How To Identify The Early Signs Of Mental Health Issues

A lot of individuals believe that mental health issues are rare and can never happen to them, which is a big misconception. Mental health issues are prevalent, and over 44 million Americans suffer from a form of mental disorder yearly. Mental health issues can include a vast range of conditions, such as changes in behavior and pattern and mood disorders. Noticing the difference between healthy behaviors and early signs of mental health issues can be tricky as there is no exact test to identify if an individual is suffering from psychological health-related problems.

Recognizing Early Symptoms of Psychological Health Disorders  In Adults

The early stages of mental issues can vary in different individuals depending on the type of disorder, circumstances surrounding the individual, and environmental factors. All these factors can affect the individual’s behaviors, thoughts, and emotions most times. 

Most times, it is not a single sign but a combination of symptoms. In some situations, some of these signs can be expressed as physical signs such as backache, stomach aches, and other forms of pain. Here are some indications that might occur:

  • Drastic mood changes
  • Sudden withdrawal from friends and family
  • Hallucinations or paranoia
  • Difficulty in comprehension or relating to others and situations
  • Increase or decrease in sex drive
  • Outrageous anger, violence or hostility
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Inability to deal with daily issues and stress
Recognizing Early Symptoms of Psychological Health Disorders In Adolescents 

In teenagers, sudden emotional outbursts or change in behavior can just be tagged as being rebellious. These severe outbursts or inconsistency with actions can be an indicator that there is a deeper issue. That is why it is crucial to pay close attention to any sudden changes.

In some cases, grown-ups tend to compare behavioral patterns of teenagers today with their behavioral models when they were growing up. Seeing as times are regularly changed, this is not suitable for the teenager. It can cause the teenager to feel anxious and scared to open up when going through difficulties. Here are some possible indications of mental issues in adolescents:

  • An extended period of depression (irritability or sadness)
  • Multiple idiopathic ailments
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Difficulty in understanding 
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Extreme changes in eating habits
Recognizing Early Symptoms of Psychological Health Disorders In Young Children

It is also possible for mental issues to arise in children. Symptoms at such young ages tend to be more emotionally-based, seeing as they are still figuring out how to identify and express what or how they are feeling. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Extreme reactions: Look out for intense responses to certain situations like intense fear for no apparent reason. In some cases, this expresses as rapid breathing or increase in heart rate. Sometimes this reaction can get so severe that it interrupts the daily life of the child.
  • Behavioral changes: A child that suddenly has a drastic personality change can be an indication. Violence or showing a desire to hurt other people can also be a sign of something more profound.
  • Changes in the eating pattern: These changes can result in sudden weight gain or weight loss. It can lead to an abrupt decrease in the desire to eat or frequent nausea.
  • Self-harming: in some children, mental health issues can lead to them injuring themselves, for example, burning or cutting. 
  • Substance abuse: Because they are not able to identify and process extreme emotions, children tend to find ways to self medicate. 
Mental Disorders That Affect Children, Teens, And Adults 

Psychological disorders can manifest differently in adults, children, and teens, even though it is the same mental condition. Some mental health issues include:

  1. Anxiety disorders
  2. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  3. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  4. Eating Disorders
  5. Mood changes
  6. Schizophrenia

If you notice any of the symptoms, it is advisable to keep a closer eye on the individual. Psychological issues can develop into a mental disorder when the signs begin to interfere with the individual’s ability to carry out daily activities. Even after you’ve learned about the early indications of mental health issues, it might still be trying to discern between healthy behaviors, and when there is an actual problem.

In any case, it is best to reach out for help if you notice reoccurring symptoms so the situation can be accessed. Adequate treatment should follow to deter the progression of any disorder.


Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended or recommended for patients or other lay persons or as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Patients must always consult a qualified health care professional regarding their diagnosis and treatment. Mental health conditions are complex, people differ widely in their conditions and responses, and interactions with other conditions and treatments are best evaluated by a physical examination and consultation with a qualified clinician.

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