5 Signs of Mental Illness

We all have feelings — positive and negative reactions to stressful situations. A mentally healthy person gives those feelings room to express themselves and considers what they tell them. But when do extremes become a mental illness for which you need treatment? Be on the lookout for these five common signs that you may have a mental illness.

1. Constant Anxiety, Worry or Unhappiness

Anxiety is the emotion of fear in overdrive. It’s more than just feeling stressed in a typically stressful situation. It’s excessive worrying in response to normal daily events to the point that they become stressful — or certainly more stressful than they need to be.

Anxiety is often characterized by racing thoughts, obsessive thinking, and physiological symptoms such as increased heart rate, high blood pressure, shaking, inability to sleep, and sweating.

This can have an adverse effect on you if it prevents you from accomplishing daily tasks or goals. And left unmanaged, it can cause significant damage to your physical health.

Younger folks are usually associated with anxiety due to their low socioeconomic status, being single, and many stressful events that can cause excessive worry. These younger people are still learning life skills like how to manage stress and live confidently.

But many people get to adulthood having never developed these skills because of factors like abuse, trauma, poor role models, or substance use.

If you have developed an anxiety disorder, know that you’re not alone:

  • 3.1% of the US population has generalized disorder. Only 43% are getting the treatment they need.
  • 2.7% have panic disorder
  • 8.7% have phobia disorder
  • 6.8% have social anxiety


2. Frequent Mood Changes

Emotions are always in motion and transient, so it’s natural to feel happy sometimes and sad other times. A mood change is different. It’s when your emotions get stuck at an extreme for no apparent reason, and you feel like you can’t snap out of it. Or you do switch to a different emotion briefly, only to snap back into an extreme emotion you can’t seem to escape.

Excessive mood swings may vary from day-to-day or even hour-to-hour. They are considered problematic if the emotions experienced are polar opposites and interfere with your ability to function.

For example, if your friend just told you her grandmother passed, and you’re stuck in extreme happiness and can’t switch to sadness to empathize with your friend, that’s problematic.

You might also feel extremely happy about something like getting a compliment. But then you’re sad the next moment because you feel a lack of ability to hold on to those happy emotions.

If these mood changes prevent you from getting out of bed, seeing friends, or doing tasks, you should see one of our professionals at Jonas Hill.

3. Social Withdrawal

Social withdrawal is a very common phenomenon where you’re feeling the urge to isolate yourself away from family or friends. Social withdrawal can be unhealthy when it becomes a constant lack of motivation or anxiety to see your friends/family, and you’re making an effort not to be involved, like blocking people or making up fake excuses (lying) when you really have nowhere better to be.

4. Changes in Diet or Daily Habits

If you notice a sudden weight loss or gain without a conscious decision to do so, you should speak to a doctor as your dietary habits could be changing. Usually, there’s a reason, which could be physical, mental, or emotional.

Certain mental illnesses change diet habits, which could become unhealthy if the weight gain/loss is significant.

Just to name a few:

  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD


5. Inability to Focus – Detachment from Reality

If you are having trouble focusing on a task or are detached from reality, this may indicate a mental disorder.

As we said, you should listen to your emotions. However, sitting around and thinking too long about your feelings and other events can detach you from the task at hand. You end up “living” in the past or future. But you know what? The present moment is when you have the power to live your life and change your circumstances.

Mental Health Specialists at Jonas Hill

Do you think you may have a mental illness? Know that according to World Health Organization (WHO), severe mental illness can shave 10-25 years off your life. You deserve mental health support. At Jonas Hill, we are here to help. You are heard here.

We encourage you to learn more about the Treatment Options we offer (inpatient and outpatient) and when you’re ready, reach out.

Jonas Hill Hospital & Clinic, a division of Caldwell Memorial Hospital, provides our community with safe, dignified and integrated care for adult patients experiencing an acute mental health need. We provide hope, treatment, and healing through a holistic program of evidence-based psychiatric treatment, team-based medical care, and education provided by engaging and dedicated professionals in a safe and healing environment. Contact Jonas Hill Hospital and Clinic today at (828) 394-6722 for more information. A safe space to heal.