Friday, July 15, 2011

Do I need counseling?

Sometimes it's hard to know when it's time to see professional help for a mental health issue. For some problems, it may be adequate to read some books, do some research, and try to fix mental health or relational problems on your own. But if you've come to a point where you've tried and tried, or you feel like you are not sure where to turn, it may be time to enlist the help of a counselor. Even with problems that may seem simple, it can be extremely helpful to have an outside party give some perspective and guidance.

But how can you tell if you have a really serious problem that almost always requires the help of a professional? Here are some warning signs to look for:

* Suicidal - the person makes comments or shows signs of being suicidal

* The person is no longer able to function in one or more areas of their lives, including their personal or professional roles

*The person feels very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks and it's not due to bereavement

*Overwhelming fear for no reason that comes on all of a sudden. This is often accompanied by a racing heart beat or heavy breathing.

*Severe behavior that puts the person and/or others in harm's way. This may include violence or risk taking

*Not eating, throwing up, or taking laxatives to lose weight

*Intense worry or fear that gets in the way of living life normally

*Difficulty staying still or concentrating which impacts work or school negatively

*Frequent intoxication from drugs or alcohol

*Severe mood swings that interfere with work or relationships

*Drastic changes in personality

*Any behavior that causes a major life crisis, such as divorce, school failure, physical violence, etc.

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