If you find yourself wondering “should I see a psychiatrist?” chances are you are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms or dealing with a tough situation that is interfering with your ability to live your life the way you want.
Deciding whether or not you should see a psychiatrist can feel like a big step. You may know that you could use mental health support but aren’t sure if a psychiatrist is right for you. You might even have preconceived notions about the kinds of symptoms and conditions that qualify for psychiatric treatment.
In reality, psychiatrists help people experiencing mental distress of all different kinds. There are many different kinds of mental health issues — from anxiety disorders and depression to OCD and eating disorders. The symptoms for these conditions can look different from person to person and can even vary in their severity.
Here are seven of the most common reasons to see a psychiatrist. While it’s not a complete list, it should give a sense of the situations that may prompt you to seek out psychiatric support.
1. Excessive Anxiety or Worry
Being nervous before a job interview or an important meeting is normal and healthy. But anxiety can become a problem when it makes day-to-day tasks difficult and it doesn’t go away. Clinical anxiety is defined by persistent fear, worry, and restlessness at times where it is not wanted or necessary.
Psychiatrists often treat anxiety with talk therapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Anxiety can sometimes worsen over time, so consider reaching out to a psychiatrist if you need support.
Depression is a very common mood disorder characterized by feelings of persistent sadness, irritability, and hopelessness. People without depression can experience these emotions too but depression is usually diagnosed when these symptoms interfere with daily life and last for at least two weeks.
Many people with depression don’t reach out for help because their feelings of hopelessness and low self-worth make it difficult to envision a brighter future and take that first step. But if you can prioritize your mental health and make an appointment, you can join many other Thriveworks clients who have improved their quality of life after working with a psychiatrist.
3. Problems Adjusting to Life Changes
The only constant in life is change. However, some changes can be incredibly difficult to navigate. Being laid off from a job, losing a loved one, or moving to a new city can cause enough stress to disrupt typical coping mechanisms.
If a major life change causes extreme anxiety, headaches, loss of sleep, fatigue, or other symptoms, then you might benefit from working with a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists can help you develop new coping mechanisms and stress reduction techniques to navigate change and move forward with your life.
Being afraid of things like spiders, snakes, heights, or public speaking is completely normal and natural. However, a phobia is an excessive reaction to the source of your fear that interferes with your day-to-day life.
People living with phobias often know that their fears are excessive or irrational but are unable to change their reactions. Psychiatrists can work with you to determine where your phobia is coming from and develop a treatment plan to reduce its impact on your life.
5. Addictions or Substance Abuse
Substance abuse or addiction can be a sign of a deeper issue. Coping with difficult emotions can turn people to find comfort in alcohol, food, drugs, or other substances.
Addiction is typically diagnosed when an individual is unable to control their consumption of something despite the harm it causes. Some psychiatrists specialize in treating addiction by using talk therapy, medication, and other treatment modalities to help people change their habits.
6. Unexplained Mood Swings
We all experience natural highs and lows in life but unexplained mood swings could be a sign of an underlying mental illness. Bipolar disorder, for example, is a mental disorder that causes severe high and low moods alongside changes in sleep, energy, and behavior.
People with bipolar disorder can have periods when they feel extremely happy and full of energy, and other periods where they feel extremely sad and tired. Between these periods of high and low mood, they may feel relatively normal.
Many people with bipolar disorder find relief through therapy or medication, such as mood stabilizers and antidepressants. Psychiatrists can find the right treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms.
7. Suicidal Thoughts
Some people experience suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm while going through periods of intense distress in life. Others may experience them as part of a depressive episode and may be unable to pinpoint a specific reason for those thoughts.
Either way, if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or intend to harm yourself, please reach out for professional support. Help is available, no matter what you’re going through. Psychiatrists are trained to respond compassionately to your concerns and help you bring stability and happiness back into your life.
Should I See a Psychiatrist at Thriveworks Counseling?
If you’re wondering “do I need a psychiatrist?” –– we want you to know that you are not alone. Lots of people have questions about their mental health and could use support from a mental health professional. By working with a psychiatrist, you have the opportunity to address your problems in a judgment-free environment, reduce your symptoms, and live a happier and healthier life.
We know that finding time for mental health care can be difficult. At Thriveworks Counseling, we’ll never put you on a waitlist. Many of our new clients can have their first appointment within 24-48 hours of reaching out. We offer convenient online appointments so you can work with a psychiatrist over the phone or on a video chat. We also accept many major insurance plans, so treatment might be more affordable than you think.
If you’ve been thinking about seeing a mental health professional, consider reaching out to Thriveworks Counseling to speak to an online psychiatrist. Our highly-trained staff looks forward to seeing you soon.