For most people, the idea of seeking professional counseling is likely to be very intimidating and even unsettling. But if your problems are severe, have persisted for some time, or your personal efforts have been ineffective, it is advisable and advantageous to seek professional help.

How do you know you need help? Here are 7 major symptoms that are usually a signal you need professional counseling.

1. Your thoughts are confused and unreasonable: excessive panic, anxiety, fear, or an inability to cope with daily activities like, work, family or personal care.
2. Prolonged depression, sadness or apathy, specifically feelings of hopelessness, helplessness or loss of pleasure in activities that you used to enjoy.
3. Excessive anger / hostility or wide mood swings that result in erratic behavior or thoughts.
4. Marked changes in eating (binging or purging) or sleeping patterns (difficulty falling or staying asleep).
5. Alcohol or drug use that is affecting job performance, your personal or professional relationships or health.
6. Thinking or talking about suicide, including social isolation and withdrawal.
7. Difficulty dealing with loss as in a divorce, death or change in lifestyle due to illness.

Every day, some form of counseling makes a difference in the lives of people, young and old. Especially for boomers, who are transitioning through their midlife, it is imperative to be aware of the emotional changes you may be experiencing. A trained therapist can help you begin the process of deepening your insights, coping with challenges and creating a happier, more fulfilled life.

Author's Bio: 

Amy Sherman, LMHC, is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice. She is the author of the ebook, “Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer’s Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life”. Go to Psychological First Aid and get 75 Stress- Relieving Activities when you sign up for her free e-newsletter. She can be reached at or 561) 281-2975.