Early Warning Signs of Mental Illness

While major mental illnesses like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia seldom simply appear out of the blue, they can seem to come on quite quickly if you don’t know what signs to look for.

Of course everyone displays slightly different signs when they are ill, but there are some common denominators that will be easier to spot than others. How these symptoms or behaviours are displayed may depend on the severity of the illness, but they should always be taken seriously, no matter how mild.

The following signs and symptoms are ones you should watch out for, both in yourself and in your family, friends and partners. The early detection of mental illness can make it easier to deal with, and can ensure that it impacts the sufferers life far less than if it becomes full blown, and leaves them incapacitated in one way or another.

The signs of a mental illness may be singular or you my notice several of the following indicators. When this happens, you need to consult a medical practitioner as soon as possible to get the correct help.

Statistics show that 50% of mental illnesses start to become evident at around 14 years of age, and ¾ by the age of 24. This does not however exclude it from appearing in those later in life.

Appetite and sleep changes

If dramatic sleep or appetite changes occur it is best to seek help. Decline in eating and a major increase in sleeping, or sudden insomnia can all be signs of mental illness.

Sudden mood changes

If moods suddenly start to change at a rapid pace and are unnaturally morose or over intensely happy, this can indicate a problem.


Sudden withdrawal of lack of interest in social or other activities that were previously enjoyed are a major red flag. As are a lack of interest in what is going on around you and in daily life.

Decline in hygiene habits

A decline in hygiene habits is often indicative of depression and a lack of interest in self-care.

Not wanting to shower, having dirty hair, a lack of interest in appearance and other factors can all be indicators that something is not right.

Problem thinking

A sudden inability to concentrate, to think clearly or remember things can be a sign of mental illness.

Decrease in functioning

A sharp decline in functioning at school, work or even at home and in day-to-day life is a warning sign.


The loss of desire or initiative or the want to participate in anything exciting such as online betting NZ or fun outdoor activities is an indicator of depression.

Illogical thinking

The inability to understand simple events or the belief that a person suddenly has new powers or talents that are somewhat beyond their scope is often seen I those suffering from mental illness.

Increase in sensitivity

This can be to sound, smell, emotion or any other factor. An avoidance of potentially over stimulating sensations is also an indication of being unwell.