Individuals can develop a mental illness at any point in their lives, but according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 75% of mental illness begins by age 25.
Many factors can contribute to mental illness, including genetics, substance abuse, traumatic events, and even diet.
Not all mental illness is immediately identifiable. Some conditions have more subtle symptoms that could be mistakenly attributed to other causes.
Five warning signs to look out for if you suspect you or a loved one may be affected by mental illness are:
- Sleep or appetite changes. Persistent or dramatic changes in sleep, appetite or weight are sometimes an indication of psychological decline.
- Apathy or withdrawal. A sudden drop in energy, interest, and desire to participate in social activities may be a symptom of an underlying mental illness.
- Dramatic mood changes. Repeated and rapid changes of mood may point to the development of a mental illness.
- Memory or concentration issues. A pattern of illogical or overly fearful thoughts can indicate mental illness, as can sudden memory or concentration issues.
- Heightened sensitivity. An elevated sensitivity to lights, sounds, touch or smell could be pointing to the development of a mental illness.
Each of these symptoms on their own could easily be caused by a number of factors. However, any (or all) of them in conjunction could indicate something much more serious.
Mental illness is common in the United States, with some estimates stating that nearly half of American adults will experience mental illness at some point in their lifetime. With treatment, many mental illnesses are manageable and even complete recovery is possible.