Mental disorders can vary depending on how they affect behavior, emotions, and a person’s way of thinking. Some of the most common mental health disorders include depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, addictive behaviors, and eating disorders.
It’s common to experience mental health concerns occasionally. However, a mental health concern can turn into a mental disorder if its ongoing symptoms can affect your capacity to function well in society. Experiencing mental disorders can become a hindrance to your daily life, such as your job, school, or relationships. What’s worst, when these mental disorders are left untreated and ignored for a long time, they can trigger self-harming thoughts.
Thus, it’s vital to know and identify the early signs of mental disorders. Not only will this help you save other people’s lives, but you can also check yourself and see if you’re experiencing one or more symptoms.
For your guide, here are nine warning signs of mental disorders you should never ignore.
1. Worry And Anxiety
It’s natural to feel anxious or worried when you’re under certain situations like waiting for the test results of a board exam or waiting in line for an interview. However, if anxiety has become a big part of your daily routine and has gotten out of control, that may be a warning sign of an underlying mental health disorder.
Not being able to manage or control your worries and anxiety can be a symptom of anxiety disorder. Other symptoms relating to anxiety disorder may include restlessness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, irritation, and racing thoughts. If these symptoms persist every day for a month or more, you should consider seeking professional help.
2. Constant Sadness
Anyone could experience a bout of sadness every now and then. That’s life. However, sadness is bound to get better and heal with time. But when that feeling of sadness also comes with feelings of helplessness that eventually affect day-to-day living, then that may be depression.
According to www.genesight.com, when a person is depressed, their feelings of sadness are often uncontrollable. It’s not something you can easily control by watching a funny video or eating something sweet. As your depression worsens, your feeling of sadness will become severe and may last for a month or more. Thus, if you or a friend has been feeling constant sadness for more than two weeks or so, it’s advisable to search for professional help.
3. Sudden Changes In Appetite And Weight
Appetite and weight changes are also references for a person’s mental disorder. For instance, a depressed person may start losing interest in cooking or eating anything. On the flip side, people suffering from mental disorders may resort to binge eating or overeating as a means of comfort. Eventually, overeating will result in rapid weight gain. In either of these cases, a mental health assessment must be done as soon as possible..
4. Social Isolation Or Aloof Behavior
It’s normal to want some ‘me time’ every once in a while. However, suppose a person suddenly starts isolating themselves from any form of social interaction, including their close friends, partners, or families. In that case, that may be a definite sign of a mental disorder. Spending excessive time alone can be a symptom of mental health illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and other behavioral health problems. In that case, don’t hesitate to reach out to that person immediately and offer them help in finding professional treatments. Most importantly, always try to reach out and check on them.
5. Intense Mood Swings
It’s okay to feel sad, angry, or emotional, in certain situations. However, unreasonable emotional outbursts and extreme mood swings may be a hint of a mental disorder. Having intense mood swings is when a person suddenly bursts into anger and quickly switches to dramatic crying or extreme excitement within a short time. All these red flags may be an indication of bipolar disorder.
6. Sleep Disturbances
Sleep is an essential factor in achieving optimal health and a well-balanced lifestyle. Ideally, your body needs at least seven to nine hours of good sleep each night. However, if a person is constantly suffering from sleep disturbances, irregular sleeping patterns, sleep apnea, or insomnia, it may be a sign of a mental disorder. Furthermore, if a person is sleeping too much, it can also be a symptom of a mental illness such as anxiety disorder, depression, sleep disorder, or substance abuse.
7. Repetitive Behaviors
Do you find yourself or your friend constantly biting their nails, tapping their foot, or talking fast all the time? These visible signs of repetitive behavior may be another symptom of a mental disorder, specifically, an anxiety disorder. These repetitive habits are often caused by persistent stress and anxiety. People with anxiety disorder tend to show these repetitive behaviors unconsciously, medically termed as psychomotor agitation. These behaviors can also cause them to feel fatigued or suffer from sleep disturbances at night.
8. Substance Abuse
Alcoholism, drug addiction, and other substance abuse are also associated with a mental disorder. Some people tend to drown themselves with alcohol or drugs in an attempt to cope with mental and emotional pressures. Over time, they become more dependent on these substances. If you notice this sign to any of your loved ones, don’t hesitate to talk to them about it and help them search for professional help to resolve whatever mental or emotional issues they’re going through. It’s important to be able to have a healthy coping mechanism since substance abuse can eventually lead to more health issues.
9. Living With Guilt Or Worthlessness
When a person starts feeling guilty, unworthy, or hopeless about themselves, it may be a definite sign of a mental disorder. You may hear this person constantly talk about being a failure and disappointment to themselves and everyone around them. And if they frequently blame themselves for everything that goes wrong, it can be a sign of depression.
All these self-criticisms and negative self-talk can lead the person to think about suicide and self-harm. Thus, if you notice this symptom to your friend or family member, never take this lightly and help them seek medical help immediately.
The Bottom line
If you or your loved ones relate to one or more of these symptoms, it’s essential to reach out for professional help or therapeutic intervention immediately. You can also call on the support of someone whom you trust the most. Always remember that a lot of people out there are willing to extend a helping hand. A concerned friend may even recommend a good therapist for you. And most importantly, don’t forget that you’re never alone in this. So, always prioritize self-care, don’t suffer in silence, and don’t hesitate to ask for help.