Mental Illness: When is It Time to Seek Treatment?

mental illness awareness week

Mental health is defined as your overall wellness in thinking, emotional regulation, and behavior. When these processes are disrupted, you are said to have a mental illness. In observance of Mental Illness Awareness Week, we want to share information about when you should seek treatment for a mental health concern.

What’s Normal? What’s Not?

“Normal” mental health can be tricky to understand, especially if you’ve dealt with lifelong feelings of depression or anxiety. All of us experience some level of sadness or worry in our day-to-day lives. For example, if you’re getting ready to give a speech, you’re probably going to sweat, hyperventilate, and become nervous. But what’s the difference between that feeling and a diagnosable anxiety disorder? The answer lies in its frequency and your functioning.

A mental illness may affect how well you are able to…

  • Maintain relationships
  • Navigate social settings
  • Perform at school or work
  • Learn at the expected level for your age
  • Take care of yourself and others

When feelings of sadness, worry, or paranoia creep into your daily life and impact your functioning, you may have developed a diagnosable mental illness.

Signs That You Should Seek Help for Mental Illness

Each mental health condition has its own set of symptoms; no checklist will apply to all mental illnesses. However, there are a few common signs that professional help may be needed.

  • Sleeping too much (or not enough)
  • Eating more or less often
  • Marked changes in personality and motivation
  • Inability to cope with daily life or problems
  • Unusual thinking
  • Paranoia
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Excessive anxiety
  • Feeling disconnected
  • Withdrawing from normal activities
  • Social isolation
  • Prolonged sadness or depression
  • Feeling apathetic (anhedonia)
  • Thoughts or statements about suicide
  • Substance abuse
  • Anger, hostility, or violent behavior
  • Extreme mood swings

Risk Factors

Several factors can place you at a greater likelihood for developing some type of mental illness. They may be biological, physical, social, or environmental. For example, a family history of mental health problems may point to genetic markers for neurochemical imbalances or deficiencies. This is a biological cause of mental illness. Physical health problems may also contribute to low mood or increased anxiety; for instance, certain hormonal issues can result in emotional symptoms. Social isolation, workplace stress, peer pressure, and an unhealthy living situation can also worsen your mental health.

Holding a Mental Health Intervention

When your loved one is in the depths of depression or the highs of a manic episode, it can be challenging to convince them that they need help. They may express feeling hopeless or apathetic about their lives and the world around them. Don’t give up! With proper intervention, you can convince your loved one to seek treatment for their mental illness.

The first step of any successful confrontation is planning. Gather a few close friends and family members and explain the situation to them. Ask them to prepare short, concise statements about how your loved one’s mental illness has impacted them. Choose an appropriate time and safe, private place for the intervention, and be sure that everything is set up beforehand. Select one member of the group to bring your mentally ill loved one to the gathering. Finally, set up admission at a trusted, accredited treatment center. Ironing out all of these details beforehand ensures a smooth intervention and a quick path to treatment.

Emotions may run high during the conversation, especially if your loved one has a co-occurring substance use disorder. Don’t be discouraged; do try your best to stay calm. Speak directly and firmly about their options. Explain that you would like for them to feel like their old selves again, and that you have chosen a treatment plan that will work for their needs. With luck, they will head directly to the treatment center you have selected after the intervention.

Treatment for Mental Illness

No two people will experience mental illness the same way. Our life experiences, genetics, upbringing, and co-occurring conditions mean that everyone’s treatment plan should be curated to their unique needs. At Pine Grove, we provide comprehensive, evidence-based mental health care in a rejuvenating setting. Our inpatient and outpatient programming both serve as a strong level of emotional support for those whose mental illnesses have begun dominating their lives. We employ the best mental health experts in the Southeast, ensuring that our clients receive the highest level of care possible.

If you are struggling with mental illness or are concerned for a loved one, there is hope. Recovery is possible. Our team of psychiatrists and therapists blend proven methods and cutting-edge research to create a highly effective care plan for each patient. To learn more about our mental health services, contact Pine Grove online or call 1-888-574-4673.

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