Mental illnesses usually appears gradually. While it shows in various forms, most people recognize changes or a feeling that something is not quite right about their thinking, feelings, or behavior before serious struggles set-in. Intervention can help reduce the severity or even prevent a mental illness, so learn the early warning signs and take action:
Signs & Symptoms
If a few of the following symptoms are occurring, you may want to reach out to a mental health professional:
- Sleep or appetite changes — Dramatic sleep and appetite changes, including a decline in personal care
- Mood changes — Rapid or dramatic shifts in emotions or depressed feelings
- Withdrawal — Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
- Drop in functioning — An unusual drop in functioning, at school, work or social activities, such as quitting sports, failing in school or difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Problems thinking — Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain
- Increased sensitivity — Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells, or touch
- Apathy — Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity
- Feeling disconnected — A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself and their surroundings
- Illogical thinking — Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events
- Nervousness — Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling
- Unusual behavior – Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior
One or two symptoms alone can’t predict a mental illness but may indicate a need for further evaluation. If you or a loved one is experiencing several at one time and they’re causing serious problems in the ability to study, work or relate to others, a professional evaluation may be in order. Immediate attention is needed for people with suicidal thoughts or intent, or thoughts of harming others.
Taking Action & Get Help
Research shows that early intervention can often minimize symptoms, prevent hospitalization, and improve prognosis. Even if a person does not yet show clear signs of a diagnosable mental illness, early warning symptoms can be frightening, and stigma may pose a barrier to seeking help. If you see a loved one struggling, encourage them to:
- Have an evaluation by a mental health or other health care professional.
- Learn about mental illness, including signs and symptoms.
- Receive supportive counseling about daily life and strategies for stress management.
- Be monitored closely for conditions requiring more intensive care.
Each individual’s situation must be assessed and treatment should be individualized. Comprehensive treatment to prevent early symptoms from progressing into serious illness can include ongoing individual and family counseling, medication, TMS, and more.
Family members are valued partners and should be involved whenever possible. Learning about mental illness and what is happening in the brain can help individuals and families understand the significance of symptoms, how an illness might develop, and what can be done to help.
If you’re suffering, don’t lose hope! With the right treatment plan, you can get mental illness under control and feel happy again. Relief Mental Health can help you get to a better place. Call us at 630-974-6602 or via the form below to learn more about the best option for you.
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