Recognizing Symptoms of Mental Health Challenges

We all experience different levels of mental health throughout our lifetime, but when mental health challenges are persistent and interfere with daily life, such as work or relationships, it’s time to seek additional support.

There are many kinds of mental health disorders – depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and others – and while we don’t know all the causes, we do know that they are not the result of weakness or personal failing and that they are highly treatable. In fact, with treatment and support, 70-90% of people with a mental health challenge report reduced symptoms and improved quality of life.

If you or someone close to you is experiencing symptoms of a mental health challenge, it’s time to Read Up, Listen Up, Speak Up and Follow Up. Help is available, and with proper treatment and support, recovery is possible.

There are a number of signs that may indicate a mental health challenge, but it’s important to note that only a mental health professional or medical doctor can provide a diagnosis. It is also essential to understand that mental and physical health are very much intertwined, and symptoms may be different for each person.

For more information on different types of mental illnesses, please visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

If you or someone you know is experiencing one or more of the symptoms below for more than two weeks, consider getting more information and help:

In adults:

  • Confused thinking

  • Long-lasting sadness or irritability

  • Extreme highs and lows in mood

  • Excessive fear, worry or anxiety

  • Social withdrawal

  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits

  • Strong feelings of anger

  • Delusions or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that others do not)

  • Increasing inability to cope with daily problems and activities

  • Thoughts of suicide

  • Denial of obvious problems

  • Many unexplained physical problems

  • Abuse of drugs and/or alcohol

In older children and pre-teens:

  • Abuse of drugs and/or alcohol

  • Inability to cope with daily problems and activities

  • Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits

  • Excessive complaints of physical problems

  • Defying authority, skipping school, stealing or damaging property

  • Intense fear of gaining weight

  • Long-lasting negative mood, often along with poor appetite and thoughts of death

  • Frequent outbursts of anger

In younger children:

  • Changes in school performance

  • Poor grades despite strong efforts

  • Excessive worry or anxiety

  • Hyperactivity

  • Persistent nightmares

  • Persistent disobedience and/or aggressive behavior

  • Frequent temper tantrums

Courtesy of WebMD