone to poor judgment and lapses in memory. Lack of restful sleep can worsen the impact that our already poor mental health has on us. It makes treatment difficult and may even predispose the patient to suicidal tendencies. Need more help? The therapists at Agor Behavioral Health Services are available to help individuals and families cope with sleep disorders and related mental health issues. Contact us today for more information or to  schedule an appointment by calling...

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Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

Posted by on May 9, 2019 in Children, Children's Mental Health Awareness, Counseling, Depression, Mental Health Awareness, Parenting, Relationships, Suicide | 0 comments

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

Thursday, May 9, 2019 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Over 10 years ago, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) began to highlight the importance of every child’s mental health as well as share the message that positive mental health is an essential component of health child development. The purpose of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is to increase public awareness about the needs of children and teens with serious mental illness and severe emotional disturbance, provide information on evidence-based practices, encourage those in need of help to seek treatment and support families caring for children with mental health needs. This year, the theme for this day is “Suicide Prevention: Strategies that Work.” This article will take a look at ways to recognize if your child may be considering suicide. Suicidal ideation, or the tendency towards suicidal thinking, is difficult to identify in children. They are more reluctant to talk wanting to die than adults. Not even the child’s parents are privy to these thoughts. It makes the task of suicide prevention all the more difficult for these ages. What are some warning signs to look out for that will tell you a child may be thinking of suicide? Read on to find out. Detecting Suicidal Ideation in Children Some children express suicidal ideation via their interests – It’s a good idea to keep a close watch on the TV shows they watch, the websites they visit and whether they seem to relate to a depressed or suicidal person they know. They may refer to killing themselves indirectly – They may not be telling you they are thinking about ending their life explicitly. Perhaps, they are only hinting at it. Sometimes, this is enough reason for you to keep your child on suicide-watch. Try to recognize signs of depression in them – While depression and suicidal ideation do not necessarily always coexist, there are high chances that a person who is depressed is also thinking about death. If your child is withdrawing themselves from participating in social activities and generally expressing hopelessness with life – get concerned. Even if your depressed child turns out to not be at suicide risk, untreated depression can cause serious damage to their life. Look out for changes in eating or sleeping habits – Sometimes subtle changes in routine behavior can indicate serious underlying problems. Is your child sleeping a lot more than they used to? Have they lost their appetite? There could be an issue worth looking into. Drop in performance at school – Is your child averse to going to school suddenly? Has his or her absenteeism increased? Does she or he show less interest in their classes than they used to? A drop in academic performance and lack of interest in everyday activities could be an indicator of depression or a growing lack of interest in life itself. It is far more difficult to spot signs of suicidal ideation in children than it is in adults. One should be alert to the above signs shall they manifest themselves in their children – to allow them to know when to seek help. Need more help? The therapists at Agor Behavioral Health Services are available to help individuals and families cope with mental illnesses. Contact us today for...

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Mental Health Awareness Month

Posted by on May 8, 2019 in Mental Health Awareness, News, Psychological Testing, Therapy, Virtual Therapy | 0 comments

Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental health issues are very common; 1 in 5 people will experience some kind of mental illness in their lifetime. It is estimated that only 50% of people with mental illnesses receive treatment. Some of these conditions include anxiety, depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Mental Health Awareness Month was started 70 years ago to raise awareness about mental health conditions. Mental health is essential to overall health and well-being; mental illnesses are common and treatable. Mental Illness Myths Myth: Mental illnesses are a sign of weakness Fact: Mental illnesses do are not a reflection of strength or weakness. Mental illnesses are medical disorders that need treatment. Several factors, such as genetics, brain chemistry, life experiences, trauma and family history can play a role in mental health. Myth: A mental illness is a life sentence Fact: Mental health changes over your lifetime. Many factors can change how a person feels. With treatment, some problems may be temporary. A good therapist or counselor can help you navigate the road to good mental health. Myth: Children and teens don’t experience mental health problems Fact: Research estimates that 1 in 5 teenagers have or will have a mental illness. In nearly half of adults who experience mental health issues, the first signs show up prior to age 14. Mental health issues are caused by a variety of factors, many of which are beyond the control of parents or the child. Myth: Therapy is a waste of time Fact: The idea of therapy can make some people uncomfortable. Modern therapy is designed to focus on problems and solutions. Sometimes, a combination of talk therapy and medications are used as part of a treatment plan. Need more help? The therapists at Agor Behavioral Health Services are available to help individuals and families cope with mental illnesses. Contact us today for more information or to  schedule an appointment by calling...

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