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According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults is diagnosed with mental illness yearly. What are the early symptoms of mental illness? Stigma prevents people from recognizing the signs and symptoms. For the public to become more aware of the symptoms and signs of mental illness, educators must break the stigma. Public awareness campaigns are displayed on television with a new campaign, Break the Stigma.

Woman showing signs of mental illness

The Most Common Mental Illnesses

When addressing mental illness, it is essential to know that it is genuine and not imaginary, a medical condition, and extremely common to experience. What are the early signs and symptoms of mental illness? Nearly 20% of adults in the U.S. live with an anxiety disorder. The following mental conditions are among the most common.

  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders

Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness in Adults

What are the early symptoms of mental illness? Early signs and symptoms of mental illness can vary based on individual and environmental factors. However, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors can indicate early signs of mental illness. Education can abate stigma and false beliefs to understand mental illness’s medical ramifications better.

Adults experiencing a mental illness could experience these early signs and symptoms of mental illness:

  • Extreme mood changes or shifts
  • Avoidance behaviors or isolation
  • Less energy and motivation
  • Changes in behaviors involving work, school, or relationships
  • Lifestyle changes, including eating and sleeping
  • Appearing stressed, anxious, and fearful
  • Risky behaviors and addiction
  • Inability to focus or concentrate

Physical signs and symptoms include increased headaches, stomach aches, irritable bowel habits, and back pain. What are the early symptoms of mental illness? It is not just one sign or symptom that presents. There could be many minor signs and symptoms that appear off and on. Recognizing a consistent change could be a reason for a visit to the primary care physician. In some cases, professional mental health treatment may be necessary.

Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness in Children

What are the early symptoms of mental illness in children? Most commonly, emotion-based signs and symptoms of mental illness in children are not as easy to detect. However, journal behaviors could help to signal problems and identify where problems could lie. In addition, observing school work and relationships with other children could help pinpoint where the issues are initiated.

Early signs of mental health issues in children include any of the following:

  • Mood changes. Avoidance behaviors, self-isolation, withdrawal, and sadness lasting more than a few weeks could be early signs. Severe mood swings are also a factor to note.
  • Difficulties focusing and concentrating. Children who cannot sit still, are overly fidgety, or have very short attention spans could show early signs of a mental illness.
  • Intense displays of feelings. Intense fears, extreme anger, or unusual worry or anxiety are all reasons to explore the cause. Physical symptoms of shortness of breath or racing heart are also early indicators of a problem.
  • Physical symptoms. Stomach aches and headaches are primary early signs of a mental illness when extreme sadness or anxiety is also present.
  • Unexplained weight loss. Lack of appetite resulting in weight loss is unhealthy and should be discussed with a doctor.
  • Physical self-harm. Children who burn, cut, or hurt themselves in any way may be experiencing a mental illness. Children who use self-harm may also have suicidal thoughts.

Signs of Mental Health Issues in Adolescents

What are the early symptoms of mental illness in teens or adolescents? Teenagers and college-aged kids need to be observed closely and educated concerning mental illness. Changes in behaviors, thought processes, and emotional responses are early symptoms of mental illness. Inconsistent behavior and extreme emotional outbursts can be underlying signs of a severe mental issue.

Early signs and symptoms of a mental illness in teens or college-age kids could be any of the following:

  • An extreme change in school grades
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Unusual confusion
  • Intense emotional highs and lows
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Irritability or sadness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Isolation or social withdrawal
  • Inability to cope with normal daily activities
  • Unexplained physical complaints

The critical focus for parents of children and teens, even young adults, is to stay engaged and communicate with their kids. Ask your kids what are the early symptoms of mental illness? It is just as important to educate children on mental health to help break the stigma and make them aware of good mental health. Parents need to be aware not only of themselves but for their children.

What are the early symptoms of mental illness? Addiction can be a coping mechanism that teens and college-aged kids use to cope with their symptoms. However, what begins as a few drinks or minimal drug use to calm anxiety or stress can escalate very quickly. Having that conversation with your children, teens, and young adults could keep them from turning to alcohol or drugs when they cannot cope.

When Early Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness are Recognized

If you feel you are experiencing changes in behavior, thoughts, or emotional responses, ask yourself, what are the early symptoms of mental illness? Then, write down the early signs and symptoms and compare them to how you feel. Finally, talk to them if you see the early signs and symptoms in your child or teenager. Avoid judgments and reach out to your primary care provider for an exam. Some physical illnesses can cause the same signs and symptoms as mental illnesses.

Find Help for Recognizing the Early Signs of Mental Illness in Tennessee

If you or a loved one is experiencing the early signs and symptoms of mental illness, Southern Live Oak in Dunwoody, GA can help. Our mental health professionals are familiar with the stigma that keeps people from reaching out for help.

We can educate you and help you find the evaluation that could determine a mental health diagnosis. Contact us today to speak with one of our specialists.

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      Going to SLOW has impacted my life in ways I never thought possible. I came for help with my mental state and came out with so much more; life skills, medical advice, mental health counseling and addiction treatment. SLOW is a whole life transformation program and I highly recommend it to anyone I know!

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      When I was a part of this program, I had the most personal growth I’ve had in my entire life. All of the tech staff were willing to talk to me whenever I felt like I needed someone to talk to and the group sessions gave me multiple perspectives I never would’ve thought of from people in similar situations to me.

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      This place has changed my life. For the first time in my life I felt heard and cared about. The clinical staff is amazing. The groups are well structured. You learn a lot of different skills to help you in life this is the best mental health facility to come to.

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