Therapy can be hugely beneficial and empowering. Taking charge of your life and getting professional help navigating any of the challenges you may be facing — mentally or physically — can always be a good thing.
But how do you know if seeing a therapist is right for you? Fortunately, there are some pretty concrete signs that’ll let you know if you should consider seeking help for your mental health care. Take our quiz or keep reading if you’ve been recently wondering: Do I need therapy?
How Do I Know If I Need Therapy?
There are many reasons people seek in-person or online therapy. It’s a great tool to help you learn how to sort through difficult times. While therapy isn’t a cure or a quick fix, the right format and techniques can help you improve your life and mental wellbeing. And when it comes to mental health, asking for help shows strength and courage.
Psychotherapy (talk therapy) can help anyone live healthier, happier, productive lives. Effective psychotherapy treatment comes out of a relationship built between a psychologist and the individual seeking treatment.
People decide to seek help from a therapist or counselor for anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and more. But how do you know if you need therapy? Are you finding it hard to get through the day or struggle to enjoy your life? Maybe you’ve asked yourself do I have ADHD or anxiety? Or maybe you’ve wondered about the difference between anxiety vs. depression. Asking questions like these is a great start to deciding if you need to seek counseling.
“Therapy can be beneficial for most anyone. Of course, there are specific signs and symptoms that indicate conditions or challenges that clearly need therapeutic intervention. It’s also important to remember that therapy can be approached from a maintenance and wellbeing perspective as well. Seeing a therapist for a mental health check-in every once in a while can be a great way to solidify mentally healthy habits, or get in a quick mental health tune-up.”
Talkspace therapist Amy Cirbus, PhD, LMHC said.
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.
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.
3. Avoiding social situations
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.
Ready For Therapy? Talk it Out With Talkspace
Still wondering Do I need counseling or therapy? The first step is finding out how severe your symptoms are so you know if it’s time to take the next step. The benefits of therapy can be empowering. It can allow you to work through negative thoughts and behaviors that are interfering with your life.
Through Talkspace, speaking with a licensed therapist is easily accessible with an online therapy session. Receiving mental health treatment through flexible and affordable therapy can be started quickly rather than giving you time to push it down and avoid it.
You don’t have to go through life feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or full of anxiety. If you’re experiencing one or more of the signs above, reach out today to start the process of healing. It can be hard work, but it can also be the best thing you’ll do for yourself. And with the many different types of therapy, your therapist can find something that works best for you.
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3. Kessler RC, Berglund P, Demler O, Jin R, Merikangas KR, Walters EE. Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication [published correction appears in Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005 Jul;62(7):768. Merikangas, Kathleen R [added]]. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005;62(6):593-602. :10.1001/archpsyc.62.6.593. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15939837/. Accessed September 7, 2021.
4. Depression and Anxiety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/depression-anxiety.html. Published 2021. Accessed September 7, 2021.