Learning to recognize the signs of mental illness

Mental Illness

From the Plainville-Southington Health District:

The Plainville-Southington Health District wants to make residents aware of the signs and symptoms of mental illness. Mental illness is any disease or condition that influences the way a person thinks, feels, behaves, and/or relates to others and to his or her surroundings. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and are different depending on the type of mental illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 25 percent of all U.S. adults have a mental illness and that nearly 50 percent of the U.S. adults will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime.

“Most people believe that mental illness or disorders are rare and happen to someone else,” said Shane Lockwood, PSHD Director of Health, reported a press release from the district. “In fact, mental illness is common and widespread. Learning that a family member has a mental illness can be physically and emotionally trying. It’s important to remember there is help available.”

There are more than 200 forms of mental illness. Some of the more common disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders. Mental illness symptoms can affect emotions, thoughts and behaviors. According to the CDC, signs and symptoms include:

  • Feeling sad or down
  • Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
  • Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
  • Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Significant tiredness, low energy, or problems sleeping
  • Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia, or hallucinations
  • Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
  • Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Sex drive changes
  • Excessive anger, hostility or violence
  • Suicidal thinking

Sometimes symptoms of a mental health disorder appear as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headache, or other unexplained aches and pains.

The majority of families are not prepared to cope with a family member diagnosed with a mental illness. If you think you or someone you know may have a mental or emotional problem, call 2-1-1 (Infoline) for help today.

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.

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