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Signs You May Be Struggling With Mental Health Challenges

mental health challenges

Signs You May Be Struggling With Mental Health Challenges

Telling the difference between normal behaviors and behaviors associated with mental health challenges isn’t a walk in the park. However, some common signs might indicate that you are struggling with your mental health. Learning about early symptoms of mental health challenges and seeking help can help prevent the escalation of these disorders. Early intervention may also delay or prevent major mental illnesses. Now, how do you know that you or your loved one might be struggling with mental health challenges? Read along to learn how.

Signs of Mental Health Challenges

Substance Abuse

Most people tend to abuse alcohol and other substances when they are struggling with mental health challenges. If you suddenly find yourself turning to alcohol as a coping mechanism, then you might be at risk of developing mental health challenges. Alcohol and other substances may also contribute to the development of certain mental challenges such as depression and anxiety.


If you notice a sudden withdrawal from social gatherings and life in general, it’s an indicator of a possible mental health challenge. People with depression, psychotic disorder, bipolar disorder, and other mental problems isolate themselves from other people. They also refuse to participate in social activities. During this period, they need immediate intervention before these individuals harm themselves in isolation.

Feeling Anxious or Worried

It’s normal to get worried or stressed from time to time. But when you experience prolonged worry, you’ll probably experience anxiety which is a sign of mental health problems. Symptoms of anxiety include shortness of breath, sweating, headache, dizziness, heart palpitations, racing mind, restlessness, and diarrhea. If you are experiencing prolonged worry that doesn’t go away on its own, seek a doctor’s intervention.

Signs of Mental Health Challenges

Emotional Outbursts

Change in emotions is also normal, but sudden mood swings can indicate a mental health challenge. For instance, when someone is happy and suddenly develops anger without a valid reason, it isn’t normal. People with depression may cry from time to time without a good reason.

Feeling Guilty or Worthless

Sentiments such as “It’s my fault,” “I’m a failure,” or “I’m worthless” may indicate a mental problem such as depression. If you or your loved one often criticize or blame themselves, they may need urgent intervention. In serious cases, these individuals might hurt themselves or commit suicide. These statements are associated with suicidal individuals hence the need for quick intervention.

Change in Weight and Appetite

Some people with mental health problems experience a change in weight and appetite. Some lose some weight while others gain some. On the other hand, some individuals tend to lose appetite, and others overeat. Though these changes are normal and can also indicate other health challenges besides the ones associated with mental health challenges, they are common in people with depression and anxiety.

Sleep Problems

Experiencing sleep problems for too long might indicate mental health challenges. While most people view sleep problems as a lack of sleep alone, too much sleep may also indicate a problem. For instance, insomnia can be a sign of anxiety and alcohol abuse, while too much or too little sleep can be a sign of a sleeping disorder or depression.

Signs of Mental Health Challenges

Behavioral Change

Early symptoms of mental disorders may include behavioral change. Don’t make a change in one’s behavior lightly. For example, if an individual always likes to keep their room clean and neat, and suddenly they seem not to care about it anymore, you should try to find out why. Start the conversation about seeking help before the matter gets out of hand.


Feeling unhappy, depressed, or irritated for more than two weeks is a sign of a mental disorder. This is especially the case if unhappiness interferes with your daily activity. You may also lack motivation and energy, leading to a loss of interest in things that you treasure. If you feel unhappy all the time, seek professional help to determine the cause. Other underlying health challenges may cause unhappiness too.

Lose Of Interest in Hobbies

People with mental health disorders may experience a loss of interest in hobbies and other things that they love doing. This is mainly due to a lack of energy and motivation. For example, someone may be into swimming or evening walks, but suddenly, they lose interest. If you discover this, visit your doctor so that they can advise on the way forward.

Increased Sensitivity

Mental health disorders may cause one to experience irritation over sounds, touch, smell, and sight.


If you are always nervous, you might need to seek a doctor’s intervention to determine the cause. Other underlying mental health problems might also cause a feeling of nervousness.

Suicidal Thoughts

People with suicidal thoughts are likely to have mental problems. These thoughts are often due to feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, and prolonged sadness. These individuals need to seek help as soon as possible.

How to Improve Mental Health At Home

Not every symptom mentioned above may mean that you definitely have mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. But experiencing multiple of them means that you need a change in the lifestyle before you develop any mental health problem. One of the leading ways to care for your mental health is by developing healthy habits. They include:

  • Eating a healthy balanced diet
  • Having 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep
  • Staying hydrated 24/7
  • Avoiding too much alcohol
  • Meditation
  • Talking to someone you trust when you feel as if something is wrong

Mental Health Challenges – Final Words

Experiencing one or two of the mentioned symptoms is not a clear diagnosis that you have any mental disorder. However, you may need further evaluation to determine the cause of such symptoms. If an individual experiences several of these symptoms at a given time, they might find it difficult to concentrate or relate to others. They should seek help as soon as possible to avoid developing mental disorders. Individuals with suicidal thoughts require immediate intervention. 

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Kaitlen Knowles, Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW (she, her), Rochester, NY
Agata Slezak, Clinical Psychologist, Heilpraktiker (Psychotherapie), Sexologist, Berlin, DE

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