When it comes to mental health, sometimes the best offense is a good defense – the best way to actively work towards good mental health is to keep an eye out for signs of poor health, to try to head them off early on. If you have a history of concerns about mental health, even if it’s been a while since you’ve experienced any symptoms, it can be helpful to keep an eye out as you move forward.
Relapses rarely come out of nowhere – there are often signs, but in order to be warned by these signs, you need to be able to trust yourself and your perceptions of something being not quite right. In some cases, talking to family, friends, and other members of a support system about when to mention if something seems “off” can be a helpful way to keep on the lookout for relapse. If you’ve had a history of mental illness in the past, you have some kind of a baseline for knowing your own signs.
Causes that can contribute to relapse include:
- Lack of sleep, or irregular sleep patterns
- Not taking prescribed medication
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- A lack of social support or feelings of isolation
- Poor physical health
If you’re noticing potential signs of relapse for mental health concerns, even if you’re not totally sure that’s what’s going on, it’s still a great time to reach out to your healthcare provider. They can help you figure out what kind of response or treatment might help keep you on the right track, and the reminder that you have your medical team on your side can help you feel more in control of your own health.
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- Neel Burton. “Mental illness: preventing a relapse.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, September 11 2017. Retrieved July 3 2018. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201210/mental-illness-preventing-relapse.
- “Preventing relapse of mental illness.” heretohelp. Here To Help, 2011. Retrieved July 3 2018. http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/factsheet/preventing-relapse-of-mental-illnesses.
- “Warning signs of mental illness.” American Psychological Association. American Psychological Association, September 2015. Retrieved July 3 2018. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/warning-signs-of-mental-illness.