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Recognizing the need for therapy as a young adult can be critical for their mental health, well-being, and overall quality of life. If you struggle with excessive feelings of anxiety, sadness, worry, drug or alcohol abuse, or poor sleeping patterns, this may be an indication that you need therapy.

Understanding the Importance of Mental Health in Young Adults

Mental health encompasses our psychological, emotional, and social well-being and can drastically change. For young adults navigating a transitional phase of life, their mental health state may scale up and down depending on specific circumstances and life occurrences. In the United States, 1 in 3 young adults experienced a mental illness, and 3.8 million had severe suicidal thoughts. From ages 18 to 25, young adulthood comprises significant, life-altering changes and decisions, such as starting college or a new job, moving to a new city, and breaking away from your adolescent life. The pressure to perform in school while upholding other responsibilities and establishing a career as a young adult can be overwhelming.

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This transitional period exposes young adults to unfamiliar social dynamics, career challenges, emotional pressures, and self-discovery. While this is an exciting phase of life, it can also bring on an immense amount of stress, anxiety, loneliness, and other emotional challenges. Distancing from former friendships and forming new ones can also bring up conflict, feelings of loneliness, or social anxiety that can impact mental health. Young adulthood is a preeminent phase of self-discovery and exploration, followed by shifts in values, identity, and future goals that can generate stress and anxiety.

The brain continues to develop in young adulthood and extends beyond adolescence and into the mid-twenties. Throughout emerging adulthood, the brain maturation of the neocortex, specifically the frontal lobes, remains incomplete long after puberty and linear body growth. The cerebral neocortex centers on human cognitive abilities associated with sensation, action, and consciousness. During this period of rapid neurological development, young adults are more vulnerable to mental health issues and behavioral challenges.

8 Signs You Need to See a Therapist

The state of our mental health can significantly impact every area of our lives, especially for young adults in a transitional phase. Understanding the importance of maintaining good mental health as a young adult can help more individuals prioritize their mental well-being. If you’re stuck with a particular situation, overwhelming emotions, or unexplained physical symptoms, you may begin to wonder if you need therapy.

Identifying if and when you need to see a therapist can help young adults address mental health issues early on and receive the necessary treatment for psychological healing. Mental health therapy, known as psychotherapy or talk therapy, helps young adults build resilience and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Recognizing the signs that indicate the need for therapy can be critical for maintaining mental health and well-being.

1. Persistent Feelings of Sadness or Depression

Prolonged feelings of sadness or hopelessness may be a sign of depression or major depressive disorder (MDD). Young adults with depressive symptoms may lose interest in the hobbies or activities they once enjoyed and stay home instead. Depression can cause individuals to feel lethargic and experience a lack of energy, making it more difficult to leave the house or participate in activities. They might become quickly overwhelmed when required to do daily tasks like house chores, cooking, or phone conversations. If you’re experiencing these feelings for an extended period, typically more than two weeks, seeking a therapist is essential.

man struggling with depression and mental health needing therapy in young adults

2. Excessive Anxiety or Worry

This can be debilitating if you’re contoured, worried, or anxious about everyday situations, such as school, work, relationships, or personal responsibilities. Debilitating anxiety and worry may cause irritability, restlessness, trouble concentrating, and sweating or racing heart. Once anxiety starts interfering with daily life, psychotherapists can suggest coping strategies to manage it effectively.

3. Significant Changes in Eating or Sleeping Patterns

Drastic changes in eating or sleeping patterns, such as significant weight loss or gain, oversleeping, or insomnia, may indicate underlying mental health problems. Young adults experiencing increased or decreased appetite and trouble falling asleep or waking up can indicate an internal battle they may face. Mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression are often associated with these changes, which can lead to a decline in overall health and well-being.

4. Difficulty Coping with Stress

Experiencing high-stress levels or feeling overwhelmed by personal life, school, or work may be a sign that you need therapy. While being stressed out occasionally is not uncommon, it is not normal or healthy if you find it difficult to manage everyday life without feeling burnt out or stressed. Seeking professional help when experiencing difficulties coping with stress will help implement stress management and coping techniques.

5. Withdrawal from Friends and Family

Social withdrawal and isolation can be a severe warning sign of mental health issues. When individuals, specifically young adults, begin to withdraw themselves from social situations and personal relationships, it can indicate emotional distress. This may stem from feelings of anxiety, depression, loneliness, or other mental health problems. A mental health therapist helps young adults address these distressing emotions and reconnect with people who love and support them.

6. Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Someone who actively uses substances or engages in risky behaviors can indicate underlying psychological struggles. Relying on drugs or alcohol to cope with problems can worsen mental health issues and begin a destructive cycle. Seeking professional help from a therapist can provide a safe space to address maladaptive behaviors and identify healthier coping mechanisms. In some cases, a therapist may recommend seeking drug and alcohol rehab to address co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues.

woman experiencing psychosomatic symptoms from mental health issues, young adult needs therapy for young adults

7. Unexplained Physical Symptoms

Experiencing physical symptoms such as aches and pains without a medical explanation can indicate that professional intervention is needed. These are psychosomatic symptoms, which are physical symptoms influenced by mental and emotional stress. Psychosomatic symptoms may include frequent headaches, muscle tension, stomach issues, or chronic pain that can be linked to mental illness. Seeing a mental health therapist for psychosomatic symptoms can help identify and address the underlying issue contributing to these physical symptoms.

8. Difficulty Managing Emotions

Young adults who experience outbursts of anger, frequent mood swings, or overwhelming emotions such as worthlessness or guilt may need to see a therapist. Talking to a mental health therapist can provide an understanding of your emotions and how to manage them effectively. Often, these emotions may stem from internal struggles, past trauma, or life experiences. Managing your emotions can improve emotional regulation and stability, improving overall quality of life.

Recognizing the signs that indicate a need for therapy in young adults is a step towards a more mentally sound and healthier life. Seeking professional help for mental and emotional struggles demonstrates strength and determination to improve mental health and well-being.

If you’re struggling with drug or alcohol abuse or mental health issues, reach out to Rock Recovery today. Our West Palm Beach, FL, drug rehab center is here to help.

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