and how to deal with them

Major mental illnesses, and even most of the minor disorders, rarely happen out of the blue. Most often, you will start noticing small changes and a feeling of something being off in yourself or others. Only later, the illness will appear in its full form.

For this reason, learning about early warning signs is crucial. Taking action early on can help reduce the severity of an illness or even delay or prevent it altogether. So, let’s take a look at the common symptoms and ways to deal with them.

Signs & Symptoms

If you want to do anything to help yourself or a person you care about, you first need to notice that something’s off. Of course, symptoms vary from illness to illness and from person to person, but there are some telltale signs that there’s an issue.

  • Anxiety and worry – everybody gets stressed from time to time. However, constant fear and worry can be a sign of a mental health issue. Other symptoms include palpitations, shortness of breath, restlessness, racing mind, and headaches, to name a few.
  • Depression and unhappiness – again, not everyone can feel happy all the time. Still, if a person loses interest in hobbies or feels sad and irritable for a while, it could be a sign of depression.
  • Emotional outbursts – such as sudden and dramatic changes in mood can be a symptom.
  • Sleep issues – if there are persistent changes in a person’s sleep patterns, this can also be a sign of an underlying problem.
  • Changes in weight or appetite – rapid weight loss could be a warning sign of depression or an eating disorder.
  • Substance abuse – drinking, smoking, and using drugs too much can be a coping mechanism and a cry for help.
  • Withdrawal – from social life and interests that a person used to enjoy could be a sign that they feel isolated or inadequate. A drop in functioning also points to the same thing.
  • Increased sensitivity – to sights, smells, and sounds or avoidance of situations with high stimuli can show that a person is struggling.

Note that one or two of the symptoms above can’t predict an illness or diagnose a person. They are mere indicators of the need for further evaluation.

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Managing Symptoms

No matter whether it’s you or somebody you care about experiencing these symptoms, you can make a big difference by recognizing an issue and knowing when to seek help.

Of course, you can’t diagnose a mental illness – only a qualified professional can. What you can do is identify warning signs and involve someone who can help. If the person doesn’t feel comfortable with the idea of therapy, they could take it slowly.

The professionals at mention ‘recognizing the importance of finding a counselor who is a good fit’. This approach is an excellent first step for those iffy about the idea of psychotherapy.

After a while, the person struggling will have to see a professional. Expert guidance will help manage conditions and their triggers.

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How to Take Action

We know that encouraging a loved one, and even yourself, to get help is easier said than done. You may be fully aware of the red flags and still fear to talk about it.

An excellent first step in this regard is to learn as much as you can about mental illness by yourself. This way, you don’t have to face confrontation with others, but you recognize the problem.

There are other things you can do to break the stigma and make it easier for yourself.

1.- Build a Support System

You need to find people to lean on when things get overwhelming. Your network may consist of people going through something similar, or people with adequate knowledge in the matter.

2.- Take a Break

One of the most problematic parts of mental illness is that it consumes everything else. You’ll notice your conversations, and even your thoughts revolve around it. So, set aside time daily to do something completely unrelated to the issue.

3.-Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms

You need to understand your limitations in dealing with mental issues. You won’t be able to cope right away by yourself, so you need to have some healthy mechanisms in your arsenal. This way, such occurrences will be less stressful and frightening.

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The Bottom Line

A situation where you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health illness is a scary one. Accept that and get ready to do what it takes to help yourself or somebody else.

Unfortunately, when it comes to more severe conditions, recovery is a lengthy, tiring process. However, it is possible. It will take a lot of resilience, but eventually, you’ll notice the situation improving. That’s one of the most rewarding feelings in the world.


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