Common Signs of Mental Health Issues

There are a number of signs that could indicate mental health issues. While having one or two of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have a mental illness, if you notice that you are experiencing a number of the following symptoms, it is best to seek out a mental health professional, especially if they are interfering with your ability to study, work, or socialize.

  • Withdrawal — Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in others.
  • Drop in ability to function — An unusual drop in functioning, at school, work or social activities, such as quitting sports, failing in school or difficulty performing familiar tasks.
  • Problems thinking — Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain.
  • Increased sensitivity — Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations.
  • Apathy — Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity.
  • Feeling disconnected — A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one's surroundings; a sense of unreality—this is also known as dissociation.
  • Illogical or erratic thinking — Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult.
  • Nervousness — Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling.
  • Unusual behavior – Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior.
  • Sleep or appetite changes — Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care.
  • Mood changes — Rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings.
  • Chronic anxiety — Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, but constant anxiety can be a sign of mental illness. Symptoms of anxiety may include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, headache, restlessness, diarrhea, or a racing mind.
  • Depression — Feeling sad or irritable for weeks or more; lacking motivation or energy.
  • Substance abuse — using alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism can be a sign of—or contributor to—mental illness.
  • Feeling guilty or worthless — Thoughts like “I'm a failure,” “It's my fault,” or “I'm worthless.”
  • Self-harm or suicidal ideation — Feeling the urge to harm oneself.

If you notice that you are experiencing a number of these symptoms, if you are experiencing an unusual amount of distress, if you are having difficulty functioning, or if people around you have expressed concern, it may be time to seek treatment.