It’s Mental Health Monday! I hope you are practicing self-care, shutting off social media when needed, implementing mindfulness exercises and getting a daily does of vitamin D (step outside for a few minutes during your lunch break). You are not alone, if you are dealing with any mental health issues please seek help and do not suffer in silence.
Today we’ll be identifying mental health disorders. According to NAMI there are 12. Anxiety Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Dissociative Disorders, Eating Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychosis, Schizoaffective Disorder, and Schizophrenia.
Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn’t always easy. Everyone can experience anxiety but those with anxiety disorders deal with overwhelming anxiety that impact their everyday living. There’s no easy test to identify mental illness.
Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness according to NAMI in adults and adolescents can include the following:
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
- Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
- Changes in sex drive
- Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
- Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
- Overuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
- Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
- Thinking about suicide
- Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
- An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance
Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:
- Changes in school performance
- Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
- Hyperactive behavior
- Frequent nightmares
- Frequent disobedience or aggression
- Frequent temper tantrums
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
- 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
- 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
- 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
Pay attention to the people around you and yourself. If you notice any changes in behavior that are adversely impacting your life or the life of a loved one seek help. Reach out to your health insurance, primary care doctor or state/country mental health authority for more resources.
Contact the NAMI HelpLine to find out what services and supports are available in your community. If you or someone you know needs helps now, you should immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911.
Remember you are not alone!
Until next time…