How To Know if Therapy Is Right for You
Mental health issues are very common. Statistics from a recent study by the National Alliance on Mental Health says that one out of five American adults lives with a mental health condition. One in 25 adults lives with a serious mental health condition. But despite 20% of the population suffering from less than optimal mental health, relatively few people seek treatment or are able to get help. The same study found that only 40% of people with mental health conditions get the help they need – that’s less than half!
Untreated mental health issues often get worse over time and can have a very real negative impact on your life. On top of the reduced quality of life and unhappiness that you personally suffer, untreated mental health conditions can lead to:
- Loss of joy in hobbies and activities
- Difficulty in relationships
- Difficulty taking care of children
- Increased risk of physical health issues
We are not trying to scare you by mentioning suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people in the United States between the ages of 10 and 34. 90% of people who die by suicide in America lived with a mental health condition.
But Do I “Need” Therapy?
We would argue that everyone can benefit from therapy. Stress, anxiety, depression (with a little d), trauma, and uncertainty are all side natural effects of being alive and human. Broken family relationships, dysfunctional romantic relationships, breakups, death, work stress – they all take a toll and inspire the creation of coping mechanisms. Therapy is a way to understand why we react the way we do and it gives us the tools we need to navigate our emotions, thought processes, and habits thoughtfully and healthily.
But going to therapy can, unfortunately, still come with a stigma attached. People think something has to be “wrong” with them in order to seek help. This is patently untrue. There is nothing wrong with people who have mental health conditions – and we’ve already pointed out that one in five people do have them. There are simply different ways for brains and hormones and body chemistry to interact. We call this being “neural a-typical”. Not wrong. Just different.
However, there are signs to look out for that you definitely should seek help from a trained mental health professional:
- You’re having difficulty regulating your emotions
- You are having intrusive, racing, or repetitive thoughts
- You aren’t performing well at school or at work
- You have a sudden change in sleep patterns or appetite
- You struggle to build or maintain relationships
- You’ve experienced a trauma – recently or in the past
- You no longer enjoy doing things you used to love
- You’re grieving
- Your physical health is declining
- You want to improve, but don’t know where to start
- You’re using substances (alcohol, drugs) or sex to cope
- You have or have had a panic attack
If any of these ring true, it’s likely time to seek therapy. If you are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, therapy is likely a good long-term treatment, but you should seek emergency help immediately. Call a suicide hotline, the police, or check yourself into the hospital.
If you’re still not sure, here is a list of emotions and feelings that may be symptoms of a mental health issue:
- Disproportionate rage or anger
- Anxious or intrusive thoughts
- Social withdrawal
- Agoraphobia (fear of leaving your house)
And a good rule of thumb when you’re deciding if therapy could be right for you is – if you’re reading this article or others like it, you could probably benefit from therapy. When you’re seeking solutions, it’s likely because there is a problem – no matter how insignificant you think it is. There is no shame in taking care of your mental health. Call Chenal Family Therapy and schedule an introductory appointment with one of our talented and compassionate counselors.