How to Differentiate Between Mental Health and Illness

The human mind is tricky! It is certainly difficult for anyone besides the experts to understand whether a person is mentally sick or ill. The difference between mental health and mental illness might not be clear sometimes but you can make a distinction between the two.


Can the fear of delivering a public speech fall under mental health disorder? Or is it just nervousness? Can shyness become a mental illness when it becomes a social phobia?


Here’s how you can determine if your loved one is suffering from any mental disorder.

It is tough to tell what’s normal and what’s not. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between normal mental health from mental illness as there is no such equipment that can scan and tell you the results.


Primary mental health conditions can be identified by physical disorders. However, mental disorders are treated only on the basis of signs and symptoms that can be observed in the daily life of the patient. Here’s what you need to keep an eye on:



Consumption of excessive alcohol can be a sign of mental disorder. Other behaviour such as obsessive hand – washing can also be a signal.



Depression or excessive anger, euphoria too can symbolize that the patient might be suffering from mental illness.



Suicidal thoughts or adamant behaviour like delusions – fixed beliefs that cannot be changed in light of conflicting evidence – can be some of the symptoms for mental sickness.



How do mental health providers diagnose mental health conditions?

In order to examine a mental health condition, a mental health provider will work with the patient and the near and dear ones. He shall observe the following:


Symptoms of the patient:

A mental health provider will ask you about the symptoms you have experienced and how this has changed your normal routine. For example, if you are feeling depressed without any reason for longer, this might be a sign. Staying sad due to a reason like a divorce or death is a temporary phase and doesn’t really mean any illness. The provider will ask you about your thought, feelings and behaviour and their changed impact on your daily life. Feelings of sadness and discouragement for a longer period can cause mental illness. He might even ask you for a physical check up in order to determine any health conditions.


Opinions of the people who care:

By examining you thoroughly, the mental health provider will get the idea of your mental stability; however, the perception of people around you will also be taken in consideration. The ones close to you have been watching you daily. They can certainly differentiate if there are any changes in your behaviour or feelings, and how frequent is that. For example, you might be suffering through mood swings and according to you this might be because of a money issue or a wedding. But your thoughts and actions are always observed by others and if they believe that your mood swings are causing ruckus at work or in relationships.


When is a treatment required?

Different mental disorders have different and various symptoms. However, professional help can be required if the following symptoms are found.


  • Change in the personality, sleeping pattern or eating habits
  • Extended depression
  • Weird or grandiose ideas
  • Inability to cope up with the normal routine life or daily chores
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Excessive mood swings or anger, violent behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Substance abuse



A lot of people who might be suffering from mental illness believe that these signs and symptoms are a part of their normal life. They may also avoid getting treatments because of shame or fear. If you are worried about your own mental health of a loved one’s, don’t hesitate to for an experts advice.

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