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I always advise people on undertaking a self-help plan bit by bit. The whole idea looks new and demanding but is great nevertheless. Undergoing the entire process bit by bit enables you to set out informed and precise plans. Your projects will have a good impression eventually.
This style of approaching a situation is very much like the typical problem-solving strategies employed in daily lifestyle. Take the case study of strides you make while making resolutions concerning your mental health. You will choose to avoid stress factors.
If you are scared of heights, you should make a decision to travel by road or avoid tall buildings. You should avoid social gatherings if you do not like interacting with other people or just pick a profession that does not involve a lot person to person interaction.
In these cases, you are taking step by step process to figure out your flaws and finding the appropriate compromise solution. In a pool of options, you are choosing the compromise solution that appears more sensible than the rest.
I am, therefore, motivating you to invoke your original plan making course when I instruct you to make your self-help plan. The process is consciously procured, making plans useful to you as an individual.
Every day, I find myself in situations whereby I am challenged to make arrangements of some form. Jotting things down makes them look official, and there is a high likelihood they will be taken genuinely hence a better self-help plan.
A great deal of a self-help program is just common sense. The problem is, however, that your judgment will be substantially impaired when you are under immense stress. This will lead you into acting disproportionately. An elaborate plan enables you to remain glued on your common sense while undergoing stressful situations.
Why is Self-Help essential?
The importance of undertaking self-help is enormous. A significant number of people establish their self-help treatment plan instead of seeking the help of professionals.
You will feel empowered – When you organize a fruitful and productive self-help program, you gain the command of your destiny. Self-help involves the great use of skills.
So the skills and techniques learned during the procedure will be essential in helping you solve other problems in other areas of life.
It satisfies your emotions in the process when you handle your problems without depending on another person. After executing a self-help plan, you will feel responsible.
Self-help involves customizing a program. Establishing a working self-help plan means setting your efforts in such a way that show your high points and flaws.
Other people near you will have a great feeling about you – when you decide to handle your problems, other people are going to be impressed with your efforts. When you have many challenges and taking them to other people to address them for you, they likely get upset.
So when they finally discover that you are at last capable of addressing your issues, they are going to be elated. In fact, people with similar problems like yours will approach you for help in the process.
Self-help makes you a role model – when you establish a working self-help plan and become successful in it, you tend to teach children to be confident individuals. Other people also look up at you and learn a lot from your skills.
With self-help, you get to be wise – you become more aware and ready after organizing a practical self-help plan. This serves two purposes; first, you will be able to weigh conflicting factors and make correct decisions even if you are under stress. Second, you will have the ability to see the coming crisis and prepare yourself to handle it appropriately
If you can organize an effective self-help plan of your own, it means you are the architect of your plans and future. You, therefore have an opportunity to make changes in your strengths and flaws.
The ability to create effective self-help plans makes you dependable. Other people will have a high approval of you and will spend more time with you trying to tap into your planning skills. It makes people feel assured near you since they too have problems in their lives.
When you display excellent self-help planning skills, you become a support figure to your colleagues and everyone else near you. The general society will look up look up to you as a model of self-reliance.
The ability to overcome your problems is a show of wisdom. Accumulated skills accrued in the process make you capable of visualizing impending problems.
Self-help can save much valuable time. For instance, you do not need to visit a therapist to address your problems.
It is private. You do not have the worry of another person getting to hear your hardships. You are your counselor. This saves you the embarrassment of pouring out all your heart to a foreigner.
The plan can also be amazingly cheap. The services are readily available. If you live upcountry where there are few or no therapists, an elaborate self-help program becomes handy.
The Achilles’ Heel. Setbacks of Self-help
Self-help, other than aiding you to solve your problems; got its flaws too.
An outsider has a better perspective of your hardship. Since self-help stresses on solving your problems yourself, you may lack the appropriate understanding of the issue at hand, and you might not even be able to address it as effectively as another counselor.
You can only help yourself if you understand the problems and can make a meaningful judgment about the situation at hand. You, therefore, require a rough understanding of your position for to deal with it.
A person solving his problems is likely to be biased, overlooking his flaws and eventually making the wrong decisions.
Psychologists have found out that an individual may avoid the hard truth and may end up distorting information about his conditions. If the situation is severe enough, the person may externalize it, leading himself into believing an external factor causes it. The individual may also go into denial.
A person may experience a blackout, running out of solutions are just having no idea on how to address his problems. You can understand the problem but still fail to address it appropriately. This helpless situation can immerse the person into more problems.
Sticking to a self-help plan is not easy either. Developing the necessary motivation to remain dedicated on the same plan is challenging since you need to an outside pushing factor to compel you. It is also difficult to adhere to the therapeutic measures you might set up due to pain and other challenges that come with a hard situation.
I advise individuals trying to undertake the self-help process to seek the attention of the counselor or therapist when they reach a hard point. These are trained professionals who have a better understanding of ways to address the problem.
There is an array of techniques they put to use to visualize the exact problem and a similar remedy. They are equipped with clinical and scientific mitigation mechanisms that have been proven to be effective. Therapists and counselor serves to intervene in the following ways;
*Guide the individual back to the track if they are straying
*Offering support and motivation
*Providing corrective feedback
Where Self-Help is not applicable
Some situations are quite complicated and hard to address, no matter how elaborate the self-help plan is. Such conditions mainly involve psychiatric disorders. Mental problems that often override the possibility of applying self-help include Schizophrenia, bipolarity, and immense depression among others.
In fact, such mental illness requires both psychiatric rehabilitation and medication at the same time. Some disorders that often appear less severe but devastating such as severe anorexia and bulimia also need physiotherapy attention.
The reason is, such individuals are not usually aware of their situations and are severely mentally impaired thus they cannot make an informed judgment about the situation. If they try to help themselves, there is the likelihood of harming themselves and worsening the situation.
Less severe cases such as mild depression and anxiety should be still handled by the dedicated doctors although self-help can be involved. The individual should be placed under self-help care under discretion from a medical profession. Otherwise, you can make a mistake during planning at such a critical stage inflicting considerable harm to yourself.
I have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of self-help techniques below. In the process, I hope you are going to get enlightened on when you should seek self-help program and when not to.
Professional Help or Self-help? Which way to go?
The challenge between the disorder and its treatment is the ability to tell if it requires professional care or self-help care. You should seek professional care under any of the following situations;
If you are exposed to great danger – This is a deeply perceptive case involving any abuse (sexual, physical and verbal) and destructive thoughts about inflicting harm on yourself or another person.
You should immediately attempt isolating yourself from the source of abuse and contact the necessary helpline. You can call the police or any designated crisis phone numbers concerned with the situation.
These first contact interventions will help you get in touch with the trained professionals who are going to advise you properly on the right assistance you should seek thereon.
Hallucination – Involves clear perception of nonexistent things. It is a state of an apparition in which you hear voices, smell or observe things that the therapist cannot perceive.
In case you hear voices, experiencing situations or detecting odors that are nonexistent to others, you should seek the advice the professional. A therapist, psychologist or any other appropriate mental health care specialist will help you out of the situation. A psychiatrist only comes into prescribing the correct medication.
The only known mitigation technique for hallucination is medication. You should, therefore, promptly seek the assistance of a psychologist or counselor who will help you access the appropriate medical aid. Self-help care has never remedied hallucination.
Delusions – It is just like the hallucination but involves harboring ideas that appear absurd to others. Under such a condition, it is impossible to come up with a comprehensive self-care plan of your own.
Sometimes, you can have perceptions and imaginations or line of thinking that appear outlandish and strange to other people. That is a delusion. You should consult a psychiatrist who will write off an appropriate medication for the disorder.
You should also seek psychologists, therapists or counselor’s examination and advice in reaching the lasting solution. It is hard to establish an effective self-help plan to address the disorder when you are already delusional.
Respected Opinion – At times, you will get suggestions from your relatives, friends and other people you believe in, advising you to seek a psychological examination. Your disorder is readily observable by other people than yourself.
So if your close friend or relative is of the opinion that you should seek mental health evaluation then try put it into consideration. You should seriously put the suggestion in mind and book the appointment with an appropriate therapist; they might help.
If you are indeed discovered to have a disorder by the therapist, psychiatrist or any other mental health expert, they might provide a lasting treatment or direct you to other relevant experts who are going to help you.
Failed self-help efforts – In case you have tried handling the disorder on your own and failed, or you have found out that your self-help scheme has become too strict to adhere to, you should consider seeking help from appropriately trained therapists. If you keep doing the same thing that has failed before, there is less likelihood you will get a lasting treatment.
Substance or alcohol use – Use of alcohol and other drugs can inflict damage to your normal mental functions. Addiction comes with many complications as a result of continued use for a long a time.
Some drugs such as Marijuana and heroin can impair your mental stability among other disorders. So if you have been using drugs for any given period, it is just better off to consider the advice of a professional.
You should ensure the counselor is licensed for you to get appropriate and useful help. Substance abuse tends to have other connected problems such domestic relationships issues. A competent professional is going to look at both the disorder and other complementary problems and offer the correct assistance.
You will also be introduced to a range of disarray management techniques such as home treatment plans or get admitted to a detoxification center. Enlisting with detoxification programs as well as rehabs early enough will help you get rid of substance use before the situation worsens.
There are a lot of social support programs today targeting drug addicts complete with designated hotlines ensuring 24/7 help. Detoxification is essential in flushing off toxic substances that have accumulated in the body system with time and help you get your mind away from the drugs.
It is an effective medical procedure. If you try getting off from the drugs on your own may be unsuccessful or fatal in some cases. There are useful programs defined under the twelve steps techniques. They include such methods as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
These two approaches and many other related techniques are essential shortly after a detoxification procedure that will keep you better. The rate and version of help provided by NA and AA are similar and are among a long list of other post detoxification procedures that serves to stabilize your emotions and other connected changes and complete the healing process.
The close link between substance abuse such as alcohol and mental disorders and general health complications has been known for a long time. These complications reveal themselves more often in many people than anticipated.
This is why services of well trained and licensed drug counselor and mental health specialists are strongly advised alongside anti-drugs mentorship programs.
Lack of clarity – In case you do not know the exact the disorder tormenting you or the necessary mitigation procedures to undertake to manage it, you should start thinking of obtaining the advice of a trained professional.
The people you should approach are many depending on your problem and other factors you might consider. A counselor, therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist will be handy for your issues. All you need to ensure beforehand is the individual’s training background and licensing.
Any of the mentioned professional will quickly identify the disorder and provide the correct treatment. However, maybe you are wondering, “How do I know I need a professional intervention?” It is quite easy. You should start by observing your daily activities.
If you notice that you can sufficiently perform essential daily undertakings such as brushing teeth, cooking, making friends, doing laundry or even driving, then chances are you are okay, and you are better off away from the therapist by just establishing your self-help plan to manage minor disorders.
However, if you are having trouble sleeping, maintaining concentration or you have various thoughts of committing suicide, or substance overindulgence then you requires professional intervention. Self-help would be tough and impossible in this situation.
Under such circumstances, it was difficult to think, act, or dispense energy reasonably as these are factors required in undertaking self-help. It is also quite demanding and exhaustive. So if you are even feeling adequately better off but you are considering doing self-help care, make sure you are up to it.
Diagnosis vs. Self-Diagnosis
The advice of a professional is highly valuable. The reason why it is considered beneficial to seek the professional help is that these specialists tend to be accurate in their diagnosis. The will indicate the particular disorder and propose the best most effective medication for your disorder.
The term “diagnosis” is often mentioned in the medical lingo. A diagnosis acts like a tag which serves to highlight the disease you are suffering from. A determination is always made basing on the presented signs and symptoms or complaints brought forth by the patient. The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) is an important book for mental health professionals.
The DSM-5 is a better version of the standard DSM that was formed at the period ranging from 2005 to 2007. Research conducted at this time generated considerable stash of information in the form of journals, monograms and other relevant information that was of sufficient use to the psychiatric examination.
This led to filling of gaps that previously existed. Previously, the DSM-III (the third edition) was the reference book that had innovations. For instance, it for the first time contained particular diagnostic examination system and procedures that often took a neutral stand regardless of the mental disorder at hand.
DSM-III, however, had some noticeable flaws and conflicting assessments over the one type of disorder and at times lacked sufficient facts about some disorders. American Psychiatric Association (APA) formed a team after that to rectify the inconsistencies.
A task force consisting of 13 groups was created and made the necessary revisions which gave birth to the precursor of the modern version called DSM-IV. DSM-IV was more concerned with giving out individual names on mental disorders that were previously ambiguous.
The general history behind DSM is very extensive since the entire process majored in a statistical collection of disorders aspect within the broad field of psychiatry in different geographical regions.
The DSM contains an enormous amount of diagnoses relating to mental health care that has been performed and now codified together for reference. The fact that information present in DSM is based on statistical facts that have been collected for a long time makes it highly reliable. Each diagnosis falls right into one of these disorders;
*Schizophrenia and a range of psychotic disorders
*Mood disorders (bipolar disorders and depression)
*Anxiety disorders (with associated panic attack, PSTD, phobias)
*Impulse control behaviors
*Complications connected with substance abuse
The diagnosis is not limited to these disorders. So the diagnosis comes first on the list when you visit a mental health professional. You will be required to narrate your disorder.
He/she then uses your description to pair the disorder with another disorder of close orientation in the DSM. The importance of diagnosis at this point is to enable the professional get some information that will give an idea on how to set up a treatment scheme for you.
The professionals seldom run out of ideas on how to cure your disorder. It is something they have been doing for a long time, and they are conversant with most of the diseases and their symptoms.
Also, mental health professionals tend to create networks with clinicians other experts hence they have a huge pool of information whenever they need research and assistance about any disorder.
If, say, you show up in a mental health office of one professional with the following signs:
*Extreme mood swings
*Elevated energy level
*Lack of concentration.
*Mindless expenditure of money and other resources.
*No record use of drugs.
*No previous history of such disorder.
The professional will inquire about many things from you and let you lay open things you might have omitted while outlining the symptoms so as to get a clear picture of your disorder.
He/She might even get a little further by requesting your past medical records as well as family history concerning the disorder. From there, a range of medical tests will be ordered.
The tests will be able to visualize if there an apparent cause for the disease such as brain injury, substance abuse or hyperthyroidism among others which might be responsible.
In case the reason is obvious, you will be evaluated for a psychiatric disorder that resembles your signs. For the symptoms mentioned above, for example, you will be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. So the professional prescribe medicals he/she sees fit for bipolar disorder.
Such medicals include but not limited to; antidepressants and mood stabilizers. They are prescribed together with proper guidelines of use. The professional indeed leaves out medications that are considered not potent enough for bipolar disorder.
However, in case you list anxiety as the symptom, the professional will examine for anxiety disorder and establish an intervention plan involving medication that is potent for anxiety disorder. Some of the medication he/she might prescribe includes relaxation methods, cognitive therapy and a regimen of exercises.
Due to the sophisticated nature of diagnosing mental health disorders, it will only take a well trained licensed doctor to evaluate and prescribe effective medication for your disorder correctly. Sometimes the professionals find a diagnosis to be terrible.
To be so good at it, it takes a mental health doctor many years of sustained studies to correctly diagnose patients. You will still realize that two doctors can diagnose the same disorder of the same patient differently. For instance, a group of related psychotic disorders is identified by an array of signs;
The psychoses are displayed in a list of different disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and drug abuse among others. So when diagnosing a disorder such as schizophrenia, for instance, other problems such as bipolar disorder and substance abuse are eliminated from the list of causative factors.
Another thing that makes it further complicated different examination procedures changes over time during DSM revision and rewriting. One example that stands out involves homosexuality. Back in the 1980s, homosexuality was considered diagnosable by DSM.
When it was later discovered that the whole idea was stemmed on prejudice, it got eliminated. In this age, homosexuality has been found by biological studies to be within the normal human behavior. You will, therefore, seldom meet a mental health care professional who still believes homosexuality is a mental disorder.
Risks of Self Diagnosis
Accessing the services of a mental health care professional is a benefit. Many people are not privileged. However, when you try to procure yourself care without a qualified doctor, you involve some risks. The following is some dangers individuals exposes themselves to when they cannot afford to acquire the services of a professional.
The risk of misdiagnosis – If you conduct your self-help techniques, there is a high chance of missing out slight but critical cues about the disorder which will lead to the wrong examination of yourself. You are more likely to miss a tip about the disorder hence misdiagnosis.
Misdiagnosis can mislead you into a false sense of security and be enabling an underlying severe disorder to progress uninhibited for a long time. For instance, a misdiagnosis for anxiety might reveal something entirely worse like heart arrhythmia when done by a professional later on.
So in the mean time, the person treats him/herself with a false sense of security without knowing the serious medical condition that lays hidden. It is safe to seek the intervention of a health care profession than to do it alone and have devastating results.
The danger of the wrong diagnosis – If you end up diagnosing yourself with an incorrect disorder, the line of treatment is automatically going to be dangerous and ineffective. The line of treatment can also be harmful to your health.
For instance, if you prescribe yourself with medication meant for someone else for your obesity problems, it will not produce any better solution but create other unrelated complications. The wrong diagnosis eventually leads to the prescription of wrong medication.
Using inappropriate pills for an unintended disorder will worsen the disease state of the body. Another example is the eating disorder. Anorexic actions do not even let to weight loss but instead lead to other complications such as Bulimia.
Another example is the eating disorder. Anorexic undertakings do not even result in weight loss but instead lead to other complications such as Bulimia. So if you do not know much about this, you might go on starving yourself not realizing the danger ahead.
It is the same case with exercising. Hard exercising is perceived to keep the body fit and healthy. Hard exercising also can bring you a heart attack.
You need to take safety precautions you deciding to settle on self-treatment. Professionals are not affordable sometimes owing to the high fees charged for consultation and financing the medical bill. You should evaluate the complexity of the disorder even if you readily have the remedy.
A significant amount of people still seeks professional assistance, even while undergoing self-help because they know they need help from someone qualified. You should avoid the common misconception that people who seek external help are weak and unstable.
It is just not healthy to suffer on your own while trying to appear courageous. Therefore, try work on the attitudes and barriers keeping you from seeking necessary professional advice that can be of use to your health. Understand your problem first and consider all available solutions. If the technique is too risky, then drop it from your plan.
You can involve both self-help care and professional care to enhance results. It may also be helpful if there is mix up whereby the patient cannot figure out the specific disorder being manifested. As discussed above, the mental health professionals are always eager for dispensing the necessary assessment and propose an appropriate medication.
There is no need, therefore, for you to put their capability in doubt. Besides, they are there for you. Undergoing self-care will make the mental health practitioners with nothing to do, hence sending billions of taxpayers’ money to waste.