A nervous breakdown refers to a period of intense mental distress. In the past, this term was used to refer to a wide range of mental conditions, including anxiety, depression and severe stress. Today, “nervous breakdown” is no longer a medical term; however many still use it to describe symptoms of extreme stress and the inability to cope with difficulties in life.
According to Laval psychologists, there is no widely accepted single definition of a nervous breakdown. It’s generally perceived as a period when emotional and physical stress becomes unbearable to the point that it is already impairing a person’s ability to function properly.
Now the question is, what symptoms manifest when a person is going through a nervous breakdown? Let’s take a look.
- Depressive symptoms – suicidal thoughts, feelings of hopelessness, self-harm, tense muscles, dizziness, shaking, clammy hands and high blood pressure.
- Panic attacks – difficulty breathing, chest pain, extreme fear, detachment from reality
- Unexplained outbursts
- Extreme mood swings
- Flashbacks of a traumatic event
Aside from these symptoms, another telltale sign of a nervous breakdown is exhibiting symptoms of detachment from family and friends. The individual may avoid social gatherings, maintain poor hygiene, not report for work/school, and not eat well.
Who’s at Risk?
Those who are dealing with too much stress are at a high risk of having a nervous breakdown. Other risk factors are:
- Recent traumatic event
- A major life change
- Persistent work stress
- Serious financial problems
- Family or personal history of anxiety disorders
- Persistent lack of sleep
- Recent serious illness or injury
How is a nervous breakdown treated?There are several ways you can stop the cycle of psychological distress. Here are some of them:
- You should try talk therapy or other forms of therapy designed to treat psychological issues. Schedule a consultation with an experienced psychologist so you’ll know your options and get the treatment you need as soon as possible.
- You may be prescribed prescription medications such as anti-anxiety or anti-depressants to address any chemical imbalances that may trigger a breakdown.
- You can also consider alternative treatments like yoga, massage therapy, and acupuncture.
If you feel that you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown, here are some tips you can implement right away:
- Deep breathing for relaxation and to redirect your focus
- Counting backwards to help your mind calm down
- Stop drinking caffeine
- Stop drinking alcohol
- Get a good night’s sleep
Being able to sleep well may be difficult for someone who is under a lot of stress. But you can try by developing a sleep routine that will encourage your body and mind to shut down at a particular time of the night. For example, your routine can begin by preparing a warm bath and switching off your gadgets.
Should I See a Doctor?
There will come a time in everyone’s life when they will have to deal with a difficult situation. It could be a divorce, bankruptcy, or even a death of a loved one. Some people may be able to deal with it better than others, and it’s not entirely uncommon for someone to feel like he or she can no longer cope with the stresses and challenges they’re being confronted with.
If you feel you can no longer perform your daily activities, then you need to go to a medical professional so you can be diagnosed and treated accordingly. The sooner you get proper treatment, the quicker you’ll be able to get your life back together.