Mental Health Disorders Signs & Symptoms

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) describes mental health disorders as conditions that affect the way you feel, behave or think. Common mental health conditions include depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

When you don’t receive professional support, living with a mental illness can significantly impact your overall quality of life. This can be even more challenging if you are struggling with both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, or a co-occurring addiction. 

At Sierra at Scottsdale Outpatient Care, we serve adults age 18 and older of all genders whose lives have been disrupted by certain mental health concerns. We also support people who have a mental health disorder and a co-occurring addiction. The outpatient programming we provide promotes lasting healing. 

Signs of Mental Health Disorders

The signs of mental health disorders can vary considerably depending on a variety of factors, including the person’s age, the type of mental health disorder they have developed and the presence or absence of any co-occurring disorders.

Many outward signs of mental health disorders involve changes in mood and behavior. The following are among the more common signs of mental health disorders:

  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Elevated energy levels
  • Persistent fatigue or exhaustion
  • Altered sleep patterns (including sleeping too much or too little)
  • Significant change in appetite and resultant weight loss or gain
  • Acting with uncharacteristic anger, violence or recklessness
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Apparent lack of attention to hygiene or grooming

People who demonstrate signs of mental health disorders may be in crisis, and they should be brought to the attention of a qualified professional. With the right type and level of care, people whose lives have been impacted by signs of mental health disorders can achieve better health and improved quality of life.

Signs & Symptoms of a Mental Health Disorder

Although mental illness affects everyone differently, there are certain symptoms of mental health disorders that are common among people who are struggling with these conditions. Mental health disorder warning signs include:

  • Feeling empty, hopeless or worthless
  • Loss of pleasure or interest in hobbies
  • Trouble concentrating on important tasks
  • Difficulty getting quality sleep
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Chronic headaches or muscle pains
  • Stomach pain or digestive problems
  • Feeling exhausted despite having slept
  • Uncontrollable feelings of worry
  • Feeling irritable or having angry outbursts

While a person may not experience all these mental health disorder symptoms, it’s important to reach out for professional help at the first signs of a mental health disorder. Getting timely support can vastly improve your quality of life.

Mental Health Disorder Causes & Risk Factors

There’s no single reason why someone might struggle with a mental health disorder, but there are certain factors that can increase your risk for developing a mental illness. Common mental health disorder causes and risk factors include:

  • A personal or family history of mental illness
  • Preexisting chronic medical conditions
  • A history of childhood abuse or neglect
  • A history of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Lack of a strong support system
  • Experiencing a major life change or stressful life situation
  • Exposure to a traumatic event or multiple traumatic situations

Mental Health Disorder Statistics

  • The National Institute of Mental Health reported that nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. struggled with a mental health disorder in 2019.
  • More women (24.5%) than men (16.3%) suffered from a mental illness during that same period.
  • Of the adults who met the criteria for a mental health disorder during that time frame, less than half (44.8%) received professional support in the previous year.

Effects of a Mental Health Disorder

If you don’t seek professional help, the effects of a mental health disorder can keep you from living a full, productive life. Common mental health disorder effects include:

  • Trouble performing at work
  • Continually showing up late to work
  • Difficulty holding a job
  • Financial hardship or homelessness
  • Strained relationships with friends or family
  • Trouble building healthy relationships
  • A growing sense of isolation or loneliness
  • Substance abuse or a substance use disorder
  • Development of another mental health condition
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts

The effects of a mental health concern can be devastating. But with professional assistance, you may be able to prevent some of the long-term negative effects of a mental health disorder.

What Happens If the Mental Health Disorder Symptoms Return?

Healing from a mental health disorder is often called a journey because the process doesn’t happen all at once. As you discover your path to healing, you may find that your symptoms return at some point along the way.

If this happens, know that you haven’t failed. These are temporary bumps along the road, and the skills you learned while taking part in treatment can help prevent these setbacks from becoming long-term problems.

By working with professionals, you can learn how to manage intense emotions and gain tools to reduce anxiety or stress. These skills can ground you in moments that may feel overwhelming.

However, if you’re still struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to your care team. These compassionate professionals can help you identify what may have caused your symptoms to return and help you get back on the road to recovery.

Common Underlying or Co-Occurring Disorders

Struggling with a mental health concern can be difficult enough, but many people have the added challenge of living with a substance use disorder, or a co-occurring addiction.

Some turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate mental health symptoms, while others start to experience symptoms of a mental health disorder after abusing drugs or alcohol.

Whatever the reason someone develops a co-occurring addiction, the combination of multiple conditions can make it hard to get through each day.

At Sierra at Scottsdale Outpatient Care, you can receive customized outpatient care that addresses all the concerns you are currently facing.

We understand how distressing it can be to have a mental health concern and a co-occurring substance use disorder. With our help, you can rediscover hope for a better, brighter tomorrow.

This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Sierra at Scottsdale Outpatient Care.