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6 Surprising Signs of Mental Illness

By Mandi Corbett, Case Manager

Mental illness doesn’t always look how you might imagine it. Sometimes it’s so engrained into our daily lives or buried so deep beneath daily coping strategies that it becomes far more difficult to detect.

The National Alliance of Mental Illness reported that one in five U.S. citizens experience mental illness, and yet only 40% of those receive necessary treatment. This is why recognizing the signs of mental illness is so critical—it could be a necessary step to receiving the help you need.

So how can you identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness?

Take a close look at your habits.

Here are six risky behaviors that are highly associated with mental illness.

  1. Exercise 
    Believe it or not, your exercise habits can tell you just as much about your mental state as they do your physical state. Whether you exercise too little or too often, these extremes can be an indication of an underlying mental illness. If you suspect this might be you, take this quiz to assess your mental health. 
  2. Internet Surfing 
    There’s no doubt about it—we live in a hyper-connected society. Even in spite of our best efforts, it is nearly impossible to live “unplugged” from all forms of social media and technology today. But there is a difference between the internet being part of our lives and it controlling our lives. Is your time on the web interfering with your work or closest relationships? Quiz yourself here to find out if this could be the sign of an underlying problem.
  3. Marijuana
    Marijuana use has become increasingly common throughout the U. S. following its legalization in 20 states. Because of this, it is critical to understand the risks involved and when its use has become a sign of mental illness. Have you attempted to decrease your use of marijuana and were unable? This could be an indication there is a deeper issue at play. Check yourself here to find out if marijuana use could be a sign of mental illness.  
  4. Prescription Drug Misuse 
    It could start with something as simple as taking one dose of a friend’s pain medication … but overtime, this could lead to a pattern of dangerous prescription drug misuse. People with mental illness are 3 times more likely to misuse prescription drugs than those without. If you have strong cravings or urges to misuse prescription drugs, this could be a sign of an underlying mental health condition. Check yourself here to find out.
  5. Sex
    Sex is a normal and healthy part of life, but when sexual behaviors become compulsive or obsessive, there could be a sign of a deeper problem. High-risk sexual behaviors include excessive pornography, unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, and sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Have you found yourself neglecting responsibilities in the pursuit of sexual gratification? Check yourself here to see if there is a deeper issue to be considered.
  6. Shopping
    Whether we enjoy it or not, shopping is not something we can avoid entirely. We need things like food, clothing, and furnishings for our homes. But when shopping turns to over spending, compulsive buying, and hoarding, it is most likely an indication there is more going on beneath the surface. Do you continue to purchase items even though you don’t have the money to spend? Test yourself here to see if this could be a sign of mental illness.