Mental illness is not limited to those who are born with it; mental illness can develop over time, either as a predetermined event or as a disease that develops over time.
While some mental illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are not typically found in young people, others, such as depression, can strike as early as infancy, and despite being overdiagnosed, many children and adults suffer from mental illnesses such as ADHD.
Due to their rapidly developing brains and exposure to numerous new situations during their late teens and early twenties, young adults are more likely than any other age group to be diagnosed with a mental illness for the first time. Young adults are not inherently especially vulnerable; however, whatever mental illnesses they may have been born with are more likely to emerge from dormancy at this age.
Common Mental Illness Among Young Adults
Schizophrenia is one mental illness that frequently affects young adults for the first time. Individuals may experience irritability or paranoia, both of which may be identified by a loved one and reported to the individual’s physician. Other possible warning signs include the young adult hearing voices or seeing nonexistent objects. Schizophrenics may also experience apathy or lack of emotion, and their symptoms may worsen at social gatherings. In addition, they may have difficulty concentrating, following directions, and completing duties, and their memories may deteriorate. Additionally, schizophrenic patients almost always experience depression before their symptoms worsen.
Depression is another prevalent mental illness among young adults. It is characterised by feelings of extreme helplessness and hopelessness and differs significantly from “feeling blue” or “being depressed.” Depression is a severe mental disorder that affects millions of Americans and can lead to suicidal ideation, as well as overeating, undereating, oversleeping, and mood swings. Depression is not something that individuals can simply “get over” or “snap out of” and may require medication, therapy, or a combination of the two before the individual begins to experience a reduction in symptoms. The symptoms of depression can fluctuate and are similar to but distinct from those of bipolar disorder.
Manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, can be treated with medication. It is characterised by intense manic or “high” periods in which the individual becomes excessively enthusiastic or optimistic and may initiate impossible undertakings or plans. These periods of euphoria are followed by collapses and intense “lows” characterised by daylong sleeping, feelings of hopelessness, suicidal ideation, and other symptoms shared with depression.
ADHD is more of a disorder than a disease because it typically does not severely impair a young adult’s ability to function normally in society; however, it is possible for ADHD to affect a young adult’s ability to retain a job or otherwise function independently. This disorder frequently manifests as an inability to concentrate, a propensity for distraction, and similar symptoms. It may manifest as near-chronic forgetfulness, inability to maintain stillness, and hyperfocus on particular activities.
The diagnosis of a mental illness should be left to medical personnel, but it is often the family and loved ones of the affected young adult who must recognise the symptoms before the individual can receive treatment. Many mentally ill individuals are unaware of their condition or are unwilling to seek treatment on their own for reasons related to their illness.
The loved ones of those affected by the above-mentioned mental illnesses and other mental illnesses should compile a list of the specific symptoms they observe in order to present them to a mental health professional. Changes in sleeping and feeding patterns, weight gain or loss, personality changes, an inability to function normally, paranoia, aggression, and other unusual behaviour are warning signs. Even a hunch that something is “off” with a loved one may necessitate additional attention or even investigation so that they can receive treatment for their mental illness.
No matter what symptoms are displayed, a diagnosis cannot be made until the patient is examined by a physician. A person brought to the hospital by the police is likely to be treated and discharged without adequate consideration of their actual requirements. It is the responsibility of the family and loved ones of young adults with mental illness to seek treatment for them.