5 Signs It May Be Time to See a Therapist
By Patricia Cherasard, PA-C, MBA
Everyone experiences periods of stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, and conflict. For some people these feelings are usually short lived, but for others undergoing therapeutic interventions to deal with these emotions can be quite beneficial. Currently with the pandemic, there are many people feeling overwhelming thoughts and stress.
Unfortunately, there is often a stigma attached to psychotherapy treatment, and those who would benefit from it are not seeking intervention enough. There is absolutely no reason to feel uncomfortable if you need professional guidance and support.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration one in five American adults are suffering from some form of mental illness. Untreated mental illness can lead to a life of restless suffering and distress. Most people can benefit from therapy at some point in their lives. The sooner you seek out treatment, the faster you’ll feel better.
If you’re experiencing any of these 5 signs below, it’s probably time to seek professional help:
1. You frequently feel overwhelmed and stressed. Stress is a fact of life. Most people in our world are feeling stress associated with COVID-19. We often associate stress with negativity, yet stress can also occur as a result of positive events (marriage, a new job). Problems and discomfort often occur when we are so bombarded with change that our system becomes overloaded. Stress can cause one to make poor decisions or feel unable to make any decisions. Additionally, chronic stress has serious, long-term health implications.
2. You abuse food, drugs, alcohol, and/or sex to cope. This is when you turn outside yourself to a substance or behavior to help you feel better. If this is you, your coping skills may need some fine-tuning. If you feel unable to control these behaviors or you can’t stop despite negative consequences in your life, you may be struggling with addictive or compulsive behavior that requires treatment.
3. You’re coping with recent hardship. Grief can be a long and difficult process to endure without the support of an expert. While not everyone needs counseling during these times, there is no shame in needing a little help to get through the loss. This may be the loss of a loved one, a divorce or significant breakup, or the loss of a job and especially if you’ve experienced multiple losses in a short period of time.
4. Your relationships are strained. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, you may not be able to discern exactly what’s going on in your life. If your friends or family members come to you expressing concern about some aspect of your behavior, you should not get defensive, and instead pay attention to what they’re telling you. Your loved ones genuinely care about you and want to help.
5. You have no desire to do the things you like to do. If you’ve become apathetic and find it difficult or impossible to drum up any enthusiasm for activities, hobbies, and interests, don’t make light of the situation. This is an extremely common and easily detectible sign of the onset of clinical depression. Clinical or major depression involves a persistent (lasting more than two weeks) and usually disruptive disturbance of mood that often affects other bodily functions as well. If you suspect that you may be dealing with a case of clinical depression see a medical professional immediately.
Above all remember seeking professional help and support may be a critical decision to navigate to a healthier place. Make the call.