Table of contents:

How to recognize a mental disorder by communication
How to recognize a mental disorder by communication

Be mindful of the little things: sometimes strange behavior is nothing more than a symptom of a disease.

How to recognize a mental disorder by communication
How to recognize a mental disorder by communication


According to the Depression WHO, depression is the most common mental illness, affecting more than 300 million people worldwide. With depression, there is a persistent decrease in mood and self-esteem, loss of interest in life and previous hobbies, pessimism, sleep and appetite disorders.

The speech of a depressed person has its own characteristics:

  • Quiet voice.
  • Lack of desire to conduct a conversation.
  • Long thought before answering, lethargy, careful choice of words.
  • Frequent use of In an Absolute State: Elevated Use of Absolutist Words Is a Marker Specific to Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Ideation of words with negative connotations ("lonely", "sad", "unhappy"), the pronoun "I" and words expressing totality ("always", "nothing", "entirely").

In addition, there is the concept of masked depression, when a person hides his problems and tries to appear happy. It is not easy to recognize the disorder in this case: the interlocutor will always deny all life difficulties. Can make suicide jokes.


Lyutsina Lukyanova psychotherapist, chief physician of the "Happiness" medical center

Masked depression is harder to recognize. Such patients will try not to touch on topics that are problematic for them in the dialogue, to emphasize that everything is fine in their life. But it is worth starting a conversation about the areas where they are experiencing difficulties, we will see despondency on their faces and hear the phrases: “Where am I in a hurry? I will have time for everything, I have my whole life ahead of me."

Bipolar Affective Disorder (BAD)

Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive disorder, is another mental illness associated with mood swings. Mental disorders affect about 60 million people in the world. The life of such people passes in two modes: mania (or hypomania - its facilitated form) and depression. The duration of each period is individual and unpredictable, it can range from several days to several months.


Alexandra Shvets Candidate of Medical Sciences, neurologist at the Ekaterininskaya clinic

A characteristic feature is a change in phases: heightened mood or desire to move, do something, create, commit depression, apathy, despondency, powerlessness, indifference. The moment when the phase change will occur is impossible to predict.

The manic phase is characterized by an incredible rise in mood and strength, increased activity, including sexual activity. There is so much energy that a person stops sleeping and eating, he is busy all the time. The speech of a patient in a manic phase is characterized by the following features:

  • Excessive talkativeness. The person is agitated, jumps from one thought to another.
  • Bragging, self-confidence and the feasibility of their plans. The man says that he is ready to move mountains and complete many different projects.
  • Delusional ideas (appear in special cases). For example, a patient may say that everyone envies him and wants to harm him.

The depressive phase is accompanied by a decline in strength, self-esteem, sexual desire, loss of interest in previous hobbies and life in general. The person is depressed, inhibited, does not want to communicate with anyone. In severe cases, he plans to commit suicide.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Epidemiology of anxiety disorders in the 21st century affects one third of the world's population. A person constantly experiences anxiety and anxiety, suffers from unpleasant sensations in the body: tremors, sweating, dizziness, discomfort in the solar plexus region. Anxiety is usually caused by a variety of fears related to the future.

Among the features of communication:

  • Stories about your own fears. A person is afraid to fly on an airplane, then sit in an elevator, then communicate, then go into unfamiliar places.
  • Constant indignation and complaints, including about the state of health.

Often these are single people who have not achieved success in their personal life and work. Often they are outraged by something: the leadership of the country or the company where they work, the situation in the state or at home - everything they face in life.

Lucina Lukyanova

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Another anxiety-related disease. With it, the patient has obsessive frightening thoughts with which he is not able to fight. To get rid of anxiety, a person performs some kind of ritual: spits over his left shoulder, checks all the locks in the house, washes his hands, and so on. These actions may seem pointless, but they help the patient to relieve the condition for a short time.

A person with OCD can be recognized by the same speech patterns as people with generalized anxiety disorder. These are complaints, suspiciousness, repeated conversations about fears. However, it will be much more effective to observe his behavior, to track the ritual. The typical OCD sufferer is the American inventor Howard Hughes, whose life the movie "Aviator" was filmed. He constantly washed his hands because he was afraid of catching an infection.

It is very difficult to identify patients with OCD by phrases in speech, the exception is if the person himself wants to tell you about what is bothering him. It's easy to spot them if you watch people in the park, for example.

Lucina Lukyanova

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The disorder can arise after a traumatic situation, most often associated with a threat to life. Sick - victims of sexual or other violence, terrorist attacks, participants in hostilities. They try to avoid conversations, places and situations that may remind them of past experiences, but memories constantly bring them back there. In especially severe cases, the patient can displace the event from memory, as if to forget.

People with PTSD suffer from both depressive and anxiety symptoms, so in their speech you can find the same signs as in patients with depression or anxiety disorder.

It is difficult to notice something from their statements, because they try not to communicate with anyone, living in their experiences. But if the dialogue does take place, then you will not hear a word about happiness, joy or love. The interlocutor with the PTRS will either be laconic, or devote his story to the misfortune that happened to him.

Lucina Lukyanova


According to the WHO Mental Disorders, 23 million people worldwide suffer from schizophrenia. This is a serious mental illness that is accompanied by impaired thinking, perception of reality, emotions, speech and behavior. Patients do not have a critical attitude to their condition, in most cases they are sure that they are healthy. A typical example is the mathematician and Nobel laureate in economics John Nash, about whose life the film A Beautiful Mind was made.

Schizophrenia can be recognized by the following signs:

  • Suspiciousness and paranoia. A person can be sure that they are being persecuted or want to harm.
  • Great ideas and plans.
  • Delusional ideas. The patient may think that the world has long been conquered by aliens.
  • Inability to dialogue and formulate thoughts. They either break off somewhere in the middle of a sentence (sperrung), or consist of a random set of words (verbal okroshka).

One of the most striking manifestations of schizophrenia in speech is the delusional symptoms of persecution. The patient will be sure that sticks are being put into his wheels, he is being watched. He will whisper in your ear about his guesses, looking around.

Lucina Lukyanova

Remember, you cannot make a diagnosis based on speech and communication alone. However, if it seems to you that the behavior of a loved one has changed, then show observation. If you have the symptoms described, it is better to show it to your doctor.