February 9th, 2022 12:00am
People often say that success is just a matter of gumption: but when work and life affect your mental health, gumption alone won’t heal you. Here are five signs of mental illness you should never ignore.
Everyone has a bad night every once in a while. But if you notice a long-lasting, persistent change in sleep habits, it could be a sign of an underlying mental health issue. Insomnia or excessive sleeping can signal the onset of anxiety, depression, or substance abuse.
If you notice that yourself or a loved one seems down in the dumps, or you or they have become prone to frequent outbursts of irritability, mental illness could be a factor. Depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and stress could all be stewing.
When an otherwise gregarious person suddenly becomes withdrawn, avoiding social interaction (unrelated to necessary pandemic social distancing), regard the change as a mental health red flag. People with bipolar disorder, depression, delusions, or anxiety may prefer to isolate themselves rather than confront the issue.
Changes in appetite could signal an eating disorder or some other mental disturbance that makes eating or swallowing certain foods problematic. Similarly, sudden weight gain or obsession with food is a reason to seek professional help.
Stress and anxiety affect everyone. However, when they dominate your daily life, there’s substantial cause for concern. First, learn the difference between stress and anxiety. Extreme worry or delusions that convince a person there are threats present that don’t exist warrant an immediate call to a mental health professional.
While these are five signs of mental illness you should never ignore, there are other signals that something may not be right. If you or a loved one don’t feel like yourself, experience disorganized or incoherent speech, hallucinations, or, most alarmingly, suicidal ideation, contact a mental health professional immediately. Also, schedule a physical exam to rule out, or identify, possible physical contributing factors.
If you don’t feel right, trust your feelings, and don’t let someone write them off as just a passing phase. The mind and body work together to attain an optimal state of health, and when they’re out of balance, both are affected. Be proactive in seeking help and finding professionals who will listen to you.