Mental illness is a prevalent and serious issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be difficult to identify the warning signs of mental health issues, as they often manifest differently in each person. However, recognizing the early signs of a mental illness can help to address the condition early on and prevent it from worsening.
What Is a Mental Illness?
Mental Illnesses are brain-based disorders that impact cognition, emotions, and behavior. Since every individual have brains, experiencing mental health issues during one’s lifetime is extremely common.
People with mental illnesses have altered brains that prevent them from thinking, feeling, and acting as they would like. For some, this means experiencing extreme and unexpected mood swings, such as feeling more depressed or anxious than usual. For others, it entails not being able to think clearly, not being able to communicate with a person who is speaking to them, or having bizarre thoughts to explain strange emotions.
There are over 200 distinct types of mental illness. Depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders are a few of the most prevalent disorders. Symptoms may include mood, personality, personal habits, and/or social withdrawal alterations.
There may be a correlation between mental health issues and excessive stress caused by a particular situation or series of events. Similar to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, mental illnesses are frequently both physical and emotional and psychological in nature. Mental disorders may be caused by a response to environmental stresses, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these factors. Numerous individuals can learn to cope with or recover from a mental illness or emotional disorder with proper care and treatment.
Here are some warning signs of mental illness to look out for:
Changes in mood or behaviour: People who are experiencing a mental health issue may exhibit sudden or unexplained mood swings, such as feeling sad, angry, or anxious for no apparent reason. They may also begin to withdraw from friends and family, lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed, or experience changes in sleeping and eating habits.
Difficulty concentrating: People with mental illness may have difficulty concentrating, staying focused, or completing tasks. They may also become forgetful or have trouble making decisions.
Physical symptoms: People with mental health issues may experience physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue.
Substance abuse: Substance abuse is often associated with mental illness, as people may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms.
Suicidal thoughts or behaviours: People with mental illness may have thoughts of suicide, or engage in self-harm or other risky behaviours.
It’s important to remember that these symptoms may not necessarily indicate a mental health issue on their own. However, if you or someone you know is experiencing several of these warning signs, it may be worth seeking professional help. Mental health conditions are treatable, and with proper care, people can lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
Indicators and Symptoms
The following are indicators that a loved one may wish to consult a medical or mental health professional.
In Adults, Young Adults, and Adolescents, muddled reasoning is prevalent.
- Protracted despair (sadness or irritability)
- Extreme highs and lows in mood
- Excessive fears, anxieties, and concerns
- Social isolation
- Abrupt alterations in eating or sleeping patterns
- Strong emotions of rage
- Strange notions (delusions)
- Hearing or seeing things that are not present (hallucinations)
- escalating incapacity to manage daily problems and activities
- Suicidal notions
- Multiple undiagnosed physical ailment
Substance Use Among Older Children and Adolescents:
- Use of substances
- Incapacity to deal with problems and daily tasks
- Alterations in sleeping and/or eating patterns
- Excessive physical ailment complaints
- Changes in responsibility management – at home and/or at school
- Insubordination, truancy, theft, and/or vandalism
- Extreme dread
- Negative mood that persists and is frequently accompanied by loss of appetite or suicidal thoughts.
- Frequent anger outbursts
Changes in Younger Children’s Academic Performance
- Poor grades despite strong efforts
- alterations in sleeping and/or eating patterns
- Excessive anxiety or worry (refusing to go to bed or school)
- Persistent nightmares
- Consistent disobedience or hostility
- Frequent temper tantrums.
How To Deal With Mental Illness
Recognize Your Emotions
Despite the various symptoms and types of mental illnesses, many families with a member suffering from a mental disorder share similar experiences. You may find yourself denying the warning signs, worrying about what others will think due to the stigma, and questioning what caused your loved one’s illness. Recognize that these emotions are normal and common among families experiencing similar circumstances. Learn as much as possible about your loved one’s condition through reading and consulting mental health professionals. Share your acquired knowledge with others.
Dealing with Unusual Behavior
Behavioral manifestations of mental illness are common. A person may be extremely reserved or quiet. In contrast, they may burst into tears, experience extreme anxiety, or exhibit outbursts of anger.
Some individuals with mental illness may continue to engage in antisocial conduct even after beginning treatment. These behaviors can be disruptive and difficult to accept in public. Discuss these behaviors and develop a coping strategy the next time you and your family member visit a physician or mental health professional.
Developing A Support System
Whenever possible, seek the assistance of friends and family. Find a self-help or support group if you cannot discuss your situation with friends or family members. These groups provide an opportunity to converse with others who are experiencing similar problems. They can listen and provide sound advice.
Therapy can benefit both the individual with mental illness and other members of the family. A mental health professional can recommend coping strategies and help you better comprehend your loved one’s illness.
Be patient and speak with multiple professionals when searching for a therapist so that you can select the right person for you and your family. It may take some time before you feel at ease, but you will ultimately be glad you sought assistance.
Many families with a member suffering from mental illness share similar experiences. It is important to remember that recovery is possible and that, with treatment, many individuals with mental illness return to a productive and fulfilling life.