It’s generally a good idea to seek help if you’re experiencing persistent changes in your mood that are causing problems in your daily life or making it difficult for you to function. Some signs that you may benefit from seeking help include:
Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness
Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
Changes in appetite or weight
Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
Feelings of anxiety or panic
Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. They can help you identify the cause of your mood changes and develop a treatment plan to help you feel better.
It’s also a good idea to seek help if you’re having difficulty managing your emotions or if you’re having trouble coping with stress or difficult life events. A mental health professional can help you develop coping strategies and provide support as you work through these challenges.
Should I see a mental health professional (psychiatry/counseling) or a naturopathic physician?
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained in natural and alternative therapies, and they may be able to offer some helpful strategies for managing mood. However, they are not typically trained to diagnose or treat mental health conditions, and they may not have the same level of expertise as a mental health professional. If you’re experiencing significant mood changes or other mental health symptoms, it’s generally a good idea to see a mental health professional first. They can help you determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend the most appropriate treatment options.
If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a naturopath who is also a licensed counselor. Having a counseling and naturopathy background allows them to combine the best of both worlds, ensuring you can receive the proper care for you condition and situation in life. Mental health issues tend to have multiple causes that often include diet, hereditary and social factors. A naturopath can help you get at the root by addressing underlying health issues. They can recommend supplements and help you make changes to what you are eating. If you still struggle to make changes and take control of your life, you may consider working with a health and wellness coach. A health and wellness coach can help you make and keep goals that will help you eat, exercise and live better.
If you’re interested in exploring natural or alternative therapies in addition to traditional treatment, you can discuss this with your mental health professional and see if they have any recommendations for naturopathic doctors or other practitioners who may be able to help.
Our mental health is part of a larger system
We tend to treat mental health problems like they are some sort of cancer inside of the individual that needs to be rooted out. In reality, mental health can decline for a variety of reasons–some internal and some external. For example, loss of employment, relationship troubles and other social causes can have a huge impact on mental health both for the better and for the worse. Also, consider how difficult it would be to maintain mental health for the person who is lacking in proper nutrition and exercise. Dr. Eiko Fried, a psychology researcher in the Netherlands who specializes in measuring depression, is trying to shift the narrative toward more ‘system-oriented’ care.
Photo credit: Yuris Alhumaydy