When Should You Seek Mental Health Treatment?

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The decision to seek help for a mental health issue does not always come naturally. Many people endure needless suffering for months or years even, rather than seek help. The reasons why vary. Some are skeptical about the effectiveness of mental health therapy or concerned about the need for medication. Others see asking for help as a sign of weakness or a lack of discipline. Perhaps we worry about what others might think of us. Sometimes, living with depression or another mental health challenge can become so routine that we end up acclimated to this ‘new normal’. We try to accept things as they are, even though somewhere deep inside we know life can be so much better.

Whatever the reason for not seeking help, it is absolutely crucial that you give yourself a break. Remaining in denial, making excuses or judging yourself harshly probably isn’t the way you would handle a physical health problem. Should we not show ourselves the same kindness when it comes to mental health? It may be helpful to consider one important fact. When it comes to any problem, there is no such thing as ‘too much help’, there is only ‘not enough’.

Reasons Why You May Need Mental Health Treatment

If you’re reading this, chances are that you or someone you care about is facing a mental health challenge. Here are some guidelines to help you decide when you should seek mental health treatment.

You have lost interest in activities you used to enjoy.

This goes beyond simply changing hobbies. If you find it difficult to get pleasure out of life. If you don’t find your mood lifted by music, conversation, movies, food, whatever once brought you happiness. This can be a sign of a deeper issue like depression. Especially if this has been the case for weeks or months or longer.

You are turning to alcohol or drugs to escape feelings.

Do you find yourself uncomfortable in your own skin? Overcome with anxiety, anger or even boredom? Are you regularly seeking relief in alcohol or drugs? Do you drink or use drugs alone? All of these can be signs of an underlying issue and self-medicating with substances will only serve to obfuscate the real problem and move you further away from a solution.

You have experienced a traumatic event(s).

Everyone experiences some trauma in their lives and almost everyone benefits from outside help in overcoming the aftermath. Whether it’s trauma in your distant past or childhood, or something more recent, time alone does not heal all wounds. Processing trauma and learning to move through and beyond it is one of many benefits of mental health treatment. Don’t continue to rely on coping mechanisms that are failing you. There are people who can help.

You have lost someone or something important to you.

Loss is one of the biggest challenges most of us will ever face in our lives. We must be careful not to underestimate the effect it can have. According to the Holmes & Rahe Social Adjustment Scale, the death of a significant other, divorce and separation, incarceration and losing a job all rank at top of the list of significant life stressors.(1) Any significant loss can have a lasting impact that’s often hard to recover from. Mental health treatment can be greatly beneficial in these circumstances.

You are experiencing psychological symptoms that have consequences.

Perhaps you have been experiencing mood swings or lingering anger that is disrupting relationships and causing problems at work. You might be troubled by persistent, unwanted obsessive thoughts. Maybe you have persistent anxiety that is making it difficult for you to function. All of these are good reasons to see professional mental health treatment.

The reasons to see mental health treatment depend on the individual. The constant is that a person is experiencing symptoms or feelings that are impacting their quality of life. The field of mental health treatment has made great advances in recent years and there is less stigma attached to seeking help than ever. The fact is every human being deserves to realize their potential and to enjoy their life. We should try to never allow excuses or pride or worry to come between us and become our best selves. If you want to learn more about mental health treatment options, please call us at (844) 746-8836

(1) https://www.dartmouth.edu/eap/library/lifechangestresstest.pdf

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