Early Signs of Mental Illness

One early sign of mental illness is a radical change in personality or activity. If a gregarious person spends more and more time alone, or an overweight person stops eating, that may be cause for alarm.

  1. General Indications

    • According to an article in Mental Health America, Factsheet---Mental Illness and the Family: Recognizing Warning Signs and How to Cope, early warning signs include confused thinking, prolonged sadness, mood swings, excessive anxiety or fear, withdrawal, denial and extreme change in eating or sleeping habits.


    • Warning signs of clinical depression can include sadness, hopelessness, withdrawal from friends, irritability, guilt, low self-esteem, indecision, lack of energy, frequent physical symptoms and talk of suicide and death.

    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is indicated by repetitive activities, such as washing rituals or checking locks or electrical appliances.

    Bipolar Disorder

    • It may begin with mood swings ranging from hypermania (excessive activity) to hypomania (deep depression) that grow progressively worse.


    • The person begins to imagine things that, in reality, have not happened. She may accuse someone of stealing or "being against her" in some way.


    • The victim may begin to hear voices that exist only to him.

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  • Photo Credit Posture of hopelessness

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