Mental health counseling can benefit people struggling with emotional difficulties, life challenges, and mental health concerns. In therapy, people learn to cope with symptoms that may not respond to treatment right away. Research shows the benefits of therapy last longer than medication alone. Medication can reduce some symptoms of mental health conditions, but therapy teaches people skills to address symptoms on their own. These skills last after therapy ends, and symptoms may continue to improve, making it less likely people will need further treatment.
The American Psychological Association suggests considering therapy when something causes distress and interferes with some part of life, particularly when:
- Thinking about or coping with the issue takes up at least an hour each day
- The issue causes embarrassment or makes you want to avoid others
- The issue has caused your quality of life to decrease
- The issue has negatively affected school, work, or relationships
- You’ve made changes in your life or develop habits to cope with the issue
If you experience any of the following emotions or feelings to the extent that they interfere with life, therapy may help you reduce their effects. It’s especially important to consider getting help if you feel controlled by symptoms or if they could cause harm to yourself or others.
- Overwhelmed. You might feel like you have too many things to do or too many issues to cope with. You might feel like you can’t rest or even breathe. Stress and overwhelm can lead to serious physical health concerns.
- Fatigue. This physical symptom often results from or accompanies mental health issues. It can indicate depression. Fatigue can cause you to sleep more than usual or have trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
- Disproportionate rage, anger, or resentment. Everyone feels angry at times. Even passing rage isn’t necessarily harmful. Seeking support to deal with these feelings may be a good idea when they don’t pass, are extreme compared to the situation, or if they lead you to take violent or potentially harmful actions.
- Agoraphobia. People with agoraphobia fear being in places where they might experience panic attacks or become trapped. Some people may become unable to leave their houses.
- Anxious or intrusive thoughts. It’s normal to worry about things from time to time, but when worry takes up a significant part of your day or causes physical symptoms, therapy can help you deal with it.
- Apathy. Losing interest in usual activities, the world around you, or life, in general, can indicate mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
- Hopelessness. Losing hope or motivation, or feeling as if you have no future, can indicate depression or another mental health condition. Feeling hopeless from time to time, especially after a period of difficulty, isn’t uncommon. But when it persists, it may lead to thoughts of suicide.
- Social withdrawal. Many people feel better when they’re able to spend at least some time alone. Introverted people may need even more time alone than others. But if you feel distressed around others or fear being with other people, therapy can help you understand and deal with these feelings.
Getting help is as easy as talking with your doctor about your symptoms. Be honest with how you feel and what you are struggling with. They will link you to our behavioral health professionals with the Valley Professionals family and start you on the path to emotional wellness.
By: Becky Robeson, LMHC