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Family Guidance Blog

Know the Warning Signs: When to Seek Professional Help

Mental Health 5For many people, it’s hard to admit the need for help. But throughout the course of life, everyone at some point could use some help. Certainly not every problem warrants professional help. How then do you differentiate between issues that could be improved from mental health treatment and those which could subside on their own?

An article found at Psychology Today provides some insight into when to seek the help of a mental health professional. Here are a few signs that may indicate a need for assistance:

Experiencing trauma In the midst of a traumatic situation, the body’s fight or flight response takes over and helps us self-preserve. It isn’t until after-the-fact that the presence and symptoms of trauma are noticeable, in many cases. If your history includes neglect, abuse, witnessing a horrific event, or if you were a victim of an incident yourself, there is healing in recognizing the presence and impact of trauma with a professional and moving toward healthy coping strategies.

Coping with personal loss Situations like losing a loved one or going through a divorce can literally take the life and energy out of a person. Even losing a job can severely impact personal self-esteem and the will to move forward. Grief from these types of situations can continue for extended periods of time and impact other relationships as well.

Using drugs or alcohol to avoid dealing with problems Relying on drugs or alcohol only serves to make problematic situations worse. If you have trouble giving up substance use despite a desire to do so, or continue to use substances even though doing so yields negative consequences, this could be a sign of an addictive or compulsive disorder that merits further attention.

Warning signs usually start with a person feeling unlike themselves. Perpetual sadness, anger or despair, or continued problems eating or sleeping, should not be ignored. Other signs warranting expert help include loss of interest in things that were once important, a withdrawal from loved ones, or suicidal thoughts. Family Guidance Center is a source of professional help and support and offers services to all income levels. Most mental health problems can be greatly improved with proper diagnosis and treatment. Contact the Family Guidance Center for more information about first steps toward getting help from an experienced mental health professional.

Addressing Childhood OCD

A lot of kids have funny quirks that might easily be dismissed as nothing out of the ordinary. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is something we don’t normally associate with children, but while childhood OCD can be difficult to diagnose, there are signs that parents should be vigilant for.

A German study explores the subject of OCD in more depth – particularly issues with regard to assessing and treating the anxiety disorder. Unwanted thoughts and compulsions are typical in those with OCD, but clinicians don’t like to label young children with a definitive diagnosis until an established pattern is solidified over time.

Interestingly, German researchers found that nearly 90 percent of all young patients with the diagnosis, including both teens and children, exhibited some form of obsessive cleansing. Another common trait amongst the group examined was attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – greater than 70 percent of patients also had ADHD.

Study author, Susanne Walitza, M.D., advised that a key to successful management of the disease is OCD 1prompt recognition and medical attention. According to information presented by psychcentral.com, certain characteristics of the disorder can be identified early with a proper psychodiagnostic evaluation. Left untreated, childhood OCD or that which presents itself in the teen years often persists into adulthood and can become burdensome to mental health.

Treatment for OCD can be administered in the form of behavioral therapy, which involves therapists exposing the affected person to the underlying situation that triggers the compulsive behavior, and patients work through the urge to engage in their rituals. A less popular method of treatment incorporates medication and behavioral intervention therapy.

Coping with a mental illness can be difficult – particularly when it relates to children. Individuals with OCD often need ongoing treatment strategies and tools to prevent symptoms from recurring, and Family Guidance Center has resources that can help. Researchers believe that early attention to the disorder can be beneficial in minimizing negative effects over time. Call or click to find out more about programs available in your area.