Signs of Psychiatric Disabilities and Where to Find Help


Major psychiatric disabilities or mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder rarely strike “out of nowhere.” Often, subtle changes or a feeling that “something’s not quite right” about a person’s thinking, feelings, or behaviour are noticed by family, friends, teachers, or the individual themselves before the illness manifests itself fully.

It might be helpful to become aware of developing symptoms or early warning indications and take action. Early intervention can assist in lessening the severity of an illness. It may even postpone or avoid the onset of a major psychiatric disability.

Signs & Symptoms

If you or someone you love experiences several of the symptoms listed below, it might be time to get help from a mental health professional.

Changes in sleep or appetite: Significant changes in sleep and appetite and a decrease in personal care.

Mood swings: Rapid or dramatic alterations in emotions or depressing sentiments.

Withdrawal: A recent social withdrawal and a loss of interest in previously liked activities.

Drop in functioning: An uncommon drop in functioning, such as abandoning sports, failing in school, or having difficulties executing familiar tasks at school, work, or social activities.

Problems with formulating thoughts: problems with attention, memory, or logical thought, as well as communication, that are difficult to explain.

Increased sensitivity: Increased sensitivity to sights, sounds, scents, and touch; avoidance of overstimulating situations.

Apathy: A lack of motivation or desire to engage in any activity.

Disconnectedness: A vague sense of being cut off from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality.

Illogical thinking: Beliefs in personal powers to understand meanings or affect events that are unusual or excessive; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult.

Nervousness: Fear or suspicion of others and a strong tense feeling.

Unusual behaviour: Odd, atypical, or peculiar behaviour.

One or two of these symptoms may not be enough to diagnose a psychiatric disability, but they may indicate the need for additional evaluation. Suppose a person is experiencing many symptoms at the same time and the symptoms are interfering with his or her ability to study, work, or relate to others. In that case, he or she should visit a physician or mental health expert. Suicidal thoughts or purpose, as well as impulses of harming others, require quick intervention.

Getting Help

According to more than a decade of studies conducted around the world, early intervention can often minimise or delay symptoms, prevent hospitalisation, and improve prognosis. These “red flag” early warning indicators can be distressing and disruptive even if a person does not yet display evident signs of a diagnosable psychiatric disorder.

Encourage the individual to:

  • Have mental health or other health care specialists evaluate them.
  • Learn about the signs and symptoms of mental illness.
  • Receive helpful counselling regarding day-to-day issues as well as stress-management techniques.
  • Be monitored in case they develop a condition that necessitates more rigorous treatment.

Recognize that stigma can be a major deterrent to seeking medical help.

Each person’s circumstance must be properly examined, and treatment should be tailored to them. Individual and family therapy, vocational and educational support, involvement in a multi-family problem-solving group, and medication, where appropriate, can all be used to prevent early symptoms from escalating into serious illness.

Family members should be included whenever possible because they are valued partners. Individuals and families can better understand mental illness and what happens in the brain by learning about the symptoms, how a disorder grows, and what can be done to help.

As with other medical conditions, early intervention can make a significant difference in averting a serious illness.

How Ebenezer Mission Can Help

We have a great deal of experience working with people with psychiatric disorders at Ebenezer. We meet with clients wherever they are on their journey and help them based on their NDIS goals, offering individualised support tailored to their specific needs.

Contact us at 0478 831 731, and one of our allied health care professionals will work with you to assist you in understanding and implementing the funded supports in your plan, resulting in a positive and long-term impact on your life here.

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