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The Savvy Patient - Recognize signs of mental disorder and be ready to offer help

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In this week’s “Savvy Patient” column in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Jerry Gold, Ph.D., provides insight on recognizing the signs of mental illness.

About one in four people in the United States will experience a mental disorder at some point in their lives. Despite the high prevalence of psychological illnesses – and the negative impact it can have on physical health – many people are too embarrassed to talk about these problems.

Because many people suffering from mental disorders are reluctant to seek help, it is often up to their family, friends, or co-workers to take the first step by recognizing that a problem exists. Symptoms may vary depending on the type and severity of the condition, the following list includes the most common signs of psychological distress:

• Change in normal level of activity

• Problems functioning at home, work or school

• Confused thinking

• Sadness or hopelessness

• Anger or irritability

• Change in eating or sleeping habits

• Diminished ability to cope with problems

• Drug or alcohol abuse

• Delusions or hallucinations

For more about mental disorders and to read the full article: Recognize signs of mental disorder and be ready to offer help