One in four American adults experiences a mental health issue every year. One in 17 American adults or about 13.6 million have been diagnosed with a serious mental disorder such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression. But only 40% of adults and half of the youth population seek professional help.
We’ve all had our share of mood swings, depressed moments, episodes of anger and other idiosyncrasies, and that’s normal. But that’s what most people who aren’t professionally diagnosed with mental illness but actually have one say. For sure, it’s not possible to say that you have a mental health problem not unless you consult with a psychologist, psychiatrist or other mental health professionals. Like any other type of illness, a Mental Health problem needs to be treated as early as possible before it gets worse or become a full-blown mental disorder.
If you feel that something is not right about you or a loved one, here are 7 behaviors that may signal a mental health problem.
1. Extreme mood swings.
At one point you feel overly elated and then you’ll be extremely depressed, these episodes can last hours, days, weeks or months and it can even become mixed. Have you experienced being elated but depressed at the same time? Mood swings are normal but these types of erratic behaviors aren’t. It’s time to seek medical help because you might just have a Bipolar Disorder.
2. Sudden shift of emotions.
When it comes to your emotions, have you noticed extreme highs and lows that can shift rapidly? This may signal a Borderline Personality Disorder. When it comes to relationships, a person with BPD experience obsessive admiration and life that can quickly shift to anger and hate.
3. Feelings of extreme sadness and hopelessness.
Although occasional sadness is a normal part of life, chronic and long lasting sadness isn’t. When your feelings of sadness become too extreme that it already affects your everyday life and you already experience physical symptoms like sleep disturbances, fatigue, insomnia, overeating or loss of appetite, etc, it may already be Clinical Depression. An estimated 350 million people around the world are diagnosed with Clinical Depression and up to 15% of them die by suicide. Depression is not a joke and not something that you should just ignore.
4. You worry excessively and experience panic attacks.
Just like depression, feeling nervous, worried and anxious are normal when it doesn’t happen all the time. When feelings of anxiety is already crippling and paralyzing that already wreak havoc to your health, social life and daily functioning, you might already have an Anxiety Disorder.
5. You have self-destructive behaviors.
Whether it’s self-harm, alcoholism or substance abuse, self-destructive behaviors are surely signs of a mental problem because it’s most likely a desperate attempt to escape an underlying issue or poor coping mechanism.
6. Distorted body image.
You see yourself as fat when everybody says that you are not or you are already underweight. You have an intense fear of gaining weight which results to a deceptive behavior around food. If you see yourself having these behaviors, you should seek medical treatment right away because an Eating Disorder involves a lot of serious health risks that may even cause death.
7. Thoughts of ending your life.
No one in the right mind (excuse the term) will choose to end his/her life. When you find yourself having suicidal thoughts, it is imperative that you seek help. Suicide is primarily associated with different mental disorders like depression and bipolar disorder.
If you think you might be at risk of the mental illnesses mentioned above, forget about the stigma, talk to someone immediately or seek help from a professional. Remember, you are not alone in this and help is always available for you when you need it.