Warning Signs of Mental Illness

December 15, 2022

Warning Signs of Mental Illness

Mental illness or mental disorders refers to a wide number of mental health conditions or disorders that affect mood, behaviour, and thinking. Such disorders can include anxiety, eating disorders, and even depression amongst others. Usually, family members, friends or colleagues recognise small signs that something is amiss in one’s behaviour, thinking, or feelings before the illness fully manifests.
Trying to identify early signs or symptoms might help in reducing the severity of the mental illness and ensuring prompt treatment. Here are some symptoms that might be indicative of a mental health disorder:

  • Sleep, appetite or mood changes - Dramatic changes in sleep, appetite, or emotions like depressed feelings, higher levels of irritability or a progressive decline in personal care.

  • Feeling disconnected, and social withdrawal - a general sense of unreality, a vague sense of disconnect from one’s surroundings and even possibly oneself. Also, a loss of interest in social events, gatherings, and social activities that one previously enjoyed.

  • General problems in thinking - Problems with concentration, speech, logical thinking, memory, that cannot be easily explained.

  • Increased nervousness and sensitivity - nervous feelings and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli like sounds and smells for instance.

  • A drop in regular functioning - An unaccounted for drop in functioning at the workplace, in social situations or at home, worsening performance at tasks, increased absenteeism or a disconnected demeanour, or difficulties in relationships with co-workers or peers.

Oftentimes, mental disorders might also cause pain and physical discomfort. These can be psychosomatic issues like headaches, insomnia, restlessness, muscle tension, brain fog, and other symptoms. This is because though mental illness affects the brain, psychosomatic disorders might manifest as the brain is connected to the rest of the body.
If you or a loved one should experience any of the above symptoms, your first recourse should be to visit your primary care physician. In addition to this, you can also consider therapy or seeking the help of a mental health professional who might recommend medication, psychotherapy, or alternative therapies like yoga, meditation or acupuncture.

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