How do you know if your mental health is declining? While there may not be enormous signs, the little things can indicate a change. Pay close attention to subtle details.

Just as important as your physical health, your mental health plays a role in your growth, stability, and resilience. It’s imperative that you take care of yourself in all ways.

So, paying attention to minor details in your mental health can alert you to a present or coming decline. If you catch the signs, you can prevent severe symptoms later on.

Subtle signs of mental health decline

Let’s look at a few subtle signs that your mental health may be declining. These indicators may gradually appear over time and even seem like normal actions and reactions.

However, if you pay close attention, you can see when something isn’t quite right.

1. Decreased work productivity

Whether you work outside the home or have your own business, when your mental health is taking a turn for the worst, you’ll struggle in this area. If you work for someone else, you may show up late often, miss multiple deadlines, and even become argumentative.

When conditions such as depression become worse, it’s almost impossible to get projects completed correctly. As for being late, it’s difficult getting out of bed to even get dressed for work.

Notice these habits and inconsistencies? Maybe it’s your health.

2. Unexplained aches and pains

Maybe you’re doing everything right with nutrition and physical fitness, but you’re still in pain. Strange aches and pains aren’t necessarily from laziness or injured muscles. Sometimes physical discomfort comes from mental discomfort.

Issues like headaches and muscle stiffness can actually happen during depressive episodes. And sometimes you don’t even know you’re depressed.

3. Increased panic attacks

If you’re having more panic attacks than usual, this could be from lower stress tolerances. If you are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, your condition could be worsening.

Declining mental health, especially concerning anxiety or PTSD, can cause an increase in panic episodes even when triggers are not present. Have you noticed an increase in attacks lately? Are they more severe? This could be an indicator.

4. Increased risky behavior

If you’ve noticed an urge to engage in risky behavior or thrill-seeking activities, it could be due to failing mental health. Now, not everyone who indulges in thrill-seeking opportunities has a mental illness, but this urge can manifest in those who do.

As depression worsens, your brain may combat this feeling by looking for ways to increase adrenaline or dopamine. This can be done with excitement and fear.

5. Experiencing vertigo

As your mental health declines, you may start feeling dizzy. You may even experience vertigo which is more severe.

The reason that declining mental health causes dizziness in some people is that anxiety and stress can cause a disruption in your blood flow. In turn, this can limit the amount of oxygen going to your brain.

6. Increase in substance use

Have you noticed an increase in alcohol consumption or the urge to drink? If you’ve noticed this, then you could be experiencing a decline in your mental health.

Alcohol or drugs provide a temporary high, and if you’ve ever engaged in either substance, your brain remembers this high sensation. When your mental health declines, a sudden urge may rise to return to these habits to prevent the decline.

7. Others notice differences in you

Are your family and friends asking you what’s wrong? Well, if so, don’t get defensive just yet. It’s possible that they are picking up on something you don’t even notice.

Sometimes people put out negative vibes when they’re becoming depressed or anxious. These are emotions that those who are close to you can recognize.

So, when someone asks what’s wrong with you, take some time for introspection. If you let them in, you may notice the decline and take appropriate coping actions.

8. Insomnia is worse

Is it more difficult getting to sleep at night lately? If so, it might be something more than just insomnia. Maybe you can’t get your brain to shut off as easily, and this could be due to anxiety.

If you have a lot of things going on, it will be harder to sleep at night. You may stay awake most of the night analyzing and solving problems. This is a subtle indicator that you need to take a break from stressors.

9. Frequent sickness

Have you noticed that you contract every cold and virus in the office, at home, or just in public? Yeah, that’s intense.

Well, mental health can affect your immune system, making it weaker and causing you to be more susceptible to germs. If you’re sick more often than usual, you could be experiencing physical depression.

10. You’re just not yourself

Maybe you cannot pinpoint what’s off, and that’s because it’s just you. Your entire being feels like it’s absent, and you have no motivation or passion for anything.

It’s likely your mental health is declining, and it’s so subtle you never noticed the process until now, until you feel horrible. Pay attention to your lack of motivation and procrastination. It may be abnormal.

Recognize and take action

I am not professional, but I can tell you that there are ways to improve your mental health immediately. Of course, this varies from person to person. If you think your mental health is declining, first off, talk to your regular doctor to check for any physical deficiencies.

If everything is good physically, take a day off, get some extra rest, and consult with your trusted support system. Spend more time outside, say no to engagements you really don’t want to attend, and stay away from toxic situations.

Your number one priority is lifting your mood and keeping your anxiety at bay. If others do not understand, that’s okay. The focus is on your health. When you feel better, you can continue with your priorities. And let no one shame you for needing a break in life. This is how we recharge and protect ourselves.

If you think you suffer from mental illness, please contact a professional. Do not self-diagnose.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jess

    Hey Sherry, good article!

    Would only add one little piece to chapters 2, 3 and 9 mainly: food. Foods high in sugar or not eating any anti-inflammatory foods can also lead to increases in these symptoms.

    From personal experience I can also add that when I started eating less sugars and making an anti inflammatory salad dressing (ginger, turmeric, spirulina, among others) my aches, pains and panic attacks reduced signifanctly.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

    Yep! Turmeric and Ginger are two of my favs! Thank you so much for the added quality to the post.

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