What is Mental Instability? 5 Signs

Mental instability effects everyone at some point in their lives. Whether you have an eating disorder, self-esteem issues, depression or one of many personality disorders, taking care of your mental health should be a priority.

As a general rule, mental instability refers to to the absence of a complete state of mental health. This covers a wide spectrum of mental illness from acute/mild depression to multiple personality disorders. Mental instability is simply the state where one’s mental health is compromised in some way.

In this article, we’ll discuss more on what it means to be mentally unstable, treatment options and self-care and five signs/symptoms that someone might be mentally unstable.

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What is Meant by Mental Instability?

As briefly mentioned, mental instability refers to when someone’s mental health is not as good as it could be. There are a variety if reasons why someone could be experiencing mental instability. There could be a history if mental illness in your family, trauma could cause anxiety or depression, or you could develop an eating disorder. Beneath these few examples, there are many other forms and levels of severity to consider. Even something as “normal” as an emotional disturbance shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s important to be aware that experiencing mental instability does not mean that you are “crazy”. Being unstable is very usual, especially with how demanding people’s lives can be and the amount of stress we deal with on a daily basis.

What are the 5 signs of mental illness?

There are several obvious signs that you or someone you love might be experiencing mental instability/mental illness. Again, experiencing mental illness does not mean that you’re “crazy”. It simply means that you’re not in the best mental health. Think of it like a cold for your mind. They come and go and with the proper care, they can be prevented. Here are 5 common signs of mental illness.

Extreme Anxiety or Panic Attacks

Anxiety effects all of us in some way (big or small) during our lifetime. Feeling anxious is a perfectly normal human experience. However, if feelings of anxiousness or worry seem to be persistent for no reason, there is probably an underlying reason that should be addressed. Also, if anxiety arises but you the level of anxiety does not seem to match the issue, you might be dealing with more than you know.

mental instability

A panic attack is another good indicator that you are experiencing mental illness. A panic attack is usually triggered by certain thoughts, sounds or places. Individuals experiencing a crushing level of stress and/or anxiety might find themselves experiencing a panic attack seemingly out of nowhere.

If work is the cause of crippling stress, simply walking into work or thinking about it could drive someone into a full-blown panic attack. They might feel like they are not able to breathe and could even pass out because of it. Sometimes, teens and young adults experience panic attacks as well. This is due to underlying trauma and/or other mental illnesses that they may not know they have.

Stress induced anxiety/panic attacks should not be taken lightly. Being proactive about your health and proper treatment will help manage stress and reduce anxiety.

Anxiety attacks and dealing with anxiety in general are one of several difficulties that come along with a variety of mental illnesses.

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Trouble Sleeping/Changes in Appetite

Mental instability can also have a huge impact on your sleep and appetite as well. If you find yourself suddenly eating much more and sleeping less, chances are, you’re going through more than you know. The same is true for the opposite scenario. Someone struggling with a mental illness may find themselves sleeping more (due to fatigue) and eating much less due to lack of appetite.

These symptoms are not always seen together either. You could be eating just find but experiencing issued with sleep or vice versa. Being able to observe any changes in areas such as these can help eliminate the issue before it worsens.


Withdrawal from social gathers is another key indicator that something is off. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be alone at times. In fact, checking in with yourself and spending time alone is a great way to maintain mental and emotional health.

If social withdrawal persists or you find yourself losing interest in activities you typically enjoy, you are most likely experiencing some sort of mental illness. Much of the time, social withdrawal is an indicator that depression or an emotional disturbance is being experienced.


Mental illness tends to cause people to become irritable. This is due to the amount of underlying strain or turmoil that they are experiencing. If someone is not that self-aware, they could be especially rude and outwardly irritable to those around them. If you or someone you know seems to be uncharacteristically irritable lately, it’s most likely due to stress, anxiety or depression that is being battled. Take this as a hint that you need to step back and take the time you need to care for yourself.

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Persistent Sadness

Ongoing sadness under usual circumstances does not reflect a healthy state of mind. Sadness and grief are normal responses to events in out lives, however, persistent sadness (especially for what seems like no reason) is not. Personally, if I’m close to burnout, I find that I feel sad all the time. It’s like a dark cloud of despair is following me around and even though my life is going great, I feel sad and “down”.

Again, taking time for yourself can help eliminate this symptom. Being overworked and over stressed can cause mental illness to develop. Aside from this cause, underlying trauma can be a cause of ongoing sadness. They best thing you can do in this case is to not ignore it because it seems like nothing.

How do you fix Mental Instability?

There are several things that can be done to deal with mental instability. Taking time off for yourself is a great place to start. When I’m feeling unstable about “out of it”, I take a mental health day. Being able to step back and ask myself what’s going on is so helpful. Sometimes, mental instability isn’t due to a long term mental health condition. Often, we are simply overworked and need a break. Being able to recognize what’s going on with yourself is a great way to be proactive about your mental and emotional health.

Aside from being more self aware, talking to a professional counselor about what you’re experiencing will expedite your journey toward mental health and will also provide you with helpful tools and techniques that you may not know about. Implementing these when you start to notice your symptoms or triggers will help you stay on time of your mental health.

Another great way to be proactive about your mental health is to practice a healthy lifestyle. You don’t need to live at the gym or become vegan to do this, but consistently trying to make healthy choices can go a long way. A healthy diet and exercise will keep your body and mind healthy. The more supported your health is, they better your brain is able to function properly which then translates into better mental/emotional health.

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Hi, I'm Marissa! I'm passionate about mental and emotional health and want to share what I've learned over the years with others! I've seen first hand how mental health struggles can cause serious issues within relationships, work life, daily productivity, self-worth and more! I truly believe that we owe it to ourselves to bring more awareness to these life changing topics. Start your mental/emotional health journey by learning more today!

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