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8 Symptoms That May Require A Mental Health Evaluation


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Last week I wrote about 8 Symptoms that should not always be labeled a mental illness. Life is life. We are all going to experience the worst of it and the best of it. We should not be so quick to label ourselves “disordered” until we evaluate every aspect of what could be happening to us. Clinicians and mental health professionals should also be careful not to quickly pathologize every client that comes through their doors. But sadly, there are way too many people in the world, including some mental health professionals, who either downplay or exaggerate mental health symptoms. There is often no in-between. Although we all would like to maintain the idea that most people are mentally healthy and well adjusted, we cannot ignore the fact that there are millions of people (children, adolescents, adults) who are struggling with mental health symptoms every single day of their lives. They are struggling with mild, moderate, and severe symptoms that seem to make their future grim. This article will discuss symptoms that should never be ignored or downplayed and possibly be evaluated by a mental health professional.

29 Comments to
8 Symptoms That May Require A Mental Health Evaluation

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  1. I had to stop reading when I saw that you labeled, “maintaining an open marriage or relationship” as acting out sexually. That’s just ignorant. Just because society has forced us all to believe that monogamy is the only way to have a healthy relationship doesn’t mean that those of us who have discovered that safely practiced non-monogamy improves the quality of our lives and relationships are sexual deviants. As someone living with both depression and anxiety, I can tell you that I experience a lot of symptoms of my illnesses, but my healthy, happy, open relationship is certainly not one of them.

    • Hi Dani,
      This is a tough subject because so many people hold various views on open marriages or relationships. There are a lot of traditional views that people continue to adhere to, we cannot fault them for this. As you appreciate your view of an open relationship being respected, so do those people who appreciate traditional relationships. That being said, bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder often includes symptoms that motivates individuals to have open relationships and engage in multiple relationships at a time. I’m not saying that this is for everyone who is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder or bipolar disorder, but it does happen in a great number of cases.

      I did add a small sentence in parenthesis to clarify what my intent was with that sentence. I do understand that it is offensive to you because you adhere to the rules of an open relationship. But my intention was only to highlight sexual indiscretion which often occurs in open relationships.

  2. Hi. Thanks for a great post. This is such an important topic but such a difficult one to get the right people to read it. So many people have others under their care whether parents or other, yet will not take mental illness seriously.
    I have a page on my blog (lifeofmiblog.com) for family and friends but have not done a post like this, would you be happy for me to reblog this?
    Thanks again

    • Thanks so much Michael. I appreciate that and am glad you found the article helpful. That population is so very overlooked, so please feel free to reblog. Glad you are sharing this information.
      Take care

      Great blog by the way!

  3. I don’t like the negative statement about EMDR therapy in this article. I checked with EMDRIA and I see the author has no training in EMDR. Its interesting when people who are not certified in EMDR say negative things about this amazing treatment for PTSD. If a therapist is trained in EMDR they assist the client first with stabilization and grounding techniques so they are ready to face the trauma, while also teaching the client that negative body response are common and normal during EMDR and is a sign that the therapy is working. I highly recommend EMDR. All the research I have read indicates EMDR is the #1 researched based treatment for PTSD. Here is the link to find an EMDR therapist in your area: http://emdria.site-ym.com/search/custom.asp?id=2337

    • Nancy,
      I think you are reading way too much into the comment. I appreciate your effort to support EMDR. But I think that you will see that the example, using EMDR as a clear example of re-experiencing trauma, was used to highlight the physiological effects of re-experiencing trauma. It is in no way a statement against or for EMDR. I choose not to promote (or denigrate) services I have little to no experience in or general knowledge. General statements are often used to highlight certain points on this website.

      I think we all understand that there are pros and cons to every treatment modality. Re-experiencing physiological symptoms may be a con to EMDR for some people.

  4. Thank you for your insightful article. I am a 66 year old woman who has struggled with panic disorder, anxiety disorder and depression since I was 14. I have been in and out of psychotherapy for years. I was misdiagnosed twice: once as borderline schizophrenic and once as bipolar. I have been under medicated and over-medicated. I was told that I had a mood disorder and would be on psych meds for life. At age 65, I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea by a neurologist and began using a CPAP. He also advised me to talk to my psychiatrist about adjusting my psych medications which were causing daytime drowsiness and interfering with my sleep.

    Although I am not “cured”, I feel better than I ever have in years and my quality of life has improved. It’s unfortunate that I suffered for many years before I was properly diagnosed and treated. I believe it takes a team of doctors to correctly diagnose and treat “mental illness.”

    • HI achodn,
      Thanks for your comment. So glad you found the article interesting.

      I agree that it is unfortunate that you have had to suffer, in addition to about a million + people in the world, with a lifetime of symptoms that no one can seem to understand. No matter how much we, as a society, try to normalize mental illness to fit into the medical model box, mental illness is way more complicated and it always will be. Many psychiatrists diagnose based on a therapists viewpoint or the family and exhaust their ink pins by signing prescriptions all of the time. So many professionals struggle to understand what some clients truly need. So you are right, it takes a team to make the right diagnosis.

      I am glad that you feel better.
      Take care

  5. Mental illness, or victim of the Information Age? Too much TV/other media can give you a really messed-up view of the world, and of yourself. Get out, go and meet actual people, breathe easy, get some sun on your face, both oars back in the water, and leave the multimedia funhouse behind. Peace and best wishes to all, have a wonderful day! Coffee’s on!

  6. I thought I was logged in here – and for a comment – I with to say I thoroughly appreciate the way the article has been written – I find your articles and some others on Psyche Central bery useful indeed – I am a depressive – my Doc tends to call my childhood and young-woman-hood a contributary factor- well ok – I have been at times arount 20 – 30 years of age – Suicidal now I am 80 I remind myself – you silly !! Aren’t you glad you DID NOT

    • Thank you Patriciaenola,
      I appreciate your kind comments and I am glad you found the article helpful.
      Suicidal thoughts are so complicated for many of us therapists and the sufferers. I often tell my clients that suicidal thoughts are NOT abnormal, but rather, a very normal part of existence. The “symptoms” such as having a plan and thinking about a date or time is the problem. If you can find a reason to stay alive, that is great.

      Hang in there and take care

  7. Depression does not cause Fibromyalgia. It will make you depressed, if not full on crazy, though.

  8. I am not sure how I feel about this article. I work in the sex industry myself. I’m careful about it, it’s good money, and I have fun with it. Why does that necessitate that there is something wrong with my mental health?
    .
    Sexting is a way that long distance couples connect with each other. I believe it is harmless, as long as it is done carefully. There’s nothing wrong about that either.

  9. Surprise! An article without the usual therapeutic boilerplate and one that actually might help someone.

  10. Chronic migraines started at 26. Major recurring depression followed with 4 attempts of suicide. MRI later found a Chiari Malformation at 5-6 mm. Diagnosed with PTSD, and Anxiety & Panic disorders followed. Diagnosed with Fibrimyalgia and Bi-Polar Disorder. My medical doc & Psych PA fight over what meds I should and shouldn’t take. I am chronically exhausted and still awfully depressed. HELP!

  11. Is sending a naked picture of yourself to your partner or having more than one sexual partner at a time really a serious mental health problem? As long as personal safety is accounted for I find that hard to believe.

    • Hi Snorky,
      Allow me to clarify.
      I think that the behavior of sending nude pictures, sexting, or engaging in other sexually explicit behaviors can signal that there is a deeper problem than initially suspected. Some individuals with bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or other similar disorders engage in risky behaviors which often includes being sexually inappropriate. Some individuals who suffer from low self-esteem or has a trauma history also tend to engage in sexually inappropriate behaviors.

      It’s important that we learn to separate mental illness and its behaviors/symptoms from someone’s preference.

  12. I read your article several days ago and Lynnie’s reply is a perfect reason why I am replying now. There are many patients who suffer from severe migraines and body aches who have had genetic syndromes, tumors, structural brain issues, and other diseases that can mimic and/or cause psychiatric symptoms.

    I have Ehlers Danlos Hypermobiity,(EDS). EDS is a genetic connective tissue syndrome that is caused by a defect in the collagen, the “glue” that holds the body together. Collagen is a protein that can be found in the skin, ligaments, eyes, tendons, bones, and fascia. Some types of EDS affect the walls of the GI tract, esophagus, cardiovascular system, uterus, bladder, blood vessels, and arteries.

    Originally thought to be rare, connective tissue geneticist now estimate EDS may represent 1-2% of the population, because it is significantly under diagnosed.

    As to my experience – I suffered for years with unrelenting migraines, body pain, nausea,and dizziness. I finally found out my head had partially dislocated off of my spine (atlanto-axial subluxation) and my head was moving too far to the right and left (cranio cervical instability). I also found out my vertebral artery was being impinged and I was a walking stroke risk. My brain stem was also affected. I quickly had a C1/C2 fusion to fix my head/neck problem.

    The body pain was caused by dislocations and partial subluxations as a result of Ehlers Danlos. The nausea and dizziness was also caused by autonomic dysregulation. I had postural orthostatic dysregulation which is common in EDS.

    I know many people who were wrongfully diagnosed by counselors and psychiatrists. Then these diagnosis negatively affected finding answers for their medical condition. After I was diagnosed with EDS but before I knew about the reasons for my headaches, a well known psychiatrist recommended I fake being well for to give my husband time to accept my diagnosis. I made it for a day then passed out.

    Perhaps there are counselors/Psychiatrists who have the ability to properly conduct a proper evaluation. But from what I understand, the inaccurate results have been very damaging. I am not against counseling – I have a wonderful chronic pain counselor who has been a savior.

    Lynnie, you may want to check out csfinto.org for chiari information. There are many physician videos on chiari. Many people with chiari also have EDS. Chiari can cause many of the symptoms you describe.

    • I have been diagnosed with depression many times, but feel it is a relationship problem with my husband. We are now retired and he has no interests outside of the home, just the TV which is on most of the day and evening. I have a part time job and see friends on occasion. I find when I am in bed I experience twitching within my body which I put down to stress. My friends don’t know any of these problems I am having. I want our relationship to improve but he thinks everything is OK. He is diabetic but took himself off insulin saying it gives him loose stools, his boys have insisted he sees his doctor again which he says he will. I have been admitted to a mental health facility three times but they never mention anything about us only about me which I find hard to understand . We have been together for fifty years and I feel this marriage is worth saving, any help would be appreciated.

      • Hi Heather,
        thank you for your comment.
        You are certainly in a stressful situation. I am sorry. It appears that you are seeking answers and that is great. Have you considered pursuing a therapist? You can search for one in your area through therapytribe.com or psychologytoday.com. Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to talk to that can give you more of an objective (more fair) opinion of what’s going on in your life.

        Aside from this, you are probably right that your depression is relational. Have you seen my latest article about 5 unhealthy relational patterns? I encourage you to check it out as it might help you identify the problem. You might also be interested in googling the terms “situational depression” and educating yourself about this. Basically, this is depression that is triggered by a specific set of circumstances. Some women are only depressed when they are faced with a situation that triggers their low mood. In cases like this, if you have the power to move away from the trigger, you probably should. If it’s your marriage, you might find pursuing marriage counseling very useful.

        I wish you well

  13. Lynnie,

    Sorry I had a typo the website is csfinfo.org

  14. Hi! Thanks for this article. I do have a question, though…
    My best friend struggled with an eating disorder a couple years ago, and she’s recently begun talking about dieting for the summer. She’s 15, and her body is perfect the way it is. I keep telling her that she doesn’t need to lose weight, but she’s not listening to me. Should I be worried? If so, how should I approach her about it? I’ve dealt with an eating disorder as well, and I don’t want to see her get hurt.

    • Hi Rae,
      Thanks for your comment. You are certainly in a tough situation, but I applaud you for being concerned. I think the moment you ask the question “should I be concerned?” is the moment when you should be concerned. You are worrying about your friend. I would speak to someone who plays an important role in her life (parent, mentor, teacher, older friend, etc) about this and inform them of your concern. You might be able, with the help of this person, to talk to your friend about her behavior. You might also find it useful to locate a video on youtube about eating disorders in teens and watch it with her. Sometimes educating someone can increase their level of insight into their need for intervention. At other times, their misplaced anger will get placed on to you. So it might be better to enlist the help of someone else who can help her make appropriate steps such as seeing her doctor or pursuing therapy.

      I wish you the best

  15. mental disorders continued…aww yes, something I would love to write about. seeing as how I am about to lose it myself, this is all very interesting. the internet, a wonderful place to try and “figure it out” so to speak…..hmmm…seems like every single persons advice is to seek medical help. well shit…why didn’t I think of that before? being a waitress in a restaurant I wish I would have considered my medical benefits before I proclaimed how I felt about things right? Anyway…thanks for the optimism here, it bleeds help. maybe I am just upset, maybe I just need an opinion, or MAYBE, I am just writing to write…like the good ole days, before you gave a crap about editing your thoughts or researching what the “right answer” was. good day to all…and to all……a good day.

  16. I have friend who is 35, married for 2 years.
    He walks around naked in front of his mother. His mother justifies his act saying she has seen him naked from birth.
    He gets very angry if his wishes are NOT accepted by his wife.
    Is his behavior normal OR abnormal?
    Mother has had an accident while cooking and so has burn marks in face.
    The family lived in Srilankan – Tamil in Sinhalese area during internal war.
    Would like some idea as to what can be dont to help him.

    • Hi TV
      I would say these behaviors are way beyond disturbing to say the least. I would suggest, if you two are rather close, that he consider seeing a therapist. The sad part is that his behaviors could be caused by a variety of things and sometimes the only help is that of a therapist, if the person chooses this direction. Your challenge would be getting him to see a therapist.
      Take care

  17. Hello. My 31 year old best friend has shown signs of possible mental disorders. He began showing signs about 6 years ago. He is very paranoid and it seems to get in the way of his everyday activities. He has been homeless for over 5 years now. He has also been in and out of jail because he has a bad temper and lashes out at people. For instance, he will stay with his mother from time to time and their relationship will be good for a few months, then they will have an argument and he will immediately look for property to destroy. It doesn’t matter if it is her property or his. One of his arrests stemmed from argument with his mother where he trashed her tv and grabbed a knife and cut holes in her coach out of anger. Once he gets out of jail he stays in homeless shelters where he is bound to get into a confrontation because he believes that people are watching him and trying to poison him at the shelters. He tries to keep to himself but eventually he thinks someone is out to get him or is following him. The same occurs when he gets a job. He’ll think the other employees are trying to set him up somehow, or if he walks past them and he overhears a story, he will automatically think it’s about him. He then loses his job because he refuses to go back or he snaps on other employees. Growing up, he was always defensive but never this aggressive. And now the arrests come from him being homeless (trespassing) and it is a vicious cycle that he is stuck in. His family has tried to get him evaluated but he refuses and claims that they need the evaluation, so they have given up on him. He is very optimistic once he gets out of jail and talks about how he can’t wait to dress better than everyone else and how he just wants to work to get his own place but he’s been saying that for years. How can I help him and let him know that if he doesn’t see someone, he may be stuck in this cycle forever?

 

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