Top 10 Signs of Mental Illness


Mental health is super important for our overall health and wellbeing. Mental health impacts the way we think, feel, behave, and has an effect on others in our lives as well. Mental health can be influenced by the environment, genetics, and even imbalances in brain chemistry, which can all lead to the development of mental illnesses. Some examples of mental health illnesses and diseases are clinical depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and many more. Approximately 1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness in a year, 90% of those who commit suicide had a mental illness, and nearly 60% of adults and 50% of youths do not seek mental health help. Discussions about mental illnesses are usually stigmatized which is why seeking help might not be easy, but how do you know if you should? Here are 10 signs of mental illness so you can be proactive and take care of yourself.

  • Anxiety, worry, or unease

It is okay to feel worried occasionally because not everything can go our way, but there are situations in which excessive worry can lead to stress and anxiety and possibly to an anxiety attack. Anxiety and chronic stress can lead to brain damage and can increase the risk of depression and dementia.   

  • Persistent changes to your sleeping schedule

It is recommended to receive 7-9 hours of sleep and constant changes to your sleeping schedule can be a sign of mental illness. For example, Insomnia can be a sign of anxiety and hypersomnia (oversleeping) can be a sign of depression.

  • Sudden increase or decrease in appetite

It’s okay to desire to lose a couple of pounds, but the methods you go about it can also determine whether you have a mental illness. Most eating disorders are developed by compromised cognitive function, for example, anorexia is often caused by a distorted view of the body. Binge eating (a total loss of control of appetite) can be a mechanism to cope with stress, but it is not safe for the body. The brain becomes resistant to the hormones that signal satiety, this can also lead to obesity diabetes and other cardiovascular complication. Loss of appetite and excessive hunger are also signs of Depression.

  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or purposeless

Everyone fails, and it’s perfectly normal to feel bad or regretful about the outcome. We all have those points in our life where nothing is working out, but constant feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and lack of purpose are signs associated with a mental illness, particularly depression.

  • Sudden mood changes or emotional outbursts

To be happy, sad, angry, and excited are all emotions that we as humans can express. Rapid fluctuations of these emotions can be associated with bipolar disease, a mental illness that affects the rate at which these moods expressed. Sudden emotional outburst of anger or sadness may also be a warning sign of depression. 

  • Withdrawal from life

Occasion breaks from school, work, or a particular stressor are important. Even schools give breaks such as Thanksgiving, winter, spring and summer break, they understand that even students need to escape from the school setting. Withdrawing from life is more of a permanent break from reality, it is classified as loss of interest, being less social, and loss of pleasure in normal activities that can severely impact a person’s quality of life and potentially develop into mental illness.

  • Feeling depressed or unhappy consistently

Most of us have a hobby that makes us happy, but if you find yourself losing interest or motivation in activities that they once enjoyed may be a sign of mental illness. Depressed individuals usually lack the motivation and energy to do daily activities as well. 

  • Not feeling yourself

Mental illness can alter a person perception of themselves and reality. If you are in a quiet, safe place and something doesn’t feel quite right about yourself, your purpose, and your existence or if you are constantly confused, then you may be at risk for mental illness.

  • Strong feelings of anger

Having angry outburst or getting frustrated at minuscule things may be signs of depression or other mental illnesses. Anger is normal, it is one of the many emotions we as humans have the capability to express, but strong feelings of anger or hatred towards one’s self is a danger for suicide or self-abuse.

  • Thoughts of death

If you feel enveloped by the darkness with no possible solution besides death, you are likely to be at risk for mental illness. As stated earlier, 90% of those who commit suicide had a mental illness, so if you have ever contemplated death as a solution or if you know someone who might have this mentality, here is the United States Suicide hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a 24/7 hotline that is confidential and provides support to victims contemplating suicide.

“There is light at the end of every tunnel” –Ada Adams 

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