There’s a lot of focus these days on physical health – and rightly so. But mental health has often been sidelined, at least historically. While many people know the warnings signs of a physical problem – like tingling in the left should before a heart attack – fewer people know how to recognize the warning signs of a mental disorder.
Mental illness is a serious problem. It’s something that affects one in three women, especially around pregnancy. Women need to know the signs and symptoms of mental disorders so that they can recognize them, get help and resolve them before they end up wreaking havoc in their lives. This is what to look out for, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
You Have Sudden Mood Changes
Mood changes are a good indicator that you may have some sort of mental health problem. If you’re happy one minute and raging the next, you might have a problem, especially if you didn’t expect the mood swing to be so violent and dramatic. Mood swings can be a sign of chemical imbalance in the brain and shouldn’t occur suddenly if you’re in a generally relaxed state.
You Feel Uncomfortable Not Being The Center Of Attention
Another sign you may have mental health problems is when you feel uncomfortable not being the center of attention. As these symptoms of histrionic personality disorder show, being worried about whether or not you are at the center of attention can indicate a serious mental health condition. If not being at the center of attention makes you feel anxious or depressed, you could have a personality disorder that is sapping you of happiness and joy in your life.
Sleep And Appetite Changes
It’s relatively normal to have disturbed sleep or appetite changes when events in the real world dictate it. For instance, after a death in the family or at the end of a long-term relationship, you may have trouble chugging down your usual morning bowl of Cheerios.
But mental health problems can also wreak havoc with the parts of the brain that regulate sleep and appetite. The brain control sleep by releasing melatonin from the pituitary gland. But if the brain isn’t doing this, it could indicate a problem on the neuronal level. Perhaps you feel so anxious all the time that you cannot sleep.
The same can occur when it comes to appetite. Your brain could be shutting off the impulse to eat because of some trauma which can leave you feeling weak and even more stressed. Take note if you notice a decline in your appetite or level of personal care.
People who suffer from paranoia are the victims of irrational thinking. They make up stories about other people and then make the mistake of thinking their own stories are true. Sometimes these stories involve the violent intent of other people, leading those suffering from delusions to do all sorts of crazy things.
Illogical thinking can also encompass other types of fantasy too. According to the American Psychiatry Association, people can also belive that they have superpowers which they don’t, causing them to do things like jump off buildings because they think that they can fly.
Another major mental health red flag is “feeling numb” to the world. People who feel numb to the world are often experiencing a defensive reaction to a trauma they experienced in the past. Often the trauma is so bad that the brain shuts down its capacity to feel emotion as a kind of self-defence.
Feeling numb is rarely harmless. People who have no emotions have been known to commit terrible acts of violence, both against themselves and others, which they would never have dreamed of doing under normal circumstances.
Also, feeling disconnected from reality can give people the impression that they are playing a sort of video game watched from the inside of their own body. When they no longer feel connected to the things that they are doing, they can then act in ways that they wouldn’t under normal circumstances. If you start to feel disconnected, contact your local mental health professional.
You Find It Hard To Perform Everyday Tasks
People with mental health issues often experience what psychiatrists call “a drop in functioning.” Essentially, this means that they suddenly find it hard to do things that they once found easy. For instance, if you notice a sudden drop off in your performance at school or work, it could be a sign that your brain is not firing on all cylinders and that you have a problem. Take note if you start finding it difficult to perform familiar tasks.