20 Subtle Signs of Mental Distress You Shouldn't Ignore

James Hernandez

Updated Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 12:27 AM CDT

20 Subtle Signs of Mental Distress You Shouldn't Ignore

Repetitive Behavior and Peculiar Questions

A person with s*****phrenia may exhibit repetitive behavior, asking the same question multiple times in different ways and seeking a specific answer. They may also follow up on the answer days later through text. This behavior is harmless but peculiar.

Reluctance to Share Personal Information

Some individuals may be reluctant to share personal information about themselves, even after months of knowing them. They may avoid discussing their family, preferences, or experiences. This could be a result of past bullying or emotional abuse.

Canceling Plans and Lack of Motivation

Subtle signs of mental distress can include canceling plans, making excuses to avoid activities, and showing a lack of motivation or disinterest in normal activities.

Decline in Personal Hygiene

A decline in personal hygiene, such as not brushing hair or teeth regularly, can indicate a person's mental state is not quite alright.

Lack of Effort in Appearance and Daily Tasks

Individuals may put less effort into their appearance, resulting in a messy house, inability to cook, or difficulty staying on top of normal tasks.

Defensiveness and Irritability

People who are mentally unwell may become defensive, hypersensitive, and easily irritable.

Changes in Sleeping Patterns

Changes in sleeping patterns, such as sleeping more or less than usual, can be a sign of mental distress.

Excessive Eating, Drinking, or Substance Use

An increase in eating, drinking alcohol, smoking, spending money, or using drugs may be indicative of a person's declining mental state.

Trouble at Work or with the Law

Getting in trouble at work or with the law, particularly for minor offenses like traffic violations, can be a subtle sign of mental distress.

Fixation or Obsession

Fixation or obsession with certain things, regardless of the subject, can be an indication of an individual's mental state.

Increased Anxiety and Fearfulness

Increased alertness, being on edge, and feeling more anxious or fearful can be signs that someone is not quite alright mentally.

Academic or Occupational Struggles

Failing in studies or taking time off work without a valid reason can be a result of mental distress.

Withdrawal from Socializing

A person may show more interest in activities or behaviors that lead to withdrawal from socializing, such as spending excessive time on the internet or listening to music.

Shyness and Nervousness

Increased shyness and nervousness, along with reduced involvement in conversations or feeling embarrassed while talking to others, can be subtle signs of mental distress.

Inconsistent Speech and Mood Swings

Inconsistent speech, sudden mood swings, physical agitation, and delusional ideas are major subtle signs of mental distress.


Self-deprecating statements made constantly and consistently may indicate a person's negative self-perception and could be a sign that they are not quite alright mentally.

Checking in on Others

Individuals who frequently check in on others may either be overly concerned about their friends' well-being or seeking help themselves while ensuring nobody else needs it.

Varied Nature of Subtle Signs

Subtle signs can vary greatly, as anything can be an indicator of mental distress, according to the study of psychology.

Loss of Interest

Loss of interest in almost everything, including activities the person once loved, can be a significant sign of mental distress.


Physical restlessness, such as constantly shaking a knee, can be a subtle sign of mental distress.

Recognizing the subtle signs of mental distress is crucial in supporting individuals who may be struggling. By being aware of these signs and offering support and understanding, we can help create a safer and more compassionate environment for those facing mental health challenges.

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