Health Topics

Mental health and behavior

Child Behavior Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Conduct Disorder
Conduct disorders

All kids misbehave some times. And some may have temporary behavior problems due to stress. For example, the birth of a sibling, a divorce, or a death in the family may cause a child to act out. Behavior disorders are more serious. They involve a pattern of hostile, aggressive, or disruptive behaviors for more than 6 months. The behavior is also not appropriate for the child's age.

Warning signs can include

  • Harming or threatening themselves, other people or pets
  • Damaging or destroying property
  • Lying or stealing
  • Not doing well in school, skipping school
  • Early smoking, drinking or drug use
  • Early sexual activity
  • Frequent tantrums and arguments
  • Consistent hostility toward authority figures

If you see signs of a problem, ask for help. Poor choices can become habits. Kids who have behavior problems are at higher risk for school failure, mental health problems, and even suicide. Classes or family therapy may help parents learn to set and enforce limits. Talk therapy and behavior therapy for your child can also help.


Adolescent Behavior
Child Behavior Disorders
Children and Teenagers
Mental Health and Behavior
All kids misbehave some times. And some may have temporary behavior problems due to stress. For example, the birth of a sibling, a divorce, or a death in ...
Self-Harm
National Library of Medicine
Cutting
Hair Pulling
What is self-harm?

Self-harm, or self-injury, is when a person hurts his or her own body on purpose. The injuries may be minor, but sometimes they can be severe. They may leave permanent scars or cause serious health problems. Some examples are

  • Cutting yourself (such as using a razor blade, knife, or other sharp object to cut your skin)
  • Punching yourself or punching things (like a wall)
  • Burning yourself with cigarettes, matches, or candles
  • Pulling out your hair
  • Poking objects through body openings
  • Breaking your bones or bruising yourself

Self-harm is not a mental disorder. It is a behavior - an unhealthy way to cope with strong feelings. However, some of the people who harm themselves do have a mental disorder.

People who harm themselves are usually not trying to kill themselves. But they are at higher risk of attempting suicide if they do not get help.

Why do people harm themselves?

There are different reasons why people harm themselves. Often, they have trouble coping and dealing with their feelings. They harm themselves to try to

  • Make themselves feel something, when they feel empty or numb inside
  • Block upsetting memories
  • Show that they need help
  • Release strong feelings that overwhelm them, such as anger, loneliness, or hopelessness
  • Punish themselves
  • Feel a sense of control
Who is at risk for self-harm?

There are people of all ages who harm themselves, but it usually starts in the teen or early adult years. Self-harm is more common in people who

  • Were abused or went through a trauma as children
  • Have mental disorders, such as
    • Depression
    • Eating disorders
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder
    • Certain personality disorders
  • Misuse drugs or alcohol
  • Have friends who self-harm
  • Have low self-esteem
What are the signs of self-harm?

Signs that someone may be hurting themselves include

  • Having frequent cuts, bruises, or scars
  • Wearing long sleeves or pants even in hot weather
  • Making excuses about injuries
  • Having sharp objects around for no clear reason
How can I help someone who self-harms?

If someone you know is self-harming, it is important not to be judgmental. Let that person know that you want to help. If the person is a child or teenager, ask him or her to talk to a trusted adult. If he or she won't do that, talk to a trusted adult yourself. If the person who is self-harming is an adult, suggest mental health counseling.

What the treatments are for self-harm?

There are no medicines to treat self-harming behaviors. But there are medicines to treat any mental disorders that the person may have, such as anxiety and depression. Treating the mental disorder may weaken the urge to self-harm.

Mental health counseling or therapy can also help by teaching the person

  • Problem-solving skills
  • New ways to cope with strong emotions
  • Better relationship skills
  • Ways to strengthen self-esteem

If the problem is severe, the person may need more intensive treatment in a psychiatric hospital or a mental health day program.


Self-Injurious Behavior
Mental Health and Behavior
What is self-harm? Self-harm, or self-injury, is when a person hurts his or her own body on purpose. The injuries may be minor, but sometimes they can ...
Eating Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Anorexia Nervosa
Binge Eating
Bulimia
Pica
What are eating disorders?

Eating disorders are serious mental health disorders. They involve severe problems with your thoughts about food and your eating behaviors. You may eat much less or much more than you need.

Eating disorders are medical conditions; they are not a lifestyle choice. They affect your body's ability to get proper nutrition. This can lead to health issues, such as heart and kidney problems, or sometimes even death. But there are treatments that can help.

What are the types of eating disorders?

Common types of eating disorders include

  • Binge-eating, which is out-of-control eating. People with binge-eating disorder keep eating even after they are full. They often eat until they feel very uncomfortable. Afterward, they usually have feelings of guilt, shame, and distress. Eating too much too often can lead to weight gain and obesity. Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the U.S.
  • Bulimia nervosa. People with bulimia nervosa also have periods of binge-eating. But afterwards, they purge, by making themselves throw up or using laxatives. They may also over-exercise or fast. People with bulimia nervosa may be slightly underweight, normal weight, or overweight.
  • Anorexia nervosa. People with anorexia nervosa avoid food, severely restrict food, or eat very small quantities of only certain foods. They may see themselves as overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight. Anorexia nervosa is the least common of the three eating disorders, but it is often the most serious. It has the highest death rate of any mental disorder.
What causes eating disorders?

The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. Researchers believe that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of factors. These include genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors.

Who is at risk for eating disorders?

Anyone can develop an eating disorder, but they are more common in women. Eating disorders frequently appear during the teen years or young adulthood. But people can also develop them during childhood or later in life.

What are the symptoms of eating disorders?

The symptoms of eating disorders vary, depending on the disorder:

The symptoms of binge-eating include

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as a 2-hour period
  • Eating even when you're full or not hungry
  • Eating fast during binge episodes
  • Eating until you're uncomfortably full
  • Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment
  • Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about your eating
  • Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss

The symptoms of bulimia nervosa include the same symptoms as binge-eating, plus trying to get rid of the food or weight after binging by

  • Purging, making yourself throw up or using laxatives or enemas to speed up the movement of food through your body
  • Doing intensive and excessive exercise
  • Fasting

Over time, bulimia nervosa can cause health problems such as

  • Chronically inflamed and sore throat
  • Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw area
  • Worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth. This is caused by the exposure to stomach acid every time you throw up.
  • GERD (acid reflux) and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Severe dehydration from purging
  • Electrolyte imbalance, which could be too low or too high levels of sodium, calcium, potassium and other minerals. This can lead to a stroke or heart attack.

The symptoms of anorexia nervosa include

  • Eating very little, to the point of starving yourself
  • Intensive and excessive exercise
  • Extreme thinness
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted body image - seeing yourself as overweight even when you are severely underweight

Over time, anorexia nervosa can cause health problems such as

  • Thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
  • Mild anemia
  • Muscle wasting and weakness
  • Thin, brittle hair and nails
  • Dry, blotchy, or yellowish skin
  • Growth of fine hair all over the body
  • Severe constipation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing and pulse.
  • Feeling cold all the time because of a drop in internal body temperature
  • Feeling faint, dizzy, or weak
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Infertility
  • Damage to the structure and function of the heart
  • Brain damage
  • Multiorgan failure

Anorexia nervosa can be fatal. Some people with this disorder die of complications from starvation, and others die of suicide.

Some people with eating disorders may also have other mental disorders (such as depression or anxiety) or problems with substance use.

How is eating disorders diagnosed?

Because eating disorders can be so serious, it is important to seek help if you or a loved one thinks that you might have a problem. To make a diagnosis, your health care provider

  • Will take a medical history and ask about your symptoms. It is important to be honest about your eating and exercise behaviors so your provider can help you.
  • Will do a physical exam
  • May do blood or urine tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms
  • May do other tests to see whether you have any other health problems caused by the eating disorder. These can include kidney function tests and an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG).
What are the treatments for eating disorders?

Treatment plans for eating disorders are tailored to individual needs. You will likely have a team of providers helping you, including doctors, nutritionists, nurses, and therapists. The treatments may include

  • Individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy. Individual therapy may include cognitive behavioral approaches, which help you to identify and change negative and unhelpful thoughts. It also helps you build coping skills and change behavioral patterns.
  • Medical care and monitoring, including care for the complications that eating disorders can cause
  • Nutrition counseling. Doctors, nurses, and counselors will help you eat healthy to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Medicines, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers, may help treat some eating disorders. The medicines can also help with the depression and anxiety symptoms that often go along with eating disorders.

Some people with serious eating disorders may need to be in a hospital or in a residential treatment program. Residential treatment programs combine housing and treatment services.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health


Feeding and Eating Disorders
Mental Health and Behavior
Food and Nutrition
What are eating disorders? Eating disorders are serious mental health disorders. They involve severe problems with your thoughts about food and your eating behaviors. You may eat much less or much more ...
Child Mental Health
National Library of Medicine
Mental Health, Child

It's important to recognize and treat mental illnesses in children early on. Once mental illness develops, it becomes a regular part of your child's behavior. This makes it more difficult to treat.

But it's not always easy to know when your child has a serious problem. Everyday stresses can cause changes in your child's behavior. For example, getting a new brother or sister or going to a new school may cause a child to temporarily act out. Warning signs that it might be a more serious problem include

  • Problems in more than one setting (at school, at home, with peers)
  • Changes in appetite or sleep
  • Social withdrawal or fear of things he or she did not used to be not afraid of
  • Returning to behaviors more common in younger children, such as bedwetting
  • Signs of being upset, such as sadness or tearfulness
  • Signs of self-destructive behavior, such as head-banging or suddenly getting hurt often
  • Repeated thoughts of death

To diagnose mental health problems, the doctor or mental health specialist looks at your child's signs and symptoms, medical history, and family history. Treatments include medicines and talk therapy.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health


Mental Disorders
Mental Health
Psychology, Child
Child Psychiatry
Children and Teenagers
Mental Health and Behavior
... and talk therapy. NIH: National Institute of Mental Health
Dementia
National Library of Medicine
Senility
What is dementia?

Dementia is a loss of mental functions that is severe enough to affect your daily life and activities. These functions include

  • Memory
  • Language skills
  • Visual perception (your ability to make sense of what you see)
  • Problem solving
  • Trouble with everyday tasks
  • The ability to focus and pay attention

It is normal to become a bit more forgetful as you age. But dementia is not a normal part of aging. It is a serious disorder which interferes with your daily life.

What are the types of dementia?

The most common types of dementia are known as neurodegenerative disorders. These are diseases in which the cells of the brain stop working or die. They include

  • Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common form of dementia among older people. People with Alzheimer's have plaques and tangles in their brain. These are abnormal buildups of different proteins. Beta-amyloid protein clumps up and forms plaques in between your brain cells. Tau protein builds up and forms tangles inside the nerve cells of your brain. There is also a loss of connection between nerve cells in the brain.
  • Lewy body dementia, which causes movement symptoms along with dementia. Lewy bodies are abnormal deposits of a protein in the brain.
  • Frontotemporal disorders, which cause changes to certain parts of the brain:
    • Changes in the frontal lobe lead to behavioral symptoms
    • Changes in the temporal lobe lead to language and emotional disorders
  • Vascular dementia, which involves changes to the brain's blood supply. It is often caused by a stroke or atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) in the brain.
  • Mixed dementia, which is a combination of two or more types of dementia. For example, some people have both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

Other conditions can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms, including

  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare brain disorder
  • Huntington's disease, an inherited, progressive brain disease
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), caused by repeated traumatic brain injury
  • HIV-associated dementia (HAD)
Who is at risk for dementia?

Certain factors can raise your risk for developing dementia, including

  • Aging. This is the biggest risk factor for dementia.
  • Smoking
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Having close family members who have dementia
What are the symptoms of dementia?

The symptoms of dementia can vary, depending on which parts of the brain are affected. Often, forgetfulness is the first symptom. Dementia also causes problems with the ability to think, problem solve, and reason. For example, people with dementia may

  • Get lost in a familiar neighborhood
  • Use unusual words to refer to familiar objects
  • Forget the name of a close family member or friend
  • Forget old memories
  • Need help doing tasks that they used to do by themselves

Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions and their personalities may change. They may become apathetic, meaning that they are no longer interested in normal daily activities or events. They may lose their inhibitions and stop caring about other peoples' feelings.

Certain types of dementia can also cause problems with balance and movement.

The stages of dementia range from mild to severe. In the mildest stage, it is just beginning to affect a person's functioning. In the most severe stage, the person is completely dependent on others for care.

How is dementia diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, your health care provider

  • Will ask about your medical history
  • Will do a physical exam
  • Will check your thinking, memory, and language abilities
  • May do tests, such as blood tests, genetic tests, and brain scans
  • May do a mental health evaluation to see whether a mental disorder is contributing to your symptoms
What are the treatments for dementia?

There is no cure for most types of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease and Lewy body dementia. Treatments may help to maintain mental function longer, manage behavioral symptoms, and slow down the symptoms of disease. They may include

  • Medicines may temporarily improve memory and thinking or slow down their decline. They only work in some people. Other medicines can treat symptoms such as anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and muscle stiffness. Some of these medicines can cause strong side effects in people with dementia. It is important to talk to your health care provider about which medicines will be safe for you.
  • Occupational therapy to help find ways to more easily do everyday activities
  • Speech therapy to help with swallowing difficulties and trouble speaking loudly and clearly
  • Mental health counseling to help people with dementia and their families learn how to manage difficult emotions and behaviors. It can also help them plan for the future.
  • Music or art therapy to reduce anxiety and improve well-being
Can dementia be prevented?

Researchers have not found a proven way to prevent dementia. Living a healthy lifestyle might influence some of your risk factors for dementia.


Dementia
Mental Health and Behavior
Older Adults
Brain and Nerves
... swallowing difficulties and trouble speaking loudly and clearly Mental health counseling to help people with dementia and their families learn how to manage difficult emotions and behaviors. It can also help them plan for the ...
How to Improve Mental Health
National Library of Medicine
Boost Emotional Wellness
Improve Emotional Health
Stay Positive
What is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood and aging.

Why is mental health important?

Mental health is important because it can help you to

  • Cope with the stresses of life
  • Be physically healthy
  • Have good relationships
  • Make meaningful contributions to your community
  • Work productively
  • Realize your full potential
How can I improve my mental health?

There are many different things you can do to improve your mental health, including

  • Staying positive. It's important to try to have a positive outlook; some ways to do that include
    • Finding balance between positive and negative emotions. Staying positive doesn't mean that you never feel negative emotions, such as sadness or anger. You need to feel them so that you can move through difficult situations. They can help you to respond to a problem. But you don't want those emotions to take over. For example, it's not helpful to keep thinking about bad things that happened in the past or worry too much about the future.
    • Trying to hold on to the positive emotions when you have them
    • Taking a break from negative information. Know when to stop watching or reading the news. Use social media to reach out for support and feel connected to others but be careful. Don't fall for rumors, get into arguments, or negatively compare your life to others.
  • Practicing gratitude, which means being thankful for the good things in your life. It's helpful to do this every day, either by thinking about what you are grateful for or writing it down in a journal. These can be big things, such as the support you have from loved ones, or little things, such as enjoying a nice meal. It's important to allow yourself a moment to enjoy that you had the positive experience. Practicing gratitude can help you to see your life differently. For example, when you are stressed, you may not notice that there are also moments when you have some positive emotions. Gratitude can help you to recognize them.
  • Taking care of your physical health, since your physical and mental health are connected. Some ways to take care of your physical health include
    • Being physically active. Exercise can reduce feelings of stress and depression and improve your mood.
    • Getting enough sleep. Sleep affects your mood. If you don't get a good sleep, you may become more easily annoyed and angry. Over the long term, a lack of quality sleep can make you more likely to become depressed. So it's important to make sure that you have a regular sleep schedule and get enough quality sleep every night.
    • Healthy eating. Good nutrition will help you feel better physically but could also improve your mood and decrease anxiety and stress. Also, not having enough of certain nutrients may contribute to some mental illnesses. For example, there may be a link between low levels of vitamin B12 and depression. Eating a well-balanced diet can help you to get enough of the nutrients you need.
  • Connecting with others. Humans are social creatures, and it's important to have strong, healthy relationships with others. Having good social support may help protect you against the harms of stress. It is also good to have different types of connections. Besides connecting with family and friends, you could find ways to get involved with your community or neighborhood. For example, you could volunteer for a local organization or join a group that is focused on a hobby you enjoy.
  • Developing a sense of meaning and purpose in life. This could be through your job, volunteering, learning new skills, or exploring your spirituality.
  • Developing coping skills, which are methods you use to deal with stressful situations. They may help you face a problem, take action, be flexible, and not easily give up in solving it.
  • Meditation, which is a mind and body practice where you learn to focus your attention and awareness. There are many types, including mindfulness meditation and transcendental meditation. Meditation usually involves
    • A quiet location with as few distractions as possible
    • A specific, comfortable posture. This could be sitting, lying down, walking, or another position.
    • A focus of attention, such as a specially chosen word or set of words, an object, or your breathing
    • An open attitude, where you try to let distractions come and go naturally without judging them
  • Relaxation techniques are practices you do to produce your body's natural relaxation response. This slows down your breathing, lowers your blood pressure, and reduces muscle tension and stress. Types of relaxation techniques include
    • Progressive relaxation, where you tighten and relax different muscle groups, sometimes while using mental imagery or breathing exercises
    • Guided imagery, where you learn to focus on positive images in your mind, to help you feel more relaxed and focused
    • Biofeedback, where you use electronic devices to learn to control certain body functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and muscle tension
    • Self-hypnosis, where the goal is to get yourself into a relaxed, trance-like state when you hear a certain suggestion or see a specific cue
    • Deep breathing exercises, which involve focusing on taking slow, deep, even breaths

It's also important to recognize when you need to get help. Talk therapy and/or medicines can treat mental disorders. If you don't know where to get treatment, start by contacting your primary care provider.


Mental Health and Behavior
What is mental health? Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with ...
Mental Health
National Library of Medicine
Emotional Health
What is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood and aging.

What are mental disorders?

Mental disorders are serious conditions which can affect your thinking, mood, and behavior. They may be occasional or long-lasting. They can affect your ability to relate to others and function each day. Mental disorders are common; more than half of all Americans will be diagnosed with one at some time in their life. But there are treatments. People with mental disorders can get better, and many of them recover completely.

Why is mental health important?

Mental health is important because it can help you to

  • Cope with the stresses of life
  • Be physically healthy
  • Have good relationships
  • Make meaningful contributions to your community
  • Work productively
  • Realize your full potential

Your mental health is also important because it can affect your physical health. For example, mental disorders can raise your risk for physical health problems such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

What can affect my mental health?

There are many different factors that can affect your mental health, including

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems
  • Your lifestyle, such as diet, physical activity, and substance use

You can also affect your mental health by taking steps to improve it, such as doing meditation, using relaxation techniques, and practicing gratitude.

Can my mental health change over time?

Over time, your mental health can change. For example, you may be dealing with a difficult situation, such as trying to manage a chronic illness, taking care of an ill relative, or facing money problems. The situation may wear you out and overwhelm your ability to cope with it. This can worsen your mental health. On the other hand, getting therapy may improve your mental health.

What are the signs that I might have a mental health problem?

When it comes to your emotions, it can be hard to know what is normal and what is not. There are warning signs that you may have a mental health problem, including

  • A change in your eating or sleeping habits
  • Withdrawing from the people and activities you enjoy
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Having severe mood swings that cause problems in your relationships
  • Having thoughts and memories that you can't get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Not being able to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school
What should I do if I think I have a mental health problem?

If you think that you may have a mental health problem, get help. Talk therapy and/or medicines can treat mental disorders. If you don't know where to start, contact your primary care provider.


Mental Health
Mental Health and Behavior
Wellness and Lifestyle
... stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every ... mood, and behavior. They may be occasional or long-lasting. They ...
Panic Disorder
National Library of Medicine

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror when there is no real danger. You may feel as if you are losing control. You may also have physical symptoms, such as

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Chest or stomach pain
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Feeling hot or a cold chill
  • Tingly or numb hands

Panic attacks can happen anytime, anywhere, and without warning. You may live in fear of another attack and may avoid places where you have had an attack. For some people, fear takes over their lives and they cannot leave their homes.

Panic disorder is more common in women than men. It usually starts when people are young adults. Sometimes it starts when a person is under a lot of stress. Most people get better with treatment. Therapy can show you how to recognize and change your thinking patterns before they lead to panic. Medicines can also help.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health


Panic Disorder
Mental Health and Behavior
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror when there is no real danger. You may feel as if ...
Suicide
National Library of Medicine
What is suicide?

Suicide is the taking of one's own life. It is a death that happens when someone harms themselves because they want to end their life. A suicide attempt is when someone harms themselves to try to end their life, but they do not die.

Suicide is a major public health problem and a leading cause of death in the United States. The effects of suicide go beyond the person who acts to take his or her life. It can also have a lasting effect on family, friends, and communities.

Who is at risk for suicide?

Suicide does not discriminate. It can touch anyone, anywhere, at any time. But there are certain factors that can contribute to the risk of suicide, including

  • Having attempted suicide before
  • Depression and other mental health disorders
  • Alcohol or drug use disorder
  • Family history of a mental health disorder
  • Family history of an alcohol or drug use disorder
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Having guns in the home
  • Being in or having recently gotten out of prison or jail
  • Being exposed to others' suicidal behavior, such as a family member, peer, or celebrity
  • Medical illness, including chronic pain
  • Stressful life event, such as a job loss, financial problems, loss of a loved one, a breakup of a relationship, etc.
  • Being between the ages of 15 and 24 years or over age 60
What are the warning signs for suicide?

The warning signs for suicide include

  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill oneself
  • Making a plan or looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online
  • Buying a gun or stockpiling pills
  • Feeling empty, hopeless, trapped, or like there's no reason to live
  • Being in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Using more alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing from family or friends or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
  • Saying good-bye to loved ones, putting affairs in order

Some people may tell others about their suicidal thoughts. But others may try to hide them. This can make some of the signs harder to spot.

What should I do if I need help or know someone who does?

If you or someone you know has the warning signs for suicide, get help right away, especially if there is a change in behavior. If it is an emergency, dial 911. Otherwise there are five steps that you can take:

  • Ask the person if they're thinking about killing themselves
  • Keep them safe. Find out whether they have a plan for suicide and keep them away from things that they can use to kill themselves.
  • Be there with them. Listen carefully and find out what they are thinking and feeling.
  • Help them connect to resources that can help them, such as
    • Calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Veterans can call and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
    • Texting the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741)
    • Texting the Veterans Crisis Line at 838255
  • Stay connected. Staying in touch after a crisis can make a difference.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health


Suicide
Suicidal Ideation
Mental Health and Behavior
Social/Family Issues
... or drug use disorder Family history of a mental health disorder Family ... to others' suicidal behavior, such as a family member, peer, or celebrity ...
Compulsive Gambling
National Library of Medicine
Gambling
Pathological Gambling
Gambling addiction

Many people enjoy gambling, whether it's betting on a horse or playing poker on the Internet. Most people who gamble don't have a problem, but some lose control of their gambling. Signs of problem gambling include

  • Always thinking about gambling
  • Lying about gambling
  • Spending work or family time gambling
  • Feeling bad after you gamble, but not quitting
  • Gambling with money you need for other things

If you have concerns about your gambling, ask for help. Your health care provider can work with you to find the treatment that's best for you.

NIH: National Institutes of Health


Gambling
Mental Health and Behavior
Many people enjoy gambling, whether it's betting on a horse or playing poker on the Internet. Most people who gamble don't have a problem, but some lose control ...