Difficulty maintaining relationships
Symptoms of mental illness can make it difficult to interact with others, and maintain relationships, which can lead to social isolation. It may be hard to hold a conversation, maintain interest in others, or just be present in social situations.
Loneliness and feeling isolated can be both a symptom and a contributing factor for conditions like anxiety and depression (3).
Everyone enjoys varying amounts of ‘alone time”, but if you notice that interactions seem overwhelming, and you’re pulling away from close friends and family on a regular basis, this can be a sign of a deeper mental health issue.
Difficulty functioning at work or school
Difficulty concentrating, focusing, or completing tasks can lead to problems at work or school. You may feel fatigued or have very low energy or motivation, compared to how you normally feel.
It may even be hard to keep up with household responsibilities and basic daily chores.
Sudden mood changes
Changes in mood, energy levels, and/or behavior can be a potential sign of mental health conditions. Exhibiting aggressive or violent behavior is one of the more noticeable mental illness warning signs, and it’s important to find out what’s at the root of these behavior changes.
Changes in eating or sleeping habits
Sleeping too much or too little, changes in appetite, restricting foods, or a significant weight gain or loss can all be warning signs of mental health problems.
Withdrawing from activities you normally enjoy
Mental health challenges can result in a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. Feelings of apathy or listlessness are common.
People who report feeling lonely, or who have a physically or mentally demanding lifestyle are at greater risk of serious mental health outcomes (4).
If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support from a trained counselor. If you or a friend or loved one is in immediate danger—call 911.
Can mental health change over time?
Mental health changes over a lifetime are a reality for every individual. Aging, periods of significant stress, the loss of a loved one, and every complex life experience in between influence your mental wellbeing (5).
Certain situations can trigger mental health problems, such as illness or an injury. Recent life changes appear to be an important element in explaining illness onset (6).
It’s important to be open and honest with yourself, your loved ones, and your doctor about changes you notice in behavior, and not to hesitate to reach out for support during rough times. We call all work to remove the stigma around mental health struggles to help those who need it—before symptoms become severe.
Want to change the way you think and feel? Try these 7 holistic tips.
Most mental illnesses don’t have a single cause, but are the result of multiple sources involving the following risk factors (3,7):
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Environmental factors like being a caregiver or living in an abusive home
- Loneliness or social isolation
- Stressful events, such as losing a loved one
- Chronic illness
- Genetic predisposition
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Childhood trauma
Sometimes, mental illnesses develop gradually. Other times, mental health problems don’t appear until after a triggering event.
More than half of all people in the U.S.have one or more of these risk factors, which makes it clear that mental wellness should be a top priority.
Steps to take when struggling with mental health
First, it’s important to take care of yourself. This includes the basics like eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and moving your body daily.
Next, here are some steps to help you navigate changes in mental health:
Get to know yourself – Your mental health is intertwined with your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Track your mood, and try to identify thought patterns, and what triggers changes in your feelings.
Seek professional help – A qualified holistic or integrative medicine doctor can assess your individual situation and make personalized recommendations.
- Get the support of an integrative team, including a Holistic Nutritionist, Acupuncturist, CranioSacral Therapist, and Integrative Health Coach.
- Evaluate hormones, diet & lifestyle, and other factors that affect your mood.
Avoid self-medicating – Avoid substances that alter your thinking, such as drugs or alcohol. Self-medicating can lead to dependence and is not a healthy coping mechanism.
Identify your coping mechanisms – We all have different ways of coping with various ups and downs. Do you tend to stress eat? Or go for a run, call a friend, or pour a drink? Every kind of coping skill has benefits and risks, so try to focus on how well your coping skills actually work for you, and not whether they’re considered “good” or “bad”.
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When to see a doctor
There’s never a bad time to meet with a therapist or doctor to discuss your mental health. You do not have to wait until your symptoms are severe. It’s greatly beneficial to begin treatment for mental health issues as early as possible. Ignoring mental health can have dire consequences if left untreated.
An integrative team of physicians can recommend therapy and medication, in addition to diet and lifestyle changes that best support your individual needs, such as:
- Hormone testing
- Health coaching or nutrition counseling
- Complementary therapies from Ayurveda & traditional Chinese medicine
It’s also important to find support from others. Family, friends, other professionals, or support groups can be a great help. Talking to others who are experiencing the same feelings as you can help you feel more connected and understood.
Learn more about conditions we treat: Depression
Integrative medicine for better mental health
Mental health is an important aspect of overall health. Just like you would go to the doctor for a physical check-up, it’s important to schedule regular mental health check-ups, too. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies when it comes to recognizing that something might be wrong.
It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious from time to time, but if your emotions are impacting your daily life in a negative way, it’s time to seek help. The good news is that most mental illnesses are treatable. If you think you might be experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources available, and your integrative team as CentreSpringMD can help design a treatment plan tailored to you.