Pepper Pike psychiatrist on warning signs of mental illness

PEPPER PIKE, Ohio - It was the court appearance that even veteran reporters said they had never seen the likes of before. Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes appeared with orange hair looking completely dazed and out of touch.

Dr. Elaine Campbell, a local psychiatrist and author, said it could indicate some psychotic state or that he was under the influence of drugs.

"This is all speculative," she said.

Dr. Campbell said 1 percent of the population can be affected by schizophrenia. 

"The first thing I look for are signs of hallucinations," she said, "and that is either eyes darting, perhaps listening to a voice next to them. They're preoccupied, perhaps listening to a voice. They're unable to hear you because they are into the voice themselves."

Dr. Campbell said there's often a flat facial expression that is difficult to read. 

She said it can be difficult for the general public to see the signs of mental illness, but there are things family members might see, including "an individual who is withdrawing, spending a lot of time in their room, disconnecting from people, having a flat (facial) appearance, maybe having their eyes darting or seeming to be preoccupied."

Dr. Campbell said anyone who notices those signs should seek help from a mental health professional. 

Her book "My Life as a Car" is a mental health guide to help keep things running smoothly in your life.  She'll be signing copies of the book Thursday evening at Barnes and Noble in Beachwood.

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