Many mental health conditions impact millions of people all over the world. A mental breakdown is one of those issues that need immediate attention and professional help. In this article, you’ll learn what a mental breakdown is, how you can recover from it, and how to prevent it from happening again in the future.
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What Is a Mental Breakdown?
A mental breakdown or nervous breakdown is a period where you experience extreme mental or emotional stress. This type of overwhelming mental distress can make you incapable of doing even simple, everyday activities.
It can be triggered by stress that builds up over time and eventually becomes unbearable. As you struggle to cope with the pressure, you develop a mental health crisis.
Take note that a nervous breakdown is not a clinical disease or a mental health disorder. The term is no longer used by mental health professionals when talking about various mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
However, this doesn’t mean you should take this condition lightly. Having a nervous breakdown can signify an underlying mental health issue that needs to be addressed.
What Causes a Mental Breakdown?
There’s no definite underlying cause of a nervous breakdown. Anything that can put you under extreme stress can result in a nervous breakdown. Here are some possible risk factors worth noting:
- Sudden tragic events such as losing a home or a loved one
- Traumatic situations like getting into an accident
- Major life changes such as divorce
- Work stress or burnout
- Depression or anxiety
- Insufficient sleep
- Abusive relationships
- Financial problems
- Family history (if having a major depressive disorder is common in your family, you’re most likely to have a mental breakdown)
Warning Signs of Mental Breakdown
The following are early indications and symptoms of a nervous breakdown that you have to watch out for:
- Insomnia: Due to extreme stress, you may have a hard time falling or staying asleep. If you fail to get adequate rest, your body and mind will have a tough time recuperating from stress. This might lead to worse feelings of anxiety. Insomnia can not only affect your physical health but also disrupt your mental performance.
- Hallucinations: It’s possible for you to hear or see things that aren’t actually there. However, this manifestation of a possible mental breakdown may vary from person to person; some may experience hallucinations, and some might not.
- Symptoms of anxiety and depression: When you’re feeling stressed, it’s common to feel anxious and depressed. You may also be fearful or irritable, feel helpless, inflict self-harm, or even have suicidal thoughts. In addition, you might be easily angered, distance yourself from family and friends, and lose interest in hobbies.
- Having trouble concentrating: Long-term stress can negatively affect the brain, creating unwanted structural changes. If it affects your memory, you could find it difficult to concentrate.
- Emotional outbursts: You might display a range of emotions unexpectedly. For instance, you might get angry for no obvious reason.
Physical Symptoms of a Nervous Breakdown
When you’re experiencing high stress levels, your bodily functions may be impacted, too. That’s why physical manifestations of a nervous breakdown can manifest physically as well. Some examples of such effects are the following:
- Extreme fatigue: You may feel tired or worn out even if you haven’t done anything strenuous recently.
- Changes in appetite: You could either gain or lose too much weight. Whatever your body’s reaction to stress may be, changes in your appetite are troublesome signs that something’s wrong.
- Digestive issue: You might have stomach cramps, constipation, and diarrhea if you’re feeling overly stressed and anxious. You could even have irritable bowel syndrome.
- Other physical manifestations: These include everything from chest pains, muscle tension, and high blood pressure, to difficulty breathing and clammy hands.
How Does This Affect Your Daily Life?
These are some of the negative consequences of having a nervous breakdown:
- Frequent absence at work or school
- Poor work or school performance
- Failure to showing up for appointments or commitments
- Avoidance of social interactions
- Poor personal hygiene and neglected self-care
Diagnosis and Management of Mental Health Conditions
If you have a nervous breakdown, you most likely have underlying mental health issues. It’s best to see a mental health professional so those problems can be addressed properly.
Once you receive a treatment plan, be sure to stick with it. Being diligent about following it may help you get better faster, reduce stress, learn how to manage life’s demands, and minimize the possibility of having another nervous breakdown.
Treatment for a Nervous Breakdown
If you’re overstressed and can’t handle it on your own anymore, consider seeking help from a mental health practitioner who can provide expert advice. You should be evaluated and diagnosed by a professional so you’ll be guided toward the right path to healing.
A therapist can develop a treatment plan specifically for you. It may include different kinds of therapy, relaxation strategies, group support, or medication.
Changes in Lifestyle
Changing your lifestyle for the better can greatly improve your overall mental health. Here are some changes you can work on:
- Reduce your daily workload or obligations.
- Exercise daily.
- Eat healthy and balanced meals.
- Take a break in between daily activities or chores.
- Make time for meditation and relaxation.
- Spend time outdoors with family and friends.
To address the symptoms of a nervous breakdown, your doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication. Of course, the need for this would depend on the severity of your condition.
Undergoing psychotherapy or talk therapy could help manage your nervous breakdown and reduce the possibility of you acquiring it again. With a professional by your side, you can make sense of your thoughts and discover concrete solutions to keep your stress and anxiety levels low.
Life After a Mental Breakdown
Recovering from a mental breakdown doesn’t end with getting treatment. You might have to make adjustments to your routines and get used to them. Though at first it may be uncomfortable to change some of your habits, keep in mind that it’s for the sake of reducing stress and pressure in your life.
Learning Healthy Coping Strategies
Stress is normal, and everyone experiences it. But problems may arise if you don’t keep it under control or if you let it accumulate inside you. You have to know how to cope with the pressures you’re often exposed to if you want to bounce back from a mental breakdown.
Here are some strategies you can use to keep stress at bay:
- Avoid whatever it is that’s causing your stress. If it’s your job, go on vacation for a while. Some people may think about resigning, but that’s something you have to weigh carefully before you go ahead with it. After all, if you quit at the wrong time and fail to find a new job, your stress levels may skyrocket.
- Exercise or stay active daily. Go walk around your neighborhood to get some fresh air and enjoy the sunshine. If you can’t go out, you can try low-impact exercises indoors or do household chores. Staying active will help improve your immune system and activate feel-good hormones.
- Keep your friends close. Surround yourself with people who are always ready to listen to and support you.
- Free your mind by practicing meditation or yoga. Focusing on your breathing whenever you’re triggered can help lower your stress level.
Social Support Group
After your treatment, it’s ideal to expand your social support system by making an effort to spend time with others. Socializing with loved ones can be a great stress reliever, so it’s a good time for you to invest more in your current relationships.
If you’re stressed at work, instead of distancing yourself from your co-workers, strengthen your friendships and see if you can form new ones as well. You might just find someone among your colleagues whom you’ll click with right away.
Another option is to join a support group. It would be good to be among individuals who are going through the same challenges as you are because they completely understand your situation.
Recovery Period for Mental Breakdown
This would differ from person to person, but one thing’s for sure: no matter how long it takes, you can get better if you’re intentional about it and undergo a well-planned treatment. It’s also worth going through the healing process because the knowledge and self-awareness you’ll gain from it will benefit you for the rest of your life.
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You Don’t Have to Do This Alone
Being vigilant is the key to healing from a mental breakdown. You have to recognize the signs, take preventive measures if possible, and turn to the right professionals for the best solutions.
If you experience the manifestations of a nervous breakdown mentioned above, consider getting treatment from Counseling Now. Our team of therapists in Ohio is experienced in handling a wide range of mental health issues. We’re here to ensure that you can get back on your feet and look forward to a brighter future. Contact Counseling Now to find out how we can be of help to you.