When we think about physical diseases, such as cancer, heart disease or even diabetes, none of us wait years to get treatment for these, do we? No, people (hopefully) start getting their treatment before they hit stage 4 in cancer. Now to the big question: why don’t we do this with mental health?
If people are told they have high blood pressure, high blood sugar, have early-stage cancer, etc., they immediately try to prevent these symptoms from going any further, right? You don’t just ignore symptoms for serious physical health problems.
Why is it that we don’t do the same when our minds start to spiral out of control because of stress or anxiety? Why don’t we go see a professional before it’s almost too late?
Warning: mention of suicide and suicidal thoughts below.
Stages of mental health conditions
There are 4 stages of mental health conditions. I will outline them below:
Stage 1 – Mild symptoms & warning signs.
This stage is where people begin to show signs that they are stressed, anxious, depressed, etc. It can be signs of any mental health condition. However, they are still able to maintain a day-to-day life without their condition interfering with it.
They still have the ability to function at home, at work or in school. It might be more difficult for them to concentrate and focus, as well as getting things done on time. They might have a sense that something is not quite right in their lives.
Stage 2 – Symptoms increases in frequency and severity and interfere with life activities and roles
In this stage, it becomes more obvious that something is wrong. The person experiencing changes can feel it more clearly and people around that person can tell that something is going on.
A person’s symptoms will become stronger and last longer. The mental condition will start interfering with the person’s life, work, and family duties. The person may pull away from social gatherings.
Stage 3 – Symptoms worsen with relapsing and recurring episodes accompanied by serious disruption in life activities and roles.
In stage 3 symptoms are becoming so serious that a person may feel they are losing control of their life. They may be taking several sick days a month and getting behind in work projects.
They will have trouble keeping up with family duties and social gatherings. They often become more isolated, even with their families.
Stage 4 – Symptoms are persistent and severe and are interfering greatly with one’s life
A person with mental health conditions in this stage are in a critical stage of their life. It has the potential to turn into a crisis event like unemployment (either getting fired because they are unable to perform at work or quitting because they can’t keep up with work and they know it), hospitalization, homelessness.
In the worst-case scenario, people at this stage have suicidal thoughts and some end up losing their lives, because they don’t get the help they need in time.
Seek help before stage 4
It is extremely important that you seek help before a crisis event happens in your life. I am quite certain, that you don’t want to lose your job or your home. However, you may not realize that you are even experiencing a mental health condition.
This is why it is up to each and every one of us to know the signs of a mental health condition. This way we can help those who don’t realize what they are going through.
If you think you are experiencing a mental health condition in one way or another, you can take several screening tests online. Simply search for depression test, anxiety test, stress test or a general mental health test.
If you begin to experience symptoms of a mental health condition, please never ever ignore your own health. Don’t brush aside your feelings or emotions, thinking that you will get better eventually. Chances are, you won’t and then what?
Just like symptoms of a physical health condition like cancer, we need to take mental health conditions seriously and address the symptoms early on. A professional will be able to help you make an action plan in order to get a better overall mental health.
Once again, please seek help from a professional before your condition starts interfering with your life and eventually cause a crisis event.
If you think you may be experiencing anything related to a mental health condition, drop me a comment below. No one should go through this alone.
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