According to NAMI (National Alliance on Medical Illness), every one in five US citizens will likely experience a mental illness or disorder during their lives. Yet, hardly half of these people will seek or receive the necessary help. When questioned in a survey, nearly 40% of people having feelings of depression or anxiety answered they’ve never sought medical assistance.
After all, there are no sure signs that prompt one to start therapy. Or are there? Medical professionals recommend looking out for any extreme mood or behavior abnormalities as they signal deteriorating mental health. Extreme is the operative word here as not all changes are equally concerning.
We all have our bad days and times of sadness. However, if these feelings persist for over two weeks, you should pay attention. If you observe any of the following changes, it’s time for you to start therapy:
Your Relationships Are Suffering
Are you constantly experiencing conflict in your relationships? Does your partner or love life seem not worth the effort anymore? Are you having difficulty maintaining friendships? These signs are clear indicators that it’s time to seek professional help. Present relationship conflicts usually have ties with our early life. Therefore, talking about your relationship history with a therapist can help put your current relationships in perspective. Therapy enables you to unearth various issues and improve your relationships in return.
Moreover, your therapist can act as your friend to help you walk through and process difficult situations and conversations. But, before you start looking at possible resources for help, it’s good to know the difference between counselor and therapist to clarify any doubts.
Your Sleep And Appetite Are Fluctuating
If you have been sleeping irregularly or having difficulty sleeping for some time, you may want to seek therapy. Though disturbed sleep is normal in times of stress, persistent sleep disturbances like insomnia shouldn’t go unnoticed. Mental illnesses like depression cause poor sleep quality, which, in turn, aggravates the illness’s symptoms.
Also, it’s good to check if there’s a significant decrease or increase in your appetite. A tell-tale sign of depression is a dramatic change in weight or eating habits. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can prove beneficial in both cases.
Your Thoughts And Emotions Are Overwhelming And Explosive
Emotional instability, such as intense and out-of-place anger or sadness, is another clear sign of a deteriorating mental state. Failure to control emotions is a symptom of anxiety and other mood disorders. It’s a widespread yet unhealthy practice in our society to suppress negative emotions. And while a good temporary fix, this approach leads our emotions to bottle up and come out in other ways.
Anger outbursts and uncontrollable crying that interfere with your daily functioning are significant indicators of deep-rooted issues. Again, therapy can be a fruitful practice for people struggling with their emotional issues.
Your Trauma Is Resurfacing
Generally, most people seek therapy to cope with past trauma—for instance, sexual or emotional abuse in childhood. Additionally, abusive relationships, workplace discrimination, or a loved one’s death can prompt people to seek therapeutic help.
When an experience is too painful to overcome, it’s likely to take a toll on all aspects of your life, including relationships, career, and physical health. In this scenario, talking to a professional can help. Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy can help address and manage post-traumatic stress disorder.
Your Coping Mechanisms Are Becoming Unhealthy
Regardless of the momentary satisfaction, substance abuse is still unhealthy and destructive coping mechanism. People who cope with difficult situations in this manner are trying to extract the sweet sensation of dopamine, a brain chemical released during pleasurable activities.
However, these pleasure sensations don’t last long, and your life remains the same after it’s over. A more viable and long-term solution is seeking out therapy to help manage troubling emotions more proactively.
Your Focus And Productivity Are Diminishing
Are you having difficulty deciding the most trivial things? Losing focus in the middle of important meetings? Can’t read one research paper without getting distracted? Mental illnesses like depression can cause chemical imbalances in the brain, making it harder to concentrate. It’s best to seek immediate medical help so you can prevent these symptoms from affecting your career pursuits too adversely.
The Bottom Line
Seeking therapy is nothing to be shameful about because our mental health deserves the same medical attention as our physical health. This article discussed some tell-tale signs of a declining mental state that indicate the need for therapy. These comprise loss of productivity, using unhealthy coping mechanisms, and experiencing conflict in relationships.