What are the Different Mental Health Symptoms?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 July 2019
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Most people know if they have strong symptoms of mental health that suggest wellness, which include things like ability to focus, balanced mood, good sleep habits, and a general sense of emotional well being. When people are considering mental health symptoms, they are typically are searching for symptoms that are suggestive of mental illness. This article will focus on the main symptoms of potential mental illness, while noting that many of these symptoms can indicate other issues too.

Many mental health symptoms may overlap with more than one illness. Diseases where there may be some relationship of symptoms include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety/phobic disorders, depression and bipolar I and II disorders. Additionally, some features of bipolar I disorder may share symptoms in common with schizophrenia when a person is in a manic state.

For PTSD, anxiety, depression and bipolar disorders, people may experience sadness or depression that can’t be explained by their current situation. Experts suggest that consistent inadequate sleep may be one of the most reliable predictors or diagnostic factors for depression. People may also experience mental health symptoms like hopelessness, rage, loss of interest in hobbies or activities once enjoyed, more frequent illness, generalized pain, and suicidality.


Some of these feelings may cross over to the person with anxiety, and certainly could be present in someone with PTSD. A person with panic disorder or PTSD is also likely to have difficulty with panic attacks, which could occur with great frequency. Additionally, the person with PTSD may have experiences of flashbacks or a sense that they’re re-experiencing former trauma, and this may cause great mental anguish and uncharacteristic behavior.

Mental health symptoms of bipolar disorder are usually associated with a rise and fall in mood level. In a rise, the person with bipolar I experiences mania, and with bipolar II, hypomania. In true mania, delusional thinking can occur and the person may feel invulnerable. Bad choices of a variety of types occur, including placing oneself at physical risk. In a manic state, symptoms like flight of ideas, where the person skips from one idea to the next or feels their thinking patterns are extremely rapid, may be present too. Bipolar depression is like other forms of depression, and can be misdiagnosed as depression if a person isn’t cycling into manic or hypomanic states.

In mania and schizophrenia, people often have different types of delusional thoughts. Those with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may have thoughts that can border on delusional, which in some people, can cause them to act in ritualistic ways. OCD also has some features in common with the anxiety disorders, with which it is more properly classed.

There are many other mental health symptoms that can accompany these disorders and other rarer disorders that may be present. These symptoms don’t always suggest mental illnesses. Occasionally, metabolic disorders mimic mental illness. Should such signs arise, it is very important to get medical attention. There are treatments for many of these conditions, most often a combination of psychotherapy and medication works best.



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