Learn Mental Illness Behavior

How to know if a person is suffering from mental illness

A common issue most individuals have been dealing with in the present age is mental illness. It begins with stress and leads to mental illness. You will be surprised to know that every 2 out 3 people are suffering from mental illness. There are many causes of mental issues. Some of the major causes are relationship issues, work problems and emergencies. In case that you will not control stress and anxiety at the right time, you might have to suffer from severe mental illness. It has been found that people suffering from mental issues commonly behave like normal individuals. There are specific behavior and attitude that will help you find out whether your loved ones are suffering from mental issues or not. Here we have some of the signs that will help you find out whether a person is suffering from mental issues or not.

Warning Signs and Symptoms

To learn more about symptoms that are specific to a particular mental illness, search under Mental Health Information or refer to the Mental Health America brochure on that illness.  The following are signs that your loved one may want to speak to a medical or mental health professional.

It is especially important to pay attention to sudden changes in thoughts and behaviors. Also keep in mind that the onset of several of the symptoms below, and not just any one change, indicates a problem that should be assessed. The symptoms below should not be due to recent substance use or another medical condition.

In Adults, Young Adults and Adolscents:

  • 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

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 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)
  • Hyperactivity
  • Persistent nightmares
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

How to cope day-to-day

Accept your feelings

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 will 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.

Handling unusual behavior

The outward signs of a mental illness are often behavioral. A person may be extremely quiet or withdrawn.  Conversely, he or she may burst into tears, have great anxiety or have outbursts of anger.
Even after treatment has started, some individuals with a mental illness can exhibit anti-social behaviors. When in public, these behaviors can be disruptive and difficult to accept.  The next time you and your family member visit your doctor or mental health professional, discuss these behaviors and develop a strategy for coping.

Your family member’s behavior may be as dismaying to them as it is to you. Ask questions, listen with an open mind and be there to support them.

Establishing a support network

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 self-help or support group. These groups provide an opportunity for you to talk to other people who are experiencing the same type of problems.  They can listen and offer valuable advice.