7 mental health questions you’ve always wanted to ask – 10/16/2020

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The last panel of VivaBem Mental Health Week, which took place this Friday (16th), was presented by psychiatrist Jairo Bouer and invited as a guest the psychoanalyst Christian Dunker, full professor at IP-USP (Institute of Psychology at the University of São Paulo ), and journalist and digital influencer Amanda Ramalho, to answer questions from VivaBem readers and followers about mental health.

The proposal was to get experts to answer many questions that people are generally ashamed to ask. Next, we separate seven of them.

How do I know I need therapy?

According to Dunker, it is important that each person has a parameter of themselves over time and understand how they go through different situations, such as the loss of someone and life passages (childhood, adolescence and adulthood). “These are often times when psychotherapy is welcome, to help us better cope with new circumstances.”

But there are other signs that may indicate that the person needs to seek help from a therapy, such as changes in libido, sleep and food, in addition to the emergence of more intense phobias and fears, fixed ideas and changes in mood (from a more depressed state for another anxious, for example). “When these signs persist, even after talking, and the suffering becomes something greater than we think is reasonable, it is time to seek help.”

How to choose a therapist?

There are different therapeutic approaches, but the important thing is that you feel safe, confident and affinity with the chosen specialist. Therefore, Dunker suggests doing interviews with different professionals until you find the one that is right for you. “If it doesn’t work out, you don’t feel safe, you don’t have empathy, don’t give up. It’s really hard to get a match.”

School clinics and training providers also provide a list of professional referrals that can help a person find the ideal therapist. “It is also worth asking friends and asking for a recommendation,” suggests a psychoanalyst.

Is giving up therapy part of it?

In the journalist’s opinion, yes, and it is part of the therapeutic process. She said that during her adolescence she went to several psychologists and did not “match” with any therapist. However, he said that it is important to continue looking for the ideal professional and not to think that it is something related to the line or type of therapeutic approach. “Only at the age of 26, when I had a more acute crisis, did I meet the therapist who accompanies me until today, at the recommendation of a friend. It seemed that he understood my mind. That is empathy.”

It is also common for some patients to stop treatment at some points in their lives, which, according to Dunker, can be a resistance action in not breaking habits, a sign that the therapy works so well that the situation resolves quickly, or that it is difficult to engage with therapy.

How do I know that I have to migrate from the psychologist to the psychiatrist and vice versa?

For the psychoanalyst, the patient must always take into account that both types of treatments may be necessary to treat a mental disorder. “He needs to ask himself if he is able to use psychotherapy to work on his conflicts. If that is not the case, he must consider that the medication can contribute to suffering less and, thus, better work his feelings. productive, “says Dunker.

Psychiatrist Jairo Bauer also adds that the opposite may also happen: start with medication indicated by the psychiatrist, who may recommend psychotherapy sessions to the patient.

My family says that a psychologist is something for crazy people and that depression is “lack of God”. How can I convince her that I need treatment?

To convince the family that psychological and / or psychiatric treatment is something good and important, Ramalho suggests presenting positive examples of people linked to religion or not, and that they improved after consulting with a psychologist. “Doing therapy does not cancel the person’s faith. The idea is to add up,” he said.

Can a good family structure prevent a mental disorder?

Although a structured family is an important pillar for a person to grow mentally healthy, for Ramalho this is not enough to prevent mental disorders, since there are genetic factors. “They predispose the person to the problem, which can be triggered by something we have no control over, such as the pandemic we are experiencing or an unexpected bereavement.”

Are depression and sadness different?

Dunker explains that depression and sadness are different conditions. Sadness is an expected and important state for some processes and situations that we go through. Depression, on the other hand, is a set of signs that involve loss of life satisfaction, loss of libido, sleep, back pain and even depressed mood. “It is something that governs the mental landscape of the person, to the point of being irritated by someone happy around,” says the psychoanalyst.

He also comments that, despite being a very vast disease, the diagnosis of depression is difficult and very uncertain, which requires greater contact with the patient, his friends, family and even other doctors for a better definition.

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