Just like our physical health, our mental well-being also needs love and attention from time to time. Sometimes it becomes necessary to take time off, reflect, meditate and understand your emotional health. Often your mental well-being requires the attention of a certified mental health specialist who can delve deeper into the issues and help you overcome the challenges of mental illness. But when it comes to mental well-being, the road to recovery is not straightforward. Do you need therapy or medicines? What symptoms warrant a visit to a specialist?
To demystify, let’s look at some of the common challenges and how, when and whom to approach.
Difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist.
While both psychiatrists and psychologists understand mental illness, emotions, feelings and thoughts, both have different qualifications. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor but a psychologist is not. However, both understand the brain and can treat mental illnesses with psychological treatments. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications but psychologists can not.
How and when to approach a psychologist for therapy?
Grief is an unavoidable part of life when a loved one dies. However, not everyone can cope with death the same way. Many people grieve openly but others grieve in private. Avoidance is a common reaction to grief and many patients struggle to accept the reality, leading to long-term problems.
Overcoming crippling grief without professional help can take years and also wreak havoc on your life. A psychologist can help you find ways to cope with death, and grief and move on with your life.
Depression or major depressive disorder is a common but serious medical condition that can impact how you feel, think and act, often leading to a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in life. Feeling low or sad occasionally is fine, but if you are constantly battling negative thoughts, emotions and tears, then it might be time to dig deeper. Psychologists can help you identify the source of depression, along with helping you manage your thought process and day-to-day functioning. They use a variety of approaches such as cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy and psychodynamic therapy to treat depression.
Anxiety and stress
Life is stressful by design and while you can’t get rid of all the stress in your life, often it comes to a point where you are unable to manage your stress or life. Chronic stress can lead to a number of behavioural and physical issues including irritability, temperamental behaviour, inefficiency, anxiety, hypertension, headaches and more.
A licensed therapist can help you cope with stress and anxiety by inculcating healthy stress management skills or empowering you to learn problem-solving skills to eliminate the stressful aspects of your life.
All of us fear something. But unusual and irrational fears can interfere with your life, rendering you helpless. Often the anxiety triggered by a phobia is so strong that people spend significant time and energy to avoid the trigger, meddling with their personal life or relationships.
The good news is that phobias can be treated with psychotherapy. A specially trained therapist or psychologist can help you work on your beliefs about the feared situation or object to manage your response. Techniques such as exposure therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and mindfulness training can improve individuals’ phobia symptoms over a period of time. If looking for revolutionary psychologists to treat phobias, look for someone with expertise in cognitive behavioural therapy and exposure therapy.
Substance abuse and addiction
One of the major reasons to seek help is unhealthy habits and addictions. Often there is an underlying problem with addictions that can be treated with psychotherapy. Therapists will get to the root of the problem and also address the immediate health risks associated with these behaviours such as eating disorders, sleeping problems, and stress.
Don’t wait until the symptoms are severe
As people grow more aware of the importance of mental health, there is now an urgency to take control of your mental well-being. Talking to a psychologist can help you nip many challenges in the bud and enable you to think, feel, and perform at your best.