People often wonder where the dividing line is between having an occasional "blue" day and depression, or between normal butterflies and anxiety.
Triggers for emotional or psychological reactions include an upsetting life event (losing a job, divorce, death of someone close to you, becoming seriously ill), life transitions (going to college, getting married, becoming a parent, the "empty nest," retirement, to name a few).
Some people have continual trouble in their interpersonal relationships and this is another indicator of the need for professional counseling.
Listed below are certain signs or symptoms that suggest that seeing a professional therapist or counselor could be helpful to you. Keep in mind that you will not have all these symptoms, but if you or your child have several of them, consider seeing a therapist.
You keep waking up in the middle of the night.
You have frequent nightmares.
You have trouble concentrating.
You have trouble getting up in the morning.
You lose interest in activities that you previously enjoyed.
You are frequently jiggling your foot, biting your nails, twirling your hair or engaging in some other "nervous" behavor
You have to constantly check whether you locked the door, turned the stove off, or something else
Your interpersonal relationships are always in a mess.
You are frequently irritable.
You lose your temper a lot, or experience frequent road rage
You are always worrying about something.
You eat too much, or have a fear of getting fat so you continually restrict your food or throw up after meals.
You turn to food or alcohol for comfort or courage.
You are unable to relax.
You have panic attacks.
You have frequent thoughts of wanting to be dead.
You want to sleep all the time.
You have trouble holding a job.
You get a lot of vague illnesses or aches and pains which do not seem to have a physical basis.
A trusted friend or colleague suggests that you consider getting counseling.
Children and Teens:
A previously good student starts getting bad grades or discipline reports from the teacher.
The child or teen is having trouble sleeping and/or complains of bad dreams or nightmares.
Your child begins making comments about wishing he/she had never been born, or that he/she wishes he/she were dead.
A previously potty-trained child begins wetting the bed.
A child or teen begins complaining of vague physical symptoms and the physician can find no physical basis for the complaints.
A child or teen is frequently getting in fights with peers or adults.
Your previously well-behaved child becomes unruly and oppositional.
Your child can't concentrate in school.
Your child cries frequently.
Your child has many fears.
Your child bites his/her nails or is always jiggling his/her foot.
Your child can't sit still and must always be doing something and teachers comment she/he is disruptive in class.
Your child becomes excessively upset when separating from a parent or family.
Your child refuses to sleep alone.
Your child or teen has unrealistic fears about future events.