Mental Illness: Ten Warning Symptoms

· June 4, 2019
Certain disorders related to behavior, mood or to the ability to relate to others are indicative of a possible presence of mental illness. These type of symptoms should be treated as soon as possible.

Some disorders influence behavior, conduct and lead to sudden changes in mood. Each one indicates symptoms of mental illness that could be caused by many reasons. They have serious health consequences, though. And even though it’s possible for these situations to be temporary.  When said symptoms linger over a significant period of time, they may indicate a mental condition. In contrast, these symptoms can be controlled when treated on time.

Some of the symptoms can be detected by the affected individual. However, in other cases, it’s third parties who perceive such anomalies in their behavior. Most of them are a reflection of fear, pain, conflicts in interpersonal relationships, loss of autonomy, isolation, etc.

Ten Warning Symptoms of Mental Illness

A woman beyond herself.
By observing some behaviors and habits, some mental dysfunctions can be seen.

Next, we’ll tell you about some symptoms that could indicate the presence of mental illness in a person:

Sleeping Disorders

The inability to have a restful sleep is one of the most frequent symptoms of mental illness. It presents in extremes such as insomnia or, in contrast, chronic tiredness. Additionally, they can manifest through sleepwalking episodes and/or nightmares.

Mental Illness and Phobias

Phobias are up there when it comes to signaling a mental condition. The most common ones are agoraphobia, the fear to leave home; social phobia or the fear to interact with others. Or the fear to be in a crowd, also known as enochlophobia. There are also phobias to specific animals, objects or situations.

Note that, phobias directly affect behavior and ability to adapt to one’s environment in people who display these symptoms.

Discover: Everything You Need to Know about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Mood Changes for no Apparent Reason

Everyone feels sadness, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, anger, and failure to enjoy happy things. But when these happen for no good reason then they’re definitely important symptoms to consider. Unfortunately, these moods may lead to estrangement from, or problems in relationships with, loved ones.

Distortion of Reality

Those afflicted by mental illness perceive a reality that’s different from the rest of the average people perceive. Keep in mind that this has nothing to do with political, sexual or religious views. It’s more about a true dysfunction. An extreme example of this is known as having delusions or hallucinations (without psychoactive drugs, of course).

Changes in Eating Habits

A woman eating a slice of zucchini or cucumber.
Eating disorders are very common in our culture, especially among teenagers.

Eating disorders are also a symptom of mental illness. There are those who suddenly begin to eat uncontrollably, regardless of how their body and health may deteriorate. Then, on the contrary, there are those who stop eating because their distorted self-image makes them think they’re overweight. This is how problems like anorexia and bulimia begin and this is also connected to the previous symptom regarding the distortion of reality.

Addictions

Substance abuse or any other activities that a person has no control over are common symptoms of mental illness. On that note, addictions are vices that people can control if they work on it and can count with the support of their family and their community.

In practice, it’s very difficult for a person with an addictive personality to notice their own dysfunction or disorder. Addictions come in many categories, be it substance abuse, compulsive eating, and gambling, sadism, masochism, or even an obsessive devotion to their electronic devices.

Read also: Nomophobia, Cellphone Addiction

Mental Illness and Sexual Desire

A decrease in sexual desire is often related to some mental conditions such as depression. However, there are some symptoms related to sexual habits that also indicate a possible mental illness. The most recurrent are premature ejaculation, sadomasochism and other signs of paraphilia.

Cognitive or Memory Impairment

The difficulty to understand or make connections between tasks and people, or people and situations, etc is also a symptom of mental illness. The same happens with the progressive loss of memory.

Some people begin to detect that they may have forgotten to turn off the lights. Or they don’t recognize their loved ones or their acquaintances. This is a symptom that must be treated quickly to prevent accidents and further psychic damage.

Excessive Hostility and Anger

The inability to cope with stress causes a fit of unmanageable anger. Thus, attacks of anger are greater and may end in acts of violence. If the impulses aren’t controlled then they’ll lead to serious consequences at work and other interpersonal relationships.

Suicidal Thoughts

The recurring desire to end one’s life is one of the clearest symptoms of a mental condition. Especially when a person is sort of successful and hasn’t experienced major losses. The sense of uselessness or the impossibility of adaptation is a common factor in finding the idea of suicide attractive. It’s important for people with suicidal thoughts to have the courage to speak up on time, ask for help and try to seek the company of others so they won’t be isolated.

Mental Illness: What to Keep in Mind

A woman standing and smiling in the center of a group.
Early attention to the problem will help you control more effectively.

There are many risk factors that can affect the symptoms, but they’re not decisive:

  • Traumatic experiences, recent or past.
  • An environment of violence or abandonment.
  • A history of mental illnesses.
  • An injury that may have caused brain damage.
  • Exposure to stressful situations.

Mental illnesses are a lot more common than you can imagine. Further, they can appear at any age, in any social class, profession or culture. So, in most cases, it’s necessary to seek help to control or heal these conditions.

10 síntomas de enfermedades mentales que debes conocer

  • Héctor González Prado, Marino Pérez Álvarez. La invención de enfermedades mentales. Extraído de: http://www.asmi.es/arc/doc/La_invencion_de_enfermedades_mentales.pdf
  • Carolina Raheb. Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. Conceptos de enfermedades mentales. Extraído de: http://www.paidopsiquiatria.cat/files/sistemas_clasificacion_dsm-iv_cie-10.pdf