Twelve early signs of anxiety and mental illness

September 5, 2019

Anxiety disorders often go hand in hand with depression and other mental illnesses. People who have anxiety disorders struggle with intense and uncontrollable feelings of anxiety, fear, worry, and/ or panic. These feelings can interfere with daily activities and may last for a long time. Would you know the telling signs if it were to happen to you or someone you loved?

The signs could easily be taken lightly and go undiagnosed. Mental illnesses are conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Such conditions may be occasional or long-lasting (chronic) and affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day.

Here are the early signs to look out for:

1. Sleep changes

Dramatic sleep changes in duration and frequency of sleep occur.

2. Appetite changes

A person may experience appetite changes or decline in personal care.

3. Mood changes

You may notice rapid or dramatic shifts in emotions or depressed feelings.

4. Withdrawal

One could see recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed.

5. Not functioning normally

An unusual drop in functioning at school, work, or social activities may happen. Examples of this include quitting sports, failing in school, or difficulty performing familiar tasks.

6. Problems thinking

This includes changes that are difficult to explain. It may be hard to concentrate. Memory, logical thought, and speech may fade.

7. Increased sensitivity

This is described as a heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations.

8. Apathy

Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity is often observed.

9. Feeling disconnected

A person experiencing anxiety or mental illness may experience vague feelings of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality.

10. Illogical thinking

A person could experience unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult.

11. Nervousness

Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling is not uncommon.

12. Unusual behavior

A person could exhibit odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior.

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