Mental Breakdown: Symptoms & Solutions
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
- 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?
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:
- Mindfulness Techniques
- 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?
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.
Interesting Facts about Mental Breakdowns
How long is a mental breakdown?
The term mental breakdown is not an official diagnosis, but overwhelming mental distress that interferes with daily life can last from a few hours up to a few years.
What causes mental breakdowns?
A mental breakdown can be triggered by:
- gradual build-up of stress
- divorce or separation
- pressure at work
- death of a loved-one
- traumatic event
- financial difficulties
Should I go to the hospital for a mental breakdown?
Because a mental breakdown is not an official diagnosis there is no straight answer to the question if you should go to the hospital, but one thing is sure, if you are dealing with thoughts about harming yourself or others you should seek help right-away.
How to help someone during a nervous breakdown?
You can help someone that is having a mental breakdown by:
- being empathic
- showing your love and support
- advising to seek the help of a mental health professional
- teaching coping mechanisms
- moving to a calm and safe place
- participating in self-care activities
How long is recovery from mental breakdown?
The time needed to recover depends on the severity of your mental breakdown. You need to identify the underlying problem that caused the mental breakdown first, and deal with it. Once you regained your peace of mind, you need lots of rest, and you will recover.
What happens after a mental breakdown?
Life after a mental breakdown will be a life where you learned to cope with the factor that triggered your mental breakdown. This means that you will have become an improved, more serene version of yourself.
Healthline: What Are the Symptoms of a Nervous Breakdown?
Bridgestorecovery.com: 4 Ways You Can Help Someone Having a Nervous Breakdown
NHS: Where to get urgent help for mental health crisis or emergency?