Symptoms of Nervous Breakdown

symptoms of nervous breakdown
Image by

While a nervous breakdown isn’t a specific mental illness, it is generally indicative of underlying mental health problems. The signs and symptoms of these linked mental health conditions manifest themselves and lead up to what is usually considered a nervous breakdown. So, what causes a nervous breakdown, and what are the symptoms of nervous breakdown?

What are the causes?

A nervous breakdown is a severe mental health issue that requires prompt, professional treatment. It is triggered by excess stress and a lack of healthy coping mechanisms to manage that stress. The amount of stress that causes a breakdown varies by individual, with some being able to cope longer than others. The stress causing a nervous breakdown may come from any source and build up slowly or occur all at once. One of the most common triggers for a nervous breakdown is work-related stress.

Experiencing a nervous breakdown can be an overwhelming and isolating experience, hindering one’s ability to carry out daily tasks. This debilitating condition is not officially recognized by medical practitioners as it lacks diagnostic criteria; however, anyone who has gone through this period of intense distress will know the devastating effects it can have on someone’s life. From being unable to attend school or work, take care of family members, or just participate in everyday activities – those afflicted with a nervous breakdown often find themselves consumed in darkness and despair.

Experiencing a nervous breakdown can be alarming and is, ultimately, a mental health crisis that deserves attention. Consulting with an experienced psychiatric professional to evaluate the situation will determine what type of treatment needs to take place: sometimes this includes residing in a medical facility for awhile followed by therapy sessions, potentially taking prescribed medications if necessary, modifying lifestyle choices, practicing effective stress management methods and engaging in relaxation exercises regularly.

Unmanaged Stress Can Quickly Lead to Breakdowns

When people experience high levels of stress, they may start to exhibit symptoms of a nervous breakdown. This can include things like anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and feeling overwhelmed. In some cases, people may also start to experience symptoms of depression. If someone is unable to cope with these symptoms in a healthy way, they may have a nervous breakdown. It is important to remember that even people who are generally good at coping with stress can reach a breaking point.

Managing and coping with stress is something that everyone does, but not always in healthy ways. Some people may react to stress negatively, such as withdrawing from friends and family, turning to drugs or alcohol, yelling at other people, binge eating, or other unhealthy responses. These do not help to mitigate or manage stress; ultimately, without good, positive coping strategies, a person under a lot of stress is likely to have a breakdown. However, there are many healthy ways to cope with stress. Some people may find relief in exercise, journaling, spending time outdoors in nature, or talking to a friend or therapist. If you are struggling to cope with stress in a healthy way, it may be helpful to seek professional help.

Excessive Stress Can Cause Nervous Breakdowns

Whether it be a series of mounting pressures or one extraordinary instance, stress and anxiety often act as the culprits behind nervous breakdowns. For some individuals, tension builds up over time until they find themselves facing an inevitable collapse; for others, just one stressful event is enough to trigger a crisis. Whatever the situation may be, there exists the shared burden of feeling pressured to maintain normality in spite of everything going on around them. Life stressors that may culminate in a nervous breakdown include, but are not limited to:

  • Pressure from school or work assignments
  • Taking on too much responsibility
  • Losing a job
  • Death of a loved one
  • Abuse or other traumatic experiences
  • Divorce and/or custody battle
  • Caring for an aging parent or a sick loved one
  • Financial hardship

Work Can Be a Common Trigger

Stress can be caused by many situations, but stress from work is a widespread problem. Nervous breakdowns can be a result of too much stress at work. Reports have found that nervous breakdowns due to work, also called burnout syndrome, happen in most high-pressure jobs, especially those in the medical field and pastoral staff. But anyone in any position may experience this work-related burnout.

General factors that may occur in any work and that contribute to burnout or a nervous breakdown include:

  • Working long hours or taking work home with you
  • Not being challenged at work
  • Not understanding your expectations at work
  • Having an overly demanding position
  • Unable to control situations at work
  • Not doing something you genuinely love
  • Having values that differ from management
  • Not having a good relationship with your co-workers

If you are experiencing any of these factors in your work life, it may be time to seek help from a professional to prevent further burnout.

Image by

Are You at a Risk of a Breakdown?

While the causes of a nervous breakdown can vary and be unique to the individual, some general risk factors make some people more vulnerable. These include taking on too many responsibilities, being a perfectionist, having a pessimistic outlook, working long hours, and not sleeping enough. Also, lacking a sound social support system or healthy coping mechanisms can contribute to developing this condition. While it may seem daunting to try and avoid all of these risk factors, it is essential to remember that even making small changes in your lifestyle can have a significant impact on your mental health.

Signs of Nervous Breakdown

The signs vary from person to person, depending on the underlying cause. Not only that, exactly what constitutes a nervous breakdown is also subjective and changes from one culture to another.

For most cases, a nervous breakdown is described as an acute emotional or psychological collapse, under which the person is no longer able to function in a normal, healthy way.

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health problems associated with nervous breakdowns. The early signs are always triggered by a trigger or catalyst, often a significant life event, such as a broken relationship, the loss of a loved one, or extreme financial difficulties.

Behavioral signs

Early behavioral signs of a nervous breakdown include mood swings, strange conduct, and anger issues. Friends and loved ones often notice these behavioral changes early, which can help with the diagnosis. The condition can worsen with time and lead to psychosis, whereby the person completely loses contact with reality.

Emotional signs

The emotional instability of the individual sets the outward behavioral sign. Emotional problems like anxiety, depression, and restlessness are crucial in causing behavioral symptoms. The person might feel easily agitated and progressively lose confidence and self-esteem. This is followed up by uncontrollable crying, confusion, disorientation, and feelings of worthlessness.

As the condition progresses, more extreme symptoms can develop, including a loss of judgment, paranoia, hallucinations, and a complete feeling of indifference toward others. Ultimately, suicidal thoughts might take over the mind of the person, coupled with a constant wish to die.

Physical signs

Physical signs manifest themselves in the form of extreme tiredness and weakness, often exacerbated by a disruption of the sleep cycle. Insomnia is sometimes one of the earliest signs that a person might be facing mental health problems. On the other hand, the person might sleep excessively, sometimes on purpose, to escape daily life.

A 2019 study published in the academic journal Physiology and Behavior confirmed that when cortisol, our body’s primary stress hormone, is present, we tend to crave unhealthy foods high in sugar and fat.

Left unchecked, more serious physical symptoms can develop. These include memory loss, consistent headaches, visual problems, and other physical issues, which can create persistent anxiety and cause panic attacks.

An early diagnosis of underlying medical conditions can prevent much of the self-destructive behavior leading to a nervous breakdown. Therefore, it is essential to take note of any early signs that may be exhibited and consult with a doctor. Your doctor can prescribe you medication and provide you with a referral to a psychologist or psychotherapist who can further evaluate your condition.

Helping your loved ones get the help they need

It is also an essential step in preventing a nervous breakdown. If you notice any signs or symptoms of mental health issues, you must reach out and show your support. Working with a trained professional can ensure the individual gets the help they need to recover, become healthy again, and enjoy a better living situation.

In conclusion, a nervous breakdown is often an extreme mental health condition associated with depression and anxiety. It manifests in behavioral, emotional, and physical symptoms, leading to self-destructive behavior and suicidal thoughts. To prevent a nervous breakdown, it is vital to recognize the early signs and seek help from a professional. Additionally, providing emotional support and understanding for your loved ones if you suspect they are facing issues is crucial to mental health.

2 Replies to “Symptoms of Nervous Breakdown”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *