Mental Illness Symptoms
Even people who know someone with mental illness, or who themselves have been diagnosed with it, often consider the condition shameful, which hinders access to treatment. In a survey done by the Boston Globe, nearly 40 percent of those surveyed said that they believe most mental illnesses are the result of character flaws and personality defects, and that the cycles of the moon influence people with manic-depressive illness. Those are the types of myths and misconceptions that need to be changed. People who suffer from mental illness should not be ashamed. Effective treatments are available.
It is important to know that mental illness is very common. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five people is affected by some form of mental illness during the course of a year. Only 5 percent of those suffering from a mental health disorder will seek the treatment of a mental health professional, even though 25 percent of all visits to a primary care physician involve patients with a diagnosable behavioral health disorder.
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by three major groups of symptoms:
- Trembling, twitching, or feeling shaky; muscle tension, ache or soreness; restlessness and tiring easily
- Shortness of breath or "smothering" sensations; rapid heart beat, sweating or cold clammy hands; dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea or other abdominal distress; hot flashes or chills; trouble swallowing or "lump" in throat
- Feeling keyed up or on edge; having an exaggerated startle response; having problems concentrating; having trouble falling or staying asleep; general irritability
There is a difference between "feeling blue" and clinical depression. If any of the following symptoms occur frequently, or persist for more than a week, depression is a strong possibility.
- Feelings of worthlessness, isolation, loneliness or awkwardness
- Pessimism about yourself, the world and your future
- Difficulty in concentrating, carrying out daily routines, making decisions
- Changes in sleeping habits, trouble getting to sleep or staying awake
- Changes in eating patterns, overeating or loss of appetite
- Loss of interest in family, friends and events
- Unexplained crying spells
- Thoughts of suicide