It’s very common for people to ask when it’s necessary to turn to a mental health professional for help. Following are four basic indicators that will help you to know if you’ve experienced more stress than you can handle yourself, or with the help of your friends and loved ones:
Persistent suicidal or homicidal thoughts
It’s not unusual for us to experience thoughts of non-existence, or thoughts of harming ourselves or others, particularly during a crisis. However, if these thoughts persist, and you begin to think of how and when you may act on your thoughts, pursue professional help immediately. Don’t give yourself the chance to act impulsively.
An inability to care for yourself
You’re withdrawing from people, not eating, not sleeping, not taking care of your basic needs. Any one of these or a combination of several is an indication that it’s time to pursue professional help.
Ongoing painful symptoms
If you’re experiencing ongoing physical pain or discomfort, speak with your doctor. In the same way, if you’re experiencing ongoing painful feelings, such as panic attacks or depression, speak with a mental health professional.
Abuse of substances
If you’re turning to alcohol, tranquilizers or sleeping pills on a regular basis, or if you’re using drugs to “self medicate,” see a professional who can offer healthier and more effective solutions. If you don’t know of a particular mental health practitioner, turn to your doctor, a hospital or perhaps your spiritual leader, for a referral.