5 Signs You May Need Mental Health Treatment

mental health group in a meeting

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year. But less than half of them receive treatment. And what’s even more disturbing is that adults living with serious mental illness die an average of 25 years earlier than others, despite the treatability of their conditions. 

People with mental health disorders can live healthy, happy lives, and professional mental health services can make all the difference. But how do you know if you need treatment? The only way to know for sure is to speak to a mental health professional about your concerns.  But in general, take a look at the following five signs that you may need mental health treatment. Please note that this list is not conclusive. Nor does any individual sign point to a definitive mental health issue. Only a professional can help determine whether treatment is a good option for you. But these signs can give you a general idea of what to look for. 

Excessive Anxiety

We all experience some worry and anxiety. And it’s not all bad. Worry helps get us to work on time and ensures that do what we can keep our children safe. But excessive worry and anxiety that don’t go away may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.  If you’ve tried a number of strategies (meditation, yoga, exercise) to combat your stress and anxiety but still haven’t found relief, it may be time to seek professional mental health treatment. 

Inability to Stop Replaying a Traumatic Experience

When we experience a traumatic event, our brain unleashes stress hormones that may raise our blood sugar, heart rate, or adrenaline. This puts us in a hyper state of alert, our bodies ready to fight or flee. For some people, their body returns to normal soon after. For others, it takes longer, but if the trauma is repeated or prolonged, the brain may remain in that hyper-alert state. If you’ve experienced a trauma that plays over and over again in your mind, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a treatable mental health condition. 

Withdrawal and Disconnection from Others

Some people need more time to themselves than others. In a healthy scenario, they use the time alone to rest, recharge, and center themselves before re-engaging with the world.  But when that alone time leads to further withdrawal and disconnection from family, friends, and activities that were once considered pleasurable, it could indicate a mental health issue. Isolation is often a symptom of depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, and other mental health conditions that require professional treatment. 

Significant Changes in Sleep Patterns and/or Appetite

Life changes, such as moving or getting a new job, often interrupt our sleeping or eating habits.  But once we adjust to the new situation, we settle back into regular patterns. When those fluctuations seem to come out of nowhere, it could be a warning sign of mental illness. Sleeping too much or too little could point to depression or an anxiety disorder. Fluctuating weight or appetite might be symptoms of depression or an eating disorder. Mental health treatment can help restore your healthy patterns.

Substance Abuse

Many people with mental health disorders abuse alcohol or other substances to cope with their mental illness.  For instance, someone who has bipolar symptoms may drink alcohol to calm themselves during a manic phase or take “uppers” to help through the depressive phase.  Sometimes the substance abuse even exacerbates the symptoms of a mental illness or leads to further disorders, such as addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment is available for those who need help with both substance abuse and mental illness. 

If you or someone you love needs mental health treatment, we can help.

At Alvarado Parkway Institute, we have provided top-notch inpatient and outpatient mental health services for over 35 years.  Our wide range of programs includes diverse therapies and individualized treatment for every patient who comes through our doors. We maintain a culture of caring that extends beyond the walls of our facility to include the families of our patients as well. If you or a loved one is in need of mental health treatment, please contact us through the form on our website or call our 24-hour crisis line at 619-667-6125 today.