How do you identify a mental disorder? Everyone goes through physical and emotional changes in life. One of the essential things about being human is dealing with the way emotions transform as we grow older. However, some individuals have weaknesses due to their genetic makeup or violent family background. For those predisposed to mental illnesses, their mental or emotional well-being may not be healthy.
Most people think that mental disorders or psychological conditions are rare. On the contrary, mental health challenges are common. According to an estimate, approximately 44 million Americans go through some mental disorders each year.
Most of the families of individuals who have a mental disorder are not prepared to cope with complicated symptoms. They do not want to see their loved ones struggling over the most trivial of situations. It can be emotionally and physically tiring and can make them feel vulnerable to rude comments.
What are mental disorders?
Mental disorders are brain-related conditions that influence decision making, thought processing, behaviors, and emotions. Since every human has a brain and functional nervous system, they can have mental health issues.
For individuals who have a mental disorder, their brains or neurological nerve impulses have changed. They are incapable of feeling, thinking, or acting in ways as others. For some people, this means suffering from unexpected and extreme mood changes. They may feel more worried or sad than usual. For others, it means not having a clear vision, being unable to communicate, or having bizarre ideas and explanations.
According to the studies conducted, there are over 200 categorized forms of mental disorders.
Some of the most common ones are bipolar disorder, depression, dementia, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia. Symptoms may change with mood, personality, habits, and social isolation.
To a significant extent, mental disorders may connect with extreme stress because of a specific condition or multiple events. Like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, mental disorders are frequently physical, psychological, and emotional.
Mental disorders may be an outcome of a response to environmental factors, biochemical irregularities, genetic factors, or a combined effect. With an appropriate treatment and care method, many individuals learn to deal with or recover from a psychological condition or mental disorder.
How to spot a mental disorder?
You cannot quickly tell if a person has a mental disorder. Unless the condition is quite obvious and severe, it takes a while to determine the issues. If you want to recognize whether an individual is going through a mental health problem, you should assess the following. These are some of the essential elements of any personality which are vital and critical.
- Process of thinking
- Emotional changes or mood swings
- Eating and sleeping patterns, along with behaviors
- Hallucinations or delusions
- Social isolation or withdrawal
- Routine responsibilities or activities
- Problems with physical diseases
- Alcohol use or drug abuse
Now, we go into every element’s detail and how they may present the prevalence of a mental disorder.
Step one: Examining the thinking process
If an individual is going through a mental disorder, confusion is one of the most common signs during the thinking process. Often, there are issues in paying attention, making decisions, or a manifestation of disorientation. These symptoms can influence the ability to gain normal memory functions.
According to the research carried out by the National Library of Health’s Medline Plus encyclopedia, confusion may be present because of multiple illnesses. Both mental and physical disorders can cause this state of mind. However, confusion generally initiates when something is interfering with the brain, including any psychiatric disorders.
If there is no apparent physical illness that may indicate a direct origination of confused thinking, it is vital to seek medical attention. It is imperative to get the underlying issue ruled out, as it can lead to severe consequences. Working with a doctor, you can also understand whether or not a mental disorder is present.
Step two: Observe emotional changes or mood swings
Everyone goes through emotional changes. There are good days and bad days at school, work, or even at home—still, sudden mood changes or adverse mood swings from being happy to unfortunate present a severe complication.
According to the statistics provided by Mental Health America, about 20% of the United States individuals go through depression symptoms per month. Bipolar disorder occurs in 1% of the population. However, mood swings are quite frequent and indicate other severe diseases, such as psychosis or schizophrenia.
If you notice that the mood swings are regularly occurring, and fluctuating rapidly, consult a psychologist. A mood disorder or any other mental health issue may be present, which is essential to note.
Step three: Evaluate eating and sleeping patterns along with behaviors.
Some behavioral changes are more evident than others. When a calm and composed individual starts to have anger surges continuously, it can be an apparent cause of concern. However, multiple behavioral changes that happen with mental disorders can be gradual. It is difficult to tell if there is any difference present in the personality.
By evaluating whether there are shifts in eating and sleeping patterns, doctors can identify subtle behavioral changes. For instance, if an individual previously a consistent eater suddenly stops eating, it could indicate the onset of a mental disorder.
Similarly, changes in sleeping patterns may indicate obsessive thoughts or an imbalance in neurological impulses. As presented in the Natural and Science of Sleep research, sleeping patterns or other behavioral responses can become different abruptly. Although this can be a pure phase for an individual, it is still crucial to monitor any changes. Any possible reason for putting the individual’s health at risk should assess if any extreme changes.
Step four: Identify hallucinations or delusions
These two signs are less subtle, and you will notice them if an individual has a mental disorder. When an individual is hallucinating, he/she is hearing voices or see people who are not even there!
Hallucinations that start to happen without any just cause may have a connection with a mental disorder. When individuals believe that someone is watching them, then they are experiencing delusions. These are often accurate indicators of a mental disorder.
According to the study provided by the Clinical Advisor, hallucinations do not always indicate a mental disorder. However, in combination with delusions, it is a sure sign that the individual has a mental disorder that should be treated right away.
Step five: Notice social isolation or withdrawal.
When individuals are going through new or consistent psychological symptoms or thoughts, they may lose interest in ordinary life. They may go through social isolation and withdraw from general interaction with people. Depending on the condition, the individual may begin going out or spending time with new acquaintances that are quite different.
The signs and symptoms in social isolation will be particularly true if the individual social isolation’s a drug abuse issue disorders and health complications may have connections, including those who have a sleep and nutritional problems. For such individuals, the reason for withdrawal is a need to change. They are finding some affirmation and support from particular people.
According to the studies conducted by Mental Health America, an individual with a personality disorder may go under isolation from family and friends all together. This can also happen with those trying to cope with anxiety, stress, and depressive episodes. Any sudden alterations in social groups or cutting off family and friends may present a mental disorder.
Step six: Look at routine responsibilities or activities
If you want to determine whether an individual has a mental disorder, you should look at their daily activities and responsibilities. If there has been a sudden change that did not exist before, something is wrong. This may be significant enough to develop physical incapability of performing routine tasks. Such individuals may find everyday responsibilities overwhelming or stressful.
If you think that a person has a hard time keeping up with daily activities, it is essential to consider their behavior. Mood swings, irritability, anger episodes, and isolation from family, a consultation or psychotherapy may rule out the mental disorder. If the inability to regulate routine responsibility is chronic, it may take time to deal with the actual problem.
Step seven: Measure problems with physical diseases
According to the information provided by Mayo Clinic, mental illnesses can often show symptoms of physical pain or any other physiological issues. Many people want to know the connection between your mental health and physical fitness. An individual who has a mental disorder may experience unexplained discomfort or pain, such as:
- Pain in neck or back
- Nausea or stomach pain
- Weakness in muscles
- General fatigue
In most cases, people cannot rule out what the actual cause is. However, it is crucial to consider whether the mental health aspects have anything to do with it. It is essential to get an assessment done for psychiatric disorders as a possible reason for unexplained physical diseases.
According to the studies provided by World Psychiatry, individuals with severe mental disorders have a higher occurrence of diseases. These may vary from nutritional and metabolic diseases to the respiratory tract and viral infections. Psychologists and health care consultants can further identify the connections for immediate improvements.
Step eight: Evaluation of drug abuse or use of alcohol
It is common for individuals going through a mental condition to turn to drugs or alcohol to subside the symptoms. These two things diminish the disturbing feelings that usually come from the disorder. For this reason, it is crucial for anyone who doubts a mental disorder to note whether or not there is a misuse of alcohol or prescription drugs.
Because drug abuse and substance use is a complicated mental condition on its own, it is vital to seek help immediately. However, it is also essential to highlight whether the individual may have a co-occurring mental health condition. This is because the underlying condition may be significant to cure substance use.
The need for medical disorder treatment
Once you have identified that the person you love is mentally disturbed with careful observation and analysis, you should seek professional assistance. In case of a suspected mental health problem, a psychiatric professional will guide you through the procedure. These individuals are incredibly resourceful and proficient in doing their jobs. With the help of rehabilitation and psychotherapy, treatment of behavioral or mental issues will be provided.
Conclusion, identification of a mental disorder-a step-by-step guide
Once the symptoms and signs are confirmed, family members or friends can acknowledge the issue and determine how long it has been happening. Counseling the person who is struggling should be the immediate goal. But before that, ask a family doctor for a suggestion on how to continue.
With a mutual agreement, schedule an appointment with the doctor and explain the doctor’s advice to the person. You can also arrange an intervention if there are any complications or rejections.
Although the recovery steps may seem harsh, mental disorders can be deadly and require immediate attention. By providing urgent care and medical assistance, you will do your part to ensure that the individual gets better. With medication, counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and multiple other techniques, the mental disorder’s complex outcomes can resolve.
When looking for a therapist or psychologist, talk to a few people to select the treatment’s right treatment. It may take time until you are comfortable, but the mental disorder symptoms and signs will go away once the patient focuses on the positive aspects of life.