How often have you heard someone say, “Gosh, I need to see a therapist,” before laughing the comment off? Probably more times than you can remember. But how do you or someone else know it’s time to go to therapy for help?
What is Talk Therapy?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, talk therapy helps people with many mental illnesses and emotional problems. Psychotherapy, another name for talk therapy, can help you get rid of or manage distressing symptoms to function better, start healing, and get well.
Talk therapy may help with several problems, including the effect of trauma, medical issues, personal loss, and certain mental illnesses.
Which Conditions Can Be Treated with Psychotherapy?
Therapy can be beneficial in caring for mental health problems, including:
- Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). OCD, for instance, affects more than 2 million adults each year
- Mood disorders, like depression or bipolar disorder
- Addictions, including alcoholism, compulsive gambling, or drug dependence
- Eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia
- Personality disorders, including dependent personality disorder or borderline personality disorder
- Schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders
Facts About Mental Illness
- 20% of American adults had a mental health issue in 2020.
- 16% of young people had a major depressive episode in 2020.
- In 2020, 5% of Americans struggled with a severe mental illness.
- The World Health Organization estimates that depression affects almost 300 million people worldwide. Depression is considered a leading source of disability.
- Only 3-5% of people who have mental illness commit acts of violence.
- According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 25% of adults suffering from severe mental illnesses also have problems with substance abuse.
- “Mental, neurological and substance use disorders make up 10% of the global disease burden and 30% of non-fatal disease burden.”
- Suicide is responsible for more than 800,000 deaths globally each year, with more than 41,000 U.S. It’s the second leading cause of death worldwide for people 15-29 years old.
- Genetics can influence mental illness.
Signs That You Might Need Therapy?
Knowing if you need psychotherapy depends on many factors, two of the most important being symptoms and their effect on your life and the lives of people around you.
Signs you should watch for that may indicate you need help include:
- Your symptoms interfere with your personal life and your work. According to the American Psychiatric Association, people with unresolved depression are 35% less productive than employees without depression.
- Your moods make you feel a bit off or on edge.
- Symptoms of mental illness can result in a loss of sleep or poor sleeping habits, affecting someone’s physical wellness and leading to further psychological distress. The physical effects of mental illness may include mysterious aches and pains, headaches, chronic pain, eating problems, a faster heartbeat, unexpected weight loss or gain, and other problems.
- You adopt unhealthy coping skills. Bad thoughts, low self-esteem, painful emotions, and self-defeating or risky behaviors can make you engage in unnatural coping skills, like overeating or binge drinking.
- Your mental health issues affect your personal relationships. Because of your condition, you may become withdrawn and no longer confide in loved ones about what’s happening. This may be due to the stigma related to mental illness.
- You constantly feel overwhelmed by everyday life. Stress is one sign that you may need therapy.
- You spend a lot of time thinking about what’s going wrong in your life.
- You’re preoccupied with thoughts of suicide, death, or harming yourself.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosing mental illness requires a combination of assessments, both physical and psychological. Your healthcare provider may start with a medical exam and then recommend you see a mental healthcare professional. The goal of either examination is to uncover the root cause of your symptoms and, if possible, suggest treatment. Symptoms of mental illness are usually compared to criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders before a diagnosis is made.
Knowing whether you need therapy can be difficult. There’s stigma around mental illness, and even though society is more supportive of mental wellness than ever before, the decision is ultimately yours. With proper care, you can regain control of your life.
If you suffer from a condition requiring therapy, you may be steered toward different kinds of psychotherapy for treatment or medicine like ketamine.