One in five American adults has a mental health condition. Research has shown that these mental health conditions can be treated effectively. As scientists have disproven the stigmas surrounding mental health, more people have acknowledged the value of modern therapy. Insurance companies are now required to cover and treat mental health conditions. More Americans than ever can access the true benefits of therapy.
Psychotherapy - also known as talk therapy - has helped millions of Americans. Talk therapy can help individuals overcome pain from their pasts and develop coping strategies for the future. It can also help a person define their goals, clarifying who they are and what they want out of life.
People in talk therapy explore their moods and behaviors in a safe place. A mental health professional may provide a fresh perspective on an issue. They can give people a better understanding of their own emotions. Therapists can also teach communication skills to convey those emotions. Therapy can promote one’s self-esteem, relationships, and outlook on life.
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Therapy can be particularly helpful for individuals with the following concerns:
Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. It is more than sadness over a setback or a period of mourning after losing a loved one. It is chronic misery that hinders one’s quality of life. Depression often involves sleep problems, appetite changes, and feelings of guilt or apathy.
Treatment can help individuals with these symptoms. Psychotherapy treatment for depression relies on trust and emotional support. An effective therapist provides people a comfortable, private setting to heal. Together, they examine the causes and potential solutions to their concerns. Therapists help depressed individuals build new ways of thinking and reacting. Therapy can allow people to return to the loved ones and activities that they care about most.
Here are some types of depression that professionals often treat:
- Major Depressive Disorder has symptoms severe enough to impact daily life. It is the most commonly diagnosed form of depression.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder affects individuals during the colder months of the year.
- Dysthymia, also called persistent depressive disorder, lasts for at least two years. Its symptoms are milder than those of major depressive disorder.
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition seen in the United States. It impacts roughly 18% of the population. Nearly half of individuals diagnosed with depression also experience some form of anxiety.
Anxiety differs from the occasional stress all people experience. Clinical anxiety is an ongoing, chronic symptom. People with anxiety find themselves on edge most of the time. They may expect something bad will happen, even if there is no evidence for that fear. This state can easily cause social complications. Some with anxiety struggle to control emotions. They can become overly self-conscious or avoidant.
Psychotherapy can help people with anxiety regain their compass in life. A person can provide context for their emotions by identifying the underlying causes. Rather than being paralyzed by fear, they can understand their emotions, accept them, and make real progress toward their goals.
Like depression, anxiety can manifest in different forms, including:
- Generalized Anxiety is characterized by constant, intense anxiety. The worries often seem disproportionate to the concern.
- Social Anxiety involves high levels of stress within social settings. It can deter relationships and encourage isolation.
- Phobias are unusual and intense fears of a setting, situation, or object. People with phobias go out of their way to avoid their triggers.
- Selective Mutism is a social phobia most commonly seen with children. Children with selective mutism have the ability to speak. However, they find talking difficult in social situations outside the home.
Obsessions are persistent, unwanted thoughts. Usually obsessions are fixated on a particular topic or goal. Compulsions are repeated, irrational behaviors that individuals feel they must do. People often perform compulsions to relieve the stress caused by their obsessions.
A mental health professional helps people with these conditions objectively examine their behaviors. They reveal an individual’s negative thought patterns and offer productive alternatives to the compulsions. With help, individuals can break the cycle of their distress.
The obsessive and compulsive conditions treated by mental health professionals include:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involves repetitive rituals. Individuals with OCD experience intense anxiety if they do not perform these rituals.
- Body dysmorphia causes individuals to fixate on perceived flaws in their physical appearance.
- Hoarding involves collecting a large amount of objects. The clutter takes up disproportionate space in the home and affects one’s quality of life.
- Trichotillomania compels people to pull out their own hair.
- Kleptomania refers to the compulsion to steal.
Psychotherapy can also help individuals improve their relationships. Mental health professionals focus on helping people open lines of communication with each other. People use this treatment to gain perspective on relationship problems that arise. They can also use therapy preventatively when they know trouble is on the horizon.
Among the types of therapy for relationships commonly sought:
- Family Therapy can involve both couples and children. Its general aim is to improve nurturing relationships.
- Marriage Counseling is focuses on spousal relationship between two partners. Its goal is to resolve conflict and strengthen a couple’s bond.
Psychotherapy can help people cope with a wide range of experiences. Anyone can enjoy the benefits of therapy, whether you want to set life goals or establish healthy relationships. You don’t need to be in a debilitating crisis to get support.
If people are proactive about their mental health, they can prevent their concerns from festering into a larger problem. Therapy can provide relief from symptoms and restore one’s quality of life. It can help people learn how to be themselves again.
Everyone has emotional challenges. In today’s America, solutions are available to more people than ever. No one needs to suffer alone.
1. The state of mental health in America. (n.d.). Mental Health America. Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/state-mental-health-america
2. Treating depression: What treatment actually works? (2016). Uncommon Knowledge LLP. Retrieved from http://www.clinical-depression.co.uk/dlp/treating-depression/treating-depression-what-treatment-actually-works/
3. Facts & statistics. (2017). ADAA. Retrieved from https://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics