Warning Signs of Mental Illness

Changes in feelings such as fear and anger are a normal part of life. Personal situations, such as a divorce, loss of a job, or strained relationships with family or friends can cause emotional stress, thus making a person feel sad or blue. These are not unusual reactions. However symptoms that last longer than 2-3 weeks require attention.

Certain thoughts and feelings associated with some experiences, however, may be warnings of more serious problems and may require mental health intervention. It is not always easy to spot these warning signs, or figure out what they mean — qualified mental health professionals should be consulted in order to make an accurate diagnosis.

The following feelings and experiences may be warning signs:

  • finding little or no pleasure in life
  • feeling worthless or extremely guilty
  • crying a lot for no particular reason
  • withdrawing from other people
  • experiencing severe anxiety, panic or fear
  • having very low energy
  • losing interest in hobbies and pleasurable activities
  • having too much energy, having trouble concentrating or following through on plans
  • feeling easily irritated or angry
  • experiencing racing thoughts or agitation
  • hearing voices or seeing images that other people do not experience
  • believing that others are plotting against you
  • wanting to harm one’s self or someone else