10 Important Life Symptoms that Verify You Need Therapy

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Life Symptoms That Need Therapy

Do you need therapy? That is an answer complicated by stigma, biases, and self-perception. I will presume that your self-perception has been shaken to an extent that you’ve started reflecting on the possibility therapy is needed.

You may also be concerned with what society may think of someone who goes to therapy.

Does going to therapy makes you crazy? Let me answer that question with another question. Does going to your general practitioner make you a sickly person?

The answer to both questions is no. There are a number symptoms and experiences that indicate you likely would benefit from therapy.

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Realizing that you need to see a therapist is not an admission of defeat. It is not a fault, shortcoming, or otherwise stain on your character.

What is Therapy and Why Do You Need It?

Therapy is a process of psyche development to help you become more aware and in control. It is a general term that treats various mental health related problems and increases the patient’s resilience.

Here are 10 signs that you may need therapy.  It is not always obvious, but using this guide, you can learn when you need therapy.
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There certainly are some issues that are worse than others. If you broke a bone, you would need specific treatments and time to heal.

You may also need physical or occupational therapy to regain strength and movement.

When you see a psychotherapist, it is no different. There are some psychological problems that impact more areas of your life than others.

Each has their own unique traits and relative impairments, which is critical to identify as to whether treatment is needed.

Yet, there is no symptom, diagnosis, or syndrome of issues that is worse than another.

So here is a not-so-exhaustive list of problems that can correlate to you needing therapy.

To best help you, I also will be referencing workbooks that can help you make the biggest gains!

I also must plug here that therapy is one aspect of treatment. When working with a mental health professional, be sure to follow their advice and treatment plan above any tips or guidance noted here.

1. Overreacting to Stress

How has work been going lately? What about caring for the kids? If you’re finding usual activities more stressful than normal, it could be an indication of underlying depression.

Check this out to improve your mood!

We all have bad days. There are even days where work or the kids are especially chaotic. But these days are not for weeks on end.

If you are finding yourself constantly angry, nearly (or actually) blowing up on others, you really should consider seeing a therapist. Will a therapist change those demands? No.

But a therapist will help you find triggers and coping skills to reduce and prevent these feelings.

2. Persistently Depressed or Anxious

Persistent depression and anxiety can be horrible feelings to handle on your own. Constantly feeling hopeless, helpless, and that something is wrong, is not just hard on your psyche, it’s hard on your relationships as well.

Take note of how others respond to you!

When you have untreated mental health problems, there is a tendency for worsening symptoms without help. Though you can develop self-awareness yourself, you will always have a personal blind spot.

A therapist can help you uncover these depressed and anxious feelings.

As a result, you can expect to have better relationships with friends and family. Depression and anxiety are sometimes masked; therapy can help you take an active role in improving relationships and your life.

Therapy can help you with anxiety and panic!
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3. Strained Relationships or Frequent Fighting

We sometimes find that those lingering symptoms of anger, depression, anxiety, or overwhelm leak into our relationships also. These feelings and emotions can skew how we perceive ourselves and others.

Because of this bias, we may find ourselves fighting with friends, spouse, a significant other, or just nagging and being overly critical.

A therapist will not just help you see these symptoms; they will also help you create a plan to correct them. With their skill set, your identified concerns can be broken down into automatic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

When you can understand these links, there will be significant improvement in your life.

Self-awareness allows us to perceive our own faults and contributions to our interpersonal problems.  Through self-awareness, you will find better quality of life.

4. Recurring and Intrusive Thoughts

Uncontrollable thoughts are unwanted, debilitating, and constant. They can be the same thought over and over or what seems like another voice degrading you.

These thoughts often overwhelm your ability to communicate and think clearly. Anyone would be bothered by this!

Meeting with a therapist can help in a variety of ways.

First, it can help slow the thoughts down. Secondly, a therapist will help you realize where these thoughts are likely coming from. Without identifying the likely cause, it’s probable that they will continue.

It is also important to understand that intrusive thoughts and psychosis can be confused. Working with a therapist will help identify whether medication is necessary to improve your symptoms.

5. Chronic Pain

Manage your pain using this workbook!

What’s your day look like? Do you plan your day around pain? That is not the existence you hoped for. And frankly, pain medications can only do so much all the while building a dependence.

With pain comes emotion, which can amplify what we feel into depression, hopelessness, and feelings of self-limitation.

Chronic pain is not typically associated as a problem therapy can fix. But, It is!

In fact, there are calming exercises a therapist can teach you to reduce the influence of emotion.

What would you give to feel less pain? If you’re tired of feeling pain every single day, you’ve got nothing to lose.

6. Substance Use

Substance abuse is beyond over-indulging in alcohol or illegal drugs. In reality, there is a slew of substances that you can abuse: caffeine, sugar, and food as examples.

You don’t need to be the next stand-in on “Intervention” to have a problem.

There are many people who are functional in their addictions. So what’s the problem?

Alcohol, sugar, caffeine, heroin all can give you great feelings with little negative consequences to start. That is not long lasting, however.

Therapy is needed in various circumstances
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When we begin to over-indulge in substances, it is often a means of self-medicating.

It can be a slippery slope into messing up at home and work. Despite your ability to maintain, addiction will affect your relationships and health.

Our behavior will change.  We will begin to make excuses and rationalize the hurt and pain we cause our loved ones as our addiction spirals.

Don’t shrug off loved one’s concerns; therapists will help you gain insight into your use increasing your quality of life.

So take a step back and view the cascade of issues with the help of a professional. Their skill set can help you regain control and improve your quality of life.

7. Problems with Sleep

As Matchbox 20 would say, “it’s 3AM and I must be lonely…”. Didn’t grow up in the 90s? Ok then; moving on.

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Trouble sleeping is a pretty common problem for most people at some time or another. In most cases, the problem resolves itself- stressors pass, our body’s adjust, it’s not a prolonged issue.

However, there are some more pervasive issues that can persist beyond this being categorized as just a common problem.

Mindfulness is an amazing trick, which can be easily taught through therapy. The benefits of mindfulness are positive thinking, slowed breathing, calm, and self-awareness.

A therapist will help you identify a systematic way to calm your thinking and body allowing yourself to fall asleep.

There are a number of tools a therapist can use. so don’t feel that one treatment fits all.  It’s definitely worth a shot to improve your sleep!

8. Reliving Events

In the mental health field, thee has been an increasing knowledge of how trauma affects us. If you’ve not heard about the ACEs study, I highly encourage you to do so.

We are all prone to flashbacks and other trauma related symptoms.

You don’t have to be a war veteran or experienced a life or death situation to have them. Many mental health workers even experience secondary trauma from their work.

If you’re experiencing flashbacks or other trauma symptoms, it is extremely important to get help. These symptoms can progress.

Over time, symptoms that started out as minor complaints can evolve into very debilitating problems.

A therapist will use many different techniques to lessen the effect of the symptoms.

This will not happen overnight, but with hard work, it can be done.

9. Problems with Food

Are you experiencing problems with food? If you’re worried about your self-image and restrict your eating because of it, you may have a problem.  Bulimia and Anorexia are extremes but there are more moderate issues that should be addressed.

It’s quite rare for someone to start a problem at one of those ends.

DBT is perfect to fight eating disorders!

What you really need to evaluate is why you are eating too much or too little.  If it is because of how you think you look, that is the start of a real problem.

To know if you need therapy for this, consider how it’s affecting you.  If you are cutting down on spending time with friends or family, that may be a clue you’re in need of help.

A therapist will help you evaluate how you feel about your body.  We sometimes need just small adjustments to our self-perception to keep it healthy.

With media continually portraying supermodels as average Jane’s, it’s not uncommon to develop unrealistic ideas of ourselves.

Without professional balance, these problems certainly can snowball.

10. Can’t be Alone or Isolate

When faced with a threat or trauma, our body’s response can be fight, flight, or freeze.  In the aftermath, we might find it difficult to be alone.  The comfort that someone offers can help us heal from such an event.

Interestingly, the same trauma can also lead another person to isolate instead!   It is this avoidance that helps them feel safe.

This traumatic event does not have to be life threatening as noted earlier.  Our psyches evaluate trauma based upon emotion and shock to our conscience.

With our flight, flight, or freeze response, traumatic events do not always register immediately to us.  If you are startled easily, anxious that something awful could happen, or very restless, these could be signs that trauma has occurred.

Add in isolation or dependence on others and your quality of life will be affected greatly.

Therapy can help you alleviate these problems.  In some cases of trauma, it might be very difficult to talk about the event.  That doesn’t mean that a therapist couldn’t work around that.

There are various techniques- such as Solution Focused Therapy that therapists can use so you don’t have to recall details of the trauma.

Use your support system to help you identify signs and symptoms that you may be struggling.  They will be your best gauge to to gather how different you have become.

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 You Do Need Therapy to Get Better!

These 10 important life symptoms verify that you need therapy.  Though these life complications may start out as simply a nuisance, they can quickly evolve into significant problems that affect multiple aspects of your life.

To keep a sense of where you are on that spectrum, your family and friends are very important.  When you are in the midst of psychological problems, it can be very difficult to see how troubling issues are.

It is your family and friends that will be the barometer to the effects your symptoms having.

Beyond the 10 life symptoms noted, there really is a never ending list of issues needing therapy.  What often stops anyone from seeking help is the stigma associated with mental health conditions.

If, as a society, we can normalize mental health conditions as something as common as the flu, there would be less suicides and societal problems.

To help society move in that direction, be open and honest about the problems you have had.  Let your family and friends know that it is common to experience depression, anxiety, and other psychological problems.

We do not have to sit in our discomfort.  There is a wide range of help available including therapy, medication, and peer support.  The best way to find out what will work for you is seeing a professional..

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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Good read Ben! Thanks!

  2. Thank you for this post. When we need therapy, it’s often difficult for us to see it. Hopefully this helps some people who need it. Great read!

  3. Ben,

    Great point about normalizing mental illness. Although we have come so far over the years (more people attending therapy and looking for help) I still think we have some way to go. Great article!

    1. There definitely is a long way for society to go. Hopefully as more people become aware of their own mental health symptoms, society will become more accepting. Thanks for your kind words!

  4. It is interesting to read about reliving events and how that means you need therapy. I had some stressful experiences growing up, and I relive them a lot. I should look into getting help from a doctor and find a treatment that will help me.

    1. Reliving experiences is pretty typical when we’ve experienced a lot of trauma. Hope you find the help you’re looking for!

  5. Very good article!
    For sure it would help those who are struggling with stress, depression or anxiety and afraid ” How other would say? Am I mad, crazy or what?”
    All the best

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Hi! I'm Ben

I’m a licensed clinical social worker and addictions counselor who has also dealt with significant mental health struggles over the years. Here, I share the best mental wellness support and resources to help you live your best life.


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