Warning signs of mental illness

June 8th 2018
Mental Health America
It is important to pay attention to sudden changes in thoughts and behaviors of your loved ones. Also keep in mind that the onset of several of 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.

If you or someone you know is in crisis now, seek help immediately. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24 hour crisis center or dial 911 for immediate assistance.

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


Older Children and Pre-Adolscents

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


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


It is important to remember that there is hope for recovery and that with treatment many people with mental illness return to a productive and fulfilling life.

From Mental Health America

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