11 Signs It May Be a Good Time to Seek Therapy
Knowing the answer to the question do I need counseling or therapy can be tricky. If you’re already feeling stressed, confused, conflicted, or unsure about yourself, you may also be questioning your ability to make decisions.
However, therapy has been proven helpful for many people. If you need another reason to consider therapy, remember that leaving a mental health condition unchecked can interfere in your life on multiple fronts. You may begin having difficulty:
- At work or school
- Caring for yourself or your children
- With relationships
- With your basic health, leading to increased medical issues
- Coping with increased emotions or instability
“When mental health issues aren’t addressed, there’s a risk of worsening symptoms and it may take longer for symptom relief when they are finally addressed.”
Talkspace therapist Amy Cirbus, PhD LMHC.
If you’re experiencing any of the following, it may be time to seek help, whether it’s from a licensed therapist or mental health professional.
1. Irregular sleep habits
Studies show that sleeping too much, or not getting enough sleep, is a classic sign that something else may be going on. Sleep and mental health are very closely related. When you’re not getting enough sleep, you might begin to have more negative thoughts or become more emotional.
Sleep issues are more common for those with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and bipolar disorder.
2. Feeling incredibly overwhelmed
Feeling overwhelmed can affect how you think and act, impacting your mental health condition. It can make it hard to navigate the very basics of life, as you may be experiencing intense and extreme emotions that result in difficulty making rational decisions. You might even find yourself increasingly unable to handle basic daily functions.
People who feel emotionally overwhelmed may be extremely stressed and expressing emotional distress, going through relationship or job issues, or have experienced serious trauma.
If you’ve recently begun to withdraw from social situations and friends or isolate yourself, you may be dealing with something more than just feeling a little bit blue or down. A change in behavior when it comes to how social you are can be a telltale sign that it may be time to think about getting therapy — especially if you find you’re avoiding things you once enjoyed or loved doing.
Social anxiety can result in going to great lengths to not have to interact in social settings.
4. Feelings of hopeless
Are you constantly thinking: do I need to see a therapist? Do you feel hopeless more days than not? Feeling hopeless can create a spiral of negative thinking. It can make seeing the light at the end of a tunnel incredibly difficult.
Feelings of hopelessness may be a sign of depression, a serious but common mood disorder that can affect how you think, feel, and act. Depression affects about 1 out of 6 adults at one point in their life.
5. Inability to control your emotions
Emotional instability is a sign you might be in mental health decline. It might feel like it’s increasingly difficult to respond to your emotions. The cause can be related to either a mental health condition or a situational event in your life. Therapy may be able to help both.
The inability to control emotions tends to be a symptom of mood and anxiety disorders.
6. Consumed by intrusive thoughts
Have your thoughts become intrusive? Are they starting to take over your days? If you’re consumed with anxiety-riddled thoughts, you might want to consider therapy to help you break your thought patterns. Learning how to accept or challenge your thoughts and how to manage them so you can live a healthy, productive life are all byproducts of the right therapist and effective therapy.
Intrusive thoughts may be the result of extreme stress or anxiety.
7. You just don’t care
Failing to care about your life is a sign that your mental health is suffering. Feeling irritable all the time, or like you just don’t have the energy or care enough to do basic things like shower regularly, get out of bed, or show up for work or school — these are all signs that it’s time to seek help.
Not caring is common in people who have clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder.
8. Change in eating habits
If you suddenly begin eating more or less than what’s normal for you, you may be experiencing what’s known as emotional eating. People who are having mental health struggles often see a change in their eating habits. This can become problematic when it progresses into disordered eating, which is a range of eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating disorder.
Therapy can help with emotional eating, which is common in people who are experiencing mental health struggles.
9. Work or school issues
When a mental health issue leads to difficulty being productive in school or work, you can begin feeling even more overwhelmed. Additional stress that stems from knowing you’re not doing your best or living up to expectations can quickly culminate into bigger problems.
Having issues focusing on work or school can result from any number of mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and more.
Past trauma can interfere with how you relate to people or anything else in your life. Trauma can be difficult to overcome on your own, but with therapy, it is possible. If you’ve recently experienced a trauma, or are dealing with an old trauma that’s coming to the surface, you might want to try trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT has been found very effective in helping people overcome negative thought patterns related to their trauma so they can move past it.
Traumatic events like past abuse, addiction, abandonment issues, and more can lead to needing help.
Grief can be tricky because there’s no timeline or one way people do it. But it’s also incredibly difficult to navigate on your own. There is no hard rule about how long someone should take to go through the grieving process. But if your grief has been extended and is now affecting your daily life, you might want to consider grief therapy.
It’s important to remember that grief isn’t always the result of a death. It’s common to grieve the loss of a job, a relationship, a major move, and more.