5 signs it’s time to address your mental health

5 signs it’s time to address your mental health

By Nancy Clanton, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren for CNT #health

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles has shone a spotlight on the importance of being mentally strong

The coronavirus pandemic caused many to take a closer look at their mental health, but the Tokyo Olympics have shown a spotlight on the importance of taking mental health seriously.

The world watched as U.S. gymnast Simone Biles struggled to compete, with people both supporting and condemning the athlete’s decision to drop out of some events. But even if you don’t have to perform on the world stage, you should pay attention to any warning signs that suggest you need help.

Ongoing irritability

In cases of burnout, Psychology Today states, irritability is often the result of frustration because you feel ineffective or useless, and you’re disappointed over decreased productivity, worsening performance, and a sense you can’t do things the way you used to.

“You may snap at people and overreact to minor things. In the early stages, irritability may create a rift in professional and personal relationships. In later stages, it may destroy a career as well as marriages and partnerships.”

Lack of sleep

Sleep and mental health are closely connected, Harvard Medical School reports. Sleep deprivation affects your psychological state and mental health. And those with mental health problems are more likely to have insomnia or other sleep disorders.

Chronic sleep problems affect 50% to 80% of patients in a typical psychiatric practice, Harvard reports, compared with 10% to 18% of adults in the general U.S. population. Sleep problems are particularly common in patients with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Increased or decreased appetite

“Hunger denotes a physical need for food; appetite is a desire for food,” Psychology Today states. Appetite can be driven by mood and emotions. Stress, loneliness and boredom can trigger eating and drive you to pick fatty, sugary or salty foods instead of healthier options.

A lack of appetite can also be a sign of stress, as well as anxiety, depression or grief. In these situations, distress can become all-consuming, eliminating the desire to eat and preventing such basic tasks as preparing a meal.

Sudden lack of sexual interest

Sexual desire, or “libido,” fluctuates over time, according to healthline.com. But low sexual desire can be a sign of a health condition or a symptom of a mental health problem, such as depression. One symptom associated with depression is a change in sex drive. If you’re depressed, you may feel like you don’t have enough energy for sex. The process can also work in reverse. It’s possible for a low libido to trigger feelings of depression.

Losing interest in your hobbies

People who experience anhedonia have lost interest in activities they used to enjoy and have a decreased ability to feel pleasure. It’s a core symptom of major depressive disorder, but it can also be a symptom of other mental health disorders. If you have a family history of major depression or schizophrenia, you have an increased risk of anhedonia.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional.

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By Troy Warren

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