Know the Reasons if You Have a Mental Illness Skip to main content

Numerous people experience mental diseases, which are well-known and complex physical conditions that impair one’s capacity for thought, emotion, and social interaction. Thoughts, feelings, and behavior can all be deeply altered by mental health issues, but there are strategies to deal with them.

Many people with similar problems can have happy lives with the help of treatment and support. But sometimes, it might be difficult to determine whether or not a person is living without a mental illness. This blog will provide information on common signs and symptoms of mental illnesses when to seek an evaluation, and the evaluation and diagnosis process to help you understand if you may be experiencing a mental health problem.

Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness

Everyone experiences times when they feel depressed, anxious, or agitated. Still, persistent emotions or notable shifts in your thoughts, feelings, or behaviors could indicate that you are experiencing mental health issues.

Typical indications and manifestations of mental disorders include:

Depressed mood: Feeling sad or hopeless more days than not. Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.

Anxiety: Excessive worry or fear, feeling restless, irritable, or on edge, and having physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, or insomnia.

Changes in behavior: Extreme highs and lows in your mood and energy levels. Increased activity levels or decreased need for sleep. Changes in appetite or weight.

Changes in thought patterns: Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt. Thoughts of suicide. Hallucinations or delusions.

Social withdrawal: Avoiding friends and activities. Decreased communication. Loss of interest in personal hygiene.

Of course, experiencing an occasional symptom does not necessarily mean you have a mental illness. However, multiple symptoms that impact your daily life over an extended period could indicate an issue that requires an evaluation.

When to Seek an Evaluation

If signs and symptoms are disrupting your life in a significant way or seem unusual or out of your control, it’s essential to consult a mental health professional. Seeking an evaluation is especially important if you experience:

  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Inability to carry out daily activities like work, school, chores, or self-care
  • Overwhelming fear, worry, or panic
  • Confusing or strange thoughts
  • Drastic changes in personality or behavior
  • Hallucinations or delusions

Even if symptoms seem mild, an evaluation can provide insight into what may be causing changes and help identify effective treatment options. The earlier a potential mental health condition is addressed, the more successful treatment tends to be.

Types of Professionals

Several types of mental health professionals can provide an evaluation and diagnosis:

  • Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can conduct thorough examinations, order medical tests, evaluate your history and current symptoms, make a diagnosis, and prescribe medications.
  • Psychologists have doctoral degrees and provide therapy and testing to diagnose conditions. They cannot prescribe medications but can evaluate symptoms and develop a treatment plan.
  • Clinical social workers focus on talking therapies and have master’s or doctoral degrees. They evaluate functioning and quality of life.
  • Counselors generally have at least a master’s degree and provide short-term counseling and therapy.

Your primary care doctor can also provide a preliminary evaluation and refer you to a mental health specialist. Finding someone you feel comfortable with is essential for an open dialogue about your concerns.

The Evaluation Process

Mental health evaluations generally involve thorough assessments to fully understand your symptoms and experiences. Evaluations typically include:

  • A medical and family history to uncover any factors that could contribute.
  • A mental status examination to evaluate appearance, behavior, mood, and thought processes.
  • Discuss your symptoms, when they began, and their frequency and severity.
  • Screenings or questionnaires about depression, anxiety, substance use, and more.
  • Physical exams and lab tests in some cases to rule out medical conditions.
  • Diagnostic interviews using criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which contains the medical definitions of mental disorders.

The professional will analyze all findings to determine if symptoms meet the criteria for a specific diagnosis or diagnosis. A treatment plan is then developed to address the underlying issues effectively. Follow-up appointments allow monitoring of progress.

Common Diagnoses

Some common mental illnesses diagnosed include:

  • Major Depressive Disorder: At least two weeks of depressed mood and loss of interest in activities.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Excessive, uncontrollable worry for more days than not for at least six months.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Episodes of mania and depression.
  • Schizophrenia: Psychosis, delusions, or hallucinations for at least six months.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Symptoms after a traumatic event like military combat or assault.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts and behaviors.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder: Impulsive behaviors, fear of abandonment, and unstable relationships.

An accurate diagnosis is critical to developing an effective treatment plan tailored to your needs. Not all diagnoses require long-term treatment; some issues are situational, and some respond well to short-term therapy.

Getting Support

If you feel you may have a mental illness, don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional. With treatment, many mental health conditions can significantly improve. Effective treatments include:

  • Medication prescribed by a psychiatrist or other doctor
  • Psychotherapy or “talk therapy” with a counselor, psychologist, or other therapist
  • Support groups with others experiencing similar issues
  • Lifestyle changes like improved sleep, diet, and exercise routines

Support from loved ones can also make a big difference. Sharing your experience with supportive family and friends can help you get the care and encouragement you need. You don’t have to tackle mental health issues alone. With the proper treatment and support system, many people can effectively manage their mental health and lead fulfilling lives.


How do I know which type of mental illness I may have?

The best way is to schedule an evaluation with a mental health professional like a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, or clinical social worker. They are trained to thoroughly assess your symptoms and experiences to determine if they meet diagnostic criteria for a specific mental illness.

Is it common to have more than one mental illness?

Yes, it’s pretty standard to have multiple mental illnesses or a mental illness co-occurring with a medical condition. Often, a person will have one primary and secondary diagnosis contributing to their overall experience.

Can mental illness run in families?

Many mental illnesses have genetic and biological factors, so there is often a higher risk if a close family member also has a specific condition. However, environment and life experiences also profoundly impact mental health.

How long will I have a mental illness?

The duration differs for everyone and depends on the specific diagnosis, treatment adherence, and individual factors. Some severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia involve lifelong management. Others, like depression or anxiety, may resolve after one episode with the proper treatment.

Is it possible to recover from a severe mental illness?

Yes, research shows that with adequate treatment tailored to individual needs, including medication and psychotherapy, full or partial recovery from even severe mental illnesses is an achievable outcome for many people.

How do I pay for mental health treatment?

Many health insurance plans cover at least some mental health services. Schools or employers may also provide counseling support programs. Anyone can access publicly funded community mental health options on a sliding scale.


If you feel you may be experiencing signs and symptoms of a mental health problem, don’t delay in getting help. Consult your primary care doctor or contact a mental health provider to schedule an initial evaluation. Early identification and treatment of issues can help prevent worsening symptoms and improve quality of life faster. With support, you have the power to take control of your mental

Treating yourself can help you maintain a healthy mind, with different help available to guide you through these difficult moments. If you’re having trouble managing your emotions because of something, then take first action by scheduling an appointment with a mental health specialist who will evaluate what might be wrong; don’t neglect your well-being that far. Being able to lead a healthy life while suffering from mental illness would need further dedication.

Leave a Reply