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How Do You Know if It is a Physical or Mental Health Issue?

You feel exhausted, pain in your back, have a lack of focus, slight confusion, and lightheaded. You wonder what is going on. You have also noticed that you feel overly worried at times and can not seem to concentrate on your daily tasks. You tell yourself you are just overworked and try to relax but the feelings do not change or get worse. With these symptoms, you could be experiencing a heart attack, or you could be experiencing the mental heath condition, anxiety.

How do you tell if it is a physical condition or a mental health condition? The truth is you will not be able to determine this on your own. As much as we all love Google and enjoy looking up our symptoms and trying to determine what it is and how to fix it, we need a health care professional who is working closely with us to determine the diagnosis and treatment.

Over the years working along side people, there have been multiple times that someone was referred to me because they were diagnosed with a mental health issue, and it turned out it was a physical issue and vice versa. The way it was determined was through working together and understanding the whole person – physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I worked with someone who had severe panic attacks and it turned out to be their blood pressure medication. Once the medication was changed, they did not have panic attacks anymore. Other people have shown signs of severe depression and it ended up being their thyroid and once the medication was applied the depression cleared.

Just to be clear, I do not diagnosis. What a psychotherapist does, is listen to people with the goal of understanding for the purpose of healing. When a comprehensive assessment is completed, it becomes clear which direction to take. If it is a mental health issue, then the therapist begins treatment. If it is a physical issue, the person is referred to their family doctor for further testing. Often the treatment of both the physical and mental symptoms is required for complete healing.

Finding your own personal psychotherapist and other health care providers is essential to overall good health as the more your health care providers know about you, the better they can treat you. How you can help with this process is to start keeping track of your symptoms both physical and emotional. Patterns emerge that will lead to the correct diagnosis and treatment. Take your list to your preferred health care professional who listens to you and understands the whole you, so you can get the best care possible.


Registered Psychotherapist

HELPPS Psychotherapy Services

519-601-HELP (4357)

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