Therapy is a way to help you deal with your emotions, particularly negative emotions like stress. Therapy is also an effective way to treat mental illnesses.
Knowing a few of the most commonly cited reasons to go to therapy can help you evaluate yourself and see if professional help is something for you to consider.
8 Reasons to go to Therapy
While there are a lot of reasons to seek therapy, there is no single reason that affects everyone. Your decision to seek therapy is personal, based off of your personality and life experiences. 28 percent of people in the United Kingdom have had therapy at some point in their life.
Even if none of the reasons below speak to you, don’t think that you’re overreacting. If you feel like you should speak to a therapist, then it’s probably a good idea to do it no matter what the reason is. The following are only rough rules of thumb.
One of the clearest and most serious reasons to think about therapy is if you are regularly abusing substances. Drinking throughout the week, taking drugs in excess of a prescription (or illegal drugs) are all destructive behaviors.
You can go to therapy to treat your addiction or substance abuse problems. Therapy can also help address the underlying problems that may be pushing you towards taking those substances.
Traumatic Events and Grief
In the event of a violent or traumatic event, especially if it results in the loss of a loved one, it may be a good idea to seek professional help.
Grief and trauma are large, complicated emotions. It can be very hard to process them on your own, especially if you are unable to vocalize your feelings to friends or family. Therapy can teach you coping mechanisms, which make it easier to handle strong feelings and move past the pain.
Remember that grief comes in all shapes and forms, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Talking to a therapist about your grief can help you find ways that are effective at making you feel better.
Another reason to consider therapy is if you have just received a serious health diagnosis. Serious health issues can be a massive source of stress, even if they are not necessarily life-threatening, like diabetes or dyslexia. The same holds true if a family member or someone else you are close to is diagnosed with a similar problem.
Large Life Changes
You may want to talk to a professional if you are going through large life changes that are not necessarily traumatic. Moving to a new city, starting a new job, or even dealing with the everyday stresses of life can take a toll on you.
Talking through your stress can help you maintain your mental stability and confidence. It can also help you stay focused in your school, work or family life.
A Lack of Motivation
Another common and often overlooked sign that you should consider talking to a therapist is if you feel chronically lethargic. A general lack of motivation is a leading indicator of depression.
This is more than a general sense of procrastination. If you don’t have the energy for things that you would normally find a great deal of pleasure in, it is usually worth thinking about talking to a professional.
Changes in Sleep Routine
Another indication that your stress levels are very high is if you sleep schedule becomes disrupted. This means that you are likely very anxious about something in your life, and it is taking a toll on your mental health.
While you can treat sleep problems with natural supplements like melatonin or prescription drugs, addressing the root cause of your sleep disruption is best done through therapy.
High stress levels and anxiety can have physical manifestations. While these physical symptoms will vary person by person, the most common include headaches, stomachaches, and digestive problems.
You may also find that your immune system is weaker, and you are suffering from a chronic low-grade cold or illness. You may also notice joint pain and inflammation.
You should also pay attention to behavioral tics that you may develop. Things like biting your nails, shaking your leg, or twitching your eye all point to high levels of stress and anxiety. Talking out your feelings in a controlled environment can help alleviate the underlying cause of these physical problems.
Eating and Weight Problems
Stress and a range of different mental illnesses can have an effect on your appetite and eating habits. Sudden decreases in your appetite can cause weight problems, and can even spiral into eating disorders in severe cases.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you may be using eating as a way to handle your stress. This can develop into unhealthy habits and diets, leading to substantial weight gain. This can cause a number of other related physical health problems, and can even exacerbate other symptoms of stress like low energy levels.
Figuring Out if Therapy is Right for You
Again, it should be repeated that the above common reasons to go to therapy are not the only reasons to go. Any problems that you have experienced with your emotions or mental health may be worth talking through with a professional. Never fall into the trap of thinking that your feelings are not important enough to warrant attention.
For more information about therapy and maintaining your mental health, read this article on cognitive behavioral therapy.