Mental Health UK

How to Know if You Need to Consult a Psychologist

Many people think that psychological help is needed as a last resort and prefer to cope with their problems on their own. At the same time, the work of a psychologist is not much different from the work of an ENT doctor – this is a way to fix or at least improve your life quality. Today, we will talk about signs that will help you understand that you may need to see a psychologist.

10 Signs You Need Mental Health Treatment

How to Know if You Need to Consult a Psychologist

It seems to you that you are walking in a circle

You have a problem that cannot be solved, although you seem to have tried all the methods. For example, no matter where you get to work, after six months or a year you begin to feel grief and discontent, you feel that life is passing by, the boss is a fool, and your colleagues are boring. You quit, get a job in another place, and after a year everything repeats. Or your personal relationship always ends at the same stage. Or you realized that all of your partners are very similar in some ways and these features of them do not really suit you very much. You meet a man who seems to be completely different, and oops! – Six months later, it turns out that he has all the familiar features: from chronic lies to alcoholism.

Understanding a recurring scenario is the first and absolutely necessary step. But this is not enough to solve the problem. Our psyche works in such a way that the most traumatic episodes and experiences are forced out of consciousness – this is a way of self-defense. They become the basis of such “vicious circles” – in other words, we always do not see something in ourselves and do not know about anything. The psychologist helps to see the missing details of the puzzle, you start to work on the problem and gradually get rid of it.

You avoid parents or, on the contrary, spend too much time with them

You are an adult who easily conducts business negotiations and is able to find a compromise with the most difficult client – but your own mother brings you to tears in five minutes of conversation, and there is nothing you can do about it. Each time you reluctantly take the phone with the thought: “It will start again.” Or are you still lying to your dad that your husband does not have time to come to a family dinner because you just can’t tell him that you’ve been divorced for two years now?

There is also a “best friends” scenario, which in fact often turns out to be not so rosy. For example: “Mom and I are best friends. Every week we go shopping. On Saturdays. By ten in the morning. Regardless of whether it’s convenient for me or not. Otherwise, mom will be offended.”Ask yourself a simple question: if you are an adult person, do your parents take up more space in your life than your partner, work and hobbies, or are they any of the above? If so, something went wrong.

All these examples, like many others, illustrate violations in the separation process – the healthy separation of a growing child from its parent family. In the USA, children who have graduated from school at the age of seventeen and eighteen are traditionally leaving for college and do not live with their parents anymore. This is the norm, but only in those countries that could relatively quietly move from an agrarian society to an industrial and post-industrial society.

You have no personal space

In Eastern Europe, many young couples or even several adult siblings with their partners live together with their partners. In the eighteenth century, this scenario helped the family survive, farm and grow a new generation of people adapted to life.

But in the twenty-first century in the city it is rather a hindrance: it is crowded, adult children and parents cannot divide the territory, everyone constantly quarrels, no one can live at their own pace, they do not rest and do not get enough sleep. Young spouses cannot normally talk privately, have sex, and develop their family life because they have to integrate into the existing system as “junior”. There are also chaotic “hybrid” scenarios. For example, a young woman rents an apartment and lives separately. But at the same time, her mother has a key, and at any time she can go into the house, do the cleaning, rearrange things, bring groceries.

Breaking off all relations with the family is also a violation of the separation process.

Separation disorders are bad in that they prevent one from developing, building a happy personal life, and generally living as one wishes. Working with a psychologist helps to gradually rebuild relations with a parental family of the type “adult – adult”, as well as “sort out” the family inheritance, leaving the behaviors suitable for you and abandoning unnecessary and disturbing ones.

You feel all sorts of awful or you are sick of everything

You have outbursts of anger, irritation, incomprehensible depression and apathy, bouts of acute jealousy and other heavy emotions: “Suddenly I began to feel terribly lonely. I don’t understand why: after all, I have a job, friends, a boyfriend”; “I’m sick of other people. I only communicate with good people, they treat me very well, I don’t understand why everyone is so enraging. I’m probably just an unbalanced person”; “I feel global dissatisfaction with life”; “Everything seems to be fine, but for some reason, I wake up in the morning and I want to hang myself.”

Unfortunately, others often depreciate feelings. But feelings are the emotional truth of our life, and if a person is ill, then he or she does not think he or she is really ill. The main question is why, where did this painful sensation come from.

A good psychologist will certainly ask if the client consulted the doctor and advises to be examined: outbreaks of irritability or tearfulness can be, for example, symptoms of problems with the thyroid gland. A person may also have depression. In this case, it’s worth going to a psychiatrist and taking some drugs. Moreover, it often turns out that a person is physically healthy, and his or her problems are of a psychological nature. The causes of heavy feelings can be very different, but most often they are associated with our relationships with other people or with a sense of personal unfulfillment and lack of demand.

After several meetings with a psychologist, often, alas, it turns out that the people around are not so beautiful. Irritation and anger turn out to be not a bad character but a healthy reaction to regular depreciation, belittling, and breaking boundaries. Jealousy may not be so groundless: the partner can behave ugly towards you, for example, not to share with you the details of his or her life, which he or she easily tells friends about, or cancels the general plans for meetings with friends without warning – in a word, the partner demonstrates that you are not priority for him or her.

You cannot find your place in life

The lack of demand and the search for one’s place in life is a big topic, which many people decide to approach only after thirty or even forty years. In our country, there is a standard scenario of self-realization: graduation from school, entering the institute and working in the specialty you acquired.

This model is not suitable for everyone – especially since over the past twenty years there have been a lot of new specialties that are simply not taught anywhere. After working for several years, people begin to wonder: “What do I want to do in life? Who benefits from my work? Does it suit me?” Often these doubts break out in the form of painful feelings: a sense of meaninglessness, an antipathy to work or bosses, constant fatigue, procrastination.

The main thing that a psychologist can teach here is not to get rid of difficult feelings trying to suppress them, but to perceive them as an important signal. At first it can be difficult and unpleasant, but in the end, it will lead to a qualitative improvement in life.

You drink too much alcohol

If you notice that you began to drink alcohol more often and more than you planned, that you are broken in the mornings, you are hard to concentrate at work, and in any stressful or pleasant situation, you think about a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey – most likely you really have problems with alcohol. The same can be said if you are simply worried about the amount of drunk or you are thinking about your relationship with alcohol.

The main thing here is the reasons why a person began to do this. The common reasons are difficult childhood, a rejecting, indifferent or overwhelming family, tremendous anxiety, loneliness or mental pain that people try to numb with the help of alcohol.

You work too much

There is the term “behavioral addiction” – this is an activity (quite healthy), which began to take up too much space in one’s life. For example, you understand that work has pushed meetings with friends and dates into the background, you think about it constantly and come to the office on Saturdays without regret, but empty weekends cause you a slight panic. Or you began to spend so much time playing a computer game that you stopped going out and meeting people – all this can be an alarming symptom.

You act risky

Risky behavior is all that can threaten your life or severely spoil it. For example, after parties at a bar you often wake up in a stranger’s bed and at the same time you feel not satisfaction but only devastation. And then you are late to the office, and the boss is closely interested in your schedule and productivity. This also includes risky driving, unprotected sex, extreme sports, and self-harm. Suicidal attempts are an extreme form of such behavior.

It is important to understand that no self-destructive behavior arises just like that. Neither chemical addiction nor eating disorders are a “bad habit”. They have a reason, or rather, a set of reasons that would be good to find and eliminate. It will save you health and, in the long run, life. People who are prone to self-destructive behavior usually have problems in other areas: it is difficult for them to cope with their feelings, build strong trusting relationships with others and just feel good and enjoy life.

You cannot “build a relationship” with food

Another option for risky behavior is eating disorders, which include not only anorexia and bulimia. A lot of people, especially women, suffer from their “precursors”: for example, they overeat when they are nervous, induce vomiting or keep strict diets that undermine their health, exhaust themselves with training, and suffer from hunger amenorrhea.

If you decide to go to a psychologist with this problem or other types of risky behavior, you should tune in to a long and serious job. Do not be alarmed if the doctor offers to consult a psychiatrist at the same time – it rather indicates that you have come across a responsible specialist. You should not be afraid of shocking someone with your problems, no matter how difficult they may seem to you. If the specialist’s profile says that he or she works with disorders of your type, then he or she is ready to listen to you and try to help.

You have a topic that you cannot discuss with anyone

For example, you may have an addiction experienced in childhood or any other topic on which you keep silent. Many people have hard secrets. Usually, they think that there is no need to discuss it with anyone as it is already in the past. But the very appearance of the forbidden topic says that something is behind the whole story. It is difficult, scary and unbearable, and you cannot discuss it with even with the closest people.

One episode often reveals a whole tangle of fears, guilt, anger, destructive attitudes: “My uncle molested me when I was ten, and my mother preferred not to notice anything. Why did she do that? She saw him putting me on his lap! For a long time, I felt as if I were to blame for something. I was afraid of men, I ran away as soon as someone started flirting with me. And now I feel how angry I am with my mother.”

“Dwelling on the past” in this case is simply necessary. This is done to return responsibility to those who were supposed to bear it. In the described example, the uncle is a pedophile and he should undergo treatment, and the mother is responsible for not protecting her daughter. But a ten-year-old girl does not bear any responsibility for this situation, she is a victim.

What she needs to know after all these years is that now she is an adult and can defend herself, that her sexuality is not evil and not the cause of violence, and it can be manifested – with those partners that she likes.

When you do NOT need to consult a psychologist

If you are in a bad mood due to bad weather, if you get a bad mark, you got fired, or you had a fight with a loved one, a psychologist is not needed. All this can be resolved by several days of rest, the very conversation with loved ones and a cup of hot chocolate or watching a football match.

If you have experienced severe stress, grief, you cannot solve a conflict that lasts a long time, and you really need to understand your feelings in order to understand what to do next, then you do need a psychologist.

However, if you are afraid that all these situations will affect your life badly and decide to see a psychotherapist, it will be a good idea. The doctor will give you advice or refer you to another specialist (perhaps, a psychiatrist if it turns out that your disease is more serious than expected).

What to do before going to a psychologist

Many symptoms that signal mental disorders do not always appear due to malfunctions in the psyche. General weakness, chronic fatigue, irritability, insomnia and depression can occur in ordinary diseases, not related to mental health. Therefore, before visiting a psychologist, you need to make sure that you are physically healthy.

How to check your health when nothing hurts but something is definitely wrong:

  1. Consult a physician and get basic tests;
  2. Pass the examinations recommended by a physician;
  3. If there is a chronic disease, make an appointment with a specialist and check for an exacerbation;
  4. Visit an endocrinologist. Many symptoms of mental illness are associated with disorders of the endocrine system.

But don’t get carried away. Many patients have been searching for the cause of sudden fits of frantic heartbeat for years or suffer from insomnia before they admit that the psyche is to blame.