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When to visit a psychiatrist—Part two: when do you head to a psychiatrist’s office? - Daily News Egypt

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When to visit a psychiatrist—Part two: when do you head to a psychiatrist’s office?

To clarify the meaning of the word "problem", this refers to when a symptom or issue affects life in the form of continuous damage or obstruction of functional performance.


To know when to visit a psychiatrist, you first need to ascertain what is considered normal behaviour, and what falls outside of this and therefore requires assessment.

Many organisations and institutions have attempted to provide a definition of psychological health. However, the best definitions that are most reflective of reality recommends maintaining a positive relationship with yourself and people, as well as the minimum performance expected from you academically or practically.

Here, the definition highlights three main areas, your relationship with yourself, social relations, and the functional level. Any problem that arises in one of these areas must be evaluated by a specialist psychiatrist.

To clarify the meaning of the word “problem”, this refers to when a symptom or issue affects life in the form of continuous damage or obstruction of functional performance.

Firstly, what are the problems related to one’s relationship with their self? These are any feeling or thoughts or behaviours that can harm oneself and affect day-to-day life and that one cannot deal with them as preferred. Here, it is worth noting that if you are able to deal with such problems in a positive or effective way, this does not always translate to eliminating the problem.

This includes emotions such as depression, grief, loss of the ability to enjoy things, fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, frustration, etc.

It also includes obsessive compulsive thoughts, such as the urgent need to clean, thoughts about death, and fears of excess weight that majorly impact our dietary habits and overall health. Other indicators are ideas that derive from the fantastical and are removed from reality based on the idea that the imagination is more comforting, as well as strange ideas, such as the fear of being followed or the perception that people wish to harm you, along with many other ideas that obstruct comfortable life.

Behaviours include physically harmful behaviour, such as suicide and self-harming physically, or causing continuous pain. They also include emotionally harmful behaviour, such as intentionally causing oneself embarrassment and humiliation.

Addiction, and more precisely the dependence, it is one pathological behaviour. Dependence here does not necessarily mean drugs, but could mean dependence on food, the internet, or on certain persons.

Secondly, social problems include excessive proximity to or avoidance of people in a manner that is detrimental to your life.  Excessive social proximity includes getting attached to people quickly, talking too much about personal issues without filtering, and not placing limits on personal relationships in a manner that harms your life.

Excessive avoidance is marked by an exaggerated fear or lack of desire to communicate with people, the fear of talking to people directly or being involved in social conversations, and the inability to express oneself or one’s feelings effectively. It is often the culmination of a sense that all people are a source of threat or are unimportant.

Thirdly problems related to work or academics are inclusive of suspending studies or work for a long period of time, exaggerated procrastination of tests and tasks, resignation and escape for no apparent reason, poor concentration and an inability to complete tasks, and an exaggerated fear of the performance during a test resulting in a final score that is lower than what is deserved or obtainable.

If someone exhibits one or more of these symptoms, it is necessary to consult a specialist. The Ministry of Health provides a hotline for inquiries into psychological wellbeing. A specialist will respond to you, free of charge, from Sunday to Thursday from 12 pm to 4 pm at 08008880700.

In the third article of this, I will discuss the steps, or more precisely the decisions, to be taken in case of psychological illness and treatment, whereby all decisions are only taken by the patient, not the doctor.

Ahmad Aboul-Wafa is a specialist psychiatrist.

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https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/04/13/visit-psychiatrist-part-two-head-psychiatrists-office/
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