Dealing with a mental illness can be lonely since people suffering from it are easily misunderstood or ignored. We do not take the time to acknowledge our loved one’s emotions often. Sometimes we have clouded judgment that what the person is exhibiting may be lousy behavior or that they are being hysterical, especially for adolescents. Many families are not ready to face the fact that their loved one may have a mental illness. It leaves them vulnerable to the opinions and judgments of others.
Early diagnosis of some of these conditions may prevent the situation from worsening. Therefore, friends and family should look for signs indicating that one is going through something more than just mood swings and fatigue. Each mental illness has unique signs and symptoms, but there are some common signs that you can look out for. This will help you make a decision about treatment and find a therapist near you.
What Is Mental Illness?
Mental health disorder is a wide range of health conditions that affect an individual’s emotions, behaviour, and thinking. These illnesses are often associated with distress, strained social interactions, and work activities.
Approximately one in every eight people lives with a mental illness. This statistic indicates that mental illness is steadily becoming a primary societal concern. Mental ailments can take any form, from mild ones, for example, phobias, to severe ones, like hallucinations and nervous breakdowns. Some of these mental illnesses, like bipolar, may be permanent, but they can be easily managed, especially if diagnosed early. Therefore, for early diagnosis, ensure you pay attention to some warning signs.
Common Mental Illness Warning Signs
It is hard to identify whether a problem with moods or a simple phobia has become a severe mental issue. Sometimes being in low moods and feeling sad is expected, for example, after losing a loved one. Still, if depression affects the normal functioning of an individual, they may need professional help. Additionally, some mental illnesses may mimic other medical conditions, making it hard to pick them out. However, warning signs may help determine if a loved one has a mental ailment.
Anxiety disorders can be explained as feelings of extreme stress and phobias that may interfere with one’s daily functioning. Anxiety disorders take many forms, including panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Some of the warning signs that can point to anxiety disorder include:
- Tension and grogginess
- Fear and nervousness
- Always anticipating the worst
- Sweating and shortness of breath
- Constant headaches and stomachaches
Depression and mood disorders are common mental illnesses characterized by displeasure and feelings of hopelessness and self-loathing. For a diagnosis to be made, these feelings should have existed for an extended period. This condition is also associated with other mental illnesses, such as bipolar. Here are some of its warning signs:
- Persistent despondent mood
- Loss of interest in activities that one once enjoyed
- Hypersomnia or insomnia
- Extreme mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts
- Persistent physical ailments such as headaches that do not respond to treatments
- Feelings of worthlessness and pessimism
Schizophrenia or Psychotic Disorder
Schizophrenia affects one’s ability to think and behave clearly. It is characterized by several behaviours, such as unrealistic thoughts and actions, delusions of grandeur, and depressive episodes. The treatment for this condition is lifelong and involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Some common warning signs that you should take note of include:
- Hallucinations from hearing voices to smelling strange things
- Grandiosity and false beliefs
- Poor memory
Dissociative disorder is a mental ailment involving an individual’s disconnect from reality, including their thoughts and identity. Such disconnection may cause a multiple-personality disorder. Some of the warning signs to look out for include:
- Insensitivity to one’s emotions and that of others
- Lack of self-identity
- A feeling that everything is not real
- Amnesia at certain times, which includes forgetting events, people, or personal information
- Out-of-body experience
Trauma-related disorders are common since we all go through many things in life that define or break us. Relieving a traumatic event might cause anxiety, nervous breakdowns, and even depression. Traumatic disorders can be intense and may be characterized by several signs depending on what the person has gone through. The warning signs include:
- Insomnia caused by nightmares
- Apprehension and mood swings
- Muscle pains and tightness
- Withdrawal from social circles
- Anxiety and nervous breakdown
- Changes in school performance for students
Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is characterized by a consistent pattern of poor concentration, spontaneity, and hyperactivity which may affect one’s normal functioning. For teenagers and adults to be diagnosed with ADHD, their symptoms should have started below the age of 12 years. However, these symptoms can be easily noted in children between 3-6 years.
ADHD symptoms can easily be mistaken for indiscipline or nuisance and can be entirely missed, especially in children. Like many other mental ailments, ADHD may be caused by several factors, including genetics. People with ADHD may exhibit symptoms such as:
- Difficulty in sustaining focus which leads one to make avoidable mistakes
- Unnecessary movements such as constant fidgeting
- Talking excessively
- Poor performance in school
- Impulsivity, which means one may do things without thinking
- Poor listening skills
- Avoiding tasks that may require maximum focus
- Struggle with following instructions
Bipolar is often characterized by elevated and depressed mood. The mood swings can be very random and might go undetected. Sometimes these symptoms may be confused for overexcitement, especially during the manic phase. Sometimes depressive and manic phases can co-occur and be clouded by substance abuse which may make it hard to diagnose bipolar.
Bipolar is often misdiagnosed as depression, especially for people with bipolar ll. It is because they experience mild manic phases and more depressive episodes, and the manic phases may go unnoticed.
Additionally, substance use and bipolar go hand in hand. Most people going through bipolar may try to mask these feelings and emotions using a readily available substance. It may make it easy to assume someone suffers from a substance disorder. Therefore, it is essential to look out for warning signs such as:
- Anger and aggression
- Delusions of grandeur and overconfidence
- Slipping in and out of sadness
- Reduced need for sleep
- Intense mood swings
- Poor concentration
- Substance abuse
Other potential symptoms that may point to bipolar include overeating, feeling trapped, and anxiety. Once you note these signs, ensure you seek help for yourself or your loved ones since bipolar can lead to intense depressive episodes and, even worse, suicidal thoughts.
The Bottom Line
Mental illness warning signs may be hard to pick out as it may be easy to assume one is having a bad day. However, you will notice some severe signs of a particular disorder if you are meticulous. Despite the stigma surrounding mental illness, mental health and the various misconceptions, the truth is that all of these illnesses can be managed. However, the stigma can sometimes prevent treatment, especially during the onset when people are still in denial.
It is essential for yourself or a loved one to immediately seek help to prevent situations from getting worse. While there is no cure for most mental illnesses, their management is essential and may include almost all the therapies related to mental health therapy, namely, psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and even family therapy. These approaches help to contain the symptoms, thus preventing the condition from worsening. Alternatively, you can try spinner rings to reduce your anxiety by buying from Ideaure.