Mental health disorders are not uncommon. But before the mental illness spirals out of control, there are warning signs and symptoms that can alert you early on. Mental illnesses refer to a wide spectrum of mental health conditions or disorders that affect your thinking, mood and behavior. What symptoms and signs can you watch out for? When should you speak to your family physician or seek out counseling? Learning about these signs can help you seek early intervention and reduce the severity of the illness.
The following signs can be an indication that you should take care of your mental health and seek help:
1. Constant anxiety or worry
While some amount of stress or worry is indispensable to our lives, it’s a cause for concern when you are constantly anxious or worried. Signs of severe anxiety include worrying obsessively, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, feeling dizzy, restlessness, racing mind, or headaches.
If you or someone you know seems to be going through a phase of constant anxiety, it’s best to seek out professional help to determine the condition. w
2. Feeling depressed
Feeling blue occasionally is a part of life, but when emotions such as despair and sadness overtake our life and don’t seem to ebb, it might be a sign of clinical depression. While depression varies from person to person, some common symptoms include a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, loss of interest in routine activities, significant changes in appetite/weight, lethargy, inability to focus or make decisions, strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt, unexplained anger or irritability among others.
3. Sleep problems
One of the most common signs of a mental health disorder is lasting changes to a person’s sleeping patterns. For instance, insomnia is often a sign of anxiety or substance abuse. While sleeping too much or too little can be indicative of depression or other disorders. In fact, insomnia is seldom an isolated medical illness but rather a symptom of a larger issue. Short-term insomnia is fairly common and can be caused by stress, major life events or travel but long-term insomnia which lasts longer than three weeks is a cause for concern.
4. Poor physical health
Mental health disorders can have a visible effect on physical health. This includes dizziness, trembling, rapid heart rate, gastrointestinal issues, headaches, muscle tension, pain, migraine, etc. Stress or trauma are also known to trigger auto-immune disorders such as psoriasis, rheumatic arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, etc.
5. Lack of energy
There is a strong correlation between feelings of constant fatigue and psychiatric or psychological illnesses. Often people experience a loss of interest in any activity and an unusual drop in functioning whether at school, at work, or in social activities. The apathy and the inability to function may be attributed to constant feelings of fatigue and investigating the root cause often leads to a physical or mental disorder.
6. Lack of concentration and poor memory
Inability to focus on routine activities or complete logical activities is often one of the first warning signs of an impending disorder. This may be accompanied by problems with memory or speech that may be hard to explain. A number of these symptoms can be related to mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD or other disorders. It’s important to take note of these symptoms as they occur and contact your practitioner for relevant diagnosis and treatment. It is important to check credentials if it is your first time seeking help. If you are looking for a therapist in Calgary, there are many reviews online that point you in the right direction.
In addition to these, extreme mood swings, detachment from reality, a withdrawal from social life, inability to cope with daily activities or challenges, suicidal thinking, and excessive fears can also be warning signs if they persist for a longer duration. While one or two of these symptoms may not always predict a psychological or psychiatric disorder, it does indicate the need for evaluation. If a person is experiencing several of these emotions at the same time, then they should seek out help from a general physician or mental health professional. People with suicidal or self-harm thoughts need immediate attention.