Danger signs for possible violent outbursts

Published: Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:26 PM CDT|Updated: May. 8, 2009 at 5:09 PM CDT
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By Bobby Shuttleworth - Bio | Email
Posted by Dana Franks - Email

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Depression or anxiety can be normal for many people going through life-changing events. But how do people know when those behavior changes goes beyond what's considered normal and what could erupt into violent acts?

Experts who talked to WAFF 48 News said the signs to watch for are are simply guidelines for family members or close friends to know when it's time to seek help.

It's estimated as many as 22 percent of American adults have some sort of mental health disorder. Beyond the typical depression or anxiety, some signs show that these issues have become drastic enough to seek assistance.

"Things you might want to look for -- changes in mood, anger outbursts, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, any type of mood swings, erratic mood swings, erratic changes in behavior. Loss of touch with reality, increased paranoia, suspiciousness, blaming others for your misfortune," said licensed counselor Sabra Keenum.

"If they withdraw, don't talk as much, not as involved with the family, or with friends or with work," said psychologist Dr. Robert Geist.

"Other problems you might notice, problems with impulse control, difficulty functioning, low tolerance for frustration, poor coping ability, as well as a history of domestic violence," Keenum said.

Geist said extreme expressions of passing the blame to someone else for their misery and extreme thoughts of violence are also warning signs.

"When they talk about it and they talk about how they're going to do it or they talk about how they might do it. They talk about what they might use to do it," Geist said.

Major denial and drug abuse can also be a tip to seek medical attention.

Both professionals stressed the importance of using the family doctor and allowing them to make the recommendation to a mental health professional.

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