Health And Wellness

10 Signs That Tell You It's Time To Go To Therapy

Photo: Drazen Zigic / Shutterstock
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How do you know if you need therapy?

Treating mental health problems requires patience, care, and understanding. A therapist working with you is not there to judge you but to provide comfort and guidance through hard times. 

Psychotherapy, in particular, is a process of investigating and treating mental conditions. It differs from other forms of therapy in that it concentrates on the exploration and analysis of the subconscious. 

RELATED: 7 Helpful Tips To Help You Open Up In Therapy — Even When You're Scared

How do you know you need therapy? Here are 10 signs to look for.

1. You have trouble trusting, feeling accepted by, or being open with others.

This is a common problem that many people struggle with at different times in their life. It can be troubling and make it difficult to form the relationships you want, whether platonic or romantic.

If you're having trouble trusting yourself, then the problem may be worse.

Psychotherapy can help you work on your trust issues and gain a higher level of self-esteem and self-confidence.

2. You're dealing with depression or anxiety that seems to have no end in sight.

Depression is a mental illness that can wreak havoc on a person's psychological and physical health, leaving them feeling isolated or unable to cope.

In the case of mild depression, it may be possible to take medication, but this often doesn't resolve the underlying issues.

For moderate or severe depression, doctors may recommend a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

This is the best method for treating these issues, as using talk therapy with medication can address the cause of your depression.

3. You're dealing with trauma from your past that you can't overcome on your own.

In most cases, trauma that has not been dealt with at the time of its occurrence will continue to affect someone well into adulthood.

The effects may show as physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or chest pain.

They may show up as emotional or mental symptoms like depression, anxiety, and the inability to trust other people. Or they can show up as behavioral issues such as drug or alcohol abuse, self-harm, or excessive violence.

Psychotherapy can help you work through the trauma that may have shaped your childhood and identify new ways of coping with those memories that still haunt you today.

4. You feel like life has no meaning or purpose.

You don't have any goals and you don't believe in the future. You're not sure what you want to do with your life or if there's any point to it at all.

You feel sad, empty, and really don't think that anything is worth struggling for. You can't seem to get yourself motivated to do anything, even if you know it's necessary.

Psychotherapy can help you recognize that there's more to life than just what your brain tells you to feel and think. It can give meaning and purpose to your life once again.

5. You have a phobia or addiction that keeps you from coping with everyday situations.

Your phobia or addiction might be based on specific triggers that make a situation more intense and challenging, such as a fear of heights, enclosed spaces, or needles.

It might be generalized to all cases where the issue can happen, for example, an addiction to tobacco cigarettes. Or it might be both specific and generalized, such as a fear of pain that leads you to abuse drugs or alcohol.

Psychotherapy will help you address the underlying issues that make these situations so difficult for you to cope with so that you can find a more sustainable way of dealing in the future.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Therapy Isn't Working (That Have Nothing To Do With You Being Broken)

6. You feel like there is something wrong with you.

Many people feel that there is something wrong with them and think that they need treatment for it. This might mean they have low self-esteem, depression, or anxiety problems.

Unfortunately, this is a common problem that can be brought on by many different situations.

Psychotherapy can help you look at these challenges differently and find new ways of coping with your circumstances.

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7. You have trouble with decision-making and forming long-term plans in your life.

This may be because of an overwhelming task, an inability to delegate responsibility for tasks, or a failure to break down larger goals into smaller goals.

For example, if you are overwhelmed by a job, you might not be able to break it down into smaller dimensions. You can't always see the bigger picture because of how complicated it is.

Psychotherapy can help you to break down essential goals and focus on what's most important in your life so that you can build a more solid foundation of decision-making skills and find more balance in your life.

8. You have a lot of anger toward another person or group of people.

This might be because of a tragic event. Or it may be a long-standing issue that has been building up for some time and finally erupted. Or it might be something you've noticed recently but have not always been aware of.

This can often cause problems in your relationships as you can't seem to control or deal with the anger that builds up inside you.

Psychotherapy can help you find healthier ways of dealing with anger.

9. You're feeling lonely and isolated.

This might be because you've lost touch with people from your past or because you think no one in your current life seems to care about you.

Or it could be that you have trouble forming relationships with other individuals and feel unappreciated by your family members.

Psychotherapy can help you perceive the world differently and re-evaluate your past experiences so that you can make different choices about who and what you become involved with in the future.

10. You feel as though your life has been taken from you.

You may feel unfairly treated by society, or be in an unfulfilling job, relationship, or situation.

Feeling hopeless about your future is a symptom of depression. It's also a symptom of feeling like you cannot make it in the world on your own.

In the most general sense, psychotherapy is a form of talk therapy. 

The goal is to help you heal from emotional issues that may have caused distress and negatively impacted your life for years, in order to more effectively manage issues including depression, anxiety disorders, stress, and anger management. 

Psychotherapists use multiple techniques, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), Gestalt therapies, 12-step programs, and family therapy, among many others. 

Patients dealing with depression may seek psychotherapy as it has been proven to be a more effective treatment than antidepressants for certain individuals. 

In addition to medical issues, many people seeking psychotherapy also experience emotional distress due to problems at home or work that they feel they cannot overcome alone. 

While psychotherapy may not be a cure for cancer or chronic illness, it can help someone manage the effects and symptoms of their disease. 

It can also offer a positive change to your life. Regardless of your situation, you may feel overwhelmed by your emotions. 

Therefore, it's essential to allow yourself time to talk about these feelings with someone who is there to listen and empathize with your pain. 

The more you talk about what you're experiencing emotionally, the better you're able to process it and put it into perspective.

If you feel like this sometimes, you may want to seek the help of a therapist who can help you understand what's truly going on.

RELATED: Why It's So Important To Find A Therapist Who Understands You & Your Unique Identity

Dr. Leda Kaveh is a licensed clinical psychologist and the owner/director of Washington Psychological Wellness. If you want to learn more about family therapy, contact them today!

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This article was originally published at Washington Psychological Wellness. Reprinted with permission from the author.