warning signs of mental illness

Warning Signs of Mental Illness

While mental health issues like depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may not manifest in outward symptoms, the inner turmoil they create can be debilitating. To make matters worse, people living with untreated mental illnesses often struggle to get the correct diagnosis and treatment plan that will improve their quality of life. 

If you worry about mental well-being for yourself or someone you care about, it can help to learn the warning signs of mental illness. While many of these disorders share symptoms – such as changes in appetite and sleeping habits – others bring unique challenges. Here’s how to recognize some of the most common mental illnesses. 

1. Depression 

Depression is one of the world’s leading causes of disability, according to the World Health Organization. Though many people occasionally feel sad or lonely, depression is more than “the blues.” People who struggle with oppressive, persistent feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt may be living with undiagnosed depression. 

Depression can drain the joy out of life. For a depressed person, typical daily tasks can come to feel like insurmountable challenges. They may neglect the need for self-care or even have trouble finding the motivation to get out of bed. Suicidal thoughts and ideas are also a hallmark of depression.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety is a disorder that can magnify everyday worries to such a degree that they feel overwhelming. People with generalized anxiety disorder tend to anticipate the worst-case scenario, even when there’s no apparent reason for concern. For others, anxiety may be situational – tied to specific places or circumstances. Someone with social anxiety disorder may dread going to a party or attending a professional networking event.

Panic attacks are a common phenomenon among people living with anxiety. These sudden, unpredictable onsets of terror can be frightening and disruptive, causing anxiety sufferers to fear going about their regular routine.

3. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also called manic depression, is a mental illness that brings extreme mood swings. People with bipolar disorder can alternate between feeling energized and enthusiastic and being sluggish and apathetic. During their manic phases, someone with bipolar disorder will be overly excited and confident. They may also believe irrational things. 

Most people with bipolar disorder spend more time experiencing depression symptoms instead of mania. In these periods, they will exhibit the same debilitating sadness and apathy that characterize clinical depression. Aside from the marked behavioral shifts, warning signs of bipolar disorder include changes in sleep patterns and thought processes.  

4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

While you may associate PTSD with combat veterans returning from a tour of duty, anyone can develop this disorder after undergoing a frightening or disturbing event such as sexual assault, a home break-in or a car accident. PTSD’s defining characteristics include nightmares, flashbacks and a persistent feeling of being on edge. People with PTSD often have trouble coping with daily responsibilities because their memories are so intrusive. 

Seek Help at Serene Behavioral Health

Don’t let stigma or fear hold you back from getting the help you need to live a healthy, fulfilling life. At Serene Behavioral Health, our mental health professionals can develop a tailored treatment plan that includes a combination of medication and therapy to manage the peaks and valleys of mental illnesses. To learn more about what we treat and our levels of care, please reach out to us today.

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