What are Signs of A Nervous Breakdown

What is psychotic break

When a person is showing signs or symptoms of a nervous or mental breakdown, it means that the affected individual has reached his or her “limit” under an extremely stressful situation. During this time, the person may not be able to function normally or effectively in day-to-day life. Normally, signs and symptoms of a nervous breakdown indicate demands in everyday life have become physically, emotionally and mentally overwhelming.

Definition of Nervous Breakdown

The term “nervous breakdown” or “mental breakdown” tends to be commonly used to describe a wide spectrum of mental disorders. However, they are not clinically recognized as medical terms, and having one or the other does not necessarily mean that the individual has a mental disorder; most so-called “signs” usually signify symptoms of depression or anxiety.

These breakdowns tend to be temporary, but acute.

While they can indicate underlying mental health problems that may need attention, nervous breakdowns can also happen to anyone at any time – and it is a signal for the individual to pause, relax, recuperate or possibly seek professional help.

Signs And Symptoms Of A Nervous Breakdown

Signs or symptoms that indicate a person is possibly facing a nervous breakdown can vary from person to person. Here are 10 more common signs that indicate a person may be facing a nervous breakdown, if they are accompanied by the inability to stay resilient:
1. Signs of depression: Indicators of serious, profound depression can definitely trigger a nervous breakdown. Thoughts of suicide, self-mutilation, loss of interest in life, or loss of all hope are very serious indicators. Professional help should be sought immediately, as a life can be saved.

2. Signs of anxiety: Extreme anxiousness with an abrupt setting may signify the person is experiencing a mental breakdown. Other signs of anxiety, such as high blood pressure, clenched or tensed muscles, clammy hands, trembling or shaking, dizziness or upset stomach all signify the beginning of a nervous breakdown. These signs and symptoms are typically triggered by fears or phobias.

3. Extreme mood swings: Mood swings that are so serious, they severely affect surrounding individuals is a signal of a nervous breakdown. It can also indicate the possibility of bipolar disorder, a form of mental condition.

4. Hallucination: Seeing the false as truth can be an indicator of a nervous breakdown, as well as other underlying medical conditions. Sometimes, these hallucinations may prove to be harmful for the affected individual as well as his or her surroundings. For example, the affected individual may be imagining a false deity dictating commands to hurt others.

5. Panic attacks: Panic attacks can go hand-in-hand with signs of anxiety. Symptoms may include high blood pressure, pounding chest pain, difficulty breathing, feelings of unreality, an extreme level of fear and detachment from self.

6. Paranoia: Similar to phobias and fear, paranoia can indicate a mental breakdown. The feeling and insecurity of having someone watching and following you can be extremely stressful and mentally detrimental. Seek help if you feel you are really being stalked and have evidence; also seek medical help if you feel like it is only in your head.

7. Lifestyle changes: Significant lifestyle changes, such as changes in the sleep cycle, radical weight gain or loss, lack of hygiene or poor eating habits can indicate a nervous breakdown. Sometimes, a person may initially feel mentally well, but physically unwell due to these involuntary lifestyle changes. In this case, it may be your body signaling the need of a rest or time to recuperate. If these issues are not adjusted, mental stress may follow and lead to a full-blown breakdown.

8. Alienation: People who are facing a nervous breakdown may tend to isolate themselves from others, especially friends and family. Sometimes, they may just need some time to be alone and recuperate from a hectic situation, but when the isolation persists for an extended period of time, this may be an indicator of a possible nervous breakdown. Social settings may cause further stress, so the person may choose to alienate himself or herself.

9. Loss of interest: If a person who used to love his or her work suddenly calls in sick frequently, that individual may be showing signs of depression and can eventually lead to a nervous breakdown. Loss of interest of things that used to be exciting can spiral out of control if help is not sought. Confide in a close friend or a loved one and seek others for help.

10. Flashbacks of a traumatic event: Often times, traumatic events in a person’s past can trigger symptoms of a nervous breakdown. It can also indicate an underlying case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Seek the help of a professional if you suspect PTSD is the main contributor to a nervous breakdown.

Treatment of Nervous Breakdown

The most difficult part in the treatment is getting the individual to visit the doctor. People who have suffered silently for years find themselves getting better after speaking to psychotherapists. Depression is generally the main symptom of a nervous breakdown. People tend to think the sufferer is either tired or exhausted due to work or some other stress. But, it is very important to recognize the symptoms. The person begins to alienate herself/himself. They will call in sick for days together from work, or start missing their social appointments. They will not be able to carry out their daily tasks like eating properly, or even fail to maintain hygiene. Thus, if you suspect someone you know to be suffering from such symptoms, seek medical help. The treatment involves the use of psychotropic medications, psychotherapy, and counseling. Antidepressants and tranquilizers may also be advised by the doctor. There is no standard cure, but these measures are effective enough in treating majority of the affected people and getting them back on the normal track.

One can prevent a nervous breakdown by recognizing the signs of breakdown and seeking professional psychological help at the earliest.

When stress levels increase and mood dips are frequent, it is time to be on a high alert. One may benefit by going on a vacation with family or friends.

Practicing meditation and performing other relaxation techniques can certainly prove beneficial. Aromatherapy is also an effective method that can soothe frayed nerves.

Though stress is becoming an inevitable part of life, there are ways to cope with the ups and downs of life. One can overcome stress with the help and support of their loved ones, family, friends, as well as medical help. Do not wait till you reach the point of total breakdown. It is better to take a break once in a while from work and go on a short vacation or pursue a hobby. Try yoga to calm your nerves and eat healthy. There should be more time for laughs to keep stress levels as low as possible.


  1. Since the symptoms of clinical depression are similar to those of a breakdown, and there is no DMS IV criteria for what’s commonly known as a ‘mental breakdown’, at what point does a psychiatrist diagnose a breakdown rather than a clinical depression?

    Also, are there other types of breakdown rather than ‘nervous’ breakdowns?
    DSM IV, sorry!

  2. I cried last night for 3 1/2 hours basically I cried myself to sleep and I’ve cried off and on for the last 3 1/2.

  3. lcollier93sbcglobalnet says:

    My bf and I have always been careful and taken extra precautions (condoms, nuva ring, only doing it certain times of the month, etc) when having sex, and don’t really have sex often. But I’ve missed this month’s period, had a nervous breakdown, and decided to take a pregnancy test. Which came out positive.

  4. andresumoza says:

    I cried last night for 3 1/2 hours basically I cried myself to sleep and I’ve cried off and on for the last 3 1/2.

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