Do I need to go to a psychiatrist?
Perhaps you are going through difficult times in your life at this stage of your life, or perhaps one of the people you care about has told you more than once that you need to see a psychiatrist. Or perhaps you feel that things are not going well and that you are becoming a stranger to yourself and no longer being the person you were before. Or, your bad personality traits have caused you to lose a friend, break up, embarrass you in front of co-workers, or fail in your career.
Whatever brought you here, that made you ask: Do I need a psychiatrist? You are in the right place. If you want direct and brief steps to determine the answer to whether or not you should go to a psychiatrist, continue reading this article. We also advise you to read the expanded version of this article here if you want to understand in depth why it is important to early detect your need to go to a psychiatrist, what is the importance of identifying a psychiatrist and how your going to the psychiatrist will affect yourself.
What do you do when you are going through a difficult time and suspect that you need to see a psychiatrist?
- First: try to assess the degree of your disease and how bad it is
The following key questions may help you accurately assess what you are going through, and differentiate normal from abnormal behavior in your assessment:
- To what extent does it disrupt your daily life? And how much of your time and energy takes?
- Have you changed your lifestyle, habits, and personality because of this condition?
- Is what you are in a strange thing to those around you? Are they dissatisfied or worried about what you are up to?
- Does your situation pose a danger to yourself and to others around you in the short and long term?
One of the most important problems that make dealing with different psychological states difficult is not knowing them at all, and not knowing what is meant here is not naming emotions and behaviors by their names and not being aware of their causes. Self-reflection and standing with the self as if you are observing it as an entity separate from you and without judgment on it, is an excellent first step towards a solution, for judging a thing is a branch of its perception, and feelings and emotions are like data that are waiting for a rational and objective analysis to turn into information that can be employed and dealt with.
- Second: You can always go for a consultation even without urgent and obvious reasons
Seeing a doctor does not necessarily mean a diagnosis of a disease. This is a scientific and practical fact that must be recognized. Just as a person may go to a cardiologist when he feels symptoms related to the heart (such as rapid heartbeat or chest pain) to confirm the presence of a disease or not, the psychiatrist should not diagnose a disease in everyone who visits him, but rather focus on taking a complete medical history, Informing the case in an integrated manner before deciding whether there is a disease or not, and then also deciding whether the case calls for prescribing a drug or non-pharmacological treatment, or both.
Going to the psychiatrist to ascertain any psychological defect, stressful feeling, or noticeable change, is an act of self-care and preservation, and it is necessary to protect and care for the body that we do periodic checks to ensure that it is free of diseases.
- Third, try making some changes to your lifestyle
The reason for the increase in the severity of the negative psychological state sometimes lies in the disruption it generates in the habits of daily life (such as disturbed sleep, lack of control over eating habits, and cessation of exercise). These three aspects are cornerstones of our general health, and controlling them can contribute to improving our ability to handle stress, and reduce the intensity of psychological suffering (from depression, anxiety, etc.), and this is proven in many studies throughout history.
Adjusting daily habits (such as eating healthy food, exercising, and controlling sleep) is not enough to treat the disease, but it may help us to differentiate between the psychological state that requires specialized treatment on the one hand, and the daily psychological stress that can be dealt with and adapted by maintaining A healthy lifestyle.
On the other hand, the introduction of certain practices, such as meditating on a daily basis, organizing time, making time for hobbies and leisure, taking breaks from the causes of anxiety (such as work and studying), and seeing friends, can all help as coping strategies and build psychological immunity to Stress.
- Fourth: Consult a friend or someone you trust, and try not to be alone
Social support has a great relationship and an important role in improving the outcomes of mental disorders, and improving mental and physical health in general as well (1) (2), and loneliness has bad effects on the human psyche, especially in the long run. Therefore, not being alone during your mental struggle seems to be a good strategy, and is just as important as changing your lifestyle for the better. This does not mean, of course, that you talk about your suffering with everyone you know, because this may lead to counterproductive effects, but it does mean that you keep your social circles effective, and that you consult someone you trust when needed, and you trust his wisdom and ability to help you make the right decision.
- Fifth: Don’t be too hard on yourself
It is easy to slip into self-flagellation when going through a bad and cruel time, the cruelty of life calls for our cruelty to ourselves sometimes as a quick defense that relieves the anxiety of facing the truth a little. But the truth is that we are all susceptible to mental illness, without exception.
This is demonstrated by many studies around the world (3) (4). Psychological disorder has multiple causes, including biological, psychological and social, many of which are not under our control, and even if human behavior has contributed to the emergence of the disease state, it is good to be sympathetic to oneself and understand what it has become, as self-flagellation is an unproductive act, and even It makes it much worse.
It goes without saying that this does not absolve a person from his responsibility towards himself, but the responsibility itself is what requires dealing in a more mature manner than self-flagellation, with understanding and searching for a solution and help without stubbornness. In such cases, the values of responsibility and humility emerge and become evident.
- Sixth: Make sure to choose a good doctor or therapist
A good doctor increases the chances of recovery and benefit from the treatment process at various levels. In psychiatry, the value of this choice increases, because some aspects of the therapeutic process depend on the specific clinical skills and personality of the physician/therapist. Recommendations from trusted people, online reviews, or reading a doctor’s/therapist’s bio, can help you make this decision in the best possible way.
And if you want to know how to choose the right psychiatrist or therapist, we advise you to read our other article after you have finished this article: How do I choose the right psychiatrist or psychotherapist?
- Seventh: Prepare yourself and set your goals and expectations for treatment
Treatment sometimes fails because the person’s expectations do not match the reality of the treatment sessions, and their outcomes. The psychotherapeutic journey is an arduous journey in some aspects, punctuated by direct confrontations with the self and its weaknesses and shortcomings.
It’s important to know that psychotherapy has tough times, but it’s definitely worth it. Adhering to it expresses a mature and exemplary approach to a problem that may afflict anyone. Try to prepare your questions and thoughts before meeting the doctor, and build a conception with him/her of realistic hopes and goals that can be achieved after a period of treatment, broadly. The doctor may need to conduct some laboratory tests to rule out organic causes that may be a cause of the psychological state before diagnosis and developing a treatment plan.
It is also important to know your rights as a patient, as you have the full right to privacy during the sessions, and the full right to maintain the confidentiality of information, as well as the doctor / therapist respecting you and listening to you and giving you the full opportunity to talk and then ask and understand in every little and big thing related to the diagnosis and treatment plan. You can take your friend or someone you love to the doctor, as this can give you more confidence and comfort.
Tools that may help you
In this video, consultant psychiatrist Dr. Abdullah Al-Subaie has some general concepts, and answers some questions related to psychiatry and when it is recommended to visit a doctor.
The book “Mind Over Emotion”, translated from Mind Over Mood, by Professors of Clinical Psychology “Kristin Badeski” and “Denis Grenberger”, is one of the most important books that explain the foundations of cognitive-behavioral therapy for the layman. It contains many examples and applications that can be used in daily life to help overcome psychological problems and daily stress and monitor thoughts, feelings and behaviors in order to control them.
- (1) Riahi, M. E., Aliverdinia, A., & Pourhossein, Z. (2011). Relationship between social support and mental health. Social Welfare Quarterly, 10(39), 85-121.
- (2) Harandi, T. F., Taghinasab, M. M., & Nayeri, T. D. (2017). The correlation of social support with mental health: A meta-analysis. Electronic physician, 9(9), 5212.
- (3) Kessler, R. C., Aguilar-Gaxiola, S., Alonso, J., Chatterji, S., Lee, S., Ormel, J., … & Wang, P. S. (2009). The global burden of mental disorders: an update from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) surveys. Epidemiologia e psichiatria sociale, 18(1), 23.
- Eight questions with a psychiatrist