When Should You Worry About Mental Health Treatment?
Have you ever questioned whether you or a loved one should be receiving psychiatric treatment or counseling? If so, you are not alone. Many individuals and families have questioned whether psychiatric treatment is necessary in their lives or the life of a loved one. Life is often filled with challenges, difficulties, disappointments, loss, grief, pain (physical and emotional), and unresolved trauma. As a result, counseling or psychiatric treatment should be services we all turn to in times of great need and support. But in the lives of many, there are a host of fears that accompany the thought of pursuing mental health treatment or counseling services. Some prominent fears often include:
- Fear of social rejection
- Fear of losing one’s job
- Fear of stigma or what other’s think
- Fear of appearing “weak” or “needy”
- Fear of losing one’s social status or recognition as powerful or successful
- Fear of losing control of one’s life
- Fear of what may be revealed through psychiatric assessment or counseling about oneself or a loved one
- Fear of feeling uneducated about the mental health system or not knowing what things mean or understanding the language
- Fear of cost or lack of health insurance
- Inability to determine one’s need for treatment
The unfortunate reality of these fears is that many individuals and families attempt to avoid psychiatric services for as long as they can. It often takes a major life event, unavoidable behavioral problem, or mental health disability/illness that is difficult to manage to redirect avoidant individuals into treatment services. Parents of children (young children, teens, or adult children) often struggle to encourage their loved one’s into treatment for these very reasons. But parents of children also struggle to determine when a loved one should receive counseling and treatment services. It is often very difficult if not impossible in some cases to determine when mental health treatment should be pursued, especially with very young children (5 and below).
Here are a few ways to determine when you should seek psychiatric services:
- Behavioral (oppositional, difficult to manage, poor frustration tolerance or loss of temper unnecessarily, hostility, domestic violence, verbal and physical aggression, abuse, extreme controlling, stealing, property destruction, fire setting, etc.), psychological (low self-esteem that affects mood or thinking, preoccupation of mind, etc.), or emotional (depression, anxiety, etc) problems that are difficult to manage on a daily basis
- Intense fantasy play dominated by an inability to relate to reality (this is a very difficult situation that requires much assessment)
- Hallucinations (hearing, seeing, feeling, gustatory/tasting, etc) or delusions (strong beliefs held to be true despite evidence)
- Disorganized thinking (i.e., not making sense, bouncing from one topic to the next, unintelligible mixture of words/sentences)
- Extensive hyperactivity or manic-like symptoms (inability to sleep due to energy, poor appetite, irresponsibility or poor judgment due to flight of ideas or flighty behavior, staying awake for more than the average amount of hours, etc)
- Extreme difficulty with anxiety (fear of loss, fear of separation, repeated tantrums, behavioral outbursts, obsessions, compulsions)
- Depression, low mood, low self-esteem, frequent crying-spells, heightened fears, feeling physically ill, suicidal, emotionally unstable, poor concentration, poor thinking)
It is important to keep in mind that seeking psychiatric treatment doesn’t always have to occur when extreme behavioral, emotional, or psychological problems are evident.
Some individuals who could benefit from counseling include:
- Professionals under extreme stress
- Adoptive/Foster children
- Survivors of suicide or homicide
- Single parents (father’s and mother’s)
- Grandparents raising their grandchildren or other children within the family
- Children of single parents
- Adolescents needing social skills or higher self-esteem
- Victims of abuse and neglect or trauma
- Children/Teens having difficulties in school
- Victims of bullying
- Children/teens who bully others
Can you think of others who could benefit from counseling or psychiatric services?
Keep in mind that we are all susceptible to life’s stressful ups and downs. No one is exempt. If you know someone who needs or could benefit from wise counsel, click here for the therapist locator engine. If you would prefer religion/spiritual based services, feel free to contact me for referrals at AnchoredInKnowledge.
For frequent excuses used to avoid psychiatric treatment for children and teens, visit my home site at AnchoredInKnowledge.
I wish you the best
Therapist and patient image available from Shutterstock.
Hill, T. (2013). When Should You Worry About Mental Health Treatment?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 28, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/caregivers/2013/08/when-should-you-worry-about-mental-health-treatment/