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May 14, 2024

How to Know When It’s Time to Seek Help: Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

Mental health is an essential part of our overall well-being, yet many people hesitate to seek care when they need it most. In fact, though more than 1 in 5 adults in the US have a mental illness*, more than half don’t receive the care they need. And for the ones who do, the time delay between the onset of symptoms and the start of care is an estimated 11 years.**

Understanding the signs that indicate it’s time to get help can make a significant difference in your life. Let’s discuss what is considered normal, what symptoms suggest a deeper issue, and why seeking help is a crucial step towards better mental health, so you can confidently take the next step you need to live your very best life.

What’s ‘Normal Mental Health’?

Normal mental health encompasses a range of emotions and experiences. It’s normal to feel a variety of emotions, including sadness, anxiety, and stress, in response to life’s challenges. However, when these emotions start to interfere with your daily life, it might be a sign of a deeper issue.

What is Normal?

Occasional Sadness: Feeling sad in response to a loss or disappointing event is normal. This sadness usually lessens with time and support.

Mild Anxiety: It’s common to feel anxious before a big event or during a stressful situation. This type of anxiety typically resolves once the situation is over.

Intrusive Thoughts: Everyone experiences occasional intrusive thoughts, which are unwanted thoughts that pop into your mind. These thoughts are usually brief and don’t cause significant distress.

Temporary Stress: Short-term stress in response to a specific challenge, like a work deadline or moving to a new home, is normal. This stress generally subsides once the challenge is met or the situation changes.

What is Not Normal?

Persistent Sadness or Depression: If you experience persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness that last for weeks or longer, it might be a sign of depression.

Excessive Anxiety or Panic Attacks: Anxiety that is excessive, occurs frequently, or leads to panic attacks is a sign of an anxiety disorder.

Severe Intrusive Thoughts: Intrusive thoughts that are persistent, cause significant distress, or lead to compulsive behaviors may indicate Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Chronic Stress: Long-term stress that doesn’t seem to subside and affects your daily functioning can be harmful and may require professional help.

Signs You Should Seek Professional Help

Recognizing the signs that you need professional mental health care is crucial. Here are some key indicators:

Mood Swings: Severe mood swings that impact your relationships or daily activities could indicate a mood disorder.

Changes in Sleep Patterns: Insomnia, frequent nightmares, or oversleeping can be linked to various mental health issues.

Withdrawal from Social Activities: Avoiding social interactions and activities you once enjoyed can be a red flag.

Changes in Appetite or Weight: Significant weight loss or gain, or changes in appetite, can be associated with mental health problems.

Substance Abuse: Using alcohol or drugs to cope with emotions or stress is a sign that professional help might be needed.

Physical Symptoms: Unexplained physical issues like headaches, stomach aches, or chronic pain can sometimes be linked to mental health conditions.

Why People Avoid Seeking Help for Their Mental Health

Many factors contribute to why people avoid seeking mental health care:

Stigma: There’s still a stigma associated with mental health issues, leading people to fear judgment.

Denial: Some people may not recognize they have a problem or may deny its severity.

Cost: Concerns about the cost of therapy or treatment can be a barrier.

Lack of Access: Limited access to mental health services can prevent people from getting the help they need.

Why Seeking Help is Important

Seeking help is a vital step towards recovery and better mental health. Here are some reasons why it’s important:

Early Intervention: Early treatment can prevent symptoms from worsening.

Improved Quality of Life: When you receive appropriate treatment for mental health issues, you are likely to experience better emotional stability, increased productivity, and enhanced overall well-being. This can lead to more fulfilling personal relationships, greater satisfaction in your professional life, and a deeper sense of purpose and happiness. Effective treatment can also help you develop coping strategies and resilience, enabling you to handle future stressors more effectively.

Support System: Mental health professionals can provide support and teach coping strategies that will help you manage previously triggering situations in the future.

Better Relationships: Treatment can help improve your relationships by addressing underlying issues, offering better communication methods, and promote emotional stability.

Recognizing the signs that you need professional mental health care is crucial for your well-being. If you experience persistent sadness, anxiety, mood swings, or other symptoms discussed in this blog, don’t hesitate to seek help. Remember, seeking care is a sign of strength, not weakness. Your mental health matters, and taking steps to care for it is essential for a happy, healthy life.

At Avance Care, we integrate Behavioral Health services into our primary care offices, so that it’s easier and more comfortable to get care for your mental health. By getting mental health care in your primary care office, or virtually in the comfort of your own home, the barriers of stigma and lack of access disappear. If you’re ready to take the next step to caring for your mental health, learn more about our Behavioral Health services. Our large team of therapists are experienced in a variety of conditions and circumstances, and have diverse backgrounds, so there’s someone fit for everyone. Learn more today, or call 919.874.5443 to speak with a Behavioral Health Coordinator.

Our Behavioral Health Therapy team also offers a variety of Therapy Groups, including ADHD Teen Group Therapy, Disordered Eating Therapy Group, and more, as well as Specialized Individual Therapy, such as ADHD Intensive Therapy, and Tobacco Cessation. Whatever you need, we can help.

Because at Avance Care, your mental health matters. 




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