By Jamie B.
It is essential for our wellness to recognize warning signs of a mental health condition. With May being Mental Health Month, here are a few tips to remember if you feel signs of a mental health condition in yourself, or a loved one.
Often, signs and symptoms will begin affecting daily living before the thought, “Am I suffering from a mental health condition?”
Symptoms can include the following: Things may feel “off,” emptiness, problems with concentration, significant fluctuation in mood and motivation levels, irritability, agitation, sleeping way more or way less than usual, indecisiveness, and/or impulsive decision-making.
Keep in mind: It may be “more than just a bad day or two,” if the signs and symptoms persist, particularly lasting for two weeks or more. Life may feel extra-challenging, with significant distress and impairment in daily activities. Thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and general interactions with the world could be altered.
Each type of mental health condition has a distinct pattern of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Being able to recognize that things are “off” is the first step toward understanding and taking control of a potential mental health condition. Symptoms are what we can feel ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Others often can observe signs of a mental health condition. Take it into consideration if others are noticing signs of potential mental illness. It is essential to be mindful of your typical emotional state — that is your “baseline.” If you are off of your “baseline” for some time, it may be time to reach out for help.
People do not have the same warning signs and symptoms; however if you feel some of the symptoms that are mentioned above, you may want to dig a little deeper. Do any of these symptoms/warning signs exist, and if so, for how long?
- A marked change in one’s sense of self, a feeling a change in who you are, that manifests through displayed emotions and behaviors
- Psychosomatic troubles — often, people seek help for one or more physical problems (headaches, digestive issues, significant aches, and pains, for example)
- Confusion or disorientation, fogginess (again that others can spot)
- Difficulty concentrating, learning and staying on task (you can’t accomplish things or get things done as you used to)
- Inability to carry out daily activities
- Difficulty handling stress
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Changes in eating habits accompanied by significant weight loss or gain
- Substance use to mask problems (referred to as self-medicating)
- Suicidal thoughts (noticeable to others through ambiguous statements about not being able to go on, saying that people would be better off without them, giving away possessions, etc.)
- Problems and struggles that worsen rather than get better
- A vague sense of shutting down that shows itself through withdrawal from activities, relationships, work, school, and life in general
It is so important to take care of our mental health, as it connects holistically to our overall sense of self-satisfaction and well-being. If neglected, you suffer. Friends, family, and loved ones are affected as well. Relationships can quickly deteriorate if you are suffering from a mental health condition and do not seek help.
You are not alone! There are people to help. If you feel like you need assistance, there are choices. Some of the options are: Visiting your Physician to discuss your symptoms; asking for a referral to meet with a Psychiatrist; Outpatient Therapy (this can happen in a school, office, or home setting depending on the agency); Family Therapy; and/or Inpatient Therapy. A professional in the field of health/mental health will be able to assist with what type of treatment is best for you by assessing your individualized symptoms, and support systems.
- Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year.
- Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
- 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.
- 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.
- 6.9% of adults in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
- 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and specific phobias.
- Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5% had a co-occurring mental illness.
- Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9% received mental health services in the past year.
- Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14, three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.
- Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.
- Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions. Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, mainly due to treatable medical conditions.
Please do not ignore your mental health! Pay attention to the warning signs. There is help available, and it is never too late to start taking better care of yourself — mind, body, and soul.
For more information about Highland-Clarksburg Hospital, visit HighlandClarksburgHospital.com or call 304-969-3100. Keep up-to-date with our activities and events by following our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/HighlandClarksburgHospital
Highland-Clarksburg Hospital (HCHI) is a private, non-profit hospital that is dedicated to providing the best care for persons with mental disorders in West Virginia, parts of Ohio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. It has established an integrated system of high-quality behavioral health services, including mental health treatment services for Children, Adolescents’ and Forensic patients. Highland-Clarksburg Hospital is an equal opportunity provider and employer.