What is a Nervous Breakdown?
A nervous breakdown can be described as an acute emotional or psychological collapse. The term nervous breakdown is not a medical term, but rather a colloquial term used by the general public to refer to and characterize a wide range of mental illnesses.
It generally occurs when a person is unable to function in social roles anymore, experiencing severe depression or feelings of being out of touch with reality. This often occurs after a long period of stress which has not been adequately dealt with.
This inability to function can occur in both work and personal arenas, resulting in difficulty in fulfilling obligations. It also causes the individual to develop physical, mental and emotional symptoms. A person experiencing symptoms of a nervous breakdown may feel extreme tiredness, weakness, episodes of uncontrollable crying, confusion, disorientation and feelings of worthlessness.
There may also be a loss of self-esteem and confidence, extreme weight loss or weight gain, disrupted sleep patterns and feelings of guilt and despair. In severe cases, an inability to move, called catatonic posturing, may result. This is a serious psychiatric condition and should not be taken lightly.
Other Disorders Associated with a Nervous Breakdown
- Panic disorder
- Panic attacks
- Anxiety disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Acute stress disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Trauma disorders
- Psychotic disorders
- Mood (affective) disorders
- Bipolar disorder
Learning to manage stress and identify the early symptoms of a nervous breakdown such as anxiety, depression and panic disorders can help to prevent its onset. Many people have experienced being on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and it is this feeling of overwhelming helplessness that has forced them to revamp their lifestyles and has offered them the opportunity for growth and enlightenment.