Is it time to see a mental health specialist?

According to the latest European Health Survey in Spain, 5.84% of the population aged 15 or over say they have been diagnosed with chronic anxiety. Fortunately, sensitivity towards mental health awakens in Spain. More and more people are determined to seek help, although the stigma of receiving professional support to improve psychological well-being has not yet been completely eliminated.

Proof of this is that, as shown by the ‘Cigna 360 Well-being Survey’, only 19% of Spaniards go to a specialist in the field to learn how to manage their emotions. Instead, 3 in 10 respondents prefer to opt for healthy options such as exercise, a balanced diet or routines to improve rest.

These figures reflect that the Spanish population is proactive in finding solutions to their mental health problems. And it is that this pillar is considered by 81% of those questioned as the most important for overall well-being, according to the same report.

Women, more willing to go to the specialist

According to gender, there are differences between men and women when it comes to taking care of their mental health. Women are the ones who prefer manage your emotions through healthy initiatives how to exercise 34% versus 25% of men. They also talk more with friends and family about their problems (25% vs. 22% for men) and go to therapy more (20% for women vs. 18% for men). “The pandemic has made visible a mental health problem that was already there, lowering the taboo that exists around it. The life of the general population has been subjected to many pressures which, if left unchecked, can have serious consequences on their general well-being. We must not forget that the disorders that produce continuous emotional instability directly affect the way we think, act and perceive everything that surrounds us, in addition to determining the way in which we relate to each other, ”emphasizes María Sánchez, e-Health Medical Manager of Cigna Spain.

traffic signs

In order to help prevent or best treat any impairments in mental well-being as soon as possible, Cigna’s mental health specialists identify five fundamental signs that indicate the need to call in a professional:

  1. Having a negative attitude and an obsession with unimportant details. An excessively critical way of proceeding produces tension, emotional turmoil, and relevant stress. We must not forget that negative thoughts affect our emotional functioning. And when criticism becomes a habit, it can lead to serious emotional dysfunction. Certainly, it can become an important factor in disorders such as depression or anxiety.

  2. Start overeating or losing your appetite. Eating disorders are also a symptom of mental illness. There are those who turn food into refuge and comfort and start eating without control, without worrying about the deterioration of their body and their health. On the contrary, there are those who stop eating because they have a distorted image of themselves that makes them think they are overweight. This is how the problems associated with the distortion of reality begin.

  3. Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed. Our level of motivation can vary from moment to moment. However, losing enthusiasm for things one once enjoyed can trigger a lack of interest in thinking about the future. This feeling of apathy and reluctance can make it difficult to carry out daily activities, leading to feelings of indifference and disinterest in doing almost nothing. This attitude of reluctance is a sign that indicates the need to go to a professional.

  4. Avoid socializing or interacting with others. Anyone has been able to experience fear or anxiety when meeting with other people. But those who suffer from social phobia experience this fear excessively and persistently. When this fear interferes with daily activities, that is, in relationships with others and in their performance at work, it will be necessary to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist.

  5. Concentration difficulties. Many factors can contribute to distracting attention and hampering the performance of daily tasks. However, anxiety, feelings of depression or sadness, or mood swings can make it difficult to manage your thoughts. Although some lack of concentration at specific times is normal, if the episodes last a long time, working with a professional is the best way to identify and treat any underlying issues, such as depression, stress or anxiety, which make it difficult to concentrate on even simple tasks.

When faced with any of these symptoms, it is important to differentiate between poor mental health and mental illness. And the only ones who can do that are professional specialists in psychology or psychiatry. A person can experience a lot of negative emotions and not being diagnosed with a mental illness. However, to avoid either scenario, it is crucial to put in place preventive measures that help to be alert to signs and how day-to-day changes affect individual emotional well-being.


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