Mental illnesses can affect any person at any stage of life. But, the good thing is that ‘no mental illness comes and grabs a person out of the blue’. They send a lot of warning signs and symptoms before approaching. In this article, we’re sharing the common signs and symptoms that may indicate an approaching mental illness. Knowing these signs can help you prevent, delay or at least reduce the severity of an illness.
Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Approaching Mental Illness
1. Dramatic Change in Appetite and Sleep Pattern
One of the earliest signs of stress and other mental illnesses show on a person’s appetite and sleep pattern. A pattern disruption for a very short period may be caused by a disturbance in a person’s daily routine but if the disruption persists for quite a time or there’s no explanation for the disruption then it may be a warning sign. A person may start eating too much or may lose appetite. She may sleep too much or may struggle to sleep even for a few hours. Some people may start sleeping during the day and waking during the night without any reason. Any such dramatic change may signal an approaching mental illness.
2. Rapid Mood Changes
A person may start feeling gloomy. She may get irritated too easily or may exhibit rapid shifts in emotions. When a person starts showing these symptoms, she may be gradually coming under the influence of a mental illness.
3. Social Withdrawal
It is one of the most common symptoms of mental illnesses in the early stages. A person may suddenly stop attending social events or may try to avoid people as much as she can. She may even try to live isolated in a corner even when she is around with friends and families. Social withdrawal can easily be identified in people who are considered ‘social butterflies’ but it is important to identify the sign in introverted people too.
4. Lack of Interest
Not everybody is passionate about everything in their life but when a person suddenly starts losing interest in everything she enjoyed earlier, it may indicate towards lurking mental illness. This lack of interest is not only about a certain hobby or task. Normally, a person losing interest in things due to some mental issues loses interest in everything including professional works and daily personal tasks like brushing and bathing too.
5. Sudden Drop in Productivity
It is quite self-explanatory, when a person loses interest in things her productivity level will surely go down. A student may start performing poorly in class or may drop out of sports and activity classes that she enjoyed earlier. A professional may start losing her deadlines or underperforming than her potential.
6. Problems in Concentrating and Thinking Logically
A loss in concentration and other mental tasks is one of the most evident and scariest symptoms of various mental illnesses. A person may start losing concentration. She may struggle to keep her attention on one task or she may even find it tough to draw logical conclusions. When a person starts facing such problems, she should not ignore the symptoms at any cost.
7. Feeling Disconnected
Many mental illnesses make a person feel disconnected from self and the reality surrounding her. The person may feel withdrawn not only from people and things around her but from herself too. If this symptom goes unchecked, a person may develop a suicidal tendency too.
8. Unexplained Fear
Feeling of nervousness and fear too is witnessed in many people when they start suffering from a mental illness. If there’s no logical explanation for the fear or nervousness of a person but the feeling is real for the person then it may indicate that everything is not all right. The person may be dealing with a mental issue.
9. Physical Ailments without Obvious Causes
A person may constantly feel body aches or pain or any physical ailment without any obvious cause for it.
10. Other Unusual Behavior
In addition to the above-mentioned symptoms, a person may exhibit some other unusual behavior indicating a mental illness. This may be anything like excessive washing of hands, fear of public speaking in a person who has been doing it for several years, experiencing paranormal things, etc.
Saving Yourself and Loved Ones from Mental Illness
If you are already witnessing more than a few symptoms explained above, the best thing to do is to meet a mental health professional. The earlier the intervention the better for you. Any of the above-mentioned symptoms cannot be directly attributed to a mental illness in isolation. But, these symptoms are good reasons to check for a person’s mental health condition.
In order to avoid any mental health issues, we need to take care of our mental health. Here are a few tips to help you maintain good mental health.
- Talk About Your Feelings – When you are troubled or sad, don’t keep the feeling with you. You should have at least a few close people with whom you can talk about your feelings. Just talking about your feeling can make you feel supported and save you from the trap of mental illness. Sometimes you may yourself figure out a solution to an issue that may be eating you from inside.
- Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle – Eat well, exercise, and take a good night’s sleep. Do these even when you don’t feel like it. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important equally for your mental health as it is for your physical health. By making yourself stick to a healthy routine you can keep mental illness symptoms at bay.
- Stay Away from Alcohol and Drug Abuse – Alcohol, drugs, and smoking are all bad for your overall health including mental health. Even if you take alcohol or smoke, do it sensibly in moderation.
- Stay Away from Negative People and Stressing Situation – If you know that a particular person or situation increases your level of stress, you need to stay away from them. Stress and negativity take a toll on our mental health. So, it is equally important to stay away from people and situation that pushes you towards pessimism.
- Take a Break – No we are not talking about long holidays. It is good if you can take some long holidays and enjoy your life though. Taking small breaks during the day is also important to relax your mind. Don’t give yourself more pressure than you can handle. A two-minute break between your works to take some deep breaths can also do wonders.
- Accept Yourself – Many mental illnesses are caused because a person fails to accept herself the way she is. You need to accept and love yourself for who you are and stop comparing yourself with others. There’s nothing bad in expecting yourself to be a little better but your expectations to yourself should be realistic and real growth-oriented.
- Spread Love – Love is a feeling that can heal almost all mental wounds. So, spread some love for others as well as for yourself. Loving oneself is not selfishness. And unless you love yourself you cannot expect others to love you. While you practice self-love, don’t forget to care for those around you. Human beings are social beings so inherently we feel good within when we love and care for people around us.
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