Understanding Behavioral Health Symptoms

Recognizing Signs of Illness Can Set You on the Road to Recovery

The first step in recovery from any mental health issue is recognizing its warning signs. By accurately describing your symptoms to an appropriate medical professional, you can help him or her properly diagnose your condition and begin treatment.

Symptoms in Adults

Here is a list of symptoms that may indicate the development of a behavioral disorder. Remember that a mental illness is just another kind of illness – recognizing symptoms is the first step in getting better:

  • Confusion or lack of focus
  • Fretfulness, anxiety, and/or intense feelings of guilt
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Antisocial behavior or emotional withdrawal
  • Feeling lethargic and depressed 
  • Difficulty handling stress
  • Strong sense of alienation from people or life situations
  • Changes in food, alcohol, or drug consumption
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Tendency towards anger or violent confrontation
  • Hallucinations, delusions, or detachment from reality
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

“Fifty percent of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and three-quarters begin by age 24.”     – “Warning Signs of Mental Illness,” American Psychiatric Association, (www.psychiatry.org).

Symptoms in Children

Children and young adults are not immune to developing behavioral disorders. In fact, according to the American Psychiatric Association, about half of all mental illnesses manifest themselves by the early teen years. Here are some symptoms of special relevance to children:

  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Regular nightmares
  • Frequent extreme outbursts
  • Disobedient or aggressive behaviors
  • Declines in school performance
  • Excessive worry or anxieties about everyday tasks or activities