The Earlier, The Better

Psychopathology is like cancer. The sooner it's diagnosed or detected, the sooner it can be treated and its damaging growth arrested.

Sadly, however, very few psychologists, psychiatrists, or psychotherapists see the psychological abnormality when it's in the beginning stage. By the time a disturbed person is brought in for help, the emotional/mental/behavior disorder is already well-developed.

In contrast, when a family member or friend knows what signs or symptoms to look for, he or she can be in a unique position to spot problems in the early, treatable stage. The emotional or behavioral disorders can be dealt with sooner and more effectively.

Here are some signs or symptoms of abnormality that could be a signal for spotting problems:

Physical complaints
    -- frequent headaches
    -- digestive upsets
    -- sleeplessness
    -- addictions

Psychological indications
    -- extreme anger and outbursts
    -- frequent compromise
    -- over reliance on defense mechanisms
    -- perceptual difficulties (e.g. hallucinations)
    -- distorted thoughts (e.g. nonsensical content)
    -- faulty emotional expression (e.g. flat affect, depression, elation, intense fear and anxiety)
    -- odd behavior, disorientation
    -- depression, inactivity

Social signs
    -- frequent withdrawal
    -- social isolation
    -- violence, antisocial behavior   

Spiritual indicators
    -- fanaticism
    -- incapacitating doubts
    -- prolonged guilt feelings
    -- lack of hope and faith