We all have a few bad habits and occasionally struggle to pay attention to the task at hand. Most of the time, these behaviors do not cause any serious harm, and we can go on with our lives without much disruption.
Sometimes, though, behavioral patterns can seriously disrupt our goals, relationships, and overall health. Here’s how to tell when it’s time to talk to a behavioral health professional.
Signs It’s Time to Seek Behavioral Healthcare
You’re Using Drugs or Alcohol in Disruptive Ways
Alcohol and legal drugs aren’t necessarily issues when used in moderation. If you find yourself using more and more of a substance over time, though, you could be developing an addiction or unhealthy behavioral pattern.
Substance use becomes a behavioral health problem when you experience one or more of these symptoms:
- You drink or use drugs at inappropriate times, such as before or during work hours.
- Your hobbies, work, or time with loved ones are replaced with drinking, drug use, or activities that involve substance use.
- You no longer take time to practice self-care or hygiene.
- You develop higher tolerance and end up using more alcohol or drugs to reach the same state of mind.
- You do things you wouldn’t normally do to get the drug, like stealing or paying more than you can afford.
- You feel or act defensive when people talk to you about your drug or alcohol use.
- You do risky things after drinking or using drugs, such as driving under the influence.
- You feel that you need to drink or use drugs every day, or even multiple times a day.
- You have intense urges to drink or use drugs.
- You try to decrease your drug or alcohol use and don’t succeed.
If you are using drugs or alcohol in ways that disrupt normal life or keep you from living the life you want, it’s time to seek out behavioral healthcare.
You Struggle With Attention
ADHD isn’t just a condition in children. Many adults have untreated ADHD or a related condition that manifests in poor attention to detail in work-related tasks, excessive talking, or fidgeting.
Common ADHD symptoms include:
- Struggling to stay focused on tasks, reading, or conversations
- Struggling to follow through on instructions
- Frequent mistakes in work-related tasks
- Struggling to sit still for long (often accompanied by fidgeting or squirming)
- Avoiding tasks like reading that require sustained attention
- Talking too much
- Frequently losing things
If you frequently struggle with multiple issues on this list, you may have ADHD or another condition that a professional could help you manage. We encourage you to speak with a behavioral health professional about any issues that are negatively affecting your life.
You Have Intrusive Thoughts or Impulses
Many people struggle with intrusive thoughts, impulses, or compulsions. If these thoughts or behaviors get in the way of your daily life, you may have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
There is no single thought or behavior pattern that defines OCD. While one person might spend a lot of time checking and re-checking things over, another might obsessively worry about harming themselves or others or continually ask others for reassurance. You may have repetitive thoughts that frighten or disturb you, or you may find yourself doing things that you know are irrational “just in case”.
Small obsessions or occasional worries are not necessarily a problem. Occasionally running back home just after you leave to check that you didn’t leave the stove on may not significantly disrupt your life, for example.
On the other hand, if your obsessions or worries are larger, your thoughts are bothering you, or you think your habits are disrupting your life, it’s likely time to seek care.
You Have Other Unhealthy Behaviors
There are many more behavioral health challenges that people may have than the ones we described above. For example, we see a lot of people who struggle with unhealthy eating patterns, hoarding, gambling, excessive gaming, and other unhealthy or disruptive behavior patterns.
The good news is, your behavioral concern can be treated! Behavioral health professionals can help with just about any thoughts or behaviors that interfere with your work, school, health, hobbies, home life, or social life.
If you think you may have a behavioral health concern and want to speak to a professional, get in touch with us today.