- A previous suicide attempt or ongoing gestures.
- Verbal threats or expressed suicidal thoughts.
- Changes in behavior including changes in sleeping patterns, too much or too little sleep, or sudden and extreme changes in weight and eating habits.
- Major personality changes indicated by excessive anxiety or nervousness, angry outbursts, apathy, or lack of interest in personal appearance or the opposite sex.
- Withdrawal and isolation from family and friends.
- Substance abuse.
- Unusual purchases.
- Giving away possessions.
- Signs of depression with attitudes of hopelessness and despair.
- Problems at school reflected in lower grades, cutting classes and dropping out of school activities.
- Themes of death.
- Recent loss of close relationships through death or suicide.
- Sudden, unexpected happiness after a long period of gloom.
- Frequent use of alcohol to cope with everyday stress.
- Increased fear and anxiety.
- Ignoring or avoiding responsibilities.
- Argument over drinking and drunken behavior.
- Promises to take only one drink or to stop on their own, but then continue to drink until drunk.
- Drunkenness during important times (work, school, family time).
- Increased tolerance, so they have to drink more to get drunk.
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by four major groups of symptoms:
- Trembling, twitching, or feeling shaky; muscle tension, aches, or soreness; restlessness and tiring easily.
- Shortness of breath or smothering sensations; accelerated heart beat; sweating or cold, clammy hands; dry mouth; dizziness.
- Nausea, diarrhea, or other abdominal distress; hot flashes or chills; frequent urination; and trouble swallowing or always feeling a lump in the throat.
- 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:
- Constant questioning of own judgment
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Taking longer with simple tasks
- Reappearance of repetitive behaviors
- Increased tardiness
- Absent-mindedness – short or long term
- Mood swings
- Lack of motivation, loss of interest in activities, loss of self-discipline
- Changes in clothing and personal style
- Uncharacteristic hostility or irritability
- Presence of drug-related icons or propaganda
- Missing money or valuables
- Drug paraphernalia including pipes, small containers, baggies, rolling papers, etc.
- Changes in peer group
- Trouble with authority (police, school, home)
- Uncaring attitudes and behavior
- Use of room deodorizers and incense
- Unhealthy appearance and bloodshot eyes
- School absence or poor academic performance
Changes in Behavior and Attitude:
- General slowing down
- Neglect of responsibilities and appearance
- Poor memory
- Inability to concentrate
Different Feelings and Perceptions:
- Inability to enjoy anything
- Loss of sexual desire
- Loss of warm feelings toward family and friends
- Extreme guilt
- Loss of self-esteem
- Suicidal thoughts
- Sleep disturbances
- Lack of energy
- Loss of appetite or sudden weight gain
- Unexplained headaches or backaches
- Digestive irritability
Psychiatrists diagnose panic disorder when a person has suffered four attacks within one month, with at least four of the following symptoms:
- Tightness, pain, or discomfort in the chest
- Heart palpitations (racing, pounding, or fluttering)
- Shortness of breath or feelings of smothering
- Faintness or dizziness
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Hot flashes or chills
- Fear of dying
- Nausea or abdominal pain
- Fear of going crazy or losing control
- 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
- 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.
- Common simple phobias deal with animals, especially insects, mice, dogs, and snakes.
- Many also suffer from claustrophobia, the fear of closed spaces, and acrophobia, the fear of heights.
- Simple phobias are common in children, who generally outgrow them.
2.) Social Phobias – causing extreme anxiety in social or public situations
- Sufferers fears go far beyond normal nervousness, causing them to tremble, perspire, and feel like they are choking or smothering.
- Social phobias stem from a person’s fear of being publicly humiliated.
3.) Agoraphobia – the fear of public places
- The most disabling of phobic disorders.
- Panic attacks, overwhelming fear, racing heart, dizziness, shortness of breath, and other symptoms occur without warning and for no apparent reason.
- Its unpredictability causes sufferers to remove themselves from all uncontrolled situations.
- Distorted perception of reality
- Delusions and hallucinations
- Numbed and/or inappropriate emotions
- Isolation or withdrawal from society
- Disordered or illogical thinking
- Uncontrolled and unrelated speech patterns
- Unexplained fear