Picture this: You’re enjoying a leisurely weekend with friends or family when someone you care about suddenly starts exhibiting signs of a mental breakdown. Panic sets in, and you realize you have no idea what to do or who to call for help. Sound familiar? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many people find themselves in this situation, unsure how to react or help their loved one through such a crisis. This article will change that, providing insights into mental breakdowns, their symptoms, and available treatment options. By the end of this article, you’ll feel better equipped to handle such a situation and potentially save a life.
A mental or nervous breakdown is a period of intense emotional or mental distress that makes it nearly impossible for a person to function in their everyday life. The term used to be a catch-all phrase for various mental illnesses, but it has since been retired by the medical community due to its lack of a clear, agreed-upon definition. However, just because it’s not a clinical term or a medical diagnosis, it doesn’t mean it’s not a severe problem. Mental breakdowns are a serious mental health issue that can wreak havoc in many aspects of an individual’s life. They can also indicate an underlying mental health condition like anxiety disorder, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Thus, paying attention to its warning signs and seeking help before it’s too late is essential.
Signs and Symptoms of a Mental Breakdown
Depending on the underlying cause, the symptoms of a nervous breakdown can vary from one person to another. However, it generally includes a combination of the following:
- Feelings of depression, sadness, or hopelessness
- Emotional outbursts
- Rapid mood swings
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of motivation
- Extreme fatigue
- Muscle pains
- Chest pains
- Racing heart
- Tingling hands or feet
- Difficulty breathing
- Trouble concentrating or focusing
- Digestive issues
- Restlessness and irritability
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Losing interest in activities enjoyed before
- Missing appointments or other responsibilities
- Avoiding social situations
- Not keeping up with personal hygiene
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
If you’re having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. They are available 24/7 and will help you through your struggles.
Some people may also turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with the stress of a nervous breakdown. However, this can lead to long-term consequences and make things worse in the end.
If you or someone you care about is grappling with a mental health disorder, Turning Point Centers is here to help. With our dedicated mental health treatment programs, you can get the support you need to reclaim your life.
Early Warning Signs of a Mental Breakdown
There are several warning signs that indicate you or a loved one is on the verge of a mental breakdown. These include:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Increased or new feelings of anxiety or depression
- Difficulty focusing on tasks or remembering things
- Changes in appetite
- Being uncharacteristically disorganized
- Feeling or appearing lazy
- Increased use of alcohol or other harmful substances as a means of coping
Recognizing these warning signs is crucial to ensure you or your loved one gets help immediately. You can avert a full-blown mental breakdown and return to your everyday life sooner with professional assistance.
What Are the Causes of a Mental Breakdown?
Extreme stress and a lack of healthy coping mechanisms are the primary causes of mental breakdown. Other causes include:
- Persistent stress or pressure at the workplace
- Serious financial issues
- Social and political unrest
- Parental burnout
- A recent injury or illness that makes everyday life difficult
- Natural disasters such as wildfires and storms
- A traumatic event, such as a physical assault or the death of a loved one
- Significant life changes, such as relocation or divorce
- Lack of a good support system at home
- Organizing an important event such as a wedding, graduation, or vacation
- Any untreated mental health disorders
Ultimately, everyone reacts differently to stressful events, and each has a breaking point. What might be a minor inconvenience for one person could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for another. The key is to recognize when you’re approaching your limits and take action to prevent a mental breakdown before it happens.
What to Do When Someone Is Experiencing a Mental Breakdown?
When someone is experiencing a mental breakdown, your mission should be to provide support and care for the person in their time of need. Let them know you’re there to support them through this difficult time. Here are some other ways you can assist someone undergoing a mental breakdown:
- Create a safe, calm environment
- Encourage them to stay in touch with supportive family and friends
- Help them in making lifestyle changes
- Assist them with child care if needed
- Support them in continuing their treatment or seeking treatment
- Offer to drive them to their appointments or pick up their medications, if needed
While you’re doing your best to support the person, there are certain things you should avoid. These actions can make the situation worse.
- Don’t assume that you understand what they’re thinking or feeling
- Don’t accuse them of lying or making things up
- Don’t dismiss what they’re saying
- Avoid forcing them into doing what you think is best
- Avoid putting yourself in circumstances where you could get hurt
Remember, a severe or acute mental breakdown is a mental health emergency requiring hospitalization or inpatient treatment. If the person experiences thoughts of self-harm or suicide, it’s time to call the professionals. You’ve done your part; now it’s time to let the experts take over.
Treatment Options for a Mental Breakdown
Many treatment options are available to help you regain control and balance your life. Let’s explore some of these options, from talk therapy and medications to lifestyle changes that can make a world of difference.
- Psychotherapies – Talk therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), are the primary treatment for nervous breakdowns. CBT helps you identify and modify irrational thought patterns and equips you with coping strategies to handle challenging situations. Your doctor will work closely with you to craft a personalized CBT plan that aligns with your unique treatment goals.
- Medications – Alongside talk therapy, your doctor may prescribe some medications to help manage your mental health crisis or diagnosed mental health condition. Examples include antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. If stress is causing you insomnia, your doctor may recommend a sleep aid to break the vicious cycle of sleeplessness and lower your tension.
- Support groups – Participating in support groups provides individuals experiencing mental breakdowns with numerous benefits. Support groups bring together people facing similar situations, providing a safe space for them to obtain practical advice and helpful information. Ask your primary care physician, mental health professional, or local religious institution for recommendations for a local support group. You can also search for meetings on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and Mental Health America (MHA) websites.
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Mental Wellness
While psychotherapy, medications, and support groups are crucial, you may also have to incorporate specific lifestyle changes to prevent or manage a nervous breakdown. These include:
- Work out at least three times a week, for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and mindfulness practices, daily.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
- Avoid potential stressors like coffee, alcohol, drugs, and other substances that can stress your body.
- Prioritize sleep and aim to get a sufficient amount every night.
- Engage in enjoyable activities.
You can overcome a mental breakdown and reclaim your life by seeking appropriate treatment and implementing healthy lifestyle changes. Remember, you are not alone; help is just a phone call away.
Residential Treatment for Mental Breakdown
Residential treatment programs for mental breakdowns offer a mix of evidence-based treatment modalities, including individual therapy, group therapy, support group activities, and family therapy sessions. In addition, they also provide alternative holistic therapies, such as yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, medications, and personal attention from a team of mental health professionals, all designed to help you bounce back and prevent further breakdowns.
The end goal of your treatment is simple: to prevent further breakdowns. With proper attention to detail, a positive attitude, and the assistance and support of a network of mental health professionals, mental health aides, and peer support professionals, you’ll be well on your way to mastering a more constructive, proactive, and long-term strategy for coping with stress.
Mental health disorders can feel like they’re taking the driver’s seat in our lives, steering us into dark alleys and dead ends. The good news is that there’s always a way out. Our team at Turning Point Centers is here to help individuals and families navigate through the twists and turns of these challenging roads in a judgment-free environment. We work tirelessly to provide the treatment and support needed to get you on the road to wellness.