Mental illness is one of the hardest problems to deal with, no matter who you are or at what point you are in your life at the moment. The big issue with mental health is that people normally realize – or get treated – way later than they should. It is important to act as soon as possible if you or someone close to you is suffering from mental illnesses.
Technically defined, a mental illness is a disease that causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines. There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Some of the more common disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders.
Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and social withdrawal.
Mental health problems may be related to excessive stress due to a particular situation or series of events. As with cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, mental illnesses are often physical as well as emotional and psychological. If you find yourself or someone close to you with early warning signs of a mental illness, it’s best to get professional help as soon as possible.
Mental illness may be caused by a reaction to environmental stresses, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these factors. With proper care and treatment, many individuals learn to cope and recover from a mental illness or emotional disorder. Here are some early warning signs of mental illness so that you can look out for them and focus your attention on recovery as soon as possible.
Early Warning Signs
In Younger Children:
- Changes in school performance
- Poor grades despite strong efforts
- Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
- Excessive worry or anxiety (i.e. refusing to go to bed or school)
- Persistent nightmares
- Persistent disobedience or aggression
- Frequent temper tantrums
In Older Children and Pre-Adolescents:
- Substance use
- Inability to cope with problems and daily activities
- Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
- Excessive complaints of physical ailments
- Changes in ability to manage responsibilities – at home and/or at school
- Defiance of authority, truancy, theft, and/or vandalism
- Intense fear
- Prolonged negative mood, often accompanied by poor appetite or thoughts of death
- Frequent outbursts of anger
In Adults, Young Adults and Adolescents:
- Confused thinking
- Prolonged depression (sadness or irritability)
- Feelings of extreme highs and lows
- Excessive fears, worries, and anxieties
- Social withdrawal
- Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Strong feelings of anger
- Strange thoughts (delusions)
- Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
- Growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
- Suicidal thoughts
- Numerous unexplained physical ailments
- Substance use
Ways to Cope With Mental Condition
Get Professional Help
This is the first thing you need to do, and in fact, it is also the most important one. Surely, you or someone close to you can muster the strength to face mental illnesses especially in its early stages. You can also be the catalyst for someone’s ability to cope with mental illnesses by being a good friend and supporter throughout his or her battles. However, the best thing and the first thing that you should always do is to seek professional help.
Go and contact a psychologist at the first sign of trouble because any issue where mental health is involved is a very serious matter. A slight misstep in handling a mental health issue can be totally detrimental and even destructive to one’s mental health.
Accepting your mental health issue is one of the best things to do, but totally the hardest one. When you first hear about your mental illness, you could be completely devastated. That feeling is normal. Take your time, but in the long run, there has to be a certain degree of acceptance. It can really go a long way.
Despite the different symptoms and types of mental illnesses, many families who have a loved one with mental illness share similar experiences. You may find yourself denying the warning signs, worrying what other people might think because of the stigma, or wondering what caused your loved one to become ill.
Accept that these feelings are normal and common among families going through similar situations. Find out all you can about your loved one’s illness by reading and talking with mental health professionals. Share what you have learned with others.
A few simple dietary changes may boost cognitive function and reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. As it turns out, one of the best ways to improve your mental health is through your gut.
Like your brain, the gut has its own nervous system, which sends information to the brain via the vagus nerve. This helps explain why you might feel queasy when you’re nervous or stressed. Just as the brain impacts the gut, what you put in your gut can impact the function of your brain.
Look for good eats on the internet that can help improve your brain power, like fatty fish, whole grains, lean protein, leafy greens, and yogurt.
Meanwhile, there are also types of food that can help boost your mood. Your emotions are instrumental to overall mental health, so elevating your mood in times of loneliness can help. Certain foods can be the thing that gives you that mental boost in those dark times. Even pets such as dogs eat cbd infused treats to help against their own anxiety.
Just allow yourself to eat your comfort food in times of mental turmoil. Dark chocolate, mushrooms, green tea are just few of the many healthy and yummy foods that can help elevate your mood and make you generally happier.
Educate Yourself About the Illness
Educating yourself about you or your loved one’s illness is really the foundation of support. Research shows that education works. A huge body of evidence has shown that if you provide families with education and involve them in the treatment process, patients experience a reduction in symptoms, hospitalization days, and relapse. Plus, the family environment is generally improved through this method.
Misconceptions about mental illnesses are definitely detrimental to someone with it. More importantly, the closest people to someone with a mental illness can be destructive if they are misinformed about such illness. Not knowing how the illness functions can create misconceptions and prevent families from giving their loved ones effective help.
For instance, without the necessary education, it’s hard for people to grasp and appreciate the severity of the symptoms, such as the terrifying thoughts associated with schizophrenia or the suicidal ideation associated with a deep depression. It’s not uncommon for families to wonder why their loved ones just can’t snap out of it. Families must understand that the individual’s thoughts and actions are not under their control. Any antagonistic or bizarre behaviors are a manifestation of the illness, not willful, purposeful actions.
No one with a mental illness should fight the battle alone. Whenever possible, seek support from friends and family members. If you feel you cannot discuss your situation with friends or other family members, find a support group. These groups provide an opportunity for you to talk to other people who are experiencing the same types of problems. They can listen and offer valuable advice.
Of course, never forget to get professional counsel and support, as it should be the most effective approach.