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What Are The Signs of Mental Illness?

what are the signs of mental illness

Every person goes through changes in their mood, thoughts, emotions, and behavior from time to time. But, when these changes make you unable to perform activities in your daily routine, they may be symptoms of a mental illness.

There are many forms of mental illness, for example, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. Around 44 million people in the USA are affected by mental illness every year.

In this blog, you are going to learn about the what are the signs of mental illness, types of mental illness, their causes, symptoms, and how to treat them.

What is a mental illness?

A mental illness is just like a health issue. This mental sickness can affect your mood, behavior, and thoughts. Mental illness is also termed as ‘Mental Health Disorder’.

Some mental illness disorders are for short period, which can be mild and temporary. But, others can be chronic and severe, which can increase the problems of mental health. It directly affects your personal relationships and physical health. Stress is a major factor that affect your mental health.

What are the Various Types of Mental Illness?

There are different types of mental illnesses. Some of these are mentioned below:

  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Trauma-related disorders (Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Psychotic disorders (Schizophrenia)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mood disorders (Bipolar disorder or Depression)

What are the signs of Mental Illness?

Mental illness has a unique set of symptoms. Here are some examples of mental illness – a person with an extreme habit of going on dieting is a sign of an ‘eating disorder’. Hearing of voices may be a sign of ‘psychosis’. Excessive fear or worry is a symptom of ‘anxiety disorder’. Sudden and gradual changes in your daily life over a period of time are also the symptoms of mental illness.

Here are some more symptoms of mental sickness, these are as follows:

  • Low concentration and memory (unable to follow conversations with people)
  • Hearing of different types of voice that others can’t hear
  • Lack of motivation
  • Starts using other drugs
  • Absence of personal hygiene
  • Talking about suicide
  • The feeling of being a burden to others
  • Loss of appetite
  • Problem when sleeping
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Changes in emotions
  • Unusual behavior

What are the Main Causes of Mental Illness?

Mental illness can be caused by many different reasons like social groups, environment, and how your brain works.

The main factors contributing to mental illness in people are:

1) Trauma and stress:-

Ongoing stress can increase the risk of mental disorders. Issues such as domestic violence, relationships, and social isolation can also play a role.

2) Personality factor:-

Low self-esteem/lack of self-confidence can increase the risk of depression and anxiety.

3) Genetic factor:-

Having family members with problems of mental illness in the past can increase the chance of you getting a mental illness as well.

4) Uses of drugs and alcohol:-

Drugs like cocaine, marijuana and amphetamines can cause paranoia. Excess use of drugs can trigger a manic episode (bipolar disorder) or an episode of psychosis.

5) Biological factors:-

Some of the medical conditions or hormonal changes which you may suffer from can cause mental health problems.

How this Illness is Diagnosed?

Mental illness can be diagnosed by consulting your doctor, and sharing the details about the symptoms you are going through. There is no blood test or brain scan that can confirm mental illness. But your healthcare expert may suggest for these tests. Mental illness is described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

After that, the doctor may refer you to a ‘psychiatrist’ or a ‘psychologist’.

What are the Various Treatments of Mental Illness?

Mental illness can be treated over time. Most of the people suffering from mental illness are found recovered and enjoying their happy life.

Different types of treatment are available for various conditions of mental illness. It depends on the condition and symptoms occurring in a patient. But, it can also depend on the person’s medical history of illness.

The main types of mental illness treatment are as follows:

1) Psychological therapy

This treatment also called psychotherapy, can help you in identifying a wide array of mental health conditions and emotional challenges.

There are many types of psychotherapy. Some of the examples are listed below:

  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive Behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Supportive therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Other therapies are group, couple and family therapy.

2) Medicines

Different medicines can be used in the treatment of mental sickness in patients.

  • Mood stabilizers are used for bipolar disorder
  • Anti-anxiety medicines can be used for anxiety or depression
  • For schizophrenia or psychosis, antipsychotic medications are used.

3) Complementary therapies

This type of therapies can be used with your conventional medical treatment. These will help you to feel better and cope with the treatment.

Complementary therapies for mental illness can include:

  • Relaxation strategies for stress relief
  • Meditation therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Yoga

4) Lifestyle measures

Try to keep yourself physically fit and stay away from the matters that affect your mental health.

  • With the help of exercise and meditation, you can prevent yourself from anxiety and depression
  • A healthy diet and good nutrition are also important
  • You should avoid taking drugs and alcohol

How to Prevent Mental Illness?

You should take steps to control mental illness by controlling your stress, boost your self-esteem, and increasing your strength. These things will help to keep you under control.

There are many other ways to prevent mental illness, like:

  • Try to reduce stress by staying calm
  • Keep your body healthy by eating good food and exercise regularly
  • Seek support from family, friends and community
  • Get a routine medical check-up from a healthcare professional

And lastly, don’t forget that ‘prevention is better than cure’.


Experiencing mental illness can make you piteous and may cause various problems in your daily life. Mental sickness can begin at any age, whether it is an adult or a child, but in most cases, it begins early in a person’s life.

The first step you should take is to talk to those people who you trust more, like your partner, a friend or a colleague. Your doctor, psychologist or counselor is always ready to help you because they are trained to help people who are going through mental illness.

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