The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that one in five Americans experiences mental illness in any given year. Mood disorders and anxiety disorders are common for many people, and can vary in severity according to individual.
Early diagnosis and treatment can make a world of difference in the progression of mental illness.
Mental health can be a murky topic. Unlike the body, our mood, cognition and emotion don’t take physical shape and are therefore harder to observe. An additional challenge in identifying possible symptoms of a mental illness is that there’s still a stigma surrounding mental health issues. Unfortunately, this stigma prevents many people from getting the help and support that they need in a timely fashion.
When diagnosed early, anxiety disorders and mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, can be well-managed and lead to individuals maintaining a good quality of life. Often a combination of counseling and medication, customized according to the diagnosis and an individual’s specific needs, is the most appropriate course of treatment. Left untreated, people with mental illness are at increased risk suicide and developing other health problems. Don’t wait; reach out for help.
Although the symptoms of mental illness vary depending upon the person and the specific concern, there are common signs to watch for:
- Extreme mood changes
- Feeling very sad and tired
- Excessive worrying and fear
- Social isolation
- Substance abuse
- Changes in eating/sleeping habits
- Difficulty perceiving reality
Mental illness affects people of all ages and backgrounds, and addressing the symptoms that may signify a problem can lead to successful treatment. When mental illness remains untreated, the symptoms can worsen and negatively impact a person’s well-being. People experiencing warning signs should contact their doctor to discuss the next step.