The line between mental health and mental illness is not always clear-cut. While some mental illnesses have significant, pronounced symptoms, others show themselves in subtle ways that develop slowly over time. The Mayo Clinic suggests that we consider several factors when determining the need for professional help:
- Behaviors, such as obsessive hand washing or drinking too much alcohol
- Feelings, such as deep or ongoing sadness, euphoria or anger
- Unusual thoughts, such as delusions that the television is controlling your mind, or thoughts of suicide
- Physical signs and symptoms, such as sweating, racing heartbeat or uncontrolled rapid breathing (hyperventilation)
Counselors may consider many factors when working to assess a client including comparing signs and symptoms to specific guidelines for diagnosing mental disorders, while also factoring in a client’s own perception of those symptoms. Remembering that everyone has his or her own experience of normal, counselors work to help their clients recognize if certain behaviors and feelings are disruptive or simply part of coping with life changes. At the same time, a counseling relationship can provide a client with an outsider’s perspective that may help normalize certain feelings or point out areas for improvement. The counselors at PC&CC are always available for consultation on mental health issues.
Information culled from MayoClinic.org