Mental health problems can strike people irrespective of their age, gender, or economic or social status. Although genes and family history may increase the risk, environmental impacts, circumstantial and traumatic past memories can also trigger the onset of a mental disorder like depression, anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sometimes, mental illness can strike even a two-year-old child. It is pertinent to give equal importance to both physical and mental health

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), nearly one in every five adult Americans experiences a mental illness in a given year, making it imperative to ensure proper screening and treatment. Unfortunately, the stigma attached with mental health is such that people refuse from taking help. They reason that it is better to live with discomfort than be labeled as crazy or weak. Many are appalled at the idea that that they might have to take medication for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, life of withdrawal and seclusion is not the answer.

Subtle signs of brain malfunctioning

With considerable advancement in science and technology, it is possible to diagnose and treat most mental health disorders. But it is necessary to identify the symptoms in time. Psychiatrists often rely on patients' self-reported symptoms to understand the underlying problem and suggest appropriate solution. Whether it is persistent sadness or extreme form of self-hate, subtle hints that that something is amiss and has to be addressed with immediate effect.

  • Suicidal ideation: Harboring suicidal thoughts for long or trying to take one's life are signs that the person is seriously happy or feet trapped in a situation. Some people argue that such thoughts pass with time when the situation improves. However, they are warning signs of crippling mental illnesses.
  • Paranoia: In case a loved one displays paranoid behavior, it is always advisable to take them to a psychiatrist for medical opinion. Paranoia is similar in people who have lived through a traumatic phase. War veterans and victims of sexual abuse often exhibit increased suspicion. They could feel they are watched or followed even when it is not the case. Paranoid behavior is also apparent in complex mental health conditions like schizophrenia. The affected people can fall prey to delusional patterns of thinking and start hallucinating.
  • Lack of motivation: Lack of motivation for a long time is a stark reminder that the person is disturbed by something. People who are severely depressed could find it difficult to continue with routine activities. Even the act of getting out of bed looks like a huge task. Apart from appearing bored and demotivate, they are also negligent towards their appearance and clothing.
  • Periods of manic activity: Periods of manic activity are a reminder of a psychological ailment. Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of mania and depression occurring in cycles. During the manic phase, the person is extremely talkative and high on energy. But soon thereafter, they experience a crash and feel tired and vulnerable.
  • Hallucinations: This is the phase when a person starts imagining things that do not exist in real life. He or she may may hear voices, see visions or feel as if bugs are crawling around. Those suffering from schizophrenia and the elderly people are more likely to experience these.

Road to recovery

Regardless of how low one feet, there is an answer to almost all the problems of life. All it needs is some courage and encouragement from loved ones to reach out for support and walk the right path.