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2110 McFarland Blvd. E., Suite F; Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35404              205-758-7710



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Do I Need Help?

Sometimes you just don't know if you need psychological help. You might be unhappy, nervous, dissatisfied, or otherwise troubled, but you aren't sure if it is really a problem you should seek help for.

To help you sort it out, we provide some information here about a variety of psychological disorders and other problem areas that we commonly see.

For most of these topics, the descriptions apply more or less the same to children, adolescents, and adults. Where there are differences, we have tried to point them out.

These descriptions and lists are not intended to allow you to determine whether you have a disorder, or to make a diagnosis of yourself or someone else.

Actual diagnosis requires the expertise of a trained professional. It involves identifying patterns of symptoms and their severity, as well as consideration of other possible syndromes and causes.

Furthermore, these descriptions are not intended to be complete or exhaustive. We try to give you an idea of what these problems are like, but cannot cover them in depth here. In addition, there are many other problems that people struggle with that we do not discuss at all, but that might benefit from psychological treatment, such as a basic dissatisfaction with life or issues related to life stages.

We suggest you use these lists only to see if your own experience fits into what might be a treatable condition. If you find it does, or if it makes you wonder, we encourage you to seek the professional opinion of a psychologist or physician. By training and licensure, only a psychologist or physician can make diagnoses of mental disorders.

Click on the topic below to get more information about the particular disorders in each category.


Possible Warning Signs and Clues

Adjustment Disorders Sadness, anxiety, or behavioral changes in response to some recent event or ongoing stressor. In children, you also can see anger, withdrawal, a deterioration in school performance, or regression to more childlike behaviors (e.g., thumb-sucking, bedwetting).
Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse You worry sometimes about your substance use, or someone else expresses concern; substance use is one of the most important parts of your life; you miss work due to hangovers or being out late; you are not performing as well at work, school, etc.; DUI's. In teenagers, warning signs include skipping school, deterioration in grades, changes in peer group, unusual spending patterns, and giving up favored activities.
Anxiety Periods of intense anxiety or panic, feeling fearful in certain situations, or worrying much of the time. In addition to these, children can become "clingy" and have trouble separating from parents. They may resist going to bed or have trouble sleeping. Whining, becoming demanding, tantrums, and regression (e.g., bedwetting) also could reflect anxiety.
Attention and Learning Not living up to your potential, struggling to learn, inability to sustain attention, or having problems with particular academic subjects.
Child Behavior Problems Refusal to follow rules, refusal to obey legitimate authority figures, difficult to manage, poor peer relationships, isolation, fighting, destructive behavior.
Chronic Pain Chronic pain often can be helped with psychological interventions geared toward managing the pain more effectively and allowing a more normal life.
Dementia and Memory Problems Forgetfulness, difficulty learning new information, problems with finding words or understanding language, difficulty processing information or being much slower at it.
Depression Feeling unhappy, losing pleasure in life, problems with sleeping/eating/energy, feeling like life is a strain, irritability, etc. In addition to these, children might become "mopey" and show changes in behavior, school performance, and peer relationships.
Divorce Issues related to divorce and recovery.
Mania Feeling too happy or energetic for your own good, excessive irritability, mood swings, racing thoughts, rapid speech, impulsive behavior.
Personality Disorders Difficulties with handling emotions, self-regulating your behavior, maintaining healthy relationships, accurately viewing the world, and meeting your responsibilities.
Relationships Unsatisfying relationships, frequent anger, preoccupied with leaving a relationship, infidelity or strong temptation.
Schizophrenia & Other Psychoses Problems with mental disorganization, hallucinations, or delusions.
Stress Frequent tension, irritability, insomnia, feeling overwhelmed, distractibility, hurrying to deal with one crisis after another, feeling burned out, hypertension, reflux disease.
Suicide Warning signs for suicide and what to do if someone might be suicidal.

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Disclaimer:  You know, we see a disclaimer like this in every ad that lawyers put out, and it probably is a good idea for us to use one, too:  "No representation is made that the quality of the psychological services to be performed is greater than the quality of psychological services performed by other psychologists.  The outcome of assessments or psychotherapy, or individual client satisfaction, cannot be guaranteed and is dependent on many factors.  Material on this site regarding symptoms, disorders, and treatment is informational only.  Diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders requires the expertise of a trained professional."

The information on this site regarding psychological disorders and treatment comes from many sources that cannot be credited, simply because they have been integrated over the years into our general knowledge base. However, one important source is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (1994) published by the American Psychiatric Association.