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Alarming Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness

Wong Shu Lee  

|

  October 08, 2022

World Mental Health Day is celebrated every 10th of October with the objective to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global crisis for mental health, fueling short- and long-term stresses and undermining the mental health of millions. Before the pandemic in 2019, an estimated one in eight people globally was living with a mental disorder. 

 

Estimates put the rise in both anxiety and depressive disorders at more than 25% during the first year of the pandemic. At the same time, mental health services have been severely disrupted and the treatment gap for mental health conditions has widened. 

 

We must understand, major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder rarely appear “out of the blue.” Most often family, friends, teachers, or individuals themselves begin to recognize small changes or a feeling that “something is not quite right” about their thinking, feelings, or behavior before an illness appears in its full-blown form. 

 

Learning about developing symptoms, or early warning signs, and taking action can help. Early intervention can help reduce the severity of an illness. It may even be possible to delay or prevent a major mental illness altogether.

 

Thus, we are sharing some signs and symptoms that indicate an individual might be suffering mentally. If several of the following are occurring, it may useful to follow up with a mental health professional.

 

  • Sleep or appetite changes — Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or 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; avoidance of over-stimulating situations
  • Apathy — Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity
  • Feeling disconnected — A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality
  • Illogical thinking — Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult
  • Nervousness — Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling
  • Unusual behavior – Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior

 

One or two of these symptoms alone can’t predict a mental illness but may indicate a need for further evaluation. If a person is experiencing several at one time and the symptoms are causing serious problems in the ability to study, work or relate to others, he/she should be seen by a physician or mental health professional. People with suicidal thoughts or intent, or thoughts of harming others, need immediate attention.

 

There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you’re potentially suffering from mental illness. Early intervention can often minimize or delay symptoms, prevent hospitalization and improve prognosis. If you think something is unusual about yourself, we encourage you to: 

 

  • Have an evaluation by mental health or other health care professionals.
  • 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.


 

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