Mental illness is far more common than most people realize. In fact, in the United States, 20% of adults experience mental illness every year, and 5% experience serious mental illness. If you’re wondering if someone you care about is dealing with mental health issues, there’s a good chance they are.
The providers at Apex Medical Center know that many people have questions about mental illness but aren’t sure who to ask or what they should do if someone they care about seems to be struggling with a mental health issue such as depression. In this post, we discuss some of the common signs of mental health illness.
Recognizing mental illness
Before we list some of the most common symptoms of mental illness, it’s important to note that many forms of mental illness exist, and there’s no diagnostic test or exam that can definitively identify depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses. Sometimes, symptoms of a physical illness are similar to those of a mental illness. Often, a combination of the following ten symptoms and signs and an exam by a qualified professional can provide some answers.
1. Something seems off
Sometimes, it’s tough to pinpoint the thing that’s causing concern. Perhaps your loved one seems confused, or maybe they’re moodier than usual. Both confused thinking and extreme mood changes can be signs of a mental illness.
2. Unusual sleeping habits
Perhaps your loved one is sleeping much more than usual, or they’re barely sleeping. Maybe they seem tired all the time when they were once energetic. Changes in sleeping patterns and energy levels can be a sign of mental illness.
Some people who are struggling with mental health issues isolate themselves and avoid family, friends, and social situations. Perhaps your close friend has declined multiple invitations, or your sister refuses to do things you know she enjoys. These may indicate a problem.
4. Excessive feelings
Often, when we think of mental health, we think of depression and sadness, and certainly, prolonged feelings of sadness or low mood can be a symptom of depression. However, uncontrollable euphoria can also be a sign of a problem, as can unusually strong feelings of anger or irritability.
5. Frequent, unexplained ailments
There’s a definite connection between your mental and physical health. People with depression tend to perceive pain differently than those who don’t have depression, for example. If your loved one has multiple physical ailments with no clear explanation—frequent headaches, being sick to their stomach, various aches—it could be a sign of a mental illness.
6. Eating more or less
Changes in appetite are common in people with mental illness. It could be a symptom if you notice other symptoms along with increased appetite or eating much less.
7. Inability to correctly perceive reality
People with mental illness may struggle to see things clearly, whether that means they perceive slights where none are or they even hallucinate. Even an inability to understand changes in themselves can be a symptom of a mental health problem.
8. Lack of coping ability
One hallmark of mental illness is an inability to cope with normal day-to-day problems and challenges. If someone you care about can’t keep up with responsibilities and obligations, they may be struggling with a mental health concern.
9. Substance use
Drinking alcohol more frequently, depending on pain relievers, or using illicit substances can all be signs of a growing mental health problem.
10. Unusual behavior
A big change in how a person behaves can be an indicator. A person who has always been responsible and dependable, who suddenly begins missing appointments, or a social butterfly who refuses to socialize, or even someone who has always enjoyed gardening, letting their yard get out of control, are all causes for caring concern.
Talk to an expert
If you have specific questions, schedule an appointment at one of the three convenient locations of Apex Medical Center. Our staff is always happy to discuss your concerns and offer advice.