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Life is hard. You're not alone. Help is available.

Stress is a feeling of tension that can be emotional or physical. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is considered a normal feeling and in small amounts it can motivate a person to get things done. Long term stress can have detrimental effects on your health. It is important to note that stress does not affect everyone the same way and although you may not be able to control the stressors in your world, you do have the ability to change how you react to them.

According the American Psychological Association, a few strategies for reducing stress include: identify what is causing you stress, build strong relationships, walk away when you feel angry, and get the appropriate amount of rest.


If you are in need of help or are concerned that an attorney, judge, or law student has an issue that might be interfering with their personal or professional lives, there is confidential help. 

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According to the DSM 5, the essential feature of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is excessive anxiety and worry about a number of events and activities. The individual finds it difficult to control the worry and to keep worrisome thoughts from interfering with attention to tasks at hand.

Some symptoms of anxiety include restlessness, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension and sleep disturbance. Individuals with GAD report subjective distress due to constant worry and related impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Mental health care professionals recommend that lawyers and judges take the time to develop and adhere to a daily routine of stress management tools such as exercise, diet, meditation, yoga and simple things such as learning to say “no” to new tasks when overburdened and stressed out.

Bipolar Disorder is sometimes called manic-depressive disorder and is associated with mood swings that range from the lows of depression to the highs of mania. When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts in the other direction, you may feel euphoric and full of energy. Mood shifts may occur only a few times a year, or as often as several times a day. In some cases, bipolar disorder causes symptoms of depression and mania at the same time.

If you or another lawyer, judge, law student or family member is experiencing symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, contact the Iowa Lawyers Assistance Program for confidential help. 

Grief is the pain that you feel when you lose someone or something you love or care very deeply about can be excruciating. You may experience a variety of emotions that you feel will never end. Grief is a natural response to loss and the more significant the loss, the more intense and debilitating the grief will be, however, subtle losses can also lead to grief.

Grief is often associated with the death of a loved one, but any loss can cause grief, including: loss of health, divorce or breakup, loss of a job, miscarriage, loss of friendship, death of a pet, loss of financial stability, retirement, and loss of health.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grieving is very personal and individualized. Grieving has no timetable; for some in week they start to feel better and for others years later. While loss affects people in different ways, many experience symptoms such as shock and disbelief, sadness, fear, guilt, anger and even physical symptoms.

It is important to note that According to the DSM 5, in distinguishing grief from a major depressive episode (MDE), it is useful to consider in grief the predominant affect is feelings of emptiness and loss, while in MDE it is persistent depressed mood and the inability to anticipate happiness or pleasure. The dysphoria in grief is likely to decrease in intensity over days to weeks and occurs in waves. These waves tend to be associated with thoughts and reminders of the deceased. The depressed mood of MDE is more persistent and tied to specific thoughts or preoccupations.

The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. The Iowa Lawyers Assistance Program can offer support and referrals to experienced mental health professionals with grief counseling experience. Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry. Do not grieve alone.

According to the DSM 5 the essential feature of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. Inattention manifests behaviorally as wandering off task, lacking persistence, having difficulty sustaining focus, and being disorganized and is not due to defiance or lack of comprehension. Hyperactivity refers to excessive motor activity when it is not appropriate, or excessive fidgeting, tapping, or talkativeness. In adults hyperactivity may manifest as extreme restlessness or wearing others out with their activity. Impulsivity refers to hasty actions that occur in the moment without forethought and that have high potential for harm to the individual. Impulsivity may reflect a desire for immediate rewards or an inability to delay gratification. Impulsive behaviors may manifest as social intrusiveness and/or as making important decisions without consideration of long term consequences.

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