Seeking Help for a Mental Health Problem

The hardest part of overcoming a mental health disorder is recognizing that you have one. Many people go through life vaguely aware that something is wrong, but ignoring all of the warning signs. Since individuals with undiagnosed mental disorders have much higher rates of depression and poverty than the general population, it is imperative that anyone seeing signs of mental illness seek help. But many are afraid to go to a doctor or psychiatrist, fearing expenses, judgment or even the loss of their sense of self. Still, medical help is often the only way to return to normal function.

If you suspect you're having mental health problems, you should first assess how long you have been showing them. If, however, the symptoms have been persistent since young adulthood, it is likely a mental disorder and will need psychiatric evaluation. Patients feeling anxious should remember that seeking help is not an admission of weakness, but more an attempt to improve daily life. You may need to shop around for a local psychiatrist who takes your insurance. If you have no insurance, call a few offices and ask them about programs for the uninsured. You may be surprised by your options.

Most psychiatrists have a working general knowledge, but specialize in certain topics such as abuse or anxiety disorders. If you can't find someone in your area who works with your particular problems, don't despair. A trained psychiatrist should recognize all but the most obscure of mental disorders, and know how to treat them. It may be difficult to open up to a stranger at first. It's alright to wait for trust to build up before you begin tackling the big issues, but try to always be truthful with your therapist. You aren't harming anyone but yourself if you mislead him or her.

Mental disorders can be a crippling, lifelong condition, but only if you let them. By seeking help, you can regain control of your own life and brain, and start to function normally again. Don't wait for a wave of suicidal depression to see a doctor, and remember: mental disorders are not a sign of mental deficiency. It is important to visit the doctor as soon as possible, because the earlier you get help the more chance you have of getting better. A doctor may wish to run a MRI scan, an ultrasound scan and other tests on patients exhibiting sudden changes in behavior.

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