Many people assume their stress and anxieties are fine when really it’s some of the signs they should be asking themselves: Should I see a therapist?

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (46.6 million) experience mental illness in a given year.
  • Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. (11.2 million) experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.

These statistics should ensure you, you are not alone. Check out the announcement from Hockey Player Robin Lehner. All mental health issues can be helped with medication or therapy.

Read on to learn more about the role of a therapist and the top 5 reasons to seek one out.

Who Is a Therapist and What Do They Do?

A therapist is a licensed mental health professional. They help their clients improve their lives by developing better cognitive and emotional skills, reduce symptoms of mental illness, and cope with the daily stresses of life. A therapist can go by many names:

  • Counselor,
  • Mental Health Counselor,
  • Psychologist,
  • Psychotherapist.

There are also psychiatrists. These individuals are physicians who specialize in psychology and can prescribe medications.

A Therapist does one or more the following things for their clients:

  • Listen, they help without the bias of a family or friend, by offering non-directive advice and suggestions,
  • Analyze past and present issues,
  • Comfort clients,
  • Help clients manage symptoms of mental illness, individuals with autism may use this option,
  • Help clients change behaviors and thinking patterns that don’t serve them,
  • Help clients understand themselves and other people,
  • Teach emotional, cognitive, and communication skills,
  • Teach clients how to effectively resolve emotional, relational and professional conflicts by helping them improve current relationships and build new ones,
  • Supporting clients through crises (breakups, abuse, suicidal thoughts, grief, trauma, infidelity, and sexual assault),
  • Diagnose mental health conditions that may require medication,
  • Refer clients to psychiatrists, mental health facilities or medical professionals if necessary,
  • Help clients learn to love and accept themselves.

Most importantly they reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and therapy.

5 Big Signs You Should Reach Out to a Therapist

Regardless of these major signs, most people will benefit from a session with a therapist. If you have one of these symptoms, seek out a therapist, they can help.

You Have Unexplained Medical Symptoms 

Stress, anxiety, and depression can have a negative effect on your health. It increases inflammation and impairs your ability to fight off infections. Stress can, literally, make you sick to your stomach.

If you have been seeing a physician for a chronic health issue that is not resolving. You may want to speak to a therapist. They may be able to unravel why you are feeling the way you do which may help your symptoms.

You Feel Stuck 

If you feel like the definition, of stupid, “doing the same things over and over with the same result” therapy can help.  The rut you feel could be a bad relationship, a constantly terrible mood, or unhappiness at work.

Seeing a therapist can give you a different perspective and help with taking steps toward lasting change.

You Feel Out of Control, Not Your Self, or Have Suffered a Traumatic Event

Some people are more emotional than others, but if you are feeling more extreme in your emotions a therapist can help. For example, if you always cry at movies, but now you are crying for days after the movie ended.  A therapist can provide you with ways to regain your emotional control.

As a society we are good at talking about our positive emotions, i.e., everyone is “happy and successful” on Facebook.

Most of us are not as skilled at talking about negative emotions. Bottling negative emotions up is the worst thing you can do. Therapy can help you get to the root of the problem before the bottled emotions lead to other health issues. The same is true, if little things set you off, you can benefit from therapy.

If in the past you experienced abuse, neglect, or other trauma, your feelings today may be associated with the events of the past. Therapy can help you unravel those feelings, and reassure you, you are not at fault.

If you have recently experienced abuse, neglect or other trauma, seek out a therapist or support group. They will make your present ordeal easier to manage.

You Hate Your Life

Think about this one seriously, Do you really, genuinely feel unhappy with your life? Chronic negative self-talk is unhealthy and may be a sign of depression. While you may see a lot about talking nicer to yourself, it is not as easy as it sounds. Therapy can help you identify which area of your life is causing you the most unhappiness. A therapist will also help you find solutions to address that issue or cope with it more effectively.

Think about this one honestly as well, How is your job performance? If you are not putting your all into the office and you know it, then you may want to change jobs. However, if you are performing badly at a job you love, this may also be a sign that you have issues that can be helped by therapy.

Are you canceling, or withdrawing from your favorite activities? Are you attending social events and finding no joy in them? These both can be signs that you should address some underlying issues. A therapist can help you determine if you need to change your hobby or change something else.

Are you constantly fighting with those you love? If you have trouble identifying how you feel or communicating your feelings effectively, you might want to explore couples or family therapy.  All relationships are hard, and sometimes the best ones need a little support to stay strong.

You have Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

It is ok to occasionally have a drink or two. But if you are using, drugs, alcohol, food, sex or sleep to cope with life, you will benefit from therapy.  Some people use drugs or alcohol to relax after a long day. If it becomes more than one or two or happens every day, this is a sign you may be struggling with addiction or compulsive behavior.

Addressing these issues early prevent them from becoming bigger ones, like a DUI. There are healthier ways to cope with the stress you face. Ignoring through self-medication does not make the problems or stress go away.

Are You Ready to Take the Next Step and Speak to a Therapist?

Therapists help to improve the lives of many. Regardless of the cause of your mental health challenges, a qualified therapist can help you cope and feel better.