The month of October is filled with special dates that bring attention and awareness to mental health. Not only is October National Depression and Health Screening Month, but also World Mental Health Day falls on October 10th. This international day is a time to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and make mental health a global priority.
In honor of this important month, we want to address seven crucial signs of a potential mental health condition. Mental disorders can be more tricky to spot than you might assume, especially if a loved one is particularly good at hiding their emotions. Recognizing the symptoms of mental illness is important, as this is the first step in acquiring mental health therapy in Princeton NJ.
Here are seven signs of a potential mental health disorder.
1. Feeling sad, withdrawn or unmotivated.
Sadness is a natural reaction to situations that cause pain or disappointment. It’s normal to be sad from time to time, and there are varying degrees of sadness. But as with other emotions, sadness fades away over time. This is what makes it different from depression. Depression is a longer term mental illness that impairs various aspects of life. If you or a loved one has been feeling sad, withdrawn or unmotivated for more than two weeks, it’s time to see a doctor.
2. Making plans to harm oneself, or trying to harm oneself.
Self-harm is when someone harms themselves on purpose, such as by cutting, biting or overdosing on medication. While self-harm isn’t a mental illness on its own, it’s often linked to some type of mental distress like depression. People who have self-harm tendencies may also self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, increasing their risk for self-harm.
3. Excess use of drugs and/or alcohol.
As long as we’re on the topic of drugs and alcohol, let’s talk about the excess use of these substances. About half of people who abuse substances also have a mental disorder. Some people use drugs to numb their feelings or escape their pain. Therefore, if you or a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol, it’s important to recognize that this could be masking a mental illness.
4. Severe mood swings.
Many mental health conditions can cause severe shifts in mood, such as bipolar disorder. While it’s normal to have changes in mood, severe mood swings go from one extreme to the next and interfere with everyday life. Keep in mind that severe mood swings may also be caused by substance use and other health conditions.
5. Impulsive risk taking behaviors.
Certain mental health conditions can contribute to risk-taking behaviors like thrill-seeking, substance use, driving while impaired or having unprotected sex. A reason for the risk taking is sometimes due to the impulsivity that mental disorders can cause, and other times, it’s due to not caring about oneself.
6. Drastic changes in behavior, personality or sleeping habits.
Mental disorders like depression, bipolar disorder or personality disorders can cause a person’s personality to change drastically. For example, a person with anxiety or mania may have trouble sleeping well. Also, some medications used to treat mental disorders can cause disturbed sleep and nightmares.
7. Extreme difficulty concentrating or staying still.
Trouble concentrating is often caused by stress or a lack of sleep, which can be due to an underlying mental illness. A person should seek help if their memory problems are worse than usual, they’re having trouble at work or in school and the lack of concentration is affecting daily life. Eating healthy and eliminating caffeine can also help.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, there may be a potential mental disorder at the root of them. CTRLCare Behavioral Health offers mental health therapy in NJ for a wide range of mental disorders, including anxiety and depression. Contact our admissions department to learn more about our treatment options.