Physical ailments are easy to recognize. Something hurts, you get treatment. Sometimes, it may take longer to identify, since certain illnesses have no symptoms until they’re at their latest stages. But once recognized, people tend to mobilize to look for ways to heal in a best-case scenario, or alleviate symptoms in a worst-case one.
But when it comes to mental health issues, it’s easier to overlook signs. At the end of the day, everyone’s stressed, sad, or angry at some point. Might as well ride it out, right? Unfortunately, not all people are just going through the regular ups and downs of life. Sometimes, prevalent feelings of depression or anxiety are indications of a much bigger problem. In fact, about half of the adults in the United States will experience a mental illness at some point in their life. In order to safeguard your health, it’s important to learn to recognize symptoms of mental illness.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness
There are many different types of mental health issues. Therefore, not all of them will be experienced the same way. However, the most common denominators include the following:
- Excessive anxiety
- Feeling sad all or most of the time
- Extreme mood changes
- Prevalent irritability
- Lack of motivation to do daily activities
- Avoiding friends and family
- Avoiding any social interaction
- An inability to relate to other people
- Constant physical ailments such as headaches and stomach issues
- Loss of appetite
- Substance abuse
- Inability to concentrate
- Being constantly exhausted
- Change of sleeping patterns (constant insomnia or wanting to sleep all the time)
- Recurring thoughts about suicide
What are the most Common Mental Illnesses?
The following illnesses are the five most common mental illnesses.
Five Most Common Mental Illnesses
Depression can come on as the result of a catastrophic life event (such as losing a loved one or an acrimonious divorce). However, it may also occur “out of nowhere” or even during stages of pregnancy. In addition to many of the signs listed above, a depressed person often feels hopeless about life, as well as feeling an ever-present sense of guilt, pessimism, or a loss of interest in things they used to love. All of these symptoms are long-lasting, and the person feels like there’s no way out.
2. Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is recognized by a constant worry that something will go wrong. This often leads to panic attacks and/or avoidance of the stress inducing variable. For instance, crowded places due to a fear of feeling claustrophobic, trapped, or embarrassed. There are five major types of anxiety disorders, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Social Anxiety Disorder.
3. Bipolar Affective Disorder
Bipolar Disorder makes a person go from extremes: Energetic, happy highs, followed by miserable, depressed, lows. It’s most common in people between the ages of 15 and 40. When you’re in one of the “happy” moods, people who may not know you well may see you as the life of the party. However, close friends and family members likely notice that some of the behavior is excessive and not really “you”. The lows are accompanied by regular symptoms of depression: irritability, hopelessness, guilt, and suicidal thoughts. It’s also common for people with bipolar disorder to make poor decisions, such as spending all their money on something nonsensical or engaging in risky sexual behavior.
A person with schizophrenia suffers from hallucinations, delusions, an inability to understand information or to pay attention, an inability to recall recently learned information, abnormal body movements, and a decreased ability to speak. Their hallucinations can take on several forms, such as auditory and visual hallucinations. This is why people with Schizophrenia are commonly known to claim that they hear voices that are not there. Delusions refer to rigid illogical and irrational belief systems that a person may experience despite their general level of knowledge or the absurdity of the belief. The symptoms of schizophrenia are severely life-altering in most cases and can deeply affect the people in their lives.
5. Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are psychiatric illnesses that cause the person to become obsessed with food and weight. They range from self-starvation (anorexia nervosa) to binge eating large amounts of food during short periods of time, then either vomiting or abusing laxatives (bulimia nervosa). Both types of disorders can be accompanied by excessive exercise. People with anorexia or bulimia often avoid eating in front of people, are constantly preoccupied with calories, chew each bite of food excessively, and have a continued phobia about gaining weight.
Recognizing Symptoms of Mental Illness in Children
While mental health issues are never easy for anyone, adults tend to have a better ability to communicate what they’re experiencing. Such is not always the case with children. Therefore, it’s important to recognize symptoms when they occur in them, such as:
- Recurring nightmares
- Constant temper tantrums
- Getting into fights at school
- A substantial change in grades
- Aggressive behavior
If you or a loved one are dealing with mental health issues, let us help you.
At St. Hope, we serve many patients living with a myriad of medical conditions. We believe that treating people with compassion is as important as the medicine they receive. We foster a trusting patient/medical provider relationship to ensure that everyone who walks through our doors feels comfortable and receives the care they deserve.