A mental breakdown (also known as a nervous breakdown) describes an episode of overwhelming emotional or psychological stress. With the profound stress, the sufferer cannot perform normal activities. Anyone, including those without a mental illness past, can experience a mental breakdown. But, the frequency of occurrence is higher in those with a history of mental health disorders.
A nervous breakdown can be caused by anything that results in extreme stress, like an unforeseen tragedy, burnout at work, substance abuse, major life change. Anxiety disorders like Obsessive-Compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, Depression, and Financial struggles. Encountering stress is normal in life, but when the feelings become too much to handle, they can lead to a mental breakdown. The article below discusses how to recognize and treat a mental breakdown.
How to Recognize a Mental Breakdown
Several signs and symptoms can help you to recognize whether you or somebody close, might be heading towards a nervous breakdown. Some signs revolve around a person’s emotions or personality changes while others are physical. Here are common symptoms of a mental breakdown:
1. Anxiety or Depression
People experience anxiety and depression from time to time during stressful situations. The issue comes in when the stress is continuous and non-stop, and the victim’s coping mechanisms are overburdened. If you are approaching a mental breakdown, you might:
- Experience moments of uncontrollable crying
- Struggle with self-esteem
- Feel guilty
- Experience chest tightness and difficulty breathing
- Be irritable
- Worry excessively
- Feel helpless
- Encounter thoughts of suicide
- Lose interest in activities you enjoy
- Seclude yourself from friends and family members
2. Oversleeping, or Not Sleeping Enough
Sleep changes are another indicator to look out for. Some people might start to sleep too much to get an escape from their daily life. Others might suffer from insomnia, and lay awake all night contemplating their life problems. Both hypersomnia and insomnia can lead to psychological and physical issues.
Excessive stress can lead to acute fatigue. You may feel weak, and activities you use to perform with ease might become harder to handle. Things you previously loved may also become less appealing.
4. Appetite Changes
In the midst of a mental breakdown, you may find yourself overeating or failing to eat enough. You might find yourself less interested in preparing healthy meals, as cortisol, a stress hormone, can activate cravings for fatty, and sugary foods.
5. Psychical Discomfort
You might encounter headaches, tummy aches, diarrhea, or constipation. It is a well-known fact that stress can lead to a variety of digestive problems. If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, extreme stress can set off flare-ups, leaving you with digestive discomfort.
6. Concentration Problems
Are you finding it hard to focus or think clearly? Cognitive symptoms linked to mental breakdowns may encompass anything from indecisiveness and trouble with problem-solving to disorientation and loss of memory.
How to Treat a Mental Breakdown
The demands from your daily life can become overwhelming at times. If you are starting to feel overpowered by stress, consult your doctor. Your primary care physician may prescribe a treatment plan for your physical symptoms and possibly direct you to a mental health professional. The best treatment for a mental breakdown leans on the cause and the patient’s individual strengths. The main forms of treatment are:
1. Making Lifestyle Changes
If your stress is not extreme, but it still feels too much, you can remedy the situation by prioritizing self-care. Also, adopt healthy coping mechanisms, such as working out or adopting a good hobby. Resting adequately, eating healthy, visiting the outdoors, and spending time with loved ones can help too.
If you’re dealing with more severe symptoms of a breakdown, it helps to seek psychological assistance. Psychotherapy (talk therapy) seeks to help patients acknowledge negative thoughts and alter their thinking. Expressing what you feel and being directed by a mental health practitioner works well for many people By sitting and studying your thoughts, you can start to find solutions that lift you up.
Depending on a patient’s symptoms, a doctor can prescribe antidepressants, sleep aids, or other medication. The prescription drugs should be strictly supervised by a physician to avoid misuse.
Any number of things can cause you to feel stressed to the extent where you are unable to cope. The key is to look for mechanisms to manage the stressors in your life and receive adequate medical care for conditions, like anxiety.