Mental Illness Is Not a Four-Letter Word. Know the Warning Signs.

Washington DC Anxiety Therapy“Mental illness isn’t something that can happen to me. Not to my family.”

The thing is, it could happen. You might be surprised to learn just how common mental disorders are; an estimated 54 million Americans suffer from some form of mental disorder in a given year.

Even given these numbers, most families are caught unaware and unprepared to cope with learning their loved one has a mental illness. There will be challenges, physical and emotional, and you might often feel vulnerable to the opinions and judgments of others, but through it all, the most important thing to remember is this:

There is hope, and there is help for coping with mental illness.

Mental illness is not a four-letter word.

A mental illness is a disease, plain and simple — one that causes mild to severe disruptions in thought or behavior, and can inhibit the sufferer’s ability to meet life’s ordinary demands and routines. The American Medical Association recognizes more than 200 forms of mental illness, the more common of which are depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.

Such illness can be caused by, or related to any number of factors such as excessive stress, genetics, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these things. A patient can often be treated to full recovery with the aid of an experienced Washington DC psychotherapist.

What are the warning signs of mental illness?

There are a number of physical and psychological signs that may indicate the presence of a mental illness. It’s especially important to pay attention to sudden variations in thoughts and behavior; review the lists of potential signs below, but keep in mind that it’s the onset of drastic change that might indicate a serious problem.

In Adults, Young Adults and Adolescents:

  • Confused thinking
  • Prolonged depression (sadness or irritability)
  • Feelings of extreme highs and lows
  • Excessive fears, worries and anxieties
  • Social withdrawal
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Strong feelings of anger
  • Strange thoughts (delusions)
  • Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
  • Growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Numerous unexplained physical ailments
  • Substance abuse

In Older Children:

  • Inability to cope with problems and daily activities
  • Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
  • Excessive complaints of physical ailments
  • Changes in ability to manage responsibilities – at home and/or at school
  • Defiance of authority, truancy, theft, and/or vandalism
  • Intense fear
  • Prolonged negative mood, often accompanied by poor appetite or thoughts of death
  • Frequent outbursts of anger

In Younger Children:

  • Changes in school performance
  • Poor grades despite strong efforts
  • Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
  • Excessive worry or anxiety (i.e. refusing to go to bed or school)
  • Hyperactivity
  • Persistent nightmares
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

If you or someone you know is in crisis now, seek help immediately. Call the experienced psychotherapists in Washington DC and Bethesda, Maryland for guidance and mental health counseling.

If you or someone you know is suicidal, the best place to go is to your nearest emergency room. You may also find these resources helpful:

National Suicide Hotlines USA
Toll-Free / 24 hours a day / 7 days a week

1-800-SUICIDE
1-800-784-2433

1-800-273-TALK
1-800-273-8255

SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION

Call 202-629-1949