Did you know that, according to a survey on mental health and COVID-19, 25% of Canadians who were aged 18 years old and older screened positive for PTSD, anxiety, or depression symptoms in the spring of 2021?
This was a higher percentage than in the fall of 2020 when this percentage was 21%.
Because of changes in relationships, job loss, and isolation, there has been concern about the mental health of Canadians during the pandemic. In today’s world, mental health issues are on the rise.
With the help of psychology, however, these mental health issues can be identified and addressed for anyone who thinks they might be experiencing them.
If you’re concerned about your mental health, Insurdinary is here to help you navigate the topic of psychology and help you decide if seeing a psychologist may be your best course of action.
What Is Psychology?
According to Psychology Canada, one of the definitions of psychology is the study of the mind as well as its functions. Another definition is the mental attitudes or characteristics of a group, while another is the emotional or mental factors governing an activity or situation.
Defining psychology as a finite topic is not a simple matter due to its wide scope and broad concern. However, it can be broken down into categories for a better understanding.
What Are the 7 Types of Psychology?
The 7 types of psychology include learning (behavioural) psychology, cognitive perspective, psychodynamic psychology, and humanistic psychology.
They also include sociocultural psychology, biological psychology, and evolutionary psychology.
Learning (Behavioural) Psychology
Behavioural psychology, also known as behaviourism, is a learning theory in psychology. It’s based on the idea that, through conditioning, all of our behaviours are acquired. This conditioning occurs when we interact with our environment.
According to psychologists who follow this school of thought, the responses we have to stimuli that are environmental will shape our actions. The focus is on behaviour more than on the internal mental states.
Behavioural psychology explains the mind by showing how, through this external conditioning, we learn to react in certain ways, with our behaviour, to events.
An example of behavioural psychology is the famous experiment Pavlov did with dogs, conditioning them to understand that ringing a bell meant food was coming.
After a while, when they heard this bell ring, they would salivate.
Another example of this might be when a parent praises their child when completing a task well. Over time, the idea goes, the child will continue to do this task well because they will associate it with praise.
Cognitive perspective psychology is a type of psychology that focuses on “mental” functions like attention, perception, and memory. The function of the cognitive perspective is to understand human behaviour through the brain as working almost like a computer. It’s a very scientific approach that explains human behaviour as having a biological cause.
Experts who work in this field study how nervous and immune systems, hormones, genetics, and the brain influence behaviour.
Psychodynamic psychology, also known as psychodynamics, is an approach that emphasizes studying psychological forces that are underlying human emotions, feelings, and behaviour. One of the key features is the focus on the interaction between unconscious and conscious motivation.
Another key feature of psychodynamic psychology is that it involves the interrelationship that various parts of the psyche, personality, and mind in how they relate to motivational, emotional, and mental forces.
An example of psychodynamic psychology is someone avoiding relationships because one of their parents abandoned them as a child has made them afraid of losing someone again.
Humanistic psychology is an individualized psychological approach that looks at the person as a whole and as an individual. The basic principles of this type of psychology include the capacity a person has for choice, self-direction, and self-actualization.
This type of psychology came about as a reaction to other types of psychology that seemed to the supporters of humanistic psychology to be limiting.
An example of humanistic psychology is someone who, after feeling stuck and unfulfilled, decides to start taking some courses in something they enjoy, after which they’ll eventually find a way to work in that area.
In this way, they’re taking the steps they need to in order to reach their own self-actualization.
Socio-cultural psychology is a type of psychology that looks at how cultural and social environments impact people’s behaviours, feelings, and thoughts. Sociocultural factors in psychology include sexuality, attitudes, child-rearing practices, family structure, race, and more.
An example of socio-cultural psychology is someone having certain feelings toward intimacy because of what religion they grew up with or in what culture they grew up in.
The meaning of biological psychology is psychology that focuses on how the relationship between the body and the mind work. It focuses on genetics, hormones, and the nervous system. It’s a study of psychology with a focus on bodily mechanisms.
This type of psychology is used to study the basis that's physical for the reception of stimuli that's external and internal by the nervous system—in particular, the auditory and visual systems.
It's also used to understand the psychological bases for mental disorders, cognition, memory, learning, emotion, and motivated behaviour.
Biology psychology is also used to consider which physical factors affect the nervous system directly, including diet, drug ingestion, disease, hormones, metabolism, and hereditary.
The main idea of evolutionary psychology is that human behaviours and emotions have been shaped by the natural selection process. Evolutionary psychology explains behaviour in that the human mind has been shaped by how early humans responded to the scientific problems they faced.
With that in mind, how do you know if you need to make an appointment with a psychologist?
Warning Signs That You May Need a Psychologist
The warning signs that you may need a psychologist could be as minor as the occasional panic attack, or as serious as the onset of multiple issues at once. Either way it's best to empower yourself with the following information.
Unhealthy Habits and/or Addictions
If you’ve recently started engaging in unhealthy habits and/or addictions, this is a warning sign that you may need a psychologist. For example, if you’ve started overeating, drinking a lot, or taking medication or drugs, this shows that you’re relying too much on these ways of escape.
Family and Relationships in General Becoming More Challenging
Are your family and relationships, in general, becoming more challenging? Do you find that it’s difficult for you to be there for the people you love or are you constantly having arguments or facing communication difficulties? Perhaps you even feel isolated.
These are signs that it may be time for you to start seeing a psychologist.
The Onset or Worsening of Phobias
If you’ve suddenly started developing a phobia, such as the fear of leaving your home, then this is a sign you might need a psychologist. If you already have a phobia and it’s getting worse, this is another reason to get help.
The Onset or Worsening of Anxiety or Depression
If you suddenly start feeling anxious all the time, or you already have anxiety and it has started to get worse, these are warning signs that you might need a psychologist. The same goes for the onset or worsening of depression.
Feeling More Stress, More Often
Have you been feeling more stressed recently? Is it happening more often? Do you feel so stressed you find this distracts you from your work or personal life? In this case, you might need a psychologist.
Another reason to see a psychologist is if you’re dealing with grief. Whether you’ve lost a partner, family member, or close friend, this can have a significant negative impact on your mental health.
If your symptoms are left untreated, you could end up experiencing what many people refer to as a mental breakdown.
Mental Breakdown Symptoms
While the term “mental breakdown” isn’t used in the medical community anymore, it’s still a widely searched term. Things that could trigger a nervous breakdown include a major life change, a sudden tragedy, or stress that's constant at work.
They also include depression, anxiety, poor sleep, financial problems, and abuse.
Signs of a nervous breakdown include feeling depression or anxiety symptoms, insomnia, having trouble concentrating, changes in appetite, extreme fatigue, hallucinations, and digestive issues.
Depression or Anxiety Symptoms
Depressive or anxious actions and feelings are common when responding to stress. These include fearfulness, low self-esteem, irritability, feeling helpless, worrying, getting angry easily, and withdrawing from friends and family.
Other symptoms include difficulty breathing, losing interest in one's own favourite activities, thoughts of suicide or self-harm, and difficulty breathing.
Another sign of a nervous breakdown is insomnia. Stress can make it difficult for you to sleep, and then as you sleep even less, this makes it more difficult for you to recover from stress, creating a vicious cycle.
This will eventually have a negative impact on your mental performance and physical health.
Having Trouble Concentrating
Stress affects both your body and mind, according to studies. Stress that's long-term can lead to changes that are structural in the brain, which can lead to having trouble concentrating and negatively affect your memory.
Changes in Appetite
Stress can make you feel like you want to eat more, or it can make you eat far less than you usually do. Either way, changes in appetite are a sign that you're in a high-stress situation that could lead to potentially negative outcomes.
When you're stressed, you can easily experience extreme fatigue. This can occur either as a result of not sleeping enough or of sleeping too much. Over time, extreme fatigue will lead to an array of mental and physical impairments.
In some cases, stress that's excessive can cause one to experience hallucinations. One might see or hear things that aren't actually present. This a sign of a nervous breakdown.
Anxiety and stress can cause issues with your stomach like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and cramps. If you have IBS, stress can trigger flare-ups, making you experience digestive discomfort.
Treating Nervous Breakdowns
If you think you're experiencing a nervous breakdown, you should speak with your doctor, who might refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist. This is the best way to find out what treatment you need.
Some ways to treat nervous breakdowns include lifestyle changes, medication, and psychotherapy.
Simple ways to help prevent psychological issues at home are what we’ll cover in the next section.
Self Care for Mental Health
Self care strategies for mental health include medication, practicing gratitude, positive affirmations, and having a support system. We’ll review each of these in detail now so you can decide if you want to try any of them at home.
Many people use meditation at home as a form of self care for mental health. When you engage in meditation, you focus on calming your mind. Often, breathing exercises make up part of meditation. You can find many medication activities online.
Another way people practice self care for mental health is by practicing gratitude. When they do this, they go over the things in their life they’re grateful for. Some people find it helps to have a gratitude journal they write these into every morning or night.
Positive affirmations can also help you practice self care at home. These might include telling yourself that you deserve happiness first thing in the morning or committing to eating well and taking care of yourself throughout the day by saying so out loud.
Having a Support System
Having a support system is another way to practice self care for mental health at home. Whether you do check-ins with your partner, a friend, or an online group where others share similar mental health issues to yours, a support system can help you feel less alone and more supported.
Finding the Right Insurance Coverage
If you think that you might need a psychologist, or you want medical coverage that gives you that option in case you or a family member might need help in terms of psychology in the future, our services can help you.
We are a financial comparison platform where you can learn about health insurance options. The caring and compassionate folks at Insurdinary will help you find a health care plan that includes psychological treatment.
Insurdinary provides these articles for educational purposes only. Please take a moment to read our disclaimer.