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When Should You Seek Treatment?

Recognizing that you may be struggling with a mental health disorder, an eating disorder, a substance abuse disorder or a behavioral health disorder can be a difficult diagnosis to swallow. Whether you have a history of a mental health disorder, or eating disorders run in your family or whether one of your loved ones has expressed their concern for you; you may be going through mixed emotions and may even be in denial that you are struggling and need help. It is important to recognize that you are not alone and you have a community of resources and support within reach. Recognizing your signs and symptoms is the first step to accepting the fact that you need to seek professional treatment, not only to get better but also to have a formal clinical diagnosis. There are several important factors to consider when deciding if you should seek treatment for your mental health disorder, eating disorder, substance abuse disorder or behavioral disorder. Some of these factors include your level of subjective distress, your functioning at home and work, and your signs and symptoms.

Warnings signs and symptoms that necessitate treatment

  • Change in personality (witnessed by others)
  • Fluctuations in mood
  • Increased irritability
  • Drastic changes in appetite
  • Changes in weight
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Self harm behavior such as cutting
  • Changes in sleep patterns (difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or a requirement for a drastic increase in sleep)
  • Recurrent flashbacks/nightmares
  • Obsessive thoughts followed by compulsions
  • Increase alcohol use
  • Any form of illicit or illegal substance use
  • A decline in school or job performance
  • Social withdrawal
  • A desire to harm others
  • Frequent feelings of sadness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Hiding weight loss/restricting food
  • Extreme dieting/ purging/ over exercising
  • Deterioration in personal grooming or physical appearance
  • Lying about your actions or whereabouts
  • Having difficulty handling stress or frustration

When mental illness becomes too challenging to deal with, sometimes the body bears some of the burden. You might involuntarily tense your muscles, leading to headaches and muscle pain. Or maybe chronic stress will lead to gastrointestinal distress. It's common for people with underlying mental health problems to complain of aches and pains that have no physical source.

Take a look at what our Alumni are saying about Discovery:

Would recommend this program to another individual/family:       

  Substance Use and Co-Occurring Disorders: 95% of Clients, 100% of Parents 
Mental Health: 96% of Clients, 100% of Parents 
Eating Disorder Residential: 94% of Clients, 96% of Parents  
Eating Disorder Outpatient: 86% of Clients, 100% of Parents   

Overall Treatment Experience was positive: 

Substance Use and Co-Occurring Disorders: 95% of Clients, 100% of Parents
Mental Health: 97% of Clients, 100% of Parents
Eating Disorder Residential: 95% of Clients, 97% of Parents
Eating Disorder Outpatient: 86% of Clients, 92% of Parents

Would Return to Discovery for treatment (if appropriate):

Substance Use and Co-Occurring Disorders: 91% of Clients
Mental Health: 95% of Clients
Eating Disorder Residential: 92% of Clients
Eating Disorder Outpatient: 88% of Clients

Latest News


Discovery Behavioral Health
Acquires Ambrosia Treatment Center in NJ

Discovery South Bay now open!

Discovery Austin now open!

Discovery Glendale now open!

Resilience Fresno now open!

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Checking in with your emotions and daily functioning

If you are on the fence about seeking treatment, ask yourself questions about your level of happiness, your social life and your professional/home/school life. Mental health disorders, behavioral disorders, eating disorders and substance abuse disorders affect all aspects of your daily life and therefore reflecting on whether your daily life has been impacted can help solidify that seeking treatment is the correct decision.

  • How are you doing right now?
  • How happy and content are you right now?
  • Are you feeling overwhelmed by problems and stressful situations and events in your life?
  • How much time do you spend with family and friends?
  • What do you do with them?
  • Is this different from before you were experiencing problems?
  • How much does being with friends and family make you feel uncomfortable or seem exhausting?
  • How well have you been fulfilling your responsibilities at home and work/school?
  • Have you noticed that it's more difficult to do things that you once did?
  • If you are a parent, are you spending less time with your children or finding yourself less patient or engaged?
  • How are you doing in your job/school?
  • Have you missed more days of work/school than usual?
  • Are you completing work tasks on time and as accurately as before?

When should you seek professional help?

Professional treatment for eating disorders, mental health disorders, substance abuse disorders and behavioral disorders should not be delayed. Without professional treatment, you may be at risk of harming yourself or others around you, whether it is intentional or unintentional harm. Treatment is not an overnight process and oftentimes a higher level of care such as residential treatment or partial hospitalization is 4-6 weeks in duration with the hopes of transitioning to outpatient treatment which can last months to years, depending on the severity of the disorder. Treatment does vary in length and intensity depending on the specific individual and the disorder and in addition to professional treatment, most individuals can benefit from getting involved in community outreach programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, eating disorder community support groups, or online support groups. Individuals, who seek treatment at early stages of their disorder, usually have a higher rate of overall recovery.

Questions to ask when choosing a treatment center

  • Do they have a bed available today?
  • What is their success rate in treating your disorder?
  • What is your expected length of stay?
  • Is the treatment facility licensed for co-occurring disorders?
  • What different level of cares do they offer and how do they handle transitioning between levels of care?
  • Is there an aftercare program available and how do they handle relapse?
  • What levels of licensure and credentials does the staff have?
  • What is their insurance coverage?
Discovery Behavioral Health