Imagine sitting in rush-hour traffic and suddenly feeling an overwhelming desire to take off your seat belt and open a window or door. Or sitting with coworkers at lunch when a sense of panic takes over and drives you away from the table. The next move becomes a critical one, and for some people with these mental health symptoms, the next move can be using drugs and alcohol to cope with these feelings. Although they may not realize it, these signs could have have manifested themselves in different ways well before their latest appearance. Today we’re going to talk about how to spot the symptoms that signal that an individual’s mental health needs attention urgently.
6 Changes to Look for When Assessing Mental Health
Sleep disruptions, loss of self-worth, persistent anxiety, and changes to mood and personality can be telltale signs of a mental health disorder.
It’s common for these types of disorders to be accompanied by signs of addiction as the relationship between mental health and addiction is well documented. If you know someone with a substance use disorder who may be suffering from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or any other mental health concern, you can support them in finding help through Origins’ dual diagnosis treatment.
Below are a few indicators that an individual might need to see a mental health professional to be properly assessed and receive help.
1. Their sleep often gets interrupted.
One of the first symptoms to assess is how well or how poorly a person is sleeping. Signs of depression or anxiety can come from a lack of adequate sleep or sleeping (or staying in bed) for extended periods of time. It’s helpful to take note of how they feel on a day following too little sleep. Pay attention to what they may do to compensate for exhaustion and any accompanying behaviors, such as drinking or using drugs, that they may use to “get through” the day.
2. Their level of anxiety is high.
Unlike typical anxiety, anxiety that appears regularly and isn’t connected to a specific issue in your life can be a sign of needing mental health attention. This form of anxiety can lead someone to isolate themselves from others. It can also lead to drinking alone or feeling the need to rely on substances to cope with social anxiety. This relationship between mental health and addiction is common, and many people who seek help after seeing signs of addiction find that depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or another form of mental health disorder was already present and until then, undiagnosed.
3. Their mood changes in unexpected ways.
One way to measure a mood change is looking at how they reacted to a situation now and how they reacted to a similar situation in the past. Their response may seem abrupt or out of character or more intense than the circumstances demand. Also, look at what follows or accompanies these mood swings; a need to use drugs or alcohol suggests a co-occurring disorder treatment could be a reasonable next step.
4. Their personality changed in an obvious way.
While you can’t assess what they’re thinking, you can see the ways someone’s behavior changes and these changes can suggest the need for mental health attention. An affectionate person might become distant and detached, a thoughtful person may become inconsiderate, and someone you would describe as courageous may start exhibiting signs of fearfulness. As they are struggling with whatever form of mental health disorder that may be present, you may be able to see how the connection between mental health and addiction is significantly affecting them.
5. Their weight appears to be fluctuating.
Weight gain or loss can be connected to food consumption or lack thereof, but it can also be a sign of someone’s lack of self-care. Someone with an undiagnosed mental health issue, such as depression, could turn to drinking daily and be suffering from malnutrition as part of their weight loss. Significant changes to the body can be life-threatening and warning signs like these ones should prompt you to help them seek treatment for both mental health and addiction.
6. Their self-worth has dropped dramatically.
You may hear consistent critical comments when they talk about themselves, in how they label themselves. They may routinely blame themselves for something that’s not their responsibility. Negative self-talk can send someone into a negative spiral of deprecating and hopeless thoughts. They may seem preoccupied with guilt or mention wanting to harm themselves. This type of talk should never be taken lightly, regardless of whether it’s said under the influence of drugs or alcohol or not.
Apart from these tell-tale signs of an unhealthy mental state, it is important to know that that there are many resources and health professionals available for consultation, talk-based therapies, and other forms of healing. Please know that you are not alone if you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, and that it is courageous to reach out to a medical professional for help.
About Origins Behavioral HealthCare
Origins Behavioral HealthCare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1296.