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Mental health disorders can affect people from every walk of life. Mental health is a combination of one’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. If you are struggling with poor mental health, it can affect every aspect of your life. Negative thought patterns can affect your stress levels, your ability to maintain healthy relationships, and your ability to handle your responsibilities well.
Chances are very high that you will struggle with a mental health challenge at some point in your life. It is normal to be affected by changes or traumatic events in your life. You might feel depressed, lonely, or anxious. These feelings might start to impact your day-to-day life in damaging ways. Sometimes when you are in the middle of a significant mental health challenge, it can be difficult to determine when or if you need support from a mental health professional.
Early Warning Signs of Poor Mental Health
It is crucial to be mindful of the early warning signs of poor mental health. For most mental health disorders, the earlier you can seek help and start treatment, the better your odds of recovering. There are some red flags that you can watch for that may signify your mental health is in danger. These include:
- Dramatic changes in your sleep habits
- Disengaging from people and activities that you used to enjoy
- Having low energy levels with no apparent cause
- Smoking, drinking alcohol, or using drugs more to self-medicate
- Feeling unable to concentrate or process information
- Serious changes in your diet, like eating too much junk food
- Feeling constantly anxious, stressed, or depressed
- Having low self-esteem and self-confidence
These early warning signs can be very difficult to experience, but more importantly, they can easily lead to more serious conditions, such as:
- Major depressive disorder
- Substance use disorder (SUD)
- Anxiety disorders
It is crucial to figure out what is causing your negative feelings and develop healthy coping skills. A qualified team of mental health professionals can help you do that.
When to Seek Support from a Mental Health Professional
There is nothing wrong or shameful about seeking help for mental health. You should think of going to the doctor for a mental challenge the same way you would think about going to the doctor for an infection. When early warning signs turn into symptoms that are significantly impacting your life, it is time to seek support from a professional mental health expert. To figure out if your life is being impacted, you can focus on three critical areas, your personal life, your professional life, and your coping skills.
Evaluate Your Relationships
When examining your personal life, you can first take a look at the relationships with the people closest to you. You might be fighting with your significant other more than usual, leading to chaos in your home. Finding it difficult to enjoy the time spent with your family members is an important factor to consider. If you have started disengaging from people or activities that you used to enjoy, you might have lost some friendships along the way.
Assess Your Professional Performance and Relationships
Declining mental health can affect your ability to function in a professional setting. You could find that you are unable to meet deadlines or perform up to expectations as you could previously. Your working relationships with co-workers may be deteriorating to the point it is impeding your ability to do your job well. If you are feeling constantly overwhelmed or overstimulated by the responsibilities that you once had no problem handling, that is important to recognize.
Examine Your Current Coping Skills
There are many different coping skills that you might utilize to handle stress. If you find yourself engaging in addictive behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, or even playing video games at the expense of other priorities in your life, you are utilizing unhealthy coping skills. Having explosive emotional outbursts or disengaging from any emotions are also unhealthy coping mechanisms. If what you are doing to make yourself feel better is not helping you recognize, process, and improve your situation, chances are pretty good that they are making things worse.
Recognizing a Mental Health Crisis
There are times when you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need to seek help immediately. Any time you find yourself having thought about hurting yourself or others is a crisis that needs to be addressed at once. If you are having suicidal thoughts, that is considered a mental health emergency. Experiencing severe mental health symptoms — such as hallucinations, mania, psychosis, or extreme depression — are also causes to seek immediate medical treatment.
If you are able to get in touch with your mental health profession or your general practitioner, you should do so immediately. Make sure you are very clear about the fact that you are experiencing a mental health crisis that is an emergency. If you are unable to see your personal doctors for any reason, you need to call 911 or visit your local emergency room. A mental health crisis is not something to be taken lightly and needs to be handled by professionals with proper training and knowledge of how to handle mental health emergencies. Do not wait; get help.
Trust Yourself and Your Loved Ones
When determining if your mental health struggle is an early warning sign, a symptom of a mental disorder, or a mental health crisis, most of the time, you can trust your gut instinct. If you are considering the possibility that your struggle is bad enough to seek help, you can err on the side of caution and talk with a medical professional about your concerns. If you are experiencing an altered mental state, such as extreme depression or suicidal thoughts, you may need to be prepared to let a loved one make that judgment call. If someone you love is concerned about your welfare and is telling you to seek professional help, you need to take their advice.
If you have concerns about your mental health or a loved one’s mental health, there is help available for you. Getting support from qualified professionals is the best step you can take to get your life back on track. At Alter Wellness Care, we offer a variety of services for people struggling with their own mental health challenges and those who want to support a loved one facing mental health challenges. Our goal is to provide compassionate and understanding care to our clients. Call us today at (866) 311-3510 to find out how we can support you through any difficult time. We want to see you be the best version of yourself.