Should You See a Therapist? Here are 10 Sure Signs

Should You See a Therapist? Here are 10 Sure Signs

According to the Miriam Dictionary, a ‘therapist’ is defined as an individual specializing in the therapeutic medical treatment of impairment, injury, disease, or disorder. On the other hand, a “psychotherapist” is an individual who is a trained professional that specializes in assisting individuals with any mental health concerns they might be facing. They particularly use psychotherapy also known as talk therapy, as well as any other psychological tools necessary for the well-being of that individual.

Contrary to popular beliefs that only people with mental disorders should consult a therapist, it is important to note that counseling/therapy as a service can be utilized by any individual who is facing difficulties in managing their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. However, it can be difficult to identify when to consult a therapist. Here are some signs and symptoms that can help you to make a decision about consulting a therapist:

  1. You feel overwhelmed most of the day: This can mean that you are always drowned by your emotions. The intensity of your emotions has affected your coping mechanism. It can be feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety, and any other negative emotions that constantly bother you.

  2. Your feelings are interfering with your daily routine: The inability to concentrate, trouble in focusing on a given task, or decrease in productivity at work, school, or any other chores in the day can be indicative of your intense emotions. If feelings hamper your performance and quality of life, it is usually a signal that you should reevaluate your mental health.

  3. Your Sleep Pattern has been affected: This refers to changes in your sleeping habits such as difficulty in falling asleep, sleep disturbances throughout the night or even sleeping too much. Sleep and mental health have a deep relationship; poor mental health can lead to the development of insomnia. 

    Also, emotional distress can have a consequence of exhaustion or avoidance which can lead to oversleeping.

  4. Change In Appetite: Mental health concerns can have a significant effect on your eating habits. It can induce the need to overeat to dull the emotional triggers through instant gratification or can reduce the appetite completely. 

  5. Your personal and social relationships are affected: When you have poor mental health, there can be a need to withdraw yourself from social gatherings, isolate yourself and even sometimes distance yourself from your loved ones. It may impact your ability to build or maintain relationships at work, home or any other social setting. It can further result in promoting your insecurities about yourself or damage your self-esteem and self-perception. 

  6. Constant negative thoughts consume you: The intrusive thoughts take your life and make you feel hopeless all the time. Therapy can especially be helpful here to challenge, manage and accept such thoughts. 

  7. You don't enjoy your previously 'liked' activities: When an individual is struggling with psychological or emotional stressors, they often feel disconnected from their own lives. Consequently, there is reduced interest in previously preferred activities or hobbies. 

  8. You have suffered recent trauma: If someone has experienced a recent or even past trauma that might have been triggered due to a present activity, it can create a sense of shock and disbelief which needs to be addressed at the earliest. Therapy can help you resolve these concerns and also provide assistance to rebuild your life. 

  9. Your physical health has been compromised: Sometimes mental health concerns can arise due to physical or physiological concerns and vice versa. For example, if someone has developed a cardiovascular condition, the news of the same can induce excessive stress and anxiety that can exacerbate the problem further. Thus, an intervention that focuses on both needs to be formulated for the overall well-being of the person. 

  10. You have a faulty coping mechanism: Negative thoughts and emotions can induce self-defeating behaviors to cope with the distress caused, such as overindulgence in reckless or risk-taking behavior, substance abuse such as alcohol or drugs, and/or distracting yourself with sexual and vulnerable acts. These coping mechanisms can be detrimental in the long term as they might create issues of guilt and shame. 

Therapy is a professional relationship between a client and a therapist that focuses on the wellness of the client. If you have been noticing such emotional and behavioral changes, then you can consider discussing them with a therapist. It doesn't mean that you will be enslaved to a lifetime of "misery" or being "crazy", in fact, it is the entire opposite.

Discussion of mental concerns with a therapist can provide you with a lifetime of coping skills that can help in the management of the crisis in the future as well as heal you of your past and present traumas. 

By Meenakshi Atawnia 

Masters in Clinical Psychology