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Five Mental Health Signals You Should Never Ignore

September 26, 2017 | forbes.com

There are hundreds of symptoms which can indicate a mental health issue is developing, but it can be difficult to know when to pay attention to them and when they are not a concern.

Here is a relatively simple way to be able to assess whether you are experiencing mental health symptoms which you should not ignore and for which you may want to seek help.

First, these are the five general aspects of your life where you would be most likely to notice difficulties:

  • Mood
  • Energy
  • Appetite
  • Sleep
  • Sex drive

These five areas are highly affected by fluctuations in stress, hormones, physical health and illness, trauma, and genetic predispositions toward mental health issues. Often problems in any of these areas can affect a person’s behavior and ability to function cognitively, emotionally, socially, and physically.

To assess for mental health symptoms that you should not ignore, look for these five things within those five areas above:

  1. Extremes: For example, mood or energy too high or too low, appetite out of control or non-existent, sleeping all the time or only a few hours, hyperactive sex drive or non-existent.
  2. Rapid shifts: Mood alternates between high, low, or normal rapidly. Sleep is unpredictable and shifts between insomnia and hypersomnia quickly.
  3. Abnormality: Something about your symptoms in the particular area is very different from how you normally are, or you believe it is simply not normal.
  4. Dysfunctionality: It is preventing you from functioning normally in some important area of your life (work, school, home, personal life, relationships).
  5. Concern: Others close to you are expressing concern about your habits, presentation, or behavior. You may not always be able to assess the first four things on this list accurately if there is a mental health issue occurring, so it pays to listen to those close to you and ask why they are concerned.
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