Erlanger A. Turner Ph.D.

The Race to Good Health

5 Signs That Seeking Help May Benefit You

Tips on When to Seek Therapy

Posted Mar 31, 2015

Mental health concerns and emotional difficulties impact many people of all ages, ethnic groups, and social status. However, few people received the needed treatment to help improve their lives and decrease psychological difficulties. If you are unsure of when it is appropriate to seek mental health services, the Change Direction Initiative notes the following signs that may indicate that you or someone close to you may need help. 

Their personality changes. You may notice sudden or gradual changes in the way that someone typically behaves. He or she may behave in ways that don't seem to fit the person's values, or the person may just seem different.

They seem uncharacteristically angry, anxious, agitated, or moody. You may notice the person has more frequent problems controlling his or her temper and seems irritable or unable to calm down. People in more extreme situations of this kind may be unable to sleep or may explode in anger at a minor problem.

They withdraw or isolate themselves from other people. Someone who used to be socially engaged may pull away from family and friends and stop taking part in activities he or she used to enjoy. In more severe cases the person may start failing to make it to work or school. Not to be confused with the behavior of someone who is more introverted, this sign is marked by a change in someone's typical sociability, as when someone pulls away from the social support he or she typically has.

They stop taking care of themselves and may engage in risky behavior. You may notice a change in the person's level of personal care or an act of poor judgment on his or her part. For instance, someone may let his or her personal hygiene deteriorate, or the person may start abusing alcohol or illicit substances or engaging in other self-destructive behavior that may alienate loved ones.

They seem overcome with hopelessness and overwhelmed by their circumstances. Have you noticed someone who used to be optimistic and now can’t find anything to be hopeful about? That person may be suffering from extreme or prolonged grief, or feelings of worthlessness or guilt. People in this situation may say that the world would be better off without them, suggesting suicidal thinking.

You can learn more at www.changedirection.org.

Please visit the sites below for resources or to find a psychologist or therapist in your area. Seeking therapy can help decrease your stress and emotional problems. 

Copyright 2015 Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D.

About the Author

Erlanger Turner, Ph.D. – often referred to by his clients as Dr. Earl – is a Clinical Psychologist in Houston, Texas. He is also an Assistant Professor of Psychology and teaches courses on clinical psychology and multicultural issues. Dr. Turner specializes in child and adolescent disorders, parenting, and psychological assessment. His research interests focus on psychotherapy use, mental health equity, access to behavioral health services for youth. He has published articles in scholarly journals and in national media sources such as New York Times, and Washington’s Top News.

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