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    Mental Health Warning Signs

    Symptoms of mental disorders vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. Some general symptoms that may suggest a mental illness include:

    In adults

    • Confused thinking
    • Long-lasting sadness or irritability
    • Extremely high and low moods
    • Excessive fear, worry, or anxiety
    • Social withdrawal
    • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
    • Strong feelings of anger
    • Delusions or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not really there)
    • Increasing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
    • Thoughts of suicide
    • Denial of obvious problems
    • Many unexplained physical problems
    • Abuse of drugs and/or alcohol

    In older children and pre-teens

    • Changes in school performance, falling grades
    • Inability to cope with daily problems and activities
    • Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
    • Excessive complaints of physical problems
    • Defying authority, skipping school, stealing, or damaging property
    • Intense fear of gaining weight
    • Long-lasting negative mood, often along with poor appetite and thoughts of death
    • Frequent outbursts of anger
    • Abuse of drugs and/or alcohol
    • Withdrawing from friends and activities

    In younger children

    • Changes in school performance
    • Poor grades despite strong efforts
    • Excessive worry or anxiety
    • Hyperactivity
    • Persistent nightmares
    • Persistent disobedience and/or aggressive behavior
    • Frequent temper tantrums



    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on February 24, 2016

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