Know the Signs of Mental Health Illness

Mental illness is more common than you think. It’s important to know the signs, and then get the help needed for you or a loved one.

Are you or someone in your family struggling to manage anxiety, depression, PTSD, or another mental health condition?

You are not alone. Approximately one in five adults experiences some mental illness in a given year, while about one in 25 adults experiences a serious mental illness that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness

The signs and symptoms of mental illness can depend on the disorder, individual circumstances, and other factors. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms may include:

  • • Feelings of sadness
  • • Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
  • • Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
  • • Drastic mood changes of highs and lows
  • • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • • Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
  • • Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia, or hallucinations
  • • Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
  • • Trouble understanding and relating to situations and people
  • • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • • Major changes in eating habits
  • • Changes in libido
  • • Excessive anger, hostility, or violence
  • • Suicidal thinking

Sometimes, symptoms of a mental health disorder can appear as physical problems – such as stomach pain, back pain, headache, or other unexplained aches and pains.

Anxiety Disorders are the Most Common Mental Illness in the U.S.

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the U.S.They can develop from risk factors including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and triggering life events, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Long-term anxiety disorders left untreated can lead to physical illnesses, too. Although anxiety is a very treatable disorder, less than 40% of anxiety sufferers seek and receive treatment.

Women are More Likely than Men to be Affected by Some Forms of Mental Illness

These facts from the National Institute of Mental Health may surprise you.

According to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, one in four women will require treatment for depression at some time, compared to one in 10 men. The reasons for this are unclear but are thought to be due to both social and biological factors.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects almost 8 million adults in the U.S. or 3.5% of the population. Although the effects of PTSD among combat troops is widely known, women are more likely to be affected by PTSD than men due to incidents of sexual violence.

Panic Disorder affects 6 million U.S. adults. Women are twice as likely to suffer as men, although this still means that 2 million men are affected.

Getting Help

Mental health issues are much more common than you think—and they touch nearly all of us in some way. If you are personally experiencing any of these symptoms, or have a loved one who is, you should seek the help of a professional psychiatrist, counselor or therapist. The good news is that most mental disorders are treatable through therapy, medication, or a combination of both. While the love and support of family and friends are essential, professional therapists are trained in helping people get through tough times successfully.


The Importance of Self-Care

Self-care is a necessary part of your mental health. Self-care is defined as the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health. Research suggests such actions have positive impacts, both physically and emotionally, on overall wellbeing. To be better equipped to manage stress, self-care can be applied in any setting. A few examples include journaling, exercising, or engaging in a hobby.