It’s rare that a mental illness manifests itself in an individual without warning, and while they themselves may notice some small, worrying changes to their behavior or feelings, it’s often those around the individual who begin to spot signs that all is not well. Sadly, when these small changes are not noticed or recognized for what they are and acted upon quickly enough (if at all), it’s harder to reduce the severity of the illness, and even harder to prevent it from developing.
Recognizing the signs of mental illness at an early stage is very important, and here are a few common symptoms that may indicate all is not well mentally with you, or someone you know:
- Changes in mood
This may involve rapid or dramatic alterations in emotions, or intensified feelings of sadness or anxiety
- Becoming withdrawn
Activities and social events once previously enjoyed, become less interesting and desirable
- Reduced performance
This can be anything from not performing so well at school, college, university, or work, to not being able to perform familiar tasks with ease
- Difficulty thinking
Concentrating may become harder, and problems with memory or logical thought may arise
- Sensitivity intensifies
Sights, sounds, smell and touch may become heightened causing an avoidance of over-stimulating situations.
The desire to participate in activities of any kind may be dramatically reduced
- Feelings of being disconnected
While often difficult to pinpoint, there may be a vague feeling or sensation of not being connected to yourself or your surroundings.
- Illogical thought processes
Beliefs about personal responsibility may become exaggerated and thought processes such as those experienced during childhood may manifest themselves in the form of ‘magical’ thinking.
- Feelings of nervousness (or even paranoia)
Suspicion of others begins to take hold, causing nervousness or even paranoia
- Behavior becomes odd
Strange and uncharacteristic behaviors may occur
If you’ve noticed any of these changes in yourself or someone you know, there is no need to panic, and it isn’t definitive proof that a mental illness is to blame. However, what is important is that you recognize and acknowledge the signs, and even if you don’t seek professional advice right away, continue to monitor the situation and act quickly should they worsen or show no signs of dissipating.
Should any of these signs begin interfering with the individual’s daily life and have a negative impact upon them and those around them, though, then please seek care to prevent any potential illnesses from taking hold and causing further physical or mental struggle. If you or anyone you know begins to talk about suicide, then there really is no other option but to seek professional help.
As with any illness, physical or mental, detecting the signs early on gives individuals the best chance at reaching a full recovery quickly, or being able to manage their symptoms so that their life isn’t negatively impacted. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of a mental illness, talking to a qualified counselor can help you determine your next course of action.
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Scared. Frustrated. Anxious. Pi**ed off. These are common feelings right now. Take a listen to this podcast which includes Heart-Centered Counselor’s founder Carl Nassar talk about reaching out to experts who will listen and help you cope with all the emotions you’re experiencing.
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