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Should You Seek Mental Health Care?

November 2000

Sometimes it's not easy to tell if you should seek out care from a mental health professional. Below are some common signs and symptoms for three common psychological conditions: drug and alcohol dependence, clinical depression, and anxiety. These signs and symptoms are derived from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-VI) of the American Psychiatric Association. Please note that there are many other psychological conditions which can affect people and which also may warrant consultation with a mental health professional.

If you feel that you may be experiencing mental health concerns, please seek out appropriate treatment and care. Start however you're able, maybe by talking to a knowledgeable friend or family member, your primary care physician, a member of the clergy, or a community-based agency such as Body Positive. See the "Body Positive Mental Health Roundtable" article in this issue for suggestions about how to make contact with sources of help, or call the toll-free Body Positive telephone Helpline (1-800-566-6599) between Monday and Friday from 10 am to 9 pm.


Drug and Alcohol Dependence

If you have had three or more of the following symptoms in the past twelve months, you should seriously consider seeking professional assistance for possible drug and/or alcohol dependence.


Clinical Depression

If you have experienced four or more of the following symptoms during the same two week period, you should seriously consider seeking professional assistance for possible clinical depression. This is particularly the case if you think that the symptoms are not clearly related to HIV or some other physical condition.


Anxiety

If you have experienced the following symptoms either over a long period (such as over six months) or for a shorter duration with greater intensity, you should seriously consider seeking professional assistance for possible problems relating to anxiety. This is particularly the case if you think that the symptoms are not clearly related to HIV or some other physical condition.


Back to the November 2000 Issue of Body Positive Magazine.




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