Symptoms and Signs of Mental Illness
Early intervention is one of the keys to successful treatment of mental illnesses and psychological disorders. Simply put, the sooner a person is able to get access to the professional health care services that they need, the better off they will be. Unfortunately, with mental health issues, some of the earliest warning signs and symptoms are difficult to detect.
At United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care, we want to make sure that all family members and close friends have access to the information and tools they need to help their loved ones who are dealing with mental health issues. Below, you will find a list of the most common early warning signs and symptoms that could potentially indicate mental health struggles.
- Inability to Perform Daily Tasks
As a starting point, a person’s inability to perform ordinary day-to-day tasks may be a sign that they are struggling with a mental health problem. As explained by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), many common mental health issues adversely affect a person’s ability to function on a day-to-day basis. It is not laziness or lack of ambition. It is a real medical problem.
- Increased Sensitivity to Stimuli (Touch, Sight, Smell, etc)
Depending on the nature of the underlying mental health condition, one of the symptoms may be an unusual sensitivity to stimuli — it could be sensitivity to touch, sight, sound, smell, or taste. Significant changes in sensitivity should be watched closely, especially if other signs of mental health issues are occurring at the same time.
Nervousness is essentially a product of anxiety. It is normal for people to be nervous in unusual, stressful, and high pressure situations. However, it is not necessarily normal to be nervous when performing basic daily activities.
- Unusual Behavior
Unusual behavior can come in a wide range of different forms. Some of the things to watch for include erratic behavior, socially unacceptable behavior, and, perhaps most importantly, major changes in behavior that do not seem to make sense. If your loved one is suddenly behaving in a strange or unusual manner, that could be a sign of mental health issues.
- Overly Tired or Irritable
We all get tired and we all get irritable. Indeed, these are normal human feelings and emotions. That being said, there are limits. Extreme levels of tiredness or irritability are suggestive of an underlying problem. Notably, there is a close connection between depression and fatigue. Similarly, irritability has been linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
- Inability to Cope with Stressful Situations
Many mental illnesses impair a person’s ability to deal with stressful situations. Keep a close watch on how your loved one deals with stress. If they are struggling more and more to cope with stressful circumstances, that could be a sign or symptom of mental illness.
- Alcohol & Drug Abuse
The link between alcohol abuse/drug abuse and mental disorders is pernicious. There is something of a feedback loop here. As noted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, mental health issues can lead to people seeking relief in alcohol and other drugs. At the same time, that relief is temporary — alcohol abuse and drug abuse make most mental illnesses even worse. </spa
- Sex Drive Decline
Finally, a decline in a person’s sex drive can be the sign of both a physical problem and a mental health problem. While a declining sex drive is also a normal part of aging, an especially sharp or dramatic decline may be taken as the sign of a deeper problem.