20 April | 0 Comments | By Rachael
Characterized by impaired intelligence, emotion and behavioral control, mental illnesses have detrimental effects on the quality of life in both children and adults. While in children these problems interfere with their ability to learn and grow up healthy, adults with mental health issues struggle to function normally at home, at work and in the society at large.
Beginning early in life and progressing over a chronic recurrent course, 50 percent cases of mental illnesses begin by age 14 while 75 percent develop by the age of 24 years, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Though the signs of a mental illness differ from person-to-person, there are certain indicators that may hint an underlying mental health condition.
- Altered personality: A sudden but characteristic change in one’s behavior, mannerism, thoughts and actions may be the warning signs of a mental health problem.
- Social withdrawal: Conspicuous signs of social withdrawal including isolation from social get-togethers, confinement to one’s personal space, reluctance to join social activities, canceling social engagement, shying away from celebrations, or skipping work or school may hint the development of a mental disorder in a person.
- Anxiety, anger or mood problems: Anxiety and mood problems with an uncharacteristic sudden burst of emotions in a person is enough to tell that he or she needs a mental health expert, especially if this severe change in emotions persists and is accompanied by other symptoms including shortness of breath, heart palpitations, headache and restlessness.
- Disinterest and risky behaviors: People with mental health issues often lose interest in life and are least bothered about their health and well-being. The activities that were once pleasurable begin to lose meaning. They are also likely to be engaged in risky behaviors such as drinking, drug abuse, fights and suicide attempts. Ignorant behavior towards hygiene and personal appearance may also signal a breeding ground of mental health issues.
- Sense of hopelessness: Mounting hopelessness or loss of purpose in life is also known to be associated with mental health difficulties. Feelings like it is the end of the world for them or they will never be happy again are typical thoughts of a depressed person and other mental health ailments. Such people lack motivation and enthusiasm to see life in a different perspective.
- Sleep problems: Sleep problems can be associated with many physical health conditions. However, difficulty in falling asleep or disturbed sleep and resulting lethargy may indicate anxiety, PTSD or depression and that the patient requires psychiatric help.
- Weight or appetite changes: People experiencing a rapid weight loss or unexplained weight fluctuations may be a sign of an underlying mental health problem. In addition, changes in appetite such as increased consumption of junk food, binge eating or loss of appetite may also suggest some problem.
- Substance abuse: People battling mental health problems have been found to be resorting to substance abuse in order to cope with associated symptoms. The insurmountable stress either before the illness or after it pushes people into finding alternate mechanisms for quick relief. Though drugs and alcohol do numb the mind momentarily, their long-term use deteriorates mental health.
- Sense of worthlessness: A sense of worthlessness complemented by losing confidence in one’s abilities and skills can be a possible sign of a mental health issue. People who ae found to be criticizing or blaming themselves repeatedly may be a symptom of a mental illness.
Helping people with mental health problems
Remember, these symptoms or signs are not meant for self-diagnosis and may or may not indicate a problem associated with mental health. It is good to indulge in some life-changing practices such as practicing meditation, regular physical exercise or playing a sport to relax the mind and keep negative thoughts at bay. However, if the symptoms continue for a longer period, even when the trigger has subsided, it is important to seek immediate psychiatric help.
If you know someone who is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact a licensed, professional counselor for timely diagnosis and treatment. Seek assistance from the Arizona Mental Health Helpline for information related to mental health disorder treatment centers in Arizona. You can even chat online or call our 24/7 helpline 866-606-7791 for immediate assistance.