Health in a Minute: Warning Signs of Mental Illnesses

Warning Signs of Mental Illnesses

Major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder rarely appear “out of the blue.” Most often family, friends, teachers, or individuals themselves recognize that “something is not quite right.” If several of the following are occurring, a serious condition may be developing.

  • recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in others
  • an unusual drop in functioning, especially at school or work
  • problems with concentration, memory, or logical thought
  • heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch
  • loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity
  • a vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings
  • fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling
  • uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior
  • dramatic sleep and appetite changes or deterioration in personal hygiene
  • rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings or “mood swings”
woman with mental illness looks out at dreary window

One or two of these symptoms can’t predict a mental illness. However, a person experiencing several, which together cause problems in his or her ability to study, work, or relate to others, should be seen by a mental health professional.

Source: American Psychiatric Association

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