The warning signs of mental illness
Everyone has different moods on different days, but some changes deserve a doctor's attention. Treatment for mental illness is most effective when started early.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) lists these warning signs of mental illness:
- Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in others.
- A drop in functioning at work or school. For example, quitting sports, failing in school or having difficulty doing familiar tasks.
- Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought that are hard to explain.
- Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch.
- Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity.
- A vague feeling of being disconnected from yourself or your surroundings—a sense of unreality.
- Illogical or magical thinking, such as exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events.
- Fear or suspiciousness of others, or a strong nervous feeling.
- Uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior.
- Dramatic changes in sleep and appetite, or deterioration in personal hygiene.
- Rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings.
If you or anyone you know has several of these warning signs, an evaluation by a mental health professional is in order, says the APA.
This information is provided for educational purposes only. Individuals should always consult with their healthcare providers regarding medical care or treatment, as recommendations, services or resources are not a substitute for the advice or recommendation of an individual's physician or healthcare provider. Services or treatment options may not be covered under an individual's particular health plan.