Being an informed customer in the mental health arena

What is a diagnosis?  Don’t we all have them?

It is important to be as thoroughly informed about your mental health, and the mental health of your family members as you can be. This will help you to make the decisions you and your family need in order to become emotionally and mentally thriving. When you understand what is going with you and your family you can avoid costly therapies and medications which may not actually be needed. So let’s start off first with what is a diagnosis?

What is a Diagnosis?

In a purely clinical definition, a diagnosis is when a professional identifies the nature and cause of specific phenomenon. In the psychology field, this is typically done by your doctor or your mental health professional; when you or a family member is suffering from a behavioral or mental problem, that is disrupting your normal everyday life in a negative fashion, you will tell the doctor and they will look at these problems in an attempt to label them.

Mental problems are thoughts and emotions which come in your mind when you don’t want them or you can’t stop them. This can range from feeling angry all the time regardless of what is going on, to thinking and worrying about things that you know probably won’t actually happen, to being bedridden with sadness that won’t go away. While Behavioral problems are more of the actions we do; behavior problems tend to have a connection to a mental problem but this is not true in every regard. Behavioral problems such as violence or compulsive lying can happen as a result of physical damage to the brain or through genetic mutations.

When you receive your diagnosis it’s important to ask for as much information as you can about it and research it on your own. Diagnosing mental health issues can be fairly accurate but many mental problems and behavioral problems are co-dependant but some are not as already mentioned. With your the diagnosis in hand, you will be able to look at your family members history and decide if it fully accurate.

All of us have issues to some degree or another but how we cope with them is what changing a personality quirk or bad habit into a destructive force in your life.

Don’t We All Have Issues?

There’s a little joke in the psychology field that we as psychologists need psychology more than any of our clients. This isn’t really true but it does point out an easy fallacy for us to fall in; the more we learn about mental health the more likely we are to see and think that we have mental health issues. This is neither true nor is it entirely false.

Each and every one of us have issues: we have worries, we get depressed, we lose our temper, we eat too much or sometimes drink when we shouldn’t. We all at times make bad decisions for no good reasons, we all develop bad habits and at times avoid responsibility for our deeds. This is normal human behavior, so yes, we all have “issues” but this becomes different when these things grow bigger than the rest of our world. When we can’t control our thoughts, or our actions, no matter how hard we try that is when your issues have become a mental health problem.

When our worries, our temper, our drinking start to affect our lives negatively, when they start to hurt our family, that is when it is time to seek help from mental health professionals. This isn’t a bad thing despite what society has said; seeking help for your mental issues is the most responsible thing you can do. You wouldn’t avoid going to the doctor when you have an infected wound on you face, why would you avoid individual counseling when you have wound on your thoughts?

Do you Need Counseling?

Counseling is a great way to open a dialog with yourself and your family about what is going on with you on an internal level. Whether it’s you who has the problem or a member of your family, mental health problems can and does affect everyone close to you. This open dialog will help you to be more honest about what is going on with you. Mental health problems start in the mind and they are the first place we must start when it’s time to seek help.

Individual counseling is important for you to reconnect with yourself; it will allow you to explore what is going on with you in a self-honest way you might not be able to do with your family. You will build a trust with your therapist  that will help you rebuild your confidence in yourself. Regardless of what your diagnosis is, your therapist will be there to help you find out ways to work through the problems you are facing.

Family counseling helps us to ease the problems that mental health can cause among family members. Frequently mental health problems cause conflict in your family, they destroy your families ability to communicate in an open dialog. Resentments, hostility, anger, betrayal, isolation can infect a family that is dealing with mental health problems. It’s important to seek family counseling when you and your family can no longer talk to each when you can no longer solve conflicts.

At the heart of it, Counseling is here to help you become happier, healthier, and more open to the world and your family in a positive manner. You don’t need to have a diagnosis to go to counseling; if you are having difficulty coping with your life or your family, seek out counseling. Therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, everyone in the mental health field are dedicated to helping you.