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How To Recognize Mental Illness

What is Mental Illness?

Mental illnesses are classified as health conditions that involve emotions, behaviors, and or thoughts. According to psychiatry, 1 in 5 people deal with some form of mental illness in their life, and approximately 44 million Americans have a mental illness. It is nothing to be ashamed of.

For those dealing with mental illness, their brain structure has changed in some way that changes the way they act, think, or feel. Mental Health America states that there are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Some of these include depression, anxiety, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, and trauma-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress.

Symptoms of Mental Illness

There is no easy way to determine if someone is dealing with mental illness. But some warning signs may help you to determine if you or a loved one needs help.
Dealing with mental illness often means sudden changes in moods and behaviors. This could be due to a triggering event or circumstance. These changes or symptoms may include:


  • Prolonged feelings of sadness
  • Inability to cope with daily life
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Substance use
  • Body aches
  • Unintentional weight loss or weight gain
  • Sudden changes in emotions
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Insomnia
  • Low energy
  • Excessive worry
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and previously liked activities 
  • Feeling disconnected

Those experiencing the difficulty of mental illness often have their everyday life affected. They often experience trouble functioning in everyday life—this may include difficulty performing at work, school, or in other activities. Mental illness has a way of isolating people. They often feel disconnected from others and even from their former selves. Withdrawal from social interactions and a loss of interest in activities are common in those with mental illness. Apathy often accompanies mental illnesses.

Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

Often, those dealing with mental illnesses will unintentionally go down the road of substance abuse. The two are closely linked. It is common for those dealing with mental illness to use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, which can lead to substance abuse. When you are dealing with both mental illness and substance abuse, that is referred to as dual diagnosis. Learn more about dealing with a dual diagnosis here.


There are many treatments and therapies for mental illnesses. The best course of action will differ depending on the person and the mental illness they are dealing with. If you or a loved one is dealing with mental illness, seek help. Specific therapies, medication, and other treatments can make a world of difference. Reaching out to get professional help is the first step. Take your life back and start living your best life with your mental illness.

One of the best places to recover from mental illness and substance abuse is the Ardu Recovery Center. Our multi-therapy method has helped many people down the road to recovery. Can us today to learn what we can do for you.