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What are the Warning Signs of Mental Illness?

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Major mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia do not typically appear “out of the blue.” Most often, family, friends, and close relatives have recognised small changes in a person. It starts with feeling “something not quite right” in their way of thinking, feeling, and behaviour before a disorder appears in the full-blown form.


What is Mental Illness?

Mental illness is a common health problem for many, and it happens because of a change in your brain function. It includes a range of conditions, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. In severe cases, it affects people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour that interferes with how they interact with others. People with developing mental illness often show early signs.

Learning about developing symptoms and recognising early warning signs can help. For it to work, it should be immediately followed by action. Early intervention of mental health first aid can help reduce the severity of an illness. It may even be possible to delay or prevent a major mental illness.


Common Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness

Warning signs of mental illness may vary from one person to another. We recommend seeking professional help if any of these symptoms occur all of a sudden.

  • Changes in mood and behaviour

Notice if your feeling alters suddenly or if your actions may change in ways that are abnormal for you. Observe if both your emotions and behaviour shift back and forth too often.

The best instance for this is feeling happy and excited in a day or situation. Then, suddenly feeling sad or upset the next day with no solid reason.

  • Change in sleeping patterns

You may experience oversleeping or not wanting to get out of bed at all. You may also feel no need for sleep despite not having slept for days.

  • Extreme feeling of fear or uneasiness

Early signs of developing mental illness are feeling afraid, anxious, nervous, or panic with no valid cause.

  • Decreased performance

It may be in your studies, at work, or even at home. You may have a hard time doing things that once were easy or enjoyable. You may notice your grades begin to drop at school, or you are performing poorly at work.

  • Lack of interest

Simple things can make you lose interest in certain things or people. This may lead to broad or complete withdrawal from something that you were invested in before.

  • Altered senses

Developing mental illness may also cause changes in your senses. Your sense of sound, smell, touch, or sight may become more or less sensitive.

  • Eating disorder

Along with the changes in your lifestyle, you can also develop eating disorders. It is either you overeat or not eat at all.

  • Troubled mind

Mental illness may cause clouded thinking, making it harder for you to focus, remember, or process things.

  • Lose control

Over time, you may lose your ability to well-manage all the stress, tasks, and demands of everyday living.

  • Out of touch with reality

It may cause you to become detached from the people around you and your surroundings. You may feel lost, distant, or numb from those you were attached to before. You may have hallucinations or nightmares from time to time. You may also forget how to relate to others or show care and concerns.


Other possible warning signs of Mental illness include:

  • Alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Sudden thoughts or actions of anger/violence.
  • Unexplained physical symptoms (stomach aches, vomiting, headaches)

Trying to determine signs of mental illness is not always easy. There are no easy tests, actions, or thoughts that could verify it, but getting mental health first aid training can help.


Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is the action you provide to you assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis. By taking a Mental Health First Aid course, you will learn the risk factors and warning signs for developing mental health and addiction concerns. You will also pick up strategies on how to help a person in both crisis and non-crisis situations. The course includes giving resources where to turn for help in different forms (self-care, support groups, and counselling).

Do not be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know needs help. Learning all you can about mental health is an important first step to fighting mental illness.

Do not ignore the warning signs. When you learn more about mental illness, it is best to share information with others. Talk about your story, provide first aid, and do your part to stop the stigma.

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