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The warning signs of mental illness
Everyone has different moods on different days, but some changes deserve a doctor's attention. Treatment for mental illness is most effective when started early.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) lists these warning signs of mental illness:
- Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in others.
- A drop in functioning at work or school. For example, quitting sports, failing in school or having difficulty doing familiar tasks.
- Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought that are hard to explain.
- Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch.
- Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity.
- A vague feeling of being disconnected from yourself or your surroundings—a sense of unreality.
- Illogical or magical thinking, such as exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events.
- Fear or suspiciousness of others, or a strong nervous feeling.
- Uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior.
- Dramatic changes in sleep and appetite, or deterioration in personal hygiene.
- Rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings.
If you or anyone you know has several of these warning signs, an evaluation by a mental health professional is in order, says the APA.