Differentiating the symptoms of mental health illness is challenging. It’s too easy to go on with our lives and pay little attention to our health. We tend to brush off our symptoms, thinking it’s just stress from work and taking care of children.
We rarely step back and analyze if what we’re sensing are symptoms of a mental illness. By the time we do realize it’s a disability, we’re probably in too deep. That’s why, nowadays, it’s necessary to become aware of the five signs you need mental help.
What Is Good Mental Health?
Mental health refers to a person’s total mental well-being. It’s how a person regulates their feelings and behavior. It characterizes a person’s ability to function, including, but not limited to, the ability to learn, feel, and express emotions and maintain and form social relations.
What Are Mental Health Disorders, & How Do They Affect a Person?
There is a wide range of mental health problems with more than 200 classifications. It could be the more common, such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD, and as rare as schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.
A mental disorder may present itself in patterns or changes in behavior, perception, and sensation. Overall, having a mental health problem affects the person in:
- Maintaining personal and social relationships.
- Social settings.
- Work or school performance.
- Learning at a level expected of a person’s age and intelligence.
With that said, can someone discern if they’re having symptoms of a specific mental health illness? When is the proper time to consult with a mental health professional?
It is possible for a person to detect the symptoms early on as our body has warning systems. Mental health disorders may start as subtle changes to someone’s feelings, thinking, and behavior. It’s only a matter of recognizing these symptoms and determining when you need professional help.
5 Signs You Need Mental Help
Being aware of the five signs you need support with your mental health isn’t just for your own well-being; it may also help you recognize a friend or family member who needs help sooner.
1. Excessive sadness or irritability
We all feel sad sometimes. After all, sadness is a human emotion that we all feel at certain moments during our lives. Being sad is a natural reaction in conditions that cause emotional pain. Although there are differing degrees of sadness, it’s temporary and fades with time. There would still be moments when a sad person can be comforted by the people surrounding them.
So, always notice the people who feel at an all-time low. Prolonged feelings of sadness and irritability may signify a mental health problem. Among the most prevalent symptoms of depression are feeling sad and all-time lows. Unlike sadness, depression is not an emotion. It is a severe mental health illness.
If you or a friend or a family member hasn’t been feeling well the past two weeks, maybe it’s not something to be brushed off.
2. Extreme mood swings
It’s normal to have different moods throughout the day. After all, a person can’t stay happy or angry the whole time. Many factors can affect someone’s mood. For instance, body rhythms make people feel upbeat and alert around noon. Then, moods shift toward negative feelings in the early afternoon or evening as we tire.
But when someone has severe mood changes that look like a roller coaster ride, it’s time to evaluate the cause. Extreme mood swings could include the following:
- Persistent aggression or disobedience
- Hyperactive behavior
- Intense temper tantrums
- Excessive hostility or violent behavior
Drastic and periodic mood changes might result from anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, borderline personality disorder, ADHD, or other mental health disorders. Whatever the cause, it’s best to contact a professional.
3. Extreme nervousness
It’s natural for a person to feel tense and stressed when facing a situation that causes uncertainty. However, feeling extreme nervousness, where you experience severe reactions, such as sweating and trembling, may be due to a mental health problem.
Have you ever questioned your self-worth or said to yourself, “I’m only a burden to everyone else”? We usually take notice of the general environment and not the person itself. People suffering from mental health problems may have negative feelings about their overall self-worth and relationships.
People who persistently feel nervous, worried, or tense may be because of general anxiety disorder. General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a common anxiety disorder that involves chronic worrying, tension, and nervousness.
We all need time and space to take a breather. Sometimes, we do this by going on a vacation or staying home to recuperate.
We isolate ourselves from time to time for much-needed rest for our bodies and minds. However, withdrawing totally from life could indicate a mental health disorder. Actions considered as withdrawal are as follows:
- A person’s interest in formerly appreciated activities or hobbies has waned.
- Performance drop in work and school.
- Increase isolation.
- Avoiding school, work, friends, or family members.
- Depression, bipolar disorder, and psychotic disorders are the only disorders that may cause social withdrawal and isolation.
Ask yourself if you’re increasingly spending time alone or avoiding people. You might want to consult with a mental health professional.
5. Sudden changes in eating or sleeping habits
We all know that sleep, eating habits, and moods go hand in hand. A sleep-deprived person feels irritable, short-tempered, and stressed. And someone vulnerable to stress will have difficulty sleeping.
The same goes for people who don’t have a proper diet. Notice that those who eat breakfast in the morning perform better and are not as easily stressed. They, too, will have the occasional late nights or all-nighters, but it’s a rarity. What you should look out for are lasting changes. Some changes are as follows:
- A shift in sleeping habits.
- Constantly feeling tired or low in energy.
- A change in eating habits, like an increase in appetite
- Loss or gain of weight
- Changes in sex activity
All of these may lead to the development of either depression or anxiety. Whatever may be causing it, it’s always better to have a mental health expert’s opinion.
Well, that’s about the five signs you need mental help. I hope you learned something insightful about the five signs you need mental help outlined in this article. Figuring out if you have a mental health disorder is the first step to recovery. So, don’t brush off what you’re feeling.
Whether you relate to one or several of the signs mentioned above, it’s always best to talk with a mental health specialist. If you know someone experiencing symptoms, websites and hotlines are available online.