The topic of mental illness has become widespread in our current culture. The stigma of being thought of as crazy or abnormal for struggling with issues pertaining to mental wellness has diminished, and society is much more open when it comes to discussing what prevents us from achieving a life that is successful, peaceful, and full of meaning. Mental illness is considered something which can be treated, managed – and sometimes cured – much in the way that a physical illness is approached.
In this article, we are exploring some of the most common signs of mental illness and how mental health treatment can help certain psychological issues.
Common Signs of Mental Illness
According to the Center for Disease Control, over half of all people in the United States will receive a diagnosis for a mental disorder over the course of their lifetime. It is useful to note that this percentage only accounts for those who actively receive treatment. There are likely to be many more people who struggle with issues of mental health but do not recognize the common signs of mental illness. The following are some of the signs to watch for, in yourself or a loved one, when considering whether mental health treatment will be beneficial. Here are common signs of mental illness.
Loss of Motivation
Those who are suffering from depressive disorders will often experience a general lack of motivation to move forward in life. This experience can range from something mild, such as not wanting to engage in familiar hobbies, to become so oppressive that the thought of simply attending to daily chores feels overwhelming. As with most diagnoses of mental health disorders, this lack of motivation will be negatively impacting the quality of life. It will be holding you back from what you hope and desire to do and become.
Change In Social Behaviors
There are several mental health disorders that involve changes in social behavior. Someone who is normally a social butterfly may begin to decline invitations and choose to spend most of his or her time alone. Someone who is normally reserved may suddenly begin to gather a new group of friends or may begin dating indiscriminately. Normal approaches to socialization tend to stay relatively stable throughout a lifetime, so any sudden and drastic changes are worth noting.
As with changes in social behaviors, changes in sleep patterns are also on the list of symptoms for several recognized mental health disorders. These signs may include wanting to sleep too much, or not being able to sleep enough. A person who is getting enough hours of sleep may notice that he or she still feels tired, due to the quality of the sleep not seeming to be adequate. Disturbing or persistent nightmares may also be present.
It is common for people to feel nervous in the face of new or uncertain events. For those who experience that nervous feeling throughout the day or week, and with no clear reason, there may be a mental disorder at work. Nervousness which is excessive in relation to the actual facts of a matter – such as experiencing sweating, racing heart rate, or feelings of passing out over simply being in a social space or just thinking about going to work – is also a sign.
One of the common hypotheses surrounding substance abuse is that it often beings as an attempt to control or minimize the symptoms of an unrecognized mental health disorder. This method of self-medication may start out as providing relief, but it comes with severe consequences. Many substances are both addictive and damaging to physical health. Continuing to use substances can even end up making mental health symptoms worse.
Frequent Frustration and Anger
It is normal to experience a bit of frustration when things don’t go the way that we plan, or when we are feeling overly tired and tapped out. If you notice that frustration is becoming part of your everyday routine, or if you notice that the frustration frequently escalates into feeling full-on angry, there may be an underlying mental health disorder present. Feelings of anger are a secondary emotion, meaning that they usually begin with a person feeling hurt or scared. Getting to the root of why a person is so often feeling irritated and angry is the work of mental health treatment.
Guilt is one of those negative feelings that likes to hang around as long as possible. It can be a useful feeling when we are actually doing something wrong, but it becomes a problem when the offending behavior has moved into the past. Those who struggle with feelings of guilt tend to stay stuck in one place, and their self-esteem is constantly barraged with feelings of regret. These feelings can lead to several other types of mental health disturbances, including anxiety, depression, and anger.
Hallucinations and Delusions
While hearing and seeing things that others don’t is not as common as the aforementioned mental health symptoms, it is more common than one would think. There are many mental health diagnoses that include a component of hallucination, including depression, psychosis, and substance abuse. Some of the disorders can lead to a person constructing a reality that is markedly detached from what the rest of the world is experiencing. This type of experience can result in a person behaving in bizarre ways or becoming paranoid and fearful of others.
Thoughts of Suicide
Life is meant to be enjoyable. For those who find it to be a struggle, the idea of having to work so hard for little reward can be daunting. During times of stress, in particular, the idea that escaping the world through removing oneself from it can come and go. If you find that this idea is visiting your mind much more than average, you may be suffering from symptoms of a mental disorder. Receiving treatment for the underlying reasons that you are not happy with your life can be the best defense against recurring thoughts of escape through suicide. If your passing thoughts of not wanting to be on this planet turn into a regular routine, or if you find yourself beginning to plan how you might end your life, seek help immediately.
CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm
NAMI – https://www.nami.org/blogs/nami-blog/october-2017/9-ways-to-fight-mental-health-stigma
Well and Good – https://www.wellandgood.com/how-to-socialize/
NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK401/
Mayo Clinic – https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961
Health Line – https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/forms-self-medication
The Gottman Institute – https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-anger-iceberg/
Psychology Today – https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/guilt
Healthline – https://www.healthline.com/health/hallucinations
Suicide Prevention Lifeline – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/