It’s time to see a therapist. Psychotherapy, talk or talking therapy, counseling, or simply therapy — no matter the name it’s known by, mental health counseling can benefit people struggling with emotional difficulties, life challenges, and mental health concerns.
Many mental health conditions can be helped by therapy. Therapy can help people learn to manage symptoms that may not respond immediately to medication. Research has shown that therapy is more effective than medication. Although medication may reduce certain symptoms of some mental health conditions, therapy teaches people skills that can be used to address many other symptoms. These skills are transferable to the next therapy session. Symptoms may improve with therapist touch bases.
How common are mental health issues?
Mental health problems are common. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 1 in 5 Americans has a mental disorder. 1 in 20 adults suffer from a serious mental condition every year. One in six U.S. teens aged 6-17 suffer from a mental disorder.
Only 40% of people suffering from mental health problems get help. Untreated mental illness can often lead to more severe and potentially fatal consequences. They can also lead to:
- Inability to work/go to school
- Difficulty in relationships and taking care of children
- Higher risk of developing health problems
Suicide is the second leading cause for death in the United States, and it affects people between the ages 10 and 34. A majority of suicide victims in America were suffering from a mental health condition.
For anyone considering suicide, the best option is to reach out to a suicide hotline via phone, text message or online chat. It may be a good idea to call the nearest emergency room or visit it. Once you are not in crisis, a therapist can support you.
Do I “Need” Therapy?
Although it can be difficult to see a loved one struggle with mental health issues, telling them they should seek therapy or that they are in need of therapy can be threatening or stigmatizing.
Encourage someone you care about and offer to review potential therapy options with them is a good way of showing support. People who feel forced to go to therapy may be resistant to change and find it difficult to do the work required.
Therapy is recommended for anyone with a mental disorder or other emotional concern that has a negative impact on daily life and functioning. Therapy can help you learn about what you’re feeling, why you might be feeling it, and how to cope.
Therapy also offers a safe place to talk through life challenges such as breakups, grief, parenting difficulties, COVID impacts, or family struggles. Couples counseling can help you and/or your partner to work through problems in your relationship and learn new ways of communicating with each other. For abusive relationships, crisis resources are recommended, not couples counseling.
What are the Best Times to Consider Therapy?
It may take some consideration before you decide you’re ready for therapy. You might want to wait and see if time, lifestyle changes, or the support of friends and family improves whatever you’re struggling with.
The American Psychological Association recommends that you see a therapist if something is causing distress or interfering with your life, especially when:
- The time it takes to think about and deal with the issue is at least one hour each day
- The issue makes you embarrassed or makes it difficult to avoid others.
- The problem has affected your quality of living.
- The issue has had a negative impact on school, work, and relationships.
- You’ve made changes in your life or developed habits to cope with the issue
Therapy may be an option if you are experiencing any of the following emotions and feelings that interfere with your daily life. It’s especially important to consider it’s time to see a therapist if you feel controlled by symptoms or if they could cause harm to yourself or others.
You might need to see a professional if you have any of these signs
- Overwhelmed.It is possible to feel overwhelmed by the amount of things you have to do and the number of issues you need to deal with. You might feel like you can’t rest or even breathe. Stress and being overwhelmed could lead to serious health issues.
- Fatigue.This is often a sign of mental health issues. It could also be a sign that you are suffering from depression. Fatigue can lead to more sleep than usual, or difficulty getting out of bed each morning.
- Disproportionate anger, rage, or resentment Everyone feels anger at times. Even passing rage isn’t necessarily harmful. Seeking support to deal with these feelings may be a good idea when they don’t pass, are extreme compared to the situation, or if they lead you to take violent or potentially harmful actions.
- Agoraphobia.People with agoraphobia are afraid of being in situations where they might have panic attacks or become trapped. Some people may be unable to leave their homes.
- Anxious or intrusive thoughts. It’s normal to worry about things from time to time, but when worry takes up a significant part of your day or causes physical symptoms, therapy can help you deal with it.
- Apathy.Mental health issues such as depression or anxiety include losing interest in normal activities, the environment around you, and life in general.
- Hopelessness.Depression and other mental health conditions can cause you to lose your hope or feel like there is no way out. Feeling hopeless from time to time, especially after a period of difficulty, isn’t uncommon. It can lead to thoughts and actions of suicide if it continues.
- Social withdrawal Many people feel better when they’re able to spend at least some time alone. Introverts may need more alone time than others. Therapy can help you to understand and deal with your feelings of distress or fear around other people.
What If I’ve Already Tried Therapy and It Didn’t Work?
Sometimes therapy doesn’t “work” right away. It can take time for symptoms and to improve even in the best therapy setting. – months or years. Frustration may result from going to therapy and not seeing any improvement. Perhaps you haven’t found the right therapist, so it’s worth it to continue your search for help. If you’re still experiencing any of the symptoms above, therapy should still be an option. Don’t stop your quest to improve your mental health.
It can help to look for a therapist who treats what you’re experiencing. If you don’t have a diagnosis, you can talk to potential therapists about your symptoms. Most therapists will let you know if they’re able to treat your concern. If they can’t, they may be able to recommend someone who can.
You should remember that different approaches might be better for different issues. If you didn’t feel heard in your previous therapy, or if your symptoms have changed since your last therapy session, a different therapist might be exactly what you to move forward.
What are the benefits of seeking therapy?
If you’re considering therapy, you may be thinking about the possible drawbacks. You might be concerned about the cost. You might also know that therapy can be difficult. It can be difficult to talk about trauma or other painful past events with someone you care about. Working through challenges isn’t easy, and therapy isn’t always a quick fix. Make sure that when you’re ready to see a therapist that you can be honest with yourself and with your them.
But if you’re willing to do the work, therapy can be rewarding. It’s a safe, judgment-free space where you can share anything, with a trained professional who is there to help.
Here are some benefits of therapy:
- You’ll learn more about yourself.Therapists listen and help you to make connections. If you feel lost or confused, they may offer guidance or make recommendations. Therapy can help you take control of your life.
- Therapy can help you reach your goals. If you aren’t sure of what your goals are, therapy can help you clarify them and set realistic steps to meet them.
- Therapy can help you to have more fulfilling relationships. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, therapy can help you address difficulties relating to others, such as insecurity in relationships or difficulty trusting your partners.
- You’re more likely to have better health.Research supports the link between mind health and body well-being. Untreated mental issues can lead to poor physical health. On the other side, people who are in good emotional health may be better able to deal and manage any physical health issues.
- Therapy can help you improve all aspects of your life.Therapy can help you if you feel that something is stopping you from living the life you want. When you aren’t sure what’s keeping you from making change, therapy can help you discover the answer.
Even if you aren’t sure you want to commit to therapy, many therapists offer a free first session or phone consultation to talk through what you’re dealing with. They might recommend that you seek help based on your symptoms.
Start your journey! Find a therapist today!
[Original article submitted by Crystal Raypol]
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