Millions of people worldwide suffer from different kinds of physical or psychological pain, which seriously affects their quality of life. But instead of letting pain ruin your life, take charge. Find help from family, friends, support groups, or elsewhere, and consider the benefits of therapy to help you get better.
What Is Psychotherapy?
“Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a way to help people with a wide variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Psychotherapy can help eliminate or control troubling symptoms so a person can function better and can increase well-being and healing.” According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 percent of U.S. adults received some form of mental health treatment in 2018. Even more people seek physical therapy – more than two billion worldwide.
Signs You May Need Psychotherapy
Everyone deals with physical and psychological pain differently, even though many symptoms overlap.
Signs you may need to see a therapist:
- You feel an overpowering, persistent sense of helplessness or sorrow
- Your problems never seem to go away despite your best attempts and help from loved ones and friends
- You have trouble focusing and completing everyday activities
- You worry excessively or are continually jumpy
- Your actions are harmful to yourself or others
Conditions That Benefit From Therapy
Many physical pain and mental health conditions could benefit from therapy. Because the two are often interconnected, people who are depressed due to a physical disability, for instance, may see a psychotherapist and a physical therapist for treatment.
Which conditions may benefit from therapy?
- Chronic pain, including chronic regional pain syndrome. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 million U.S. adults suffer from chronic pain and related conditions.
- Anxiety disorders, like various phobias, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that 19 percent of the U.S. population experiences an anxiety disorder.
- Bipolar disorder, depression, and other mood disorders. The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health estimates that almost 10 percent of adults experience a mood disorder every year.
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Psychotic conditions, like schizophrenia
How Can Therapy Help Me?
Different kinds of therapy often present the same general benefits – boosting your motivation, self-esteem and improving your mental and physical well-being. Benefits of treatment to consider include:
- Therapy may help overcome harmful behaviors.
- Therapy can help identify triggers for symptoms and present ideas on minimizing them.
- You may learn positive coping mechanisms during treatment.
- Therapy may give you the ability to strengthen or repair fractured personal or professional relationships. This can have a positive effect on home, school, and work.
- Some studies show that people who undergo therapy feel better physically afterward.
- Therapy may help build problem-solving skills and help you become self-reliant.
What Does Science Say?
Quite a bit. Here are some science-based facts to consider:
- “Meta-analyses of psychodynamic psychotherapy studies indicated that short-term treatment improved symptoms of depression, anxiety, and anorexia nervosa. When patients were reassessed nine months after treatment, the effect size of psychodynamic therapy had increased. An indication of lasting psychological changes that yielded further benefits as time passed (Busch, Rudden, & Shapiro, 2004).”
- According to a 2006 study by Linden & Moseley, continuing anger and stress are vital contributors to elevated blood pressure and many related health issues. The research also discovered that psychotherapy generated the same systolic blood pressure decreases as antihypertensive medication.
- Evidence shows that psychotherapy lowers psychiatric hospitalization and minimizes the application of other surgical and medical services. Overall medical costs may be reduced by 20 to 30 percent by integrating psychotherapy into primary care treatment.
Diagnosis Before Treatment
Before receiving treatment for any mental illness or chronic pain condition, you first need to see a healthcare provider for a diagnosis. Different tests and procedures may be required before the source of your condition is uncovered, but knowing your symptoms and possible triggers will go a long way toward getting better psychologically and mentally.
It’s important to understand that only a licensed healthcare provider can offer an accurate diagnosis, as it’s challenging to divine the source of your own mental or physical illness. Physical or psychotherapy, self-help, and lifestyle changes may help, in addition to newer options, like ketamine therapy.
One of the reasons people avoid therapy or medical care for a mental or physical illness is the stigma associated with either kind of ailment. If you suffer various symptoms which reduce your quality of life, get professional help and consider the benefits of therapy to begin recovery.