When Is It Time to Get Therapy?Deciding when you can go it alone and when it’s best to get help isn’t simple. However, you can look for warning signs that indicate it may be time to seek help for mental health concerns. These include:
- Feeling overwhelmed by the number of issues you must deal with or with the demands of daily life
- Experiencing fatigue that interferes with your daily activities and doesn’t have a medical cause
- Harboring rage, anger or resentment in situations where it seems extreme or inappropriate
- Being fearful of being around others to the point where you’re withdrawing
- Worries intruding on your thoughts so often that they interfere with your ability to relax and/or concentrate
- Losing interest in things that you once loved or in your friends and family
- Sense of hopelessness that persists for weeks
- Withdrawing from people with whom you once had good relationships
- Embarrassment over how you behave due to your thoughts, emotions or feelings
- Facing problems at work or school due to your thoughts, feelings or emotions
Why Should You Seek Help Through Therapy?Therapy is an invitation to learn about yourself, to better understand why you think and feel the way you do, and to see how your thoughts and emotions affect your behaviors. If you have a mental health disorder, a therapist can help you explore its roots and see how it affects your life. They can help you come up with coping strategies that will allow you to manage your symptoms, making it easier for you to complete your daily activities and maintain healthy relationships with others. In recent years, scientists have made major breakthroughs in mental health disorder treatment, and there are more medications available for managing conditions than ever before. A therapist can help you decide if you should see a doctor for medication that may alleviate symptoms while you continue to attend therapy sessions. You don’t need to have a mental health disorder to benefit from therapy. Seeing a therapist with whom you have a good rapport can provide a multitude of benefits, including:
- Stronger communication and interpersonal skills that help you interact with others more effectively and positively
- Greater feelings of self-esteem and self-acceptance that can lead to more happiness
- Recognition of habits and behaviors that undermine your goals and conflict with your values
- Learning how to express and manage negative emotions like anger and sadness in a positive way
- Better ability to manage stress, so it has less of an impact on your physical and mental health
- Assistance with solving problems and resolving conflicts
- Identifying your passions and setting goals that can give you more direction and purpose
- More awareness of distorted thinking that causes you to make poor decisions
Knowing When You Should Seek Therapy Is Just the First StepAn estimated 50 million Americans experience mental illness, but only about half of them receive treatment. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the other half is unaware of their problem. All too often, people face barriers to seeking help for mental health problems. Here are some you may experience:
- Feelings of shame: You may think of mental illness as a weakness or a flaw and feel too ashamed to seek therapy as a result. This viewpoint is unfair to you. Mental health is a part of physical health, and developing a mental illness isn’t any different from being diagnosed with a health condition. Would you think that someone is weak because they got cancer? Extend that same empathy to yourself regarding your mental health.
- Worries over the stigma: You may wonder what people will think if they find out about you attending therapy. The truth is that therapists pledge to maintain confidentiality and protect your privacy. No one needs to know you’re seeking help unless you wish to tell them, and with increased awareness about depression and other mental illnesses, people may be less likely to react in the way you fear.
- Concerns about cost: Therapy does cost money, but the Affordable Care Act requires that most employer and individual health insurance plans help cover the cost. Many therapists also have evening and weekend hours or see patients remotely, so you likely won’t even need to take time off work to see one.