Gathering reliable information is the first step towards overcoming a challenge. In a therapy setting, this means undergoing a mental health assessment. A mental health assessment gives a physician or mental health professional more information about your mental or emotional state, so they can make recommendations or design a treatment plan. It can be difficult to know when a mental health assessment might be needed. In this blog post, we’ll discuss signs that indicate it’s time to get a mental health assessment.

What is a Mental Health Assessment?

There are many different types of adult and child mental health assessments, and they can be administered by different people, such as your primary care doctor, therapist, school counselor, and others. These assessments can include a physical exam by a doctor, a written questionnaire, or a one-on-one interview. Your doctor or therapist might ask about your family history, how you’ve been feeling recently, trauma you’ve experienced, your drug or alcohol use, and your day-to-day feelings and thoughts. These questions aren’t meant to judge you or put you on the spot. A mental health assessment is used to get to the source of obstacles you’re struggling with and provide a way forward.

There’s a difference between having a few bad days and experiencing depression, or being anxious about an upcoming event and struggling with an anxiety disorder. But how do you know if it’s time to get a mental health assessment? If you or a loved one is experiencing the following signs, a mental health assessment may be needed.

When to Get a Mental Health Assessment: 7 Signs It’s Time

1. Violence and Anger

We all get angry sometimes. However, if the anger you’re experiencing or a loved one is showing is frequent, intense, or violent, a mental health assessment is in order. Violence and anger can be the result of a past trauma. Excessive anger can also occur if someone feels unheard, and isn’t sure how to communicate or express their frustration. There are many other sources of anger, and a therapist or counselor can help you or a loved one identify the source, control angry outbursts, and communicate more effectively.

2. Difficulty with Regular Routine

Negative emotions, such as worry or sadness, are a natural part of a rich and complex life. It is when these emotions interfere with life that they are or may become a disorder. If you find that worry, sadness, compulsions, anger, or other feelings or thoughts are making it difficult to work at your job, spend time with your family, or take part in hobbies, a mental health assessment with an expert can help.

3. Can’t Sleep

Sleep is essential for physical, mental and emotional health. Anxiety or depressive disorders, among others, can make it difficult to get the sleep that you need. Without sleep, it’s difficult to manage thoughts and emotions, making an existing problem worse. If you’re having trouble sleeping three or four days a week for two or more weeks, talk to your doctor or counselor. Illnesses, injuries and other physical disorders can cause trouble sleeping, as well as mental or emotional disorders. A doctor or therapist can use a mental health assessment to narrow down the potential causes.

4. Substance Misuse

Substance use disorders are closely linked to mental health issues. There are a number of signs related to substance misuse that can indicate mental, emotional or behavioral disorders. If you’ve experienced any of the following, consider getting a mental health assessment.

  • A friend, family member or colleague has expressed concern about your substance use
  • Substance use has hurt your work or family life
  • You’ve taken part in dangerous or harmful activities while using drugs or alcohol
  • It’s difficult to stop or limit your substance use
  • You drink, use drugs or other substances to avoid certain feelings or thoughts

5. Uncertain About Reality

Some disorders can distort reality in ways that can be difficult to understand. These distortions will seem real to the sufferer, but will seem strange or impossible to others. If you frequently find yourself uncertain about the reality of a situation, or if a loved one seems frequently out of touch, a mental health assessment can help get to the root of the problem.

6. Can’t Eat

Like sleeping, eating is another essential part of life. A number of different vitamins and minerals are connected to mood and energy. Without them, it’s harder to stay energized, regulate your mood, stay focused, and move forward. Depression and anxiety, as well as eating disorders like anorexia, can make it difficult to eat. If you or a loved one is seldom eating or losing weight quickly, consider getting a mental health assessment.

7. Can’t Get Out of Bed

We previously discussed the importance of sleep—seven to nine hours of sleep a night will help you stay focused, regulate your mood and take part in daily activities. However, oversleeping can be a sign of depression. Oversleeping or laying in bed for long periods can be the result of trauma, being overwhelmed by loss, burnt out by stress, worsening depression or anxiety, and other conditions. This sign isn’t confined to the bed, either; a physical, mental or emotional health condition might also appear as watching TV for many hours and days, or obsessing over a single activity. If you or a loved one are not living normal life—engaging with friends, enjoying hobbies, going to school or work, running errands etc.—a mental health assessment can help.

A mental health assessment is the first step towards better understanding a problem, instead of just trying to deal with the symptoms. If you or a loved one has experienced any of the above signs, consider getting a mental health assessment. To get a mental health assessment in Metro Detroit, schedule a consultation at our offices in Bloomfield Hills, MI or Taylor, MI.