How Do You Know If You Have A Mental Illness?

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Everyone goes through periods of personal strife. It’s normal to feel anxious, unhappy, irritable, or just plain “off” from time to time. But if an occasional setback is turning into a daily struggle, there could be something far more serious going on.

If you’re concerned that you or a loved one might be suffering from a mental illness, you’re not alone. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one out of every five Americans is living with a mental health condition. The good news is, most mental illnesses are highly treatable, and identifying the problem early on increases your chances for a successful recovery.

How to tell when there’s a problem

While there are many different types of mental health disorders, each with their own specific symptoms, there are also some general warning signs that may indicate a deeper problem is brewing. Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Mood swings

One moment you’re feeling happy, the next you’re feeling furious. Whether these changes in mood occur over a period of hours or days, it could be a telltale sign of bipolar disorder.

  • Excessive worry

When you’re consumed by worrisome thoughts, it can be difficult to eat, sleep, or function productively. Excessive worry is also a common characteristic of generalized anxiety disorder.

  • Substance abuse

Many people who struggle with mental illness often use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, which not only exacerbates symptoms, but also makes it harder to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

  • Constant feelings of sadness or hopelessness

It’s normal to feel down in the dumps every once in a while, but if you’re in a persistent state of apathy or unhappiness, you might be suffering from major depressive disorder.

  • Difficulty coping with everyday life

Mental illness can make simple tasks infinitely more difficult. You may find it hard to concentrate or socialize, and as you retreat further within yourself, your tolerance for stress and conflict diminish.

It’s uncommon for mental illness to appear out of the blue. These symptoms usually come on gradually and are accompanied by an ongoing pattern of changes in behavior, thoughts, and emotions.

How mental illness is treated

There’s no one-size-fits-all method of treating mental illness. An effective mental health treatment program will be tailored to your specific symptoms, as well as your individual medical and psychological needs. Most programs in the many mental health clinics San Diego has available include some combination of the following:

  • Psychotherapy

Through both individual and group therapy sessions, patients learn to identify the source of their issues, develop coping mechanisms, identify triggers, and establish healthy habits.

  • Medication

For patients who need medication to assuage their symptoms, a psychiatrist will help determine the right prescription and dosage.

  • Education

An important part of recovery is learning how to live independently while understanding and managing the symptoms of mental illness.

  • Continuing care

After completion of a treatment program, an aftercare plan helps to ensure continued health and success.

How to ask for mental health treatment

Many people avoid seeking help for their mental illness because they’re afraid or ashamed. But without treatment, symptoms can grow progressively worse. According to NAMI, adults in the U.S. who are living with an untreated mental illness die an average of 25 years earlier than the rest of the population. Getting professional help for a suspected mental health condition can mean the difference between life and death.

Alvarado Parkway Institute is here to treat mental health disorders

If you’re worried that you or a loved one may have a mental illness, call Alvarado Parkway Institute at (619) 667-6125. With our commitment to a Culture of Caring, we’re one of the best mental health facilities San Diego has to offer. Our mental health program provides comprehensive psychiatric care in a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment, empowering our patients with the tools they need to live satisfying, independent lives.

The sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you can get your life back. Call our 24-hour crisis line now: (619) 667-6125.