It’s a fact of life that from time to time, we are all going to experience stress, sadness and anxiety. Sometimes, a situation in our lives like a stressful job or an unhappy marriage can have a tremendous effect on our mood that lasts for an extended period of time.
Given that it’s so common to experience negative emotions every so often, many people find it hard to know when it’s time to seek professional help. It certainly doesn’t help that there continues to be a stigma around mental illness and that many people view seeking therapy as a sign of weakness. However, the reality is that one in five Americans suffer from a mental illness. In other words, having a need for therapy is much more common than we think.
Still, many people who suffer from a mental illness don’t know exactly when it’s time to seek therapy. They may try to deal with their feelings on their own, minimizing them instead of taking them seriously. Or, they may try to turn to their friends and family for help and support instead of a licensed professional. Needless to say, that can be a slippery slope.
If you’ve been on the fence about seeking professional help in order to better deal with your emotional struggles, continue reading. These three crucial reasons for seeking therapy immediately demonstrate just how serious mental illness can be.
1. You’ve Become Dependent on Substances
It’s not abnormal to reach for a beer or a glass of wine after a long day at work or during a particularly stressful day at home. What is a red flag, however, is if you find that you automatically reach for alcohol or drugs on a regular basis in order to avoid dealing with your emotions.
By now, we know that addiction is a disease that requires adequate treatment. People can become addicted to practically anything as a way to avoid dealing with negative emotions. People can even become addicted to something as seemingly harmless as cookies. The problem is that in addition to the negative physical consequences of addiction, depending on a substance for emotional support is a sign that you are unable to face the reality of your circumstances and feelings.
2. Your Physical Health is Suffering for No Apparent Reason
Psychosomatic symptoms are physical symptoms that develop from thoughts and emotions. We all occasionally experience psychosomatic symptoms. For instance, when we feel nervous, most of us get knots in our stomach. When we are overly stressed, it’s common to experience headaches.
For some people, however, these psychosomatic symptoms can become severe, negatively impacting their physical health. Therapy Group of DC said, “Extreme stress, anxiety and depression can lead to physical illnesses as these emotions affect the function of the immune system.” Plus, extreme emotional problems can cause a person to develop insomnia, preventing them from getting the sleep they need each night in order to maintain good physical and mental health.
Even worse, anxious people may begin to fear for their physical health as the result of suffering from recurring physical symptoms caused by emotional stress. This creates an anxiety loop in which a person’s physical symptoms are caused by stress and their stress is caused by the state of their physical health.
3. You’ve Experienced a Traumatic Situation That’s Taking Over Your Thoughts
In a culture that encourages us to toughen up and think positively, it can be hard to acknowledge the tremendous negative effects of a trauma. However, post-traumatic stress disorder is very real and can wreak havoc on your life in a variety of ways. When we’ve experienced a trauma, it tends to invade our thoughts, interfering with our sleep, our general state of mind and our ability to deal with everyday stress.
If you are struggling to cope with a trauma, only a professional can help you develop the necessary tools so that you can finally be free of its powerful hold over your mind.
It’s important to know that if you’re suffering from negative emotions, thought patterns or behavioral patterns, a licensed therapist can change your life forever. By seeking help from a trained professional, you’ll finally be able to work through your mental struggles and develop healthy techniques for dealing with any emotions that come your way.