nervous breakdown

Understanding What is a Nervous Breakdown

Mental Health

A nervous breakdown is a somewhat antiquated term that describes emotional stress that does not allow a person to function in their daily life. Once upon a time, experts used this term as a catchall for several types of mental illness. These days, physicians and other experts no longer use the term “mental breakdown” in a medical sense.

If you have one of these breakdowns, this could act as a sign that you have a mental condition such as depression, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder. The signs and symptoms of a breakdown could largely depend on the mental health problem with which you’re dealing.

The Nervous Breakdown Symptoms

Since these breakdowns don’t directly correlate to any medical issue, a mental health breakdown doesn’t have specific symptoms tied to it. However, most people who have a nervous breakdown lose the ability to function in their day-to-day lives. But what it means to fully function varies widely between cultures, families, and even individuals.

But some traits that can be spotted in a person having a nervous breakdown include some of the following mental and physical symptoms:

  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of low self-esteem
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Intense stress
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Lapse in attention to hygiene
  • Sleeping too much or not getting enough sleep
  • Lack of focus throughout the day
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideation
  • Increased irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Decreased interest in hobbies
  • Decreased libido
  • Mysterious aches throughout the body
  • Flashbacks to a traumatic event

How to Treat and Prevent a Nervous Breakdown

There are quite a few ways to stop and reduce emotional stress in your life. Many of the ways that you can treat a mental breakdown are the same ways that you can prevent them.

Counseling remains one of the best ways to prevent and treat a mental health breakdown. By talking to a mental health professional every week, the two of you can work through the issues that brought on the extreme stress in the first place. Therapy is not an easy or quick process. But a treatment does work wonders for many people.

Along with therapy, medication can also act as a lifesaver for those working through a breakdown. This solution is not for everyone. But for some who are in the grips of a harrowing mental health issue, a treatment including medication can be just the thing to turn their life around.

Another good way to treat and stop mental breakdowns from occurring is to reduce the amount of extreme stress in your life. By engaging in such activities as yoga, deep breathing, and tai chi, you’ll have access to relaxation techniques that can calm you in moments of high tension.

Exercise remains one of the vital pillars of life that you will need in order to maintain your mental health condition. By doing at least 20 minutes of moderate-level physical activity every day, you’re ensuring that you will live a life that’s vibrant and full of energy.

Try and go outside every single day. Make things easy on yourself by taking a walk around the block after dinner with your partner or family. Or you can start a hobby like hiking that encourages you to get out in nature. Whatever it is you have to do to get yourself outside, do it. The fresh air and exercise are just one of many reasons to enjoy the great outdoors.

If you think you might be having a meltdown, talk to a friend or loved one. By speaking to a person who cares about your well-being, you might find that you start to feel better over time.

Stick to healthy sleep, health, and hygiene routines. It might be tempting to skip the shower, sit on the couch in the sweatpants you’ve been wearing for three days, and eat chips all day. But if you take the time to take care of yourself, eat a healthy diet, and sleep no more than 7 – 9 hours a night, you might find yourself feeling a bit more even-keeled.

Two to three hours before your bedtime, spend that time preparing for sleep. That means no television, no phones or other electronics, no tablets of any kind. The blue light that comes from electronic screens has been known to interfere with sleep. Try to do something low tech and relaxing, like reading a physical book.

This last tip might seem obvious, but it should still be understood by those going through a nervous breakdown. During this period, stay away from illicit drugs. The side effects of these narcotics will only make the symptoms of your breakdown even worse. Seek out professional help if you need help with your addiction issues.

What Causes a Nervous Breakdown?

If you’re dealing with more emotional stress than you can handle, then you might have a rude awakening coming in the form of a breakdown. But circumstances such as your environment and certain genetic factors can make a mental health breakdown more likely. Here are some of these causes:

  • Grief
  • Trauma
  • Mental, physical, or emotional abuse
  • Stressful jobs
  • Mental health history in the family
  • Social isolation
  • Severe medical issues

Do I Need to See A Psychiatrist For My Mental Health Breakdown?

If you find that you’re having trouble with your daily functioning, it would be a good idea to seek out help from a mental health professional. Unfortunately, some people are so stuck in their depression, sadness, and anxiety that they can’t even recognize when they need the help of a professional, even if they are under overwhelming stress. Some people have a fear of being judged by their loved ones. Others might be wary of the cost of medical care or of the need to seek out outside help. Some might even blame themselves for their mental condition difficulties and don’t feel that they deserve help.

If you are going through a nervous breakdown, seek out help as soon as you can. A trained professional, like a psychiatrist, can get you the help that you need. If your loved one is having a breakdown, encourage them to get help. If you can, do things to make it easy for them by giving them a ride to the doctor or helping them look for therapists in their area. Anything you can do to help your loved one during this time will get them to a place where they can be their old selves again.

FAQ

What is Burnout Syndrome?

Burnout syndrome is when under a long period of intense stress a person reaches the point of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion.

What is the difference between a Panic Attack and a Nervous Breakdown?

A panic attack happens where there is a moment of severe anxiety and fear, and it normally happens without much warning.

Panic attacks could be classified as a type of nervous breakdown.

What is a Psychotic Break?

A psychotic break is when someone loses control of reality.

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