5 Warning Signs of Mental Illness

Mental wellness is a necessity, not a luxury. It’s a mainstay of a satisfying, healthy and fulfilling life. But daily stresses (those most of us know too well) can derail mental wellness. Left unchecked, chronic stress may contribute to physical health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and others. But chronic stress can do more than undermine physical health; it can open the door for lasting mental problems—such as depression and various anxiety disorders.

Indeed, prevention is the best medicine. Actively working to improve your mental health can help curb certain mental health challenges. But it would be insensitive to suggest that each of us has total control over our mental health. After all, genetics may contribute to mental health disorders. And some environmental factors, such as a bad relationship or substance abuse problems, can be hard to immediately cure. Davis Behavioral Health’s providers offer both prevention and treatment of mental health conditions using evidence-based treatments. We’re here to help if you or a loved one is showing signs of mental illness.

What Is a Mental Illness?

Generally speaking, mental illness refers to a huge range of conditions that can impact someone’s behaviors, moods and thoughts. Some mental illness disorders are temporary and mild, while others can be chronic and severe that may lead to mental health problems. For some people, mental illness is not something that they have to work to maintain, but for some it can be a lifelong challenge that requires constant effort and attention.

In many cases, mental illness can negatively impact an individual’s life, as well as the lives of those with whom he or she interacts. It may make daily tasks, relationships and normal functioning difficult or even impossible. When signs and symptoms of mental illness appear, it is important to reach out for help, as therapy, mental health treatment and/or medications can be a pathway to wellness for many people. Interested in what causes mental illness and whether or not it can be prevented? Read on for more information.

While there are some steps to improve overall mental health, some disorders are more serious and may require professional intervention.

What Are the Five Signs of Mental Illness?

When all the best efforts to improve mental wellness have been exhausted, it’s important to identify the warning signs of mental illness in yourself and those you love in order to seek appropriate treatment early. Allowing mental illness to run rampant can give rise to job security issues, homelessness, incarceration, victimization or even, tragically, suicide.

Some early signs of mental illness are obvious. Others are faint. Either way, if you start to see these general symptoms of mental illness in yourself or your loved ones, it’s important to seek professional counsel.

Personality Changes

Some days, it’s hard to “feel like yourself.” But when this feeling persists, or if you see it dragging on in loved ones, it’s time to seek help and look for underlying problems.

Emotional Changes

Uncharacteristic anger, anxiety, irritability, despondency and other strong emotions put up a mental-illness red flag.

Increased Isolation

Special attention should be paid when you, or a loved one, cancel otherwise normal social activities or avoid standard communication with friends and family.

Sudden Absence of Self-Care

A stark decline in the hygiene or personal appearance of those you know and care about can indicate mental illness. And we all have daredevils in our circle of friends and family, but consideration should be given if you note unusual risky behavior in your loved ones or yourself.

Feelings of Hopelessness or Overwhelm

Life is full of ups and downs, but the feeling of life being insurmountable can indicate mental illness. And if you hear atypical expressions of hopelessness or discouragement from those in your life, it may warrant a closer look.

You or a loved one may not exhibit all of these signs, but even showing one symptom can be cause for concern. It’s important not to ignore something that feels off, especially when it comes to one’s mental well-being. Getting help is the first step to feeling better.

Self-care is important to maintain good mental health

Warning Signs of Suicide

It’s essential to identify the symptoms of mental illness to seek early treatment or get help. However, it may be even more important to know the warning signs of suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2018, 48,344 people in the country died by suicide.

If you see these, or any other suicidality warning signs, in your family or loved ones, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately. And, of course, if you feel these same feelings, seek help. There are a wide variety of suicide prevention resources available.

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Expressing feelings of being a burden to others
  • Making a plan or researching ways to die
  • Taking dangerous risks
  • Excessively using drugs or alcohol
  • Showing extreme mood swings
  • Displaying extreme sadness or hopelessness

Who Diagnoses Mental Illnesses?

When mental illness signs are present, the most common way to get a formal diagnosis is to visit a mental health professional, such as a therapist, social worker or counselor. Davis Behavioral Health employs experienced providers in many different specialties that work closely with clients to determine a diagnosis and create a treatment plan to help people find relief from their symptoms and live fulfilling, healthy lives.

mental illness warning signs

How Many People Suffer From Mental Illness?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five adults were living with mental illnesses in 2021. While the severity of the conditions varies among different people, it’s important to recognize that you are not alone if you are dealing with mental illness. There are many different types of mental conditions, but there are several that are the most common among those with official diagnoses, which include the following:

  • Anxiety disorders, including PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder
  • Mood disorders, including bipolar disorder and major depression
  • Psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia, delusional disorder and substance-induced disorder
  • Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
  • Eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia

Unfortunately, there remains a stigma attached to mental illness, which can lead to people not reaching out for help. It is important to seek treatment if you or someone you love is experiencing any of the warning signs of mental illness.

Find Help Today

Davis Behavioral Health is here to help with life’s stresses. We have trained, experienced, caring professionals to help with a variety of mental health challenges. We are your ally in improving mental health and well-being. If you’re struggling through mental health challenges, remember that seeking help is a sign of strength and self-respect, not weakness. Contact us today to find a provider that will help you start your journey to healing.

Q&As for "5 Warning Signs of Mental Illness"

Feeling constantly overwhelmed and hopeless. Could it be bipolar disorder?

While these feelings can be symptoms of bipolar disorder, experiencing them alone doesn’t confirm a diagnosis. Consulting a mental health professional at Davis Behavioral Health for a proper evaluation is crucial. Early intervention can make a significant difference in managing bipolar disorder. #bipolar2 #mentalhealthmatters

My teenager suddenly isolated themselves and stopped caring about hygiene. Is it a sign of mental illness?

Yes, these changes can be warning signs of mental illness. Early detection is key. Discuss your concerns with Davis Behavioral Health. Our experienced providers can assess your teen and offer personalized guidance and support. #mentalhealthawareness #teenmentalhealth

I often have uncontrollable anger outbursts. Is it just stress, or could it be something more?

Uncharacteristic anger can be a symptom of various mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders. Davis Behavioral Health offers evidence-based treatments to help manage anger and improve overall well-being. Schedule a consultation to explore the root cause. #angermanagement #mentalhealthsupport

My loved one keeps talking about wanting to die. What should I do?

Take immediate action. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988) or text HOME to 741741. Davis Behavioral Health also offers crisis intervention services. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength and can save lives. #suicideprevention #mentalhealthresources

Is therapy only for severe mental illness, or can anyone benefit?

Therapy is for everyone seeking to improve their mental health and well-being, regardless of severity. Davis Behavioral Health offers various therapy options to address diverse needs. Investing in your mental health is an investment in your overall well-being. #mentalhealthforall #therapybenefits