Nearly one in every five adults suffer from mental illness. One in every twenty people have severe mental illness including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The illness can affect all areas of life including ability to interact with others, work, and perform simple daily tasks.
Researchers are unsure what causes mental illness. It could be linked to family history, lifestyle, and traumatic events. It also depends on how your brain chemicals work to cope with stress. Mental illness is different for everyone and recognizing the symptoms of mental illness is the first step in getting help.
People can recover from mental illness and sufferers can learn to cope and function within society. Proper treatment is key. If the signs are found early on and support provided, recovery is possible.
Mental illness rarely comes on suddenly. Changes tend to be small and people close to someone who is suffering will notice that things aren’t quite right. It is important to notice subtle changes in order to get early intervention and help.
Around half of the cases appear by the teen years, around 14 years of age. Three-fourths tend to show up by the mid 20’s. The signs include:
Having just a few signs doesn’t mean mental illness is present, but if there are more than two signs it may be a strong indicator that there is a problem. If mental illness goes untreated, there can be significant problems with functions in life. In most severe cases, suicidal thought can occur or thoughts of harming others. This should be taken care of immediately by calling 911 or a suicide prevention hotline.
Young children, school age children, and teens can also suffer from mental illness. Parents should be able to recognize the signs in children in order to get them help quickly. Here are the signs by life stage:
In children, it is important to get a full medical checkup first and if everything physical checks out okay ask for a referral for a mental health evaluation. Sometimes symptoms of health issues can manifest as emotional issues.
One or two symptoms does not mean your school age child is suffering from mental illness, but more than two can signal an issue with mental health and needs evaluation.
Teenagers who are suffering from mental illness can have very pronounced symptoms. Mental illness coupled with the normal hormonal changes can heighten symptoms and the associated risks. If your teen shows any of these signs, seek help:
If you think you are seeing mental illness signs in a family member, keep track of any mood swings, emotional responses, and their behaviors. Mental illness can worsen over time if it is not properly evaluated and treated.
Mental illness can have cycles from happy moods to down moods and symptoms may appear and disappear. There aren’t always outward signs and people tend to hide how they are really feeling deep down inside. Make a point to talk often about how they are feeling inside.
When to Seek Help
If symptoms are apparent and you notice a pattern, make an appointment to have an evaluation by a therapist. Your physician can help with a referral and evaluate for medical issues.
Immediate evaluation is needed if you notice:
If you need immediate help, call a mental health hotline or get to your nearest emergency room. Many county mental health centers have an emergency line and can tell you what to do even if your loved one isn’t a patient.
When spotting signs of mental illness, actions should be taken immediately: