10 Signs of an Ailing Mind
Experts describe the physical and mental signs that may indicate emotional distress.
Unusual Symptoms and Short Fuses continued...
"Unusual symptoms that resist the million-dollar workup can be a sign
that your body is expressing some kind of emotional upset," says Goodstein.
Problems commonly linked to emotional distress can include headaches, a
rumbling stomach, diarrhea, constipation, and chronic pain -- especially
4. Difficulty managing anger or controlling your temper.
Are you fine when you're by yourself but frequently get provoked to an
explosion by your spouse, children, friends, or co-workers? If so, you may be
on stress overload, a situation that is dangerous to
your physical and mental health -- and unhealthy for those around
"Not being able to control your anger is a sign of inability to manage
feelings. And this is the one symptom that has the biggest impact on other
people; children and women especially are affected," says Anie Kalayjian,
EdD, RN, adjunct professor of psychology at Fordham University in New York
Generally, she says, folks who have anger-management problems do not
recognize the symptoms because they feel fine when they are by themselves.
"This is something that only comes into play in relation to another person
-- so it's easy to blame the other person for what is really your symptom,"
Kalayjian tells WebMD.
Even if you don't see the signs in yourself, Kalayjian says consider
counseling if your boss, co- workers, spouse, family, or friends are frequently
telling you to calm down and watch your temper.
Obsessive, Tired, or Forgetful?
5. Compulsive/obsessive behaviors. Are you washing your
hands -- or feel a compulsion to do so -- even though there's no logical
reason? Has the fun gone out of life because you are constantly worrying that
something bad is going to happen? Does it take you an hour or more to leave
your home because you're bogged down with a series of "rituals" -- like
touching things or rechecking locks, the stove, the iron? If so, you may have
more anxiety in your life than you can handle alone.
"Obsessions are repetitive thoughts which resemble worry and are
accompanied by anxiety. Compulsions are behavioral acts designed to eliminate
the obsessions. And sometimes if your mind becomes so cluttered with
obsessions, and your day so filled with compulsions, life as you know becomes
completely taken over by anxiety and counterproductive rituals," says
6. Chronic fatigue, tiredness,
and lack of energy. "When the body cannot handle emotional
overload, it simply begins to shut down. And that is often manifested by a
sense of extreme tiredness and fatigue," says Kalayjian.
Goodstein adds that feeling too "beat" to do the things you used to
love -- even when a physical checkup shows everything is alright -- can be a
sign of emotional distress and depression.
7. Memory problems. Lots of things can temporarily
interfere with your memory, from the hormonal changes of menopause, to a preoccupation with a work
problem, to a lack of sleep. But it can also be caused by stress, a reaction to a traumatic event, or
sometimes an illness such as Alzheimer's disease. How do you know the
"You need a physical examination first and foremost," says
Kalayjian. If everything checks out OK, she says, then anxiety, depression, or
sometimes an unrecognized reaction to a traumatic event you have yet to deal
with may be behind your forgetfulness.