Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from a severe or mild mental illness, and 23.2% reportedly admitted to facing a depressive episode in July 2022. These figures are alarming, and they are following an increasing trend. Caring for your wellbeing is an ongoing process, but recognizing signs that your mental health is deteriorating can help you take timely corrective action.
This blog will mention the most common signs, top causes, and tips on tackling the situation.
Signs that your Mental Health is Deteriorating
People experiencing mental health concerns have the most difficulty seeking help when things worsen, but awareness can help. Knowing tell-tale signs that your or your loved one’s mental health is deteriorating can alert you at the earlier stages and get you to take action.
Following are the most common indicators that you are suffering:
1. Significant Changes in Sleep or Appetite
Sleep cycles and eating habits are the first aspects to get affected when your mental health suffers. You might feel tired and sleepy all the time or find yourself unable to sleep. You may also experience restless sleep cycles, waking up every few hours and not getting the necessary rest.
In terms of appetite, you will either realize that you’re eating more or less than usual. ‘Stress eating is a common term used to describe excessive eating due to undue stress. Similarly, some people lose their appetite, causing the body to become deficient in essential nutrients.
2. Lack of Motivation to Practice Self-Care
Not being motivated to brush your hair, shower, or practice other personal care activities is a sign that your mental health is deteriorating. Such factors commonly happen when you feel utterly sad or hopeless and cannot muster the energy to perform such tasks.
3. Social Avoidance
If a person suddenly starts avoiding social commitments and refuses to meet others, they might be experiencing a mental health episode. If you feel you do not have the energy to socialize, meet and converse with people, and talk to your loved ones, you likely need help.
However, there are also chances you won’t want to take action when this happens, so please mention the possibility to a few loved ones you trust. This way, they will notice when your socializing patterns change and intervene to help.
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4. Frequent Disassociation
Have you been caught spacing out regularly when you’re supposed to be working, studying, or listening? Is this disassociation severe enough to impact your life and make it difficult to follow routines?
If the answer to both questions is yes, your mental health might deteriorate. Realizing it is the first step in the right direction, so become conscious of your actions and check how things change.
5. Heightened Anxiety
Extra sensitive senses and emotions are a sign of anxiety, which indicates a decline in your mental health. Heightened anxiety often causes unexplained feelings of restlessness, mood swings, inability to focus, and more.
The more you ignore it, the worse it will get, so it is better to address it in the beginning.
Reasons Why Your Mental Health Might be Affected
Mental health deterioration can have many causes, which is why most people struggle to understand how to manage them. However, the following are the primary categories most mental health concerns belong to (although there are exceptions).
1. Undiagnosed Mental Health Disorder
Several people continue to go undiagnosed for their mental health disorders for years despite the awareness. People with ADHD, depression, OCD, and other anxiety disorders are often told to tone down their personalities or behavior, even though it is beyond their control.
Unfortunately, untreated mental health concerns worsen with time until they reach a breaking point. That usually happens when people become too overwhelmed and cannot find a way to regulate things anymore.
2. Stressful Life Events
People often undermine the role stress, grief, anger, etc., play in our lives. In truth, stressful life events like a failing relationship, loss of a loved one, financial distress, or similar concern can cause mental health deterioration. The problem occurs when people try to rationalize or ignore the effects by burying themselves in work or other responsibilities.
3. Traumatic Event
Traumatic events like accidents, witnessing a crime, or experiencing a terrorist attack can cause excessive trauma. This trauma is complex for the brain to process without assistance and manifests itself in various ways.
Hence, part of your deteriorating mental health might be because you’re unable to cope with underlying trauma you never addressed.
How to Care for Your Mental Health
There is no avoiding treating your mental health, lest it causes more damage to your psychological and physical wellbeing. Hence, the following are some of the actions you can take to prevent prolonging the problem:
1. Take a Break
Taking a break is necessary to help our minds become refreshed after months of consistent work and other stressors. It may sound like a luxury, but you need to take a break to let your irregularities calm down.
Taking a break works best when you feel unmotivated, depressed, or overly anxious. Removing yourself from those situations and taking the time to breathe can rewire your brain and help you get back in your groove.
2. Seek Professional Help
- Sometimes, the problem is too severe to manage without professional support. You can contact mental health rehab centres and talk to their teams to explain your dilemma. They will let you know which program best suits your needs and work accordingly.
Your primary concern will be finding a suitable rehab for geographically close and well-reputed treatment.
3. Rely on Your Friends and Family
Depending on your case, relying on your family and friends’ love and support might be part of the solution for you. It is tough to open up, but include your trusted people in the conversation and rely on their warmth to find healing.
I hope this blog helped you learn signs that your mental health is deteriorating, providing you the means to support yourself. Please read up as much as possible and seek help when required. The most straightforward actions can have the most impact.
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