Wednesday, July 5, 2017

5 symptoms that you need to see a psychologist as soon as possible


If you've seen a lot of movies you probably got a wrong idea about psychological disorders. Perhaps you think they only concern those who obsessively check 25 times that they have closed the door before go to bed or the traumatized soldier who confuses the ceiling fan blades with an helicopter in a combat zone.

These are extreme cases. In a society that forces us to work harder and faster, we have different problems.

The tremendous expectations on our shoulders, the number of activities and obligations we face each day, the difficulties of life and interpersonal conflicts create a level of stress and anxiety that is sometimes difficult to sustain and can also destroy the emotionally stronger people. In these cases, is better going to the psychologist.

You need the help of a psychologist when:

1. You suffered a trauma or loss and you can’t recover

Throughout our lives, we have to face difficult situations, but sometimes we do not have the necessary psychological resources. If you have been through a traumatic situation or have suffered a significant loss and can’t recover, it is essential that you ask for the help of a psychologist.

A study at Harvard University has found that painful experiences are recorded as fingerprints in the brain and are reactivated as if we were reliving the situation. To overcome the trauma is necessary to turn it into a narrative experience, this is achieved by reprogramming the emotional brain.

The "normal" mourning period for a loss is about six months, but if you feel bad, if you still have very intense feelings and do not notice any improvement, don’t wait any longer. A psychologist can help you manage the painful situation by making you develop the resilience.

2. You often suffer from illness, muscle pain, headaches or gastrointestinal problems without any specific cause

Chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and other emotional states affect the immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections so that you become more ill. A meta-analysis conducted at the University of Kentucky that analyzed over 300 studies concluded that chronic stress negatively affects cellular immunity.

In other cases, repressed concerns and emotions may have a somatic expression. They usually occur through skin problems, gastrointestinal disorders, and muscle aches.

It is important not to neglect these symptoms because may become worse and become risk factors for more serious illnesses.

3. You feel that you are no longer the same

Personality changes over time. A study at the University of Edinburgh revealed that we are a completely different person at the age of 14 and 77. Areas such as self-confidence, perseverance, creativity, and the will to overcome suffering are undergoing major transformations.

However, if you feel you are no longer the same and that happened suddenly, there is likely to be a problem. If you do not like the things you first appreciated, if almost nothing excites you and you see the future gray, it is important that you ask for help because you might have fallen into depression.

Nor is it a good sign that you experience sudden mood changes, feeling euphoric and soon afterwards deeply sad and melancholic, it could be the first symptom of the bipolar disorder.

You should also ask for help if you think that you can’t handle your emotions and these will overflow if you feel very irritable or angry often.

4. You worry too much for no reason

When we have a problem, it is normal to worry, but worries does not have to become the habitual travel companion. Excessive worry often leads to an unpleasant state of apprehension and becomes the basis for psychological disorders such as anxiety and phobias.

A study at Case Western Reserve University has found that too much concern for the couple, family, friends, and work colleagues also leads us to assume relational low-assertive styles of living that end up generating criticism and damaging the relationships.

Another research conducted at the University of Sussex revealed that the difference between normal and pathological concerns is that the first focuses on a concrete and specific aspect, while the pathological it extends. In practice, one worry leads to another forming a descending spiral.

So, if you are inclined to be catastrophic, if you expect the worst to happen ever and this makes you feel anxious, it is better to consult a psychologist.

5. You are developing a dependency

In many cases, addiction is an attempt to offset absences and/or failures in other spheres of life. The behavior of addicts usually begins as a result of a stressful situation, so they seek refuge in some substances.

But there is not only dependence on drugs, alcohol and tobacco, there is also a food dependence. In fact, emotional hunger is an increasingly common problem that has serious implications for health, as it usually involves the consumption of high-sugar foods and fat, which are the most rewarding for the brain.

You can also develop a physical exercise addiction, called Vigorexia, or even of your partner, in this case it is an emotional addiction.

In any case, the addiction can make you fall into a spiral of control loss that can have serious consequences for your life, so is better to seek the help of a psychologist as soon as possible.

How long the psychological therapy does lasts?

The psychologists with greater experience agree that most people feel better after their first visit and notice a significant improvement between the seventh and tenth session.

In fact, studies on the effectiveness of psychotherapy have revealed that 42% of people need between 3 and 10 visits and only 1 out of 9 will need more than 20 sessions. Of course, more complex or chronic disorders will require longer intervention, so it's important to go to the psychologist before the problem gets worse.

A meta-analysis conducted at Vanderbilt University has shown that the results of psychotherapy, compared to drug treatments, tend to be more durable and usually do not require additional treatments as people develop a range of skills that allow them to continue improving even when the treatment is over.

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Harris, M. A. et. Al. (2016) Personality Stability From Age 14 to Age 77 Years. Psychology of Aging; 31(8): 862–874.
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Przeworski, a. et. Al. (2011) Interpersonal pathoplasticity in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology; 120(2): 286-298.
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Hollon, S.D., Stewart, M.O., & Strunk, D. (2006) Enduring effects for cognitive behavior therapy in the treatment of depression and anxiety. Annual Review of Psychology, 57, 285-315.
Segerstrom, S. C. & Miller, G. E. (2004) Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry. PsycholBull; 130(4): 601–630.
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Keep feeding your neurons

5 symptoms that you need to see a psychologist as soon as possible

Jennifer Delgado Suárez

Psicologist by profession and passion, dedicated to string words together. Discover my Books


Psychology as you never heard about...

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