Discovery: Signs of Serious Mental Illness from a Mother's Perspective

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The following list is not meant to be a diagnostic tool and is not written by a medical professional. It is a collection of snapshots written from a mother’s perspective in an effort to help others. The following observations are not exhaustive, nor conclusive. But taken together, the information could inform you as to whether you see a pattern emerging in your son or daughter that warrants further intervention. Please seek the advice of a medical doctor if you suspect your loved one needs help.

·       Increased agitation. Responding inappropriately to situations. Anger doesn’t fit the crime.

·       Reacts inappropriate to change or a new place they’ve never been before.

·       Has trouble concentrating in school and/or employment.

·       Does not stay focused on a sport or hobby very long.

·       Abrupt, odd mood changes.

·       Increasing at-risk behavior, ie., running away, truancy, drugs, alcohol, stealing.

·       Taking drugs or using alcohol to extremes.

·       Tics like sniffing a lot, blinking. Mumbling.

·       Isolating themselves. Example: when at a family gathering, they lock themselves in a bedroom.

·       Believing that people are thinking or saying things about them or misinterpreting cues. You are certain it is not true.

·       Thinking that they see famous people or people you know when you go out to public places.

·       Have increasing moments where they hear people or animals talking, whispering.

·       Dressing inappropriately, ie., winter clothes in summer and vice versa. Wearing odd, outdated, clashing clothes.

·       Aggression or violence toward family member(s). Singling out a family member and/or believing that person wants to hurt them.

·       Family becomes increasingly afraid, locking doors at night. Afraid to leave pets alone with the child. Afraid to leave child alone.

·       Believes they see objects changing shapes, melting and is not related to drug use.

·       Repetitive behavior (ie., hitting a drum over and over) with a flat affect, staring off.

·       Wanting to take up a hobby that they clearly have no aptitude for.

·       Change in sleeping patterns, not sleeping for a day or two. Sleeping excessively. Increase in these patterns.

·       Grandiose ideas about themselves, extreme energy at inappropriate times.

·       Laughing inappropriately, emotionally inappropriate responses.

·       Taking longer to respond to a question you ask. Needs the question to be repeated.

·       Neglect of personal hygiene, lack of concern for smell/ appearance.

·       Opposite of neglecting hygiene: taking an excessive amount of showers, brushing teeth over and over.

·       Inability to follow instructions with more than one step.

The information on P82 Project Restoration, Inc. is not medical advice. Do not rely on it. Discuss with your medical doctor. 

Deborah Geesling