A large section of the world’s population suffers from mental illness, although the term is often buried under the big rocks of stigma and taboo.
While many people are reluctant to talk about their struggles with mental health, a majority do not even identify and validate these signs of mental illness. Regardless of the situation, this often leads to the problem going unnoticed and untreated.
However, talking about mental illness is important in breaking the stigma and promoting mental health awareness.
In our guide to mental illness, we will discuss some of the common signs of mental illness and why it is essential to recognize and address them.
What Are The Signs Of Mental Illness?
1. Mood Swings
Mood swings are one of the common signs of mental illness. A mood illness, such as bipolar disorder, may be present if a person experiences abrupt changes in mood or emotional state.
Extreme highs (mania) and lows (catastrophes) occur at random times for those with bipolar illness (depression). Therefore, mood swings are a major indication of a mental illness, so it’s vital to notice this and get assistance if you need it.
2. Changes in Sleeping or Eating Habits
Another in the list of signs of mental illness is changes in sleeping or eating habits. It may indicate depression or anxiety if a person’s sleeping patterns have significantly changed, such as sleeplessness or oversleeping.
A mental health problem like an eating disorder may manifest as changes in eating behaviors, such as a loss of appetite or binge eating.
3. Substance Abuse
Substance abuse is often a sign of an underlying mental health issue. If a person’s sleeping habits change dramatically, whether it’s because of sleeplessness or oversleeping, it could be a sign of sadness or anxiety.
Also, a mental health issue like an eating disorder shows up as alterations in eating habits, like loss of appetite or binge eating.
4. Social Withdrawal
Next on the list of signs and symptoms of mental disorder is social withdrawal which is a common sign of depression or anxiety. Individuals with mental health problems are more prone to separate themselves from others and steer clear of social situations, which do not do any well but compound the issue and cause feelings of loneliness.
Fatigue is another common symptom of depression and other mental health conditions. People with depression may experience fatigue even when they have had enough sleep.
Mental illness can causes not only physical but emotional exhaustion, too, resulting in feelings of tiredness, lethargy, and decreased motivation.
6. Physical Symptoms
Mental health professionals consider physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, and other aches and pains the potential signs of mental health illness.
These symptoms may be related to anxiety or stress and can be a sign that someone is struggling with their mental health.
7. Prolonged Sadness
Prolonged sadness is a common sign of mental illness – depression, to be more specific. A range of factors, such as genetic predisposition, life events, and chemical imbalances in the brain, causes it.
If left untreated, it can lead to further complications and may even be life-threatening.
8. Suicidal Thoughts
Encountering suicidal thoughts is the major symptom of mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia.
These thoughts can be intrusive and overwhelming, which requires seeking professional help to manage them. Suicide prevention hotlines are also available for immediate support.
Some other signs and symptoms of mental health disorders include:
1. Problem concentrating and thinking straight
2. Hard memorizing things
3. Increased sensitivity to smells, sights, and more.
4. Lack of enthusiasm
5. Constant anxiety and nervousness
6. Loss of interest
7. Illogical and confused thoughts
8. Being unrealistic
9. Hallucinating (in extreme cases)
Why is it important to recognize and address the signs of mental illness?
Recognizing and addressing the signs of mental illness is important for several reasons:
1. Mental illness is a serious condition that significantly impacts a person’s life. If left untreated, mental illness leads to problems with relationships, work, and other areas of life.
2. Recognizing and addressing mental illness breaks down the topic’s stigma and taboo. When people feel comfortable talking about mental health, it leads to more awareness and understanding of the issue.
3. Recognizing and addressing mental illness leads to effective treatment and recovery.
With proper treatment, people with mental illness can manage their symptoms in a better way and live fulfilling lives.
How can we break the stigma surrounding mental illness?
Breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness starts with talking about it. We can do our part by creating a safe space where people feel comfortable talking about their mental health without fearing judgment or discrimination.
This can be done by educating people about mental health, promoting awareness, and encouraging open and honest conversations.
We can do our part by supporting groups that aim to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness and fighting for laws that encourage mental health care and treatment.
We can only encourage people to seek help and support when needed by creating a more supportive and understanding environment.