Mental Health

Mental Breakdown: Symptoms & Solutions

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Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

A mental breakdown, or nervous breakdown, can be described as an alteration of one’s behavior due to an accumulation of stress and emotional burden. Although it is not technically a medical condition, it can be a strong indication of one’s mental health state and lack of healthy coping mechanisms.

Mental breakdowns can look very different from person to person. But the behavior during a breakdown is distinctly unlike your normal personality and activities. It may be difficult for you to recognize that you’re going through a mental breakdown. Your loved ones will usually let you know if you’re acting unusual or if they are concerned for your well-being.

Mental breakdowns can happen after a big life change, such as job loss, death of a loved one, moving, becoming new parents, or getting a new job. They can also happen after a long period of enduring stress while neglecting one’s well-being.

Symptoms of a Mental Breakdown

Not all mental breakdowns are alike, however, these are some common symptoms or signs of a mental breakdown:

  • Sudden crying
  • Yelling
  • Pushing close loved ones away or preferring isolation
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of Hygiene
  • Dramatic changes in appetite (eating very little or eating too much)
  • Thoughts of harming oneself
  • Thoughts of Suicide
  • Feeling extremely hopeless or lonely
  • Risky behavior

If a close friend and loved one expresses concern for you and says you’ve “been acting different” or they are “worried about you,” this may indicate that you’ve been acting unusually. It may be a good time to reflect on whether or not you feel you’re experiencing a mental breakdown.

What do you do if you’re experiencing a mental breakdown?

mental breakdown what to do

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or harming yourself, or feel especially lonely or hopeless, it is important to talk to a medical health professional immediately.

A mental breakdown often indicates that you haven’t confronted or worked through some negative emotions or have a difficult time coping with stress. To cope with stress, you may need to re-evaluate your normal routine and give time to self-care activities. This may include:

  • Exercise
  • Journaling
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness Techniques
  • Aromatherapy
  • Outdoor and Nature Activities
  • Lower Caffeine intake
  • Creative Outlets (Painting, Writing, Drawing, etc.)
  • Spending time with good company
  • Travel (even if it a local road trip)
  • Practicing Gratitude

To confront unresolved feelings of hard emotions, you may need to seek professional help.

How can you find help during or after a mental breakdown?

mental breakdown help

After you’ve had a mental breakdown, is it important to structure a healthy lifestyle with stress-coping activities. Schedule weekly self-care time with activities from the above list.

It is also important to have a plan in place in case you feel overwhelmed again. You may talk to a close loved one and agree that you can call them when you feel stressed, unsafe, and on the verge of a mental breakdown. There are also crisis lines that are available for you to talk or text someone that will listen to you in times of distress.

You can also see a counselor or therapist to help confront and work through hard emotions. This is especially true if your mental breakdown occurred after life-altering events such as a death in the family or moving. A mental health professional will help you resolve your emotional burdens and incorporate healthy coping mechanisms into your life.

symptoms of a mental breakdown
Infographic: Symptoms of a Mental Breakdown
mental breakdown tips
Infographic: What to do if you are experiencing a Mental Breakdown

Healthline: What Are the Symptoms of a Nervous Breakdown? 4 Ways You Can Help Someone Having a Nervous Breakdown

NHS: Where to get urgent help for mental health crisis or emergency?

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