Taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Still, we ignore signs of poor mental health and keep pushing ourselves until those issues develop into mental illness.
Identifying mental health issues at the right time can be difficult. The signs may sometimes be subtle or go unnoticed due to a lack of awareness. In addition, doctors may also be unable to diagnose the problem due to diagnostic bias or the presence of lesser-known issues. So, it is necessary to watch for any unusual signs or symptoms that may indicate a mental illness. This will help in early detection and allow you to receive the necessary treatment.
A great way to tackle mental health issues is to go for counseling. This can not only help in maintaining your mental well-being but can also help in the early detection of mental illnesses.
What Is Counseling and Why Do You Need It?
Counseling focuses on improving well-being, reducing distress, resolving crises, and improving clients’ overall functional capabilities. Counselors help people overcome daily stressors that may result in poor mental health.
Mental health counselors utilize various techniques, such as psychotherapy and CBT, to relieve patients’ symptoms. On the other hand, counselors can also help in treating several mental illnesses. These include depression, anxiety, PTSD, eating disorders, phobias, and more.
Counseling is a growing field. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics stated that the demand for mental health counselors is projected to grow by 25% by 2029. So, several reputable institutions offer online masters in counseling to cater to the rising demand for mental health counselors.
Although counseling is a popular field in psychology, its need has increased even more in the past couple of years. In a report published in 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 40.9% of respondents said they experienced at least one mental or behavioral condition. They experienced symptoms of anxiety, depression, trauma, and stress-related disorder due to the pandemic. About 13% claimed to have started or increased substance abuse in response to the pandemic-related stress.
Overall, the pandemic has taken a toll on people’s mental and physical health. So, taking care of your mental health has become more critical than ever in the current conditions.
Warning Signs of Mental Health Issues
Did you know that one in five adults in the US has a mental illness? Being diagnosed with a mental illness often comes as a shock or surprise. But your body keeps giving you signals often overlooked that indicate something might be wrong. So, here are some warning signs that may indicate poor mental health or mental illness.
- Feeling tired all the time
Dealing with a mental illness can be exhausting. Constant fatigue is a common symptom in people struggling with mental health issues. Struggling with stressful symptoms and keeping up with life’s daily demands can leave you feeling tired.
For instance, a person struggling with a mental illness like OCD might have obsessions and compulsions that consume a lot of their energy. They might also have to go to work, study, and take care of their family. Dealing with all of this can leave them tired and exhausted.
So, it may be a sign of mental illness if you feel tired all the time without any visible or verifiable cause.
- Aches and pains
Poor physical health can have an adverse effect on your mental health and vice versa. Your mind and your body are connected. So, suppose you feel random or occasional aches or physical pain without apparent reason. In that case, it may be a sign of mental health issues.
People struggling with mental health problems can experience many physical symptoms, including stomachaches, muscle aches, headaches, or restlessness. Many people with anxiety often experience an upset stomach or migraines.
- Changes in emotions
Everyone experiences different emotions according to the situation they are in. However, it can be a warning sign if the feeling is inappropriate or not according to the situation or how you usually behave or react.
For instance, you may feel extra tearful; little things that didn’t affect you before might make you cry and feel hopeless. On the other hand, you might stop feeling anything at all. You may feel indifferent towards yourself and others. You may also stop finding pleasure in previously enjoyable or liked activities.
Although everyone has bad days, a change in emotions for an extended period may indicate mental illness. So, suppose you experience any of these symptoms or don’t feel like yourself. In that case, it is vital to get professional help right away.
- Trouble sleeping
Trouble sleeping can be a sign of mental health issues. Moreover, lack of sleep or insomnia is a significant symptom of depression. Sleep problems are also common in people struggling with bipolar disorder, anxiety, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Similarly, sleeping too much or hypersomnia can also indicate mental health issues.
Trouble sleeping does not only mean an inability to sleep. It may also mean,
- Finding it hard to fall asleep
- Waking up several times during the night
- Waking up tired
- Feeling irritable throughout the day
- Inability to take a nap even if you are tired
- Difficulty concentrating due to tiredness
So, suppose you have trouble sleeping or other symptoms like fatigue and loss of interest in things. In that case, it may be a sign of a psychological problem.
- Changes in appetite
A sudden change in appetite can also be a warning sign of a mental illness. Appetite changes are symptoms of major depressive disorder and several eating disorders. So, if you feel like you are eating too much or too less or you are losing weight without trying, it may be a sign of a psychological illness.
- Drinking more than usual
Consuming alcohol is expected and acceptable in numerous cultures. And people often turn to alcohol as a way to forget about their problems and ignore reality. However, it becomes a serious issue when it becomes a habit. So, drinking more than usual and the inability to stop may be signs of mental health issues.
Mental illnesses are just as common and normal as physical illnesses. However, they often go unnoticed and untreated due to a lack of awareness or the stigma surrounding mental health. So, it is necessary to look for unusual signs and symptoms that may indicate mental illness.
Some troubling symptoms include uncontrolled consumption of alcohol, difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite or weight, and fatigue. Suppose you experience these symptoms for a long time without valid reasons. In that case, it might mean you are suffering from a psychological illness.
However, mental illnesses can be treated with the help of counseling and other forms of therapy. So, getting professional help as soon as possible is recommended if you experience anything out of the ordinary.