Mental health is an important topic and it plays a big role in how we see the world. Our experience of the world, how emotions engage with our life and more. If our mental health is disregarded at some point mental illness can take root. Mental health is something we want to be proactive with so that mental illness does not have space to grow in our mind.
If we take our mental health seriously and be proactive with mental health we are less likely to experience these negative experiences in life. Our mental health carries us through the dark and difficult times with much more grace and ease, instead of a struggle.
How Do You Tell If You Have Mental Illness?
There are several signs and symptoms that may indicate a mental illness, such as persistent feelings of sadness or anxiety, changes in sleep or appetite, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of self-harm. However, it is important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other factors, such as stress or a medical condition. Each form of mental illness has it’s own signs and symptoms to recognize whether it’s in yourself, a loved one or a stranger walking down the street late at night.
It’s important to recognize if mental illness is occurring because this can prevent you from being in a dangerous position with anyone that has mental illness.
Additionally, there are symptoms that you may have or others close to you may have that can be revealing of someones mental health.
10 Signs Of Mental Illness:
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a mental illness in someone else can be challenging, as they can vary depending on the individual and the specific condition. However, some common signs to look for include:
- Persistent changes in mood or behavior, such as extreme sadness, anxiety, or irritability
- Difficulty with daily activities, such as work, school, or relationships
- Changes in sleep or appetite
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts or talk of self-harm or suicide
- Withdrawal from friends and activities
- Lack of motivation or interest in things they once enjoyed
- Strong feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
- Delusions or hallucinations
- Emotionally irritable
These are some of the main signs and symptoms of mental illness. The more of these you have the more likely you have some mental health challenges going on, and that’s okay. We’ve all been challenged mentally in our lives and we can all overcome.
The 5 Biggest Mental Illnesses in America
Below are the five most common mental illnesses in America and some of the signs and symptoms of each. If you recognize any of these signs or symptoms in your own life or in the life of a loved one it is important to ask for help and seek guidance through this difficult time. You do NOT have to suffer silently alone. There are people that want to help and support you on this journey, because they themselves have been there.
Major Depressive Disorder:
Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known as clinical depression, is a mental health condition characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities. To be diagnosed with MDD, an individual must experience these symptoms for at least two weeks.
Symptoms of MDD can include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or guilt
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
MDD can have a significant impact on an individual’s daily life, including their ability to work, study, and maintain relationships. It can also lead to physical health problems if left untreated.
Anxiety disorders (such as generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder)
An anxiety disorder is a mental health condition characterized by excessive and persistent feelings of fear, worry, and unease. Anxiety disorders can take many forms, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can include:
- Persistent and excessive worry or fear
- Physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, trembling, and muscle tension
- Avoiding certain situations or activities because of anxiety
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Panic attacks
Anxiety disorders can have a significant impact on an individual’s daily life, making it difficult to work, study, or maintain relationships. Like other mental health conditions, anxiety disorders are treatable.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition characterized by episodes of manic or hypomanic episodes (abnormally elevated or irritable mood, energy, and activity levels) and depressive episodes (feeling sad, hopeless, and unimportant). These episodes can last for days, weeks, or even months.
Some common signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder include:
- Manic or hypomanic episodes: excessive happiness, high energy, little need for sleep, racing thoughts, impulsivity, and grandiose thinking.
- Depressive episodes: feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness, loss of interest in activities, difficulty concentrating, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and thoughts of suicide.
- Rapid cycling: four or more episodes of mania, hypomania, or depression within a 12-month period.
- Mixed episode: symptoms of mania and depression happening at the same time.
It’s important to note that everyone’s experience of bipolar disorder is unique, and some people may not experience all of these symptoms. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have bipolar disorder, it’s important to seek a professional evaluation. A mental health professional can diagnose and provide treatment options for bipolar disorder.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. PTSD can cause severe distress, impacting a person’s ability to function in their daily life.
Symptoms of PTSD can include:
- Intrusive memories, nightmares or flashbacks of the traumatic event
- Avoiding things that remind you of the traumatic event
- Negative changes in mood and cognition, such as feeling detached, guilty, or irritable
- Hypervigilance, meaning feeling constantly on guard or easily startled
- Intense distress when confronted with anything related to the traumatic event
- Physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, or difficulty sleeping.
It’s important to note that not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD. It’s also possible for symptoms of PTSD to appear immediately after the traumatic event or to be delayed for months or even years. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have PTSD, it’s important to seek professional help.
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It is characterized by a combination of symptoms that can include hallucinations (experiencing things that are not real), delusions (false beliefs), disordered thinking, and abnormal movements or behavior.
Symptoms of schizophrenia can include:
- Hallucinations, such as hearing voices or seeing things that are not there
- Delusions, such as believing in things that are not true or having a false sense of persecution
- Disordered thinking, such as difficulty focusing or following a conversation
- Abnormal movements or behavior, such as repetitive movements or gestures
- Negative symptoms, such as lack of motivation, emotion, or interest in life
- Difficulty in social interactions, depression and memory problems
It’s important to note that schizophrenia can manifest differently in different individuals. Symptoms may be present for a long time before being diagnosed, and the onset of the illness is typically in late adolescence or early adulthood. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have schizophrenia, it’s important to seek a professional evaluation. A mental health professional can diagnose and provide treatment options for schizophrenia.