Nervous Breakdown

Help for the symptoms of a nervous breakdown.

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  1. What is a Nervous Breakdown?
  2. Diagnosing a Nervous Breakdown
  3. What Causes a Nervous Breakdown?
  4. Help for Nervous Breakdowns
  5. More Information on Nervous Breakdowns

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
  • Depression
  • Panic disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Acute stress disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Trauma disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • 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.

Diagnosing a Nervous Breakdown

Symptoms of a Nervous Breakdown & Early Warning Signs

There are physical, emotional and behavioral warning signs and symptoms of a nervous breakdown. They include:

Physical symptoms of a nervous breakdown

  • Sleep disruption - much longer periods of sleep or insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Breathing problems
  • Migraine headaches
  • Low libido
  • Memory loss
  • Disrupted menstrual cycle
  • Extreme exhaustion/fatigue
  • Feelings of persistent anxiety or panic attacks
  • Significant changes in appetite, such as eating too little or too much (comfort eating)
  • Visual/eye disturbances

Emotional symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Indecision
  • Loss of confidence and self-esteem
  • Inability to stop crying
  • Feelings of guilt, poor judgment
  • Disinterest in social life and work or alienation from previously close friends and family
  • Inability to pursue a normal life, normal activities or normal relationships
  • Increasing dependence on alcohol or drugs
  • Paranoid thoughts, such as the thought people are trying to harm you
  • Seeing people who are not there
  • Thoughts of dying or wish to die
  • Thoughts of grandeur or invincibility
  • Having flashbacks to a prior traumatic event
  • Hearing voices

Behavioral symptoms

  • Mood swings
  • Strange behavior such as odd body movements or undressing in public
  • Exhibiting strong or violent anger

What Causes a Nervous Breakdown?

There is always a trigger or catalyst that sparks a nervous breakdown. Breakdowns usually stem from a change in a major life, however, they may also be attributed to an accumulation of factors. Factors that may contribute to a breakdown include:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Genetics (family history)
  • Anxiety surrounding major life changes or disorders
  • Extreme guilt or emotional problems
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

Help for Nervous Breakdowns

There are many treatment methods and approaches for dealing with nervous breakdowns. Choosing the right one depends on the diagnosis of the individual case, as there is no standard cure. There are ways to prevent a nervous breakdown, conventional treatments, nutritional supplements and many other therapies to choose from.

Available Treatment Options for Nervous Breakdowns

Obviously, the best approach is to prevent the breakdown from occurring in the first place. Recognizing the warning signs of a nervous breakdown and reducing and managing stress levels can often produce excellent results and prevent the total collapse usually associated with a nervous breakdown.

Conventional treatments once signs of a nervous breakdown are observed by a physician usually consist of prescribed anti-depressants or other psychiatric medications. These can have serious side effects as they are high schedule drugs. Prescription drugs alone do not offer comprehensive treatment for any psychiatric or stress-related condition. It is important to seek help in managing the conditions that led up to the breakdown. This is best done by consulting a psychologist.

One of the most significant signs of a nervous breakdown includes stress which may be caused by an imbalance of minerals and vitamins. Special attention should be paid to taking extra vitamins in the B complex, particularly Vitamin B6 and B12. Products such as a complete multi-vitamin and/or Epi-Still™ may also provide relief from symptoms of overactive nervous systems. Aromatherapy, yoga, reflexology, Reiki and massage therapy may also be useful adjuncts to treatment and assist in aiding relaxation and stress management.

More Information on Mental & Emotional Nervous Breakdowns

Prevention & Treatment Tips for Nervous Breakdowns

Taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally is very important, especially with the hectic demands placed on our daily lives. These useful tips include:

  • Eating a healthy diet and improving food choices
  • Exercising regularly
  • Actively seeking professional help for better coping mechanisms or help with emotional issues
  • Practicing deep breathing exercises and meditation
  • Incorporating fun and laughter into your life
  • Allowing more time for a good night's rest
  • Learning to relax by taking time for yourself
  • Maintaining contact with family and friends


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