Often, it can be very challenging to recognize that an individual — even a close loved one — is dealing with a mental health problem or know when to help. There are many people who prefer to suffer in silence, for fear of burdening their loved ones or being seen as weak.
Others may try to mask their symptoms, putting on a brave face for the world while they suffer inside. Some people may even be so consumed by mental health issues that they do not realize that they need help, and think that everyone feels the way they do to some degree.
If you’re worried about a loved one and their mental health, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs that they may need help. Here are 10 of the most common signs that your loved one needs mental health treatment.
1. Changes in sleeping patterns
One of the first things you might notice is that your loved one’s sleeping patterns have changed. They may be sleeping more or less than usual, and their sleep may be less restful. Insomnia is a common symptom of mental illness, so if you notice your loved one is having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, it can be worth discussing it with them and encouraging them to mention it to a professional.
2. Changes in eating habits
Another common sign of mental illness is when someone changes their eating habits. There is a possibility that your loved one will lose their appetite altogether, or they might begin binge eating on a regular basis. They may also make poor food choices, such as opting for sugary or fatty foods over healthy ones, which can contribute to poor nutrition and exacerbate physical and mental health issues.
3. Withdrawing from social activities
If your loved one suddenly starts withdrawing from normal social activities they used to engage in, it could be a sign that something is wrong. If this happens, they may lose interest in attending events they used to enjoy, and some may even stop visiting their friends and family altogether. This withdrawal can be a sign that your loved one is struggling to cope with their mental illness.
4. Changes in mood
Have you noticed your loved one seems to be experiencing more mood swings than usual? Are they quick to anger, or sad for no apparent reason? These changes in mood can be a sign that something under the surface is wrong. If you notice your loved one’s moods are affecting their day-to-day life, it’s important to reach out to them and encourage them to talk to a professional about any struggles they may be facing.
5. Changes in energy levels
If your loved one seems to have less energy than usual, it could be a sign that they’re struggling mentally. They may find it hard to get out of bed in the morning, or they may feel exhausted after completing simple tasks. If you notice your loved one’s energy levels seem different and it’s having a significant impact on their life, it may be a sign they’re close to burning out.
6. Changes in social media use
If you notice your loved one isn’t using social media as much or has started behaving irregularly on social media, it may be an indicator that they are having mental health difficulties. They may start posting more negative or depressive content, or they may stop using social media altogether. Many people try to project an image of positivity online, even while they’re going through intense struggles of their own, so be sure to talk to your loved one if you have any concerns.
7. Unexplained physical symptoms
Mental illness can often manifest itself in physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue. If you notice your loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis and it’s impacting their quality of life, it’s important that they mention it to a professional and get a proper diagnosis.
8. Changes in alcohol or drug use
A loved one who starts taking alcohol or drugs more frequently than usual could be exhibiting signs of mental illness, especially if the behavior is uncharacteristic for them. They may be using substances as a way to cope with their symptoms, or they may be trying to self-medicate. If you’re concerned about your loved one’s alcohol or drug use, it’s important to reach out to a professional for help and may even require staging an intervention.
All of these signs should be taken seriously, and a professional should be consulted for help if you notice your loved one struggling with them.
At LAT we understand the impact that mental health problems have on both individuals and families alike. The state-of-the-art rehabilitation techniques, comprehensive training, and in-home family support offered by our Team provides a vital support network to lessen the load on loved ones and build a pathway to progress for those living with mental illness. When you work with our Team you can trust that your family is safe in the hands of highly qualified professionals with a proven track record of successfully helping people gain self-confidence, find direction, and make progress along their journeys to recovery. Contact our Clinical Team today to get started!