Mental Illness Symptoms

Mental illness is one of the most overlooked, yet a very common problem afflicting people all over the world. It accounts for 11 percent of total worldwide disease burden. As a matter of fact, in the established market economies such as United States, these mental disorders are second only to heart disease in the most disabling disease category.
Broadly defined, mental illnesses or mental disorders are significant behavioral or psychological pattern that occurs in an individual and is usually associated with distress, disability, or increased risk of suffering. These disorders range from mild mood disorders to extreme manic depressive illnesses. Although health care practitioners around the world recognize that mental illness is in reality a group of disorders that cause serious disturbances in thinking, feeling, and relating, a good understanding of their causes has still not been established. Over the course of time, the definitions, assessments, and classifications of mental disorders have varied, mental health professionals have zeroed in certain categories of diagnoses. These include dissociative disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, developmental disorder, and personality disorders. The manifestations of these disorders are usually characterized by certain symptoms.
Symptoms of Mental Illness
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
A pathological condition, anxiety disorders are often debilitating chronic conditions, which can be present from an early age or begin suddenly after a triggering event. They cause people to experience occasional instances of anxiety, which are so terrifying and intense, that they may cause the person to feel immobilized. There are many types of anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Here are some of the common anxiety symptoms associated with the disorder.

  • Inability to relax
  • Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • Trembling or irritability
  • Twitching or muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Sweating or hot flashes
  • Lightheaded or breathlessness
  • Nausea
  • Going to the bathroom frequently
  • Fatigue or lack of concentration
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Sense of unreality
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
  • Fear of dying
  • Tingling in the hands
  • Pounding heart

Symptoms of Psychotic Disorders
People suffering from psychotic disorders or psychosis are often described as having “lost contact with reality”. They often suffer from hallucinations or delusional beliefs, and may exhibit personality changes and disorganized thinking. This is accompanied by bizarre behavior and a difficulty with social interaction, causing an impairment in carrying out the activities of daily living. The most common symptoms of psychotic disorders are:

  • Hallucinations, usually manifesting in the form of non-existent voices
  • Delusions or the false beliefs that cannot be corrected by reason
  • Thought disorders
  • Diminished emotions
  • Lack of interest

Symptoms of Personality Disorders
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has defined personality disorders as, “an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the culture of the individual who exhibits it”. They are classified as eccentric, dramatic, or fear related personality disorders.

They usual symptoms are:

  • A marked disharmonious attitude and behavior, involving usually several areas of functioning, ways of perceiving and thinking, and style of relating to others
  • The abnormal behavior pattern is enduring, and not limited to episodes of mental illness
  • The behavior is not suited to a broad range of personal and social situations
  • Considerable personal distress but this may only become apparent late in its course
  • Problems in occupational and social performance

Symptoms of Eating Disorders
Mental illness characterized by an individual avoiding to eat, eating disorders negatively affect the physical and mental health of the person. They can range from mild mental anguish to life-threatening conditions. The most common eating disorders anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. The usual symptoms that a person is affected by the disorder are:

  • An abnormally low body weight
  • For postmenarcheal females, amenorrhea or the absence of three consecutive menstrual cycles
  • An intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat
  • Preoccupation with body weight and shape.
  • Binge eating (uncontrolled bursts of overeating)
  • Guilt and self-recrimination
  • Over compensatory behavior such as crash dieting
  • Overexercising
  • Purging to compensate for the excessive caloric intake

Symptoms of Mood Disorders
Mood disorders are usually of two types, bipolar disorder and general or clinical depression.

The symptoms of bipolar mood disorders are:

  • Increased energy and restlessness
  • Racing thoughts and rapid talking
  • Denial that anything is wrong, excessive high or euphoric feelings
  • Extreme irritability and distraction
  • Decreased sleep
  • Unrealistic beliefs in one’s ability and powers
  • Unusual sexual drive
  • Abuse of drugs
  • Provocative, intrusive or aggressive behavior

The symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent sadness and anxiety
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Loss of interest
  • Decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Loss of appetite and weight or weight gain
  • Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms
  • Thoughts and attempts of suicide

Remember that it is important to diagnose and monitor mental illness symptoms, so that proper treatment can be given. With the proper diagnosis and effective treatment, mental health can be treated effectively.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.