I am 28 years old. My problem began three weeks ago. I cannot sleep; I spend the whole night thinking. Sometimes I sleep for two hours, but it is difficult to relax. I close my eyes to try to sleep, but I feel my eyeballs rolling over from all sides. I‘ve tried medicines which the doctor prescribed but that hasn’t helped either. I feel desperate because it is difficult to go to work every morning without sleeping sufficiently. Can you help me?

The key to your situation is the time frame. When you say, “My problem began three weeks ago”, that tells us the major factor is situational in nature. There’s a good chance a lot of things have happened recently that have increased your stress level. Our sleep is always a good thermometer of our stress level. There are also several types of the can’t-get-to-sleep situations such as:

1. We’re “wired” and too excited to sleep,

2. We fall asleep but wake up frequently,

3. We finally get to sleep but wake up at about 4:00 am, and

4. We can’t get to sleep because our brain won’t stop thinking.

The last two versions are typically found in depression for example. A psychiatrist would be the best professional to evaluate the combination of stress issues and sleep problems for you.

I am a 33-year-old mother of three, and I have severe issues with weight. I have tried every weight loss plan known to man. I lose weight – then gain it back after a short while. I don’t know if seeing a therapist will help.

There’s a difference between seeing a therapist versus seeing a therapist as part of a weight loss programme. Seeing a therapist for issues related to self-esteem, motivation, poor self-image, etc. may be helpful. However, your best and most effective approach may be to see a therapist as part of a weight loss programme. A study found “three of the four studies demonstrated that behaviour therapy, when used in conjunction with other weight loss approaches, was more effective in reducing weight or delaying weight regain.” Yes, seeing a therapist could be helpful. It would be more helpful if you saw a therapist who is coordinating their treatment with an ongoing weight reduction plan. Two approaches focusing on the same issue (weight loss and weight regain) are better than each approach individually.