What do you usually do when you’re in physical pain? In all likelihood, you visit a doctor, get a diagnosis, and start treatment. It sounds pretty straightforward, right? And yet, when it comes to your mental health, you choose to ignore the symptoms, brush them under the carpet, and hope they’ll go away on their own. You may even suffer for years before deciding to seek help from a mental health professional. You don’t have to torture yourself like that. Here are five signs that you need a mental health assessment right now.

1. You Google Your Symptoms

You can tell that something’s off and it concerns you enough to look for possible causes and solutions, but are you looking for them at the right place? Psychiatry and psychology are not exact sciences, and a diagnosis is more complicated that ticking a few checkboxes. So, instead of asking a search engine for answers, why not discuss your concerns with someone who actually knows how to help you? A mental health expert will help you understand the root of your problems and work with you on resolving them. It’s a difficult process that takes time, patience, and the right doctor, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

2. Your Daily Life Is Disrupted

Mental health issues can cause real problems in your daily life. You may find it hard to focus on the task at hand, or experience unusually low or high energy levels. You may also have trouble communicating effectively with people around you, and that can wreak havoc both on your work life and personal life. Don’t be afraid to ask people you trust whether they’ve noticed any difference in your behavior, and be sure to report any changes to your doctor.

3. You Neglect Your Personal Needs

Everyone loses sleep or skips a meal from time to time, and that doesn’t necessarily mean you should rush to the doctor. However, if your sleep patterns or appetite change dramatically and these changes persist to the point that you can’t function in your daily life, then you should definitely visit a mental health expert. The same goes if you neglect basic human needs like maintaining good hygiene, doing pleasurable activities, or socializing.

4. Your Mood Changes

When your mood fluctuates drastically and these changes are not triggered by external factors, like going through a rough patch or experiencing something negative, a doctor’s appointment may be in order. Persistent feelings of apathy, worthlessness, desperation, or irritability may be signs of mental instability. Extreme positive feelings, such as optimism or euphoria could also point to underlying problems unless they are typical of your usual behavior.

5. You’re Having Negative or Suicidal Thoughts

Unrealistic negative thoughts can be equally as dangerous, especially if they don’t go away through reasoning. Leaving these thoughts unchecked can put a strain on your mental health, gradually eroding your self-esteem and altering your perception of the world. Suicidal thoughts are also a major red flag that you should take very seriously. More often than not, trying to deal with these thoughts without the help of an expert only perpetuates the underlying problem and makes it more difficult to treat.

Mental health issues have always been a taboo subject no matter which part of the world you live in. People around you may be quick to judge you or label you as “mentally ill,” but that shouldn’t stop you from getting the help you need and improving the quality of your life. Always remember that your well-being is more important than other people’s opinion of you.