What are symptoms of mental illness
A mental or behavioural disorder is characterized by a disturbance in thinking, mood, or behaviour, which is out of keeping with cultural beliefs and norms. In most cases the symptoms are associated with distress and interference with personal functions.
Problems with cognition
- Has trouble concentrating and easily distracted.
- Can't remember information.
- Processes information slowly or confused.
- Has to work hard to solve problems.
- Can't think abstractedly.
Problems with thinking
- Thoughts seem to speed up or slow down.
- Thoughts jump from one topic to another without much sense.
- Using the new words or sounds that are not found in dictionary.
- Bizarre thought that is not possible like his thoughts, actions are under external influence.
Problems with perception
- Have perceptual distortions: unusually bright colours or loud sounds.
- Hears non existing voices. Speaks and smiles to self when no one is around.
- Feels old situations are strangely new.
- Believes hidden messages are on TV, the radio, or public transportation.
Problems with feelings
- Feels worthless, hopeless and helpless.
- Guilty feelings over minor things.
- Intrusive thoughts of death or suicide.
- Loss of interest and pleasure in most of the things.
- Overly confident and grandiose about abilities, talents, wealth and appearance.
- Excessive energy and needs little sleep.
- Irritable much of the time and easily angered.
- Extreme mood swings with no provocation.
- Excited, euphoric, overly confident and disruptive to others
- Over alert and on guard most of the time.
- Feels anxious, afraid, and worried about everyday events.
- Avoids normal activities due to fear (taking the bus, grocery shopping).
- Uncomfortable around people.
- Compelled to do ritualistic or repeated behaviour.
- Has upsetting, intrusive memories or nightmares of past events.
Problems with socializing
- Have few close friends
- Anxious and afraid in social situations
- Verbally or physically aggressive.
- Have tumultuous relationships, from overly critical to worshipful.
- Hard to get along with.
- Can't read other people.
- Abnormal suspiciousness
Problems with functioning
- Gets fired or quits frequently.
- Is easily angered or irritated by normal stresses and expectations.
- Can't get along with others at work, school or home.
- Can't concentrate or work effectively.
Problems at home
- Can't attend to others' needs.
- Overwhelmed by chores or household expectations.
- Can't keep up with housework.
- Instigates arguments and fights with family, passively or actively.
Problem with self-care
- Does not take care of cleanliness or appearance
- Does not eat enough, or overeats.
- Does not sleep or sleep excessively or day time sleep.
- Pays little or no attention to physical health.
Problem with physical symptoms
- Unexplained constant physical symptoms.
- Frequent headache, body pains, back pain, neck pain.
- Multiple somatic complaints involving many systems at the same time.
Problems with habits
- Any habit that is excessive uncontrollable & interfering daily activities.
- Abuse of drugs and/or alcohol.
- Uncontrolled desire to set fire.
- Uncontrolled gambling.
- Uncontrolled shopping.
Problems found in children
- Abuse of drugs and/or alcohol.
- Inability to cope with daily problems and activities.
- Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits.
- Excessive complaints of physical problems.
- Defying authority, skipping school, stealing, or damaging property.
- Intense fear of gaining weight.
- Long-lasting negative mood, often along with poor appetite and thoughts of death.
- Frequent outbursts of anger.
- Changes in school performance.
- Poor grades despite strong efforts.
- Excessive worry or anxiety.
- Persistent nightmares.
- Frequent temper tantrums
Source: Dr Sudha Rani, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Hyderabad
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