Have you ever experienced a nervous breakdown? If so, you know how devastating it can be. The world around you seems to crumble, and you feel like you’re losing control. It’s a dark and lonely place, and it can be hard to find your way back.
But there is hope. Life after a breakdown can be beautiful and fulfilling. It’s a journey of self-discovery, healing, and a chance to find happiness and peace. In this article, we’ll explore what a mental breakdown is, how it affects your life, and, most importantly, how to move forward and find happiness again.
What Is a Nervous Breakdown?
A nervous breakdown, otherwise known as a mental breakdown, is a term used to define a state of severe mental distress that disrupts an individual’s ability to function in everyday life. While a nervous breakdown is not a medical diagnosis, it describes symptoms that occur when a person reaches an emotional or mental overload.
A breakdown often prevents an individual from carrying out tasks and responsibilities in their daily life. Experiencing intense stress, anxiety, and depression during a nervous break can leave a person feeling alone. Reaching out to a mental health professional or even your closest circle can make all the difference in your wellness journey.
Causes of a Nervous Breakdown
As mentioned, a nervous breakdown is not a diagnosable mental health issue; hence, no specific causes exist. While most mental breakdowns result from a combination of factors, many are a response to a highly stressful situation or traumatic event. A few of these include but are not limited to the following:
- Extreme stress or pressure at work
- Intense academic pressure or responsibility
- Diagnosis of a terminal or chronic illness
- Undiagnosed mental illness
- Social or political unrest
- Natural disasters like earthquakes, wildfires, and COVID-19
- Life-altering events such as breakups or the separation from a child due to custody disputes
- Death of a loved one
- Loss of a job or financial instability
- Assault (physical or sexual)
- Experiencing parental burnout
Some nervous breaks may also indicate an underlying mental health condition, such as major depression, anxiety disorder, and mood disorders. Mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, and acute stress disorder, among others, have a higher tendency to trigger nervous breakdowns. It’s advised to contact your healthcare professional for a more accurate diagnosis.
Common Signs and Symptoms of a Nervous Breakdown
Identifying the warning signs and symptoms can help you seek help before a nervous breakdown. While symptoms for mental breakdowns vary from person to person, a few commonly found warning signs include but are not limited to the following:
- Lack of self-esteem
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Panic attacks
- Extreme mood swings and unexplained emotional outbursts
- Isolating oneself from family and friends
- Difficulty focusing and making decisions
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Avoiding social events and gathering
- Feeling depressed or anxious
- Feeling worthless and guilty
- Disappointment in oneself and their life
- Intense fear and sense of impending doom
- Self-destructive or reckless behavior
- Hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia
- Neglecting personal hygiene
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
When left untreated, mental breakdowns can potentially trigger a psychotic break, which is a mental health emergency. If you or someone you love is dealing with a mental breakdown, and pose a risk of self-harm or suicide, get in touch with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or connect to the Lifeline by dialing 988.
Treatment for Nervous Breakdowns
When dealing with a nervous breakdown, you must seek professional treatment. In this setting, you will work closely with a mental health professional to be evaluated and diagnosed. You can then work on treating the cause with a therapist or psychiatrist to prevent future crises.
Treatment typically involves a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, can effectively treat a nervous breakdown. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common form of psychotherapy that aims to help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors. Other forms of therapy, such as interpersonal therapy or psychodynamic therapy, may also be beneficial. Making lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms of a nervous breakdown. Stress-reducing activities like exercise, meditation, or yoga can help manage stress levels. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and avoiding substance abuse can also help promote overall well-being.
Things You Can Do After a Mental Breakdown
Self-awareness and care are essential to wellness following a nervous breakdown. In treatment, your therapist or healthcare professional will help you learn techniques and strategies to implement in your daily routine to prevent the recurrence of a mental breakdown. These mainly involve lifestyle changes that help you cope with stress better, such as:
- Spending time in nature
- Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness and yoga
- Physical activity at least three times a week
- Getting seven hours of sleep every night
- Deep breathing and other breathing exercises to stimulate relaxation
- Maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet
- Organizing daily activities by keeping a to-do list
- Learning to say no to responsibilities that you cannot handle
- Taking regular mental breaks and time to de-stress
- Spending time with family and friends
- Doing hobbies or activities, you enjoy
- Going to counseling to deal with stress
- Avoiding drugs, alcohol, and other substances that cause stress to the body
While implementing lifestyle changes is a great way to deal with stress and improve mental well-being, it’s not a solution to combat mental illness or healthcare needs. Combining lifestyle changes with therapy or medication will produce the best results.
What Is Life Like After a Nervous Breakdown?
Life after a nervous breakdown can be challenging, but with ongoing treatment and support, it can also be a time of growth and recovery. Here are some common experiences and changes that individuals may go through after a nervous breakdown:
- After a nervous breakdown, continued treatment is often necessary to manage symptoms and prevent future breakdowns. This may include medication, therapy, or other forms of treatment.
- Many people find that making lifestyle changes is necessary to maintain their mental health after a nervous breakdown. This may include changes to diet, exercise, and sleep habits, as well as avoiding triggers such as excessive stress or substance use.
- Nervous breakdowns can strain relationships with loved ones, but these relationships can be rebuilt with time and effort. Many people find that therapy or support groups can be helpful in repairing relationships and developing healthier communication patterns.
- Practicing self-care is an important part of recovery after a nervous breakdown. This includes setting boundaries, prioritizing relaxation and enjoyment, and engaging in relaxation techniques and stress-reducing activities.
- While a nervous breakdown can be a difficult experience, it can also be a time of growth and self-reflection. Many people find that they gain a greater understanding of themselves and their needs after a breakdown, which can lead to greater self-acceptance and personal growth.
At Turning Point Centers, our interdisciplinary team of highly skilled professionals is equipped to deal with various mental health issues, substance use disorders, and co-occurring conditions. We are dedicated to bringing you the best care with personalized treatment plans in a safe and comfortable environment.