EVERYONE is familiar with the concept of a periodic medical check-up — some sort of scheduled doctor’s visit to check your blood pressure, weight and other physical benchmarks.
The notion of a regular mental health check-up is less established.
Everyone deals with tough times, but even happy events like a new job, a marriage, or a new baby can add stress.
How do you know when stress starts taking a toll on your mental health?
If you have any of these five symptoms for more than a few weeks, it may be time for a mental check-up.
Grouchiness. Are you normally a happy person but lately find yourself blowing up over small things or arguing more with friends or family? It could be a sign of some mental or emotional issues such as depression or anxiety.
Sleeplessness. Many Australians don’t get enough sleep, but they just assume they need to roll with it. That’s not healthy. Once a doctor has ruled out a medical condition (thyroid problems, chronic pain, etc.) that’s keeping you from sleeping, it’s time to talk to someone who may be able to explore mental and emotional causes.
Wanting to be alone. Often, the first sign of depression is when a normally social person starts avoiding people and stops interacting on social media. So if you find yourself checking out, you might want to ask yourself why.
Eating more or less. There are times, like holidays, where people tend to overeat. But long-term overeating or constantly reaching for foods high in fat and sugar could be a sign of stress or emotional eating. A review from Harvard Medical School found that short-term stress may cause a loss of appetite, while long-term stress increases the hormone cortisol, which raises appetite.
Can’t relax. If you’re always wound up with a racing mind, it could be a symptom of anxiety. Unlike depression that often comes and goes, anxiety can become a constant — and easily overlooked — part of life. Anxiety, often shows up as physical symptoms — headaches, tight shoulders, upset stomach, and breathing problems, which can cause the focus to be on physical rather than mental causes.
Our blog is for general educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need help for an emotional or behavioural problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.