When Anxiety Peaks - What are the Signs of a Nervous Breakdown?

When anxiety is at its highest and individuals struggle with mental health issues like anxiety disorders, depression, or other mood disorders, they’re at risk of experiencing a nervous breakdown. When a nervous breakdown occurs, a person’s life is essentially on hold – they may experience debilitating symptoms that keep them from doing the things they love and the things they need to accomplish. Understanding what a nervous breakdown is, how to help someone you love having a nervous breakdown, and treatments available in time of need can help those affected. So, what are the signs of a nervous breakdown and what can one do when someone is living through this type of event to help?

What Exactly is a Nervous Breakdown and What are the Signs of a Nervous Breakdown?

A nervous breakdown is an emotional reaction to anxiety and stress that should be taken seriously, as symptoms that result in this experience can be challenging to deal with and affect daily life.

Typically, nervous breakdowns happen as the result of pent-up emotions like stress, anxiety, and worry. And, can be brought about by going through massive life events, changes, and challenges that bring about these intense emotions. Some examples of these life events can include:

  • dealing with a breakup, separation, or divorce
  • experiencing legal issues
  • increased stress from work changes or added responsibilities
  • dealing with financial issues
  • being the victim of abuse, trauma, or assault
  • being diagnosed with a severe illness or experiencing a life-changing injury

The length of time a nervous breakdown lasts depends on the individual and what they’ve experienced. It can take anywhere from a few hours to weeks for a nervous breakdown to ease up and symptoms to reside.

Being Able to Identify a Nervous Breakdown

Now that you know what may cause a nervous breakdown, you are better prepared to be able to recognize them in your own life or that of a loved one. Those going through a nervous breakdown may be experiencing symptoms including:

  • high stress and anxiety
  • being easily fatigued/having erratic sleep schedules
  • changes in routines (exercise, eating habits, etc.)
  • being paranoid
  • experiencing feelings of hopelessness and despair
  • avoiding personal responsibilities and relationships
  • having severe mood swings

If you’re noticing these signs of a nervous breakdown, there is a chance that you may be dealing with one. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to get help with dealing with this situation.

What to do When You Notice Signs of a Nervous Breakdown

Some things you can do when you or a loved one is experiencing a nervous breakdown include:

Creating Safety and a Comforting Atmosphere: Overstimulation and adding to worry when a person is going through a nervous breakdown can make things worse. So, make sure to place yourself or the loved one experiencing the breakdown in a safe and calming atmosphere. This way, you or your loved one can feel safe and comfortable.

Adjust Lifestyle: Changing life routines can help a person to break out of the cycle of a nervous breakdown. Making adjustments can help individuals living through nervous breakdowns to utilize coping skills, like accepting emotions. Coping skills can help to minimize symptoms. Some examples of lifestyle adjustments can include eating regular meals, exercising daily, and using holistic therapeutic techniques like meditation, acupuncture, and yoga.

Get Help Through Treatment: Psychiatric treatment can help people struggling with a nervous breakdown to overcome the anxiety that can lead to nervous breakdowns. This way, individuals can identify what causes these situations and how to prevent them in the future. Furthermore, treatment can help individuals identify and practice helpful coping mechanisms that can assist during times of high stress.