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Psychological Crisis Types and Causes

Types of Crises

We often think of a crisis as a sudden unexpected disaster, such as a car accident, natural disaster, or another cataclysmic event. However, crises can range substantially in type and severity.

A few different types of crises include:

-          Developmental crises occur as part of the process of growing and developing through various periods of life. Sometimes a crisis is a predictable part of the life cycle.

-          Situational crises are sudden and unexpected, such as accidents and natural disasters.  

-          Existential crises are inner conflicts related to things such as life purpose, direction, and spirituality. A midlife crisis is one example of a crisis that is often rooted in existential anxiety.

A crisis can sometimes be quite obvious; in other cases, a personal crisis might be less apparent but can still lead to dramatic changes in behavior and mood.

Signs of a Crisis

Common signs of a mental health crisis include:

- Dramatic shifts in sleep habits

- Sudden changes in mood

- Withdrawal from normal activities

- Decreased performance at school or work

- Neglect of personal hygiene

- Changes in weight

What to Do During a Crisis

If you are coping with a crisis, whether it's emotional or situational, there are things that you can do to help ensure your psychological and physical well-being during this difficult time of your life.

  • Prioritize. Focus on what's important at the moment. This can mean getting yourself out of an unsafe situation or it can mean just focusing on the basics so that you can get through each day. Avoid taking on too much and conserve your energy so you can deal with the problem you are facing.

  • Find help. It's important to lean on friends, family, and loved ones during a crisis, but you should also seek professional help if you need it. Support groups can also provide assistance.

  • Care for yourself. Look for ways to lessen your stress, whether it means asking other people to share your burdens or using stress management techniques such as meditation or deep breathing. Practice good self-care, each a healthy diet, and try to get plenty of sleep each night.

How to Help People Cope With a Crisis

If a friend or loved one is going through an emotional or situational crisis, there are things that you can do to offer practical and psychological support.

-          Listen : Being supportive and listening to your friend's thoughts, fears, grief, or anxiety is important. Focus on offering support and encouragement without giving simplistic solutions that may come off as judgmental or even patronizing. Allow your friend to tell you how they are feeling and let them know that you are there for them.

-          Help With Practical Needs: Instrumental support can be critical during a crisis. Helping with everyday tasks such as housework, grocery shopping, cooking, or errands can help take the burden off of your friend while they are coping with a crisis.

-          Encourage Your Friend to Seek Professional Support: If your friend or loved one is struggling, encourage them to reach out to a mental health professional for additional support and advice. You might help them look for a therapist or even offer to drive them to their appointment.

Short-term crisis counseling can be helpful when an individual is coping with something overwhelming or traumatic. The purpose of crisis counseling is to deal with the current status of the individual dealing with a crisis. Chronic exposure to stress or trauma can lead to mental illness.

Crisis counselors have skills and knowledge that can help you cope with current stressors and trauma.

Crisis counseling is not intended to provide psychotherapy, but instead to offer short-term intervention to help you receive assistance, support and stabilization.