Psychotherapy or therapy is not only a way to deal with and treat mental illnesses, but also a way to improve one’s mental health. Even though there has been a stigma around the idea of therapy and whether one should go for it or not, it is also worth noting that times are changing and people are becoming more and more comfortable with reaching out to a professional for therapy. If you think that you are at a point in your life where you may need to reach out for professional help, here are a few signs that can tell you whether or not you need therapy.
People seek out therapy either for major life stressors like relationship issues, the loss of a loved one, or a tough job; or for symptoms that cannot be explained by any other condition like low energy, insomnia, poor appetite etc. So, what signs should you look for?
Your sleeping schedule is not organised
One of the most important things to know about therapy is that sleep and mental health go hand-in-hand, and it is a vicious cycle. If you have mental health problems, it might be harder to get good sleep. And if you don’t get good sleep, you’re more likely to experience mental health problems. Sleep problems are especially common in people experiencing anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. Therapy can help you better manage symptoms of mental health conditions that are interfering with your sleep.
You’re having too many anxious thoughts
Many people experience the feeling of worrying — it’s hard to convince your brain to quit. But if it reaches a point where your thoughts are taking over and interfering with your day-to-day life, you might be experiencing intrusive thoughts. People with certain mental health conditions (like PTSD and OCD) are more likely to have intrusive thoughts. But anyone can experience them. Research has shown that therapy can help people learn how to handle distressing thoughts and take back control of their life.
You feel hopeless
Feeling hopeless is a very common symptom of depression. In fact, people who feel hopeless are more likely to be clinically diagnosed with depression. If you think you have depression, it’s important to seek care as soon as you can. If left untreated, depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and ideation and self-harm.
You’ve recently experienced trauma
Traumatic events can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can include symptoms like flashbacks, emotional numbness, sleep troubles, and irritation. Some people think that PTSD only occurs in people who’ve served in the military, but it can happen to anyone. Examples of traumatic events include accidents, natural disasters, and physical or sexual assault. Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy can effectively treat acute and chronic PTSD.
Grief can also be very difficult to live with. If it’s getting to the point where you’re not feeling any better after a long time, or it’s interfering with your daily life, it may be time to seek help. Therapy can help you talk through and process grief, so you can learn to live with what you’ve lost.
You’re using substances to cope
Whether you have a diagnosed mental health condition or are experiencing a lot of stress, it’s possible you’ve turned to substance use as a way to cope with what you’re going through. Even though it may feel good at the moment, substance use is likely to make you feel worse. Therapy can help you address any mental health conditions, stress, or deeper-rooted substance use concerns.
You recently had a big change in your life
If you recently went through a big change in your life, like moving to a new place or major changes in your circle, it may make you feel overwhelmed. It is important to understand that transitions are a part of life and these transitions require us to adjust to new situations quickly and smoothly. Therapy helps with that as it encourages you to bring all your ideas and thoughts to the forefront, and have some clarity in why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling.
There are a lot of other reasons why someone might want to go for therapy, and if you don’t relate to any of the reasons listed above but still feel the need to reach out to a mental health professional, go for it! Therapy is a great first step in understanding yourself as a person and accepting the things around you more freely.
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