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Know the Warning Signs of Mental Illness

Know the Warning Signs of Mental Illness

Mental health conditions affect 1 in 5 adults every year. Unfortunately this statistic is associated by a strong stigma that can prevent treatment for this disease . Mental illness is almost never caused by a single event or cause. In most cases genetics, environment and lifestyle all play a role in the development of a mental health condition.

Fifty-percent of mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% of mental health conditions develop by age 24. So the importance of catching the symptoms and warning signs of mental illness is crucial. Getting yourself, your family member or friend help and treatment as early as possible is the crucial element to the recovery process.

Below we’ve outlined 5 common mental health disorders and the warning signs of each mental illness you should be aware of if you are concerned for yourself or another.

Anxiety Disorders

What it is:
Feelings of intense stress and fear that are overwhelming and interfere with day-to-day activities.

What it includes:
Phobias, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Warning signs:

  • Feeling tense, restless or irritable
  • Feeling dread or apprehension
  • Anticipating and fearing the worst
  • Racing heart, shortness of breath and sweating
  • Upset stomach or headaches
  • Fatigue or insomnia

Depressive/Mood Disorders

What it is:
Loss of pleasure in daily life that affects mood, thoughts and bodily functions and that persists over long periods of time.

What it includes:
Major Depression, Dysthymia Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Warning signs:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Sleeping too much or too little, early morning awakening
  • Extreme fluctuations from sadness to elation that are outside the norm (bipolar disorder)
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as: headaches, digestive disorders, constipation, and chronic pain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Schizophrenia/Psychotic Disorders

What it is:
A serious mental illness that prevents a person from thinking clearly, managing emotions, relating to others or making clear decisions.

What it includes:
Delusions, Hallucinations, Disordered Thinking, Catatonic Behavior

Warning signs:

  • Sleep problems and irritability
  • Isolation and withdrawing from others
  • Hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing things, smelling things)
  • Delusions or other false beliefs
  • Flat, dull speaking voice (emotional disconnect)
  • Struggle to remember things, organize thoughts or complete tasks

Dissociative Disorders

What it is:
An escape from reality that presents itself in disconnected thoughts, identity, consciousness and memory.

What it includes:
Dissociative Amnesia, Identity (Multiple-Personality) Disorder, Depersonalization Disorder

Warning signs:

  • Significant memory loss (forgetting people, events, specific periods in time)
  • Feeling of “watching yourself”, being outside of your own body
  • Detachment or emotional numbness
  • Lack of self-identity

Trauma Related Disorder

What it is:
Trauma related disorders are the result of a traumatic event or series of events that leave a person with upsetting emotions, frightening memories or the feeling of constant danger.

What it includes:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Reactive Attachment Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, Adjustment Disorder

Warning signs:

  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Anger, irritability, mood swings
  • Muscles tension, aches and pains
  • Easily startled, feeling anxiety or fear
  • Guilt, shame or blaming yourself for events
  • Withdrawing, feeling disconnected or numb

Here to Assist You 24/7

If a psychiatric disorder or chemical dependency affects you or a loved one, please call 215-487-4100. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to perform no-cost assessments and answer questions on programs and admissions.