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Most of us, have at some point in our lives suffered from some form of emotional or mental distress.
We might feel a bit down in the dumps or just felt overwhelmed by circumstances. On many of these occasions, it is natural to have certain feelings and emotions, but when does it become a problem?
When should you consider you might have a mental health disorder? There are several different mental health problems, each with their symptoms, but there are common symptoms that occur in all conditions.
In many cases, it is very difficult to judge whether certain behaviours are expected, such as in the case of a person already suffering from some type of physical illness. Can the emotional problems be identified as a possible symptom of a mental health disorder? This is not always easy to determine, but if you can identify the early signs of a mental condition, it can point the way to a healthier and happier future for the person by reducing the severity of the symptoms.
Mental health disorders can include things like depression and anxiety disorders, to more serious conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Many of the more common symptoms, if caught early on, can be managed by various recommended therapies and sometimes medications. When it comes to major mental illnesses, the effects can be devastating to both the patient as well as family members. Those that are close to somebody with a more serious condition may notice certain changes in behaviour before it becomes fully exposed. The person might be aware of certain thoughts and feelings that aren’t normal before developing into something more serious.
The diagnosis of mental health disorders can also be very difficult. There is no exact single test, which can point to a mental health disorder. If you suspect that you are suffering from symptoms of mental illness, your first step can be to take a simple quiz. The Zwavelstream quiz is there to help you decide if you need any professional intervention. The questions focus on whether or not your daily life is affected by your behaviour and emotions. Any information you share is private and confidential and is a step towards taking control of your health and well-being.
Early symptoms that occur with mental health illnesses
We have already mentioned that every condition can have unique symptoms, but there are also common symptoms of mental illness. These symptoms or signs can become a problem when our ability to function is adversely affected. This can affect personal relationships, work and school life.
Some of these more common symptoms can include the following:
- Feelings of sadness that continue for more than two weeks
- Difficulty in concentration and focus. Some may even find it difficult to remain quiet for long, with a constant need to keep moving.
- You might find you or somebody you know has lost a significant amount of weight or even picked up a lot of weight. This coincides with a lack of appetite and overeating.
- Turning to the overuse of alcohol and taking drugs
- Overwhelming feelings of fear and/or anxiety
- Withdrawing from social settings, family and friends.
- Having difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much and still feeling tired and lethargic.
- Extreme moodiness, going from feeling excessively happy to deeply sad, prolonged feelings of anger and irritability.
- Experiencing several physical ailments without having any real cause. For example, a nagging stomach ache or constant dull headache or simply general aches in the body.
- Cannot deal with everyday activities and stresses about small things
- May experience hallucinations or have difficulty in coping with reality
Children especially are vulnerable and mental health issues can develop from a young age. Children are struggling through and learning all about themselves and the world around them. Therefore, children can find it difficult to express how they are feeling and what they are thinking. Any problems they might be having can be identified by paying attention to their behaviour.
Something can be worrying a child if their grades begin to decline, or if they suddenly don’t want to go to school. Look out for an increase or excessive worry and anxiety that doesn’t go away. Does your child experience regular nightmares or are they exhibiting aggressive behaviour? Some children display hyperactive behaviour and cannot sit still. These are just a few symptoms you can look out for.
When to seek medical advice
Are you struggling with your emotions and think you may have a mental health problem? You might want to pay a visit to your doctor if you have the symptoms of mental health illness described above. Your doctor can then determine and refer you to a mental health specialist. Ignoring your situation will only make it worse, a mental disorder won’t improve if left untreated. The symptoms can get worse and eventually cause even more serious problems.
Do you suspect a loved one is struggling with a mental health illness? This can put tremendous strain on family members and friends, and it can be difficult to know what to do. In certain circumstances, it can be quite obvious somebody is struggling with a problem, but you cannot force them to seek help. You should also not form your conclusions or diagnosis. The best you can do is to offer them encouragement and support. Talk to them openly about what is bothering them, ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.
Listen to what they have to say and try not to force an issue, like going to see a doctor. Avoid confrontation and let them make the decision, you can also offer to go with them to show your support. In circumstances where the situation is serious and they are considering harming themselves, it is important to get help immediately. Call a helpline or go to the hospital if necessary.
Causes and risk factors of having a mental health disorder
There are several different causes, mostly mental health illnesses have a connection with genetic as well as certain environmental factors. One of the top causes of mental health is often something that can be inherited. A person can inherit genes that predispose them into developing a mental health illness. This gene can be activated by many things, especially in stressful situations.
Today, our bodies are exposed to a lot of bad things, from polluted air to toxic foods. All these stressors can contribute to the cause of mental health disorders. Alcohol and drugs are also a contributing factor, especially for an unborn baby. Also, any prenatal damage can be a factor in the cause of mental health issues.
- Brain injuries
- Poor nutrition as well as a vitamin D deficiency.
- Exposure to certain toxins, such as lead
- Certain infections can cause damage to the brain or it may worsen the symptoms of a mental health disorder.
Contributing risk factors:
- Stress can be a major risk factor, anything from a loved one's death to financial difficulties.
- An already existing chronic health condition such as arthritis, asthma or diabetes
- Trauma experiences, a good example is military men and women who come back from serving in war zones. Anybody who has gone through being assaulted or violated in any way.
- Not having a close support system of family and friends, being isolated and in unhealthy relationships.
Having a mental health illness can also cause problems and complications. Personal and family relationships are affected, problems can form at work or school, it can even lead to things like homelessness. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, the body can develop various health problems because of emotional issues. Physical problems like high blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, amongst others. For example, the skin condition psoriasis is often linked to stress as a trigger. Your immune system is also affected by your emotional wellbeing; you may find that your body finds it difficult to fend off infections.
Can you prevent mental health disorders?
There are so many factors involved when it comes to causes and risk factors. Therefore, there is no definite way of preventing mental health disorders. There are ways you can reduce your risk or manage the symptoms. The best way to help yourself is to take note of any warning signs and reach out for help. Discuss what might be considered triggers with your mental health specialist and have family members identify the warning signs.
Just like your car needs to have regular maintenance, so does your body. Make sure to keep up with your check-ups. This can help pick up if something is wrong sooner and you will be able to recover much sooner. Don’t be afraid to seek out help, the sooner you get help, the sooner you will feel better. The longer you leave a problem, the worse it gets and the more difficult it gets to treat.
Get enough sleep and rest, this plays a vital role in our well-being, sometimes more than we realize. Along with this, you can add healthy eating. There have been studies that link your emotional wellbeing to nutrients in food. Some of the more important nutrients for mental health include vitamin D, magnesium, B-vitamins, folic acid and the omega fatty acids. Visiting a nutritionist may help you to eat a more balanced diet needed for optimum mental health. Then there is, of course, physical activities. Regular exercise is important, try to do something that you enjoy rather than forcing yourself to jog around the block every day. Joining a sports club might be a good idea, you get the physical activity as well as positive social interaction.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find a mental health clinic or mental health specialist you feel comfortable with. Visit us at the ZwavelStream Clinic, we offer you a place of safety, where you get the best treatment. We also provide holistic treatment specifically designed to meet your personal needs. The treatment and support will help you on your journey to wellness. Our facility is the perfect tranquil setting, where you can relax and concentrate on healing.