Do I Have a Mental Illness, or Am I Overreacting?

Do I Have a Mental Illness, or Am I Overreacting?

If you’ve ever felt unlike yourself or experienced a period of new and unwanted emotions, you may have questioned if you’re showing signs of a mental illness. A number of situations can contribute to this feeling such as a loss or major life change. But it can be hard to tell if these feelings are the result of underlying issues. Regardless of the reason, you may have asked yourself, “Do I have a mental illness, or am I overreacting?” Below you’ll learn how to recognize the symptoms of mental illness and how they can be treated.

Types of Mental Illness

Types of Mental Illness

Some mental health conditions, such as anxiety, are very common. In fact, an estimated 20 percent of adults in the United States experience symptoms of anxiety. However, other mental health conditions are less common. Their symptoms may be more difficult to recognize without the help of a professional. A professional can assess your symptoms according to the appropriate diagnostic criteria to help you get the treatment you need.

If you’re unsure of what type of conditions are considered a mental illness, this list includes some of the disorders that are commonly treated at a mental health center:

Mental illness looks different for everyone. Moreover, symptoms of the same mental health condition appear differently for each person. These differences are influenced by the disorder itself and its severity, in addition to a variety of unique factors that impact each person. No matter the case, if you find yourself wondering, “Do I have a mental illness, or am I overreacting?”, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional.

Signs of Mental Illness

It’s not uncommon to experience changes in your emotions, thoughts, and behavior from time to time. This can happen after the loss of a loved one, a breakup, or another major change. In these cases, it can be normal to feel unlike yourself as you navigate new circumstances. However, it may be a cause for concern when these changes persist for more than two weeks and impact your ability to function. Often, signs of mental illness are subtle at first. It can take time for symptoms to worsen and become obvious. Therefore it’s important to reach out for help as soon as you notice something is amiss.

Although the symptoms of mental illness can be as diverse as the people who have them, some of the most common symptoms can be grouped into a few broad categories. This can make it easier to determine when it’s time to seek help. Or at the very least, answer the question, “Do I have a mental illness, or am I overreacting?”.

Mood Changes

One of the most common signs of mental illness includes changes to mood. At times, it’s possible to identify the cause of these mood shifts. For example, you may experience symptoms of anxiety or depression that are new to you as you grieve the death of a loved one. During this time you can experience a variety of common mood shifts while you process this loss.

Many people ask themselves during this time, “Do I have a mental illness, or am I overreacting?” But these changes aren’t only associated with grief. You can experience mood shifts for a number of reasons. Without additional symptoms, going through bouts of sadness, anger, or anxiety, is not necessarily a sign of mental illness.

However, these moods should lessen over time. The rule of thumb when it comes to assessing concern of is if changes persist for longer than two weeks. If this happens, it’s recommended that you seek a mental health professional to assess your symptoms. Additionally, if you’re unable to locate the source of these changes and they’re impacting your life, a professional can help you identify the underlying cause.

Engaging in Risky Behavior

High-risk behaviors are characterized by actions that increase the chances of injury or disease that subsequently lead to social problems, disability, or even death. The most common high-risk behaviors associated with mental illness include an increase in alcohol and drug use, engaging in violence, and risky sexual behavior. However there is a wide range of high-risk behaviors. Personality traits, genetics, environmental factors, and substance use can lead to risky behavior. 

Although anyone can make decisions that put the safety of themselves or others at risk, adults struggling with an underlying mental health disorder are more likely to engage in risky behavior. These behaviors can give individuals a sense of control or result from symptoms such as psychosis.

Loss of Daily Functioning

If you’re unable to get out of bed or lose the overall ability to function, it’s unlikely you’re overreacting to something happening in your life. In general, many mental health conditions cause individuals to struggle with their day-to-day life. This includes performing at work or school and completing household tasks.

For example, it’s not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to frequently call out of school or work because they feel sick. Anxiety can cause a variety of symptoms such as GI issues and the inability to sleep. Untreated anxiety as well as other disorders can cause similar symptoms that impact your daily functioning.

Many individuals ask themselves “Do I have a mental illness, or am I overreacting?”, in response to others accusing them of being lazy or attention-seeking. However, no one chooses to feel this way. Mental illness is not a choice. As a result, it’s important to seek help when you begin to struggle with daily tasks.

Do I Have a Mental Illness, or Am I Overreacting?

Do I Have a Mental Illness, or Am I Overreacting?

It’s important to note that only a mental health professional can diagnose a mental health condition. Therefore, the only way to receive a definite answer to the question, “Do I have a mental illness, or am I overreacting?”, is to get in touch with a professional at an accredited treatment center.

Even if you’re unsure your symptoms are serious enough to require treatment, it doesn’t hurt to receive guidance from a professional. Prolonged changes in your mood and behavior are often enough to prompt further investigation. If any of the examples above resonated with you, it may be beneficial to explore your options.

Start Recovery at Springbrook Behavioral Hospital

Springbrook Behavioral Hospital provides treatment for adults struggling with their mental health. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, you may benefit from the services offered at our recovery center. We offer a variety of adult psychiatric programs geared toward improving your mental wellness. Our team of licensed psychiatrists, therapists, and more create individualized plans using evidence-based methods.

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