How to Know If You Need Therapy

You aren’t feeling quite yourself lately. You can’t seem to pull out of the funk you’re in. It’s challenging to get out of bed in the morning, and you spend a lot of time worrying about things that your analytical mind understands are unlikely to happen. You don’t feel like being around people or doing anything at all. You’re starting to wonder how to know if you need therapy.

People seek therapy for various reasons. It could be feelings of depression and anxiety, relationship issues, addiction, or even manic episodes. Some people see a therapist when they’re trying to make tough decisions or move forward more productively in their lives. The simple answer to how to know if you need therapy is that if you’re wondering if you need therapy, you probably do.

How to Know If You Need Therapy

Because life is full of ups and downs, no one is exempt or immune from struggling at some point. It’s acceptable to seek therapy if you need someone else to talk to about what you’re going through. A simple way to know if you need treatment is to consider whether your emotions negatively impact your daily life. If you’re having trouble coping with emotions to the point that it’s making it difficult to function, it’s time to seek help. Given that we all face challenges at one time or another, most people could benefit from talk therapy for one reason or another. 

You Can’t Regulate Your Emotions

People feel negative emotions — sadness, fear, being overwhelmed, or anger — when terrible things happen in their lives. You may need to seek counseling if you can’t seem to shake these emotions. You’re sad, and you can’t seem to feel better. Or you’re often angry for no known reason. Drastic mood swings, like feeling elated one minute, then furious the next, may signify it’s time to talk to a professional.

You Experience Sleep Issues

Sleeping too much or too little are signs of mental health concerns. If you sleep too much, it could be because you’re depressed. If you sleep too little, you could be experiencing anxiety or mania. The average person needs six to eight hours of sleep a night. If you’re consistently sleeping much more or less than that, without any known cause, then it may be time to seek help.

You’re Falling Behind at Work or School

A decrease in your ability to concentrate, perform, or keep up at work or school is a vital sign that you’re having mental health struggles. Mental health challenges make it difficult to remember things or concentrate on tasks. They also can make you apathetic and lack concern about your performance. Rather than thrive the way you usually would, you’re simply trying to get through the day. You need help to function more like yourself.

Your Appetite is Off

Just as sleep can tell you a lot about the state of your mental health, so too can your appetite. If you find you’re regularly overeating or you have no appetite at all, it’s time to consider whether you need to talk to a professional. Some people use food to cope with negative feelings. Constantly thinking about something can make you physically feel upset and unable to eat.

You Experienced Trauma

Whether the trauma is recent or in your past, it can significantly impact your mental health. Trauma exposure can lead to all types of mental health concerns. A therapist can help you process the trauma, identify emotional triggers, and neutralize threatening feelings. 

You’re Struggling with Relationships

How you feel emotionally can play a significant role in your relationships with others. Your mental health can cause you to remove yourself from close relationships. It also can cause the opposite, resulting in clingy and insecure behavior. You may have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships because of mental health struggles. 

Counseling can help you set healthy relationship boundaries for yourself and others. It also can help you learn to form relationships and communicate more openly and effectively. 

You’re Grieving

Of course, you don’t feel like yourself when you’re struggling with the loss of someone or something you love. Whether it’s a divorce, a separation, the death of a loved one, or even leaving a job, loss makes people grieve. Grief can be even more complicated if you don’t have someone with whom to share your emotions. Counseling can help you process your grief and learn how to live with the loss.

You Don’t Enjoy Activities

People with mental health issues often feel like they’re trying to survive. They just want to get through the day. They feel disconnected from people and activities that they used to enjoy. They don’t have an interest in hobbies or socializing. They want to be alone. The idea that they might have to participate in an activity makes them feel dread and nervousness. Therapy can help you to significantly reduce and ultimately eliminate these negative thoughts and reconnect with the things you enjoy.

You Don’t Feel Physically Well

Your mental and physical health work together. When you aren’t functioning at 100% mentally, you likely don’t feel well physically either. People with mental health conditions experience headaches, fatigue, body aches, and gastrointestinal concerns, among other health issues. These physical conditions often go unexplained, then dissipate when you treat the mental health concerns.

You’re Using Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Some people try to resolve their emotional issues by avoiding them. Drug and alcohol use is a common way to avoid the feelings associated with mental health issues. Rather than resolve problems, substance use tends to exacerbate problems. If you find you’re using substances to numb yourself and avoid dealing with your emotions, a mental health professional can help.

Also, keep in mind that almost any coping mechanism can be damaging if you use it to avoid dealing with emotions and solving problems. Watching TV, playing video games, sex… all can become addictions if you use them to avoid feelings.

You Feel Hopeless

Perhaps the most concerning sign of emotional health issues is the feeling of hopelessness. You feel like this is the way your life is now, and it’s not going to get any better. Because you don’t think things can improve, you don’t even try to get help. But things can get better, and you can feel like yourself again. It’s worth seeking advice to get you there.

If You Need Therapy

If you’ve determined you need therapy, All Counseling wants to help. We want to help you find the right counselor to help you get the mental health support you deserve. Use our searchable counselor directory to find the counselor you need.


How Do I Know if I Need Therapy?. https://www.apa.org. (2021). Retrieved 24 September 2021, from https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/seeking-therapy.

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