Know The Warning Signs

Adolescent Suicide

  1. A previous suicide attempt or ongoing gestures.
  2. Verbal threats or expressed suicidal thoughts.
  3. Changes in behavior including changes in sleeping patterns, too much or too little sleep, or sudden and extreme changes in weight and eating habits.
  4. Major personality changes indicated by excessive anxiety or nervousness, angry outbursts, apathy, or lack of interest in personal appearance or the opposite sex.
  5. Withdrawal and isolation from family and friends.
  6. Substance abuse.
  7. Unusual purchases.
  8. Giving away possessions.
  9. Signs of depression with attitudes of hopelessness and despair.
  10. Problems at school reflected in lower grades, cutting classes and dropping out of school activities.
  11. Themes of death.
  12. Recent loss of close relationships through death or suicide.
  13. Sudden, unexpected happiness after a long period of gloom.


  1. Frequent use of alcohol to cope with everyday stress.
  2. Increased fear and anxiety.
  3. Ignoring or avoiding responsibilities.
  4. Argument over drinking and drunken behavior.
  5. Promises to take only one drink or to stop on their own, but then continue to drink until drunk.
  6. Blackouts.
  7. Drunkenness during important times (work, school, family time).
  8. Increased tolerance, so they have to drink more to get drunk.


Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by four major groups of symptoms:

  1. Trembling, twitching, or feeling shaky; muscle tension, aches, or soreness; restlessness and tiring easily.
  2. Shortness of breath or smothering sensations; accelerated heart beat; sweating or cold, clammy hands; dry mouth; dizziness.
  3. Nausea, diarrhea, or other abdominal distress; hot flashes or chills; frequent urination; and trouble swallowing or always feeling a lump in the throat.
  4. Feeling keyed up or on edge; having an exaggerated startle response; having problems concentrating; having trouble falling or staying asleep; and irritability.

Other warning signs that an individual is experiencing emotional difficulties brought on by an anxiety disorder are:

  1. Constant questioning of own judgment
  2. Withdrawal from family and friends
  3. Taking longer with simple tasks
  4. Reappearance of repetitive behaviors
  5. Increased tardiness

Chemical Abuse

  1. Absent-mindedness – short or long term
  2. Mood swings
  3. Lack of motivation, loss of interest in activities, loss of self-discipline
  4. Changes in clothing and personal style
  5. Uncharacteristic hostility or irritability
  6. Presence of drug-related icons or propaganda
  7. Missing money or valuables
  8. Drug paraphernalia including pipes, small containers, baggies, rolling papers, etc.
  9. Changes in peer group
  10. Trouble with authority (police, school, home)
  11. Uncaring attitudes and behavior
  12. Use of room deodorizers and incense
  13. Unhealthy appearance and bloodshot eyes
  14. School absence or poor academic performance


Changes in Behavior and Attitude:

  1. General slowing down
  2. Neglect of responsibilities and appearance
  3. Poor memory
  4. Inability to concentrate
  5. Irritability

Different Feelings and Perceptions:

  1. Emptiness
  2. Inability to enjoy anything
  3. Hopelessness
  4. Loss of sexual desire
  5. Loss of warm feelings toward family and friends
  6. Extreme guilt
  7. Loss of self-esteem
  8. Suicidal thoughts

Physical Complaints:

  1. Sleep disturbances
  2. Lack of energy
  3. Loss of appetite or sudden weight gain
  4. Unexplained headaches or backaches
  5. Digestive irritability

Panic Disorder

Psychiatrists diagnose panic disorder when a person has suffered four attacks within one month, with at least four of the following symptoms:

  1. Tightness, pain, or discomfort in the chest
  2. Heart palpitations (racing, pounding, or fluttering)
  3. Shortness of breath or feelings of smothering
  4. Faintness or dizziness
  5. Choking
  6. Numbness or tingling sensations
  7. Trembling
  8. Hot flashes or chills
  9. Sweating
  10. Fear of dying
  11. Nausea or abdominal pain
  12. Fear of going crazy or losing control
  13. A sensation of unreality


There are three general classification groups for phobias:

1.) Simple Phobias – the most common type of phobia; focused on specific objects

  1. Sufferers immediately feel severe anxiety, even terror, whenever they encounter the object that they dread. Their heart races, they feel dizzy, and may have trouble breathing.
  2. Common simple phobias deal with animals, especially insects, mice, dogs, and snakes.
  3. Many also suffer from claustrophobia, the fear of closed spaces, and acrophobia, the fear of heights.
  4. Simple phobias are common in children, who generally outgrow them.

2.) Social Phobias – causing extreme anxiety in social or public situations

  1. Sufferers fears go far beyond normal nervousness, causing them to tremble, perspire, and feel like they are choking or smothering.
  2. Social phobias stem from a person’s fear of being publicly humiliated.

3.) Agoraphobia – the fear of public places

  1. The most disabling of phobic disorders.
  2. Panic attacks, overwhelming fear, racing heart, dizziness, shortness of breath, and other symptoms occur without warning and for no apparent reason.
  3. Its unpredictability causes sufferers to remove themselves from all uncontrolled situations.


  1. Distorted perception of reality
  2. Delusions and hallucinations
  3. Numbed and/or inappropriate emotions
  4. Isolation or withdrawal from society
  5. Disordered or illogical thinking
  6. Uncontrolled and unrelated speech patterns
  7. Unexplained fear

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