What really happens to your body when you have a mental breakdown

What really happens to your body when you have a mental breakdown

A mental breakdown is one of the scariest things any of us could imagine ever happening to us. Although it’s not quite as extreme as it may sound, and, nowadays, the term is generally used to describe a period of intense mental distress, there are still elements of a nervous breakdown that can feel incredibly debilitating.

Healthline explains a nervous breakdown used to be a catch-all term for depression, anxiety, and even acute stress disorder. So if you feel like your life is falling apart around you, it may be nothing — or it could be a symptom of a deeper issue.

A nervous breakdown can be caused by intense stress

There’s no scientific definition of a nervous breakdown. It generally refers to a period when stress becomes intolerable, and the sufferer is unable to function anymore. Psychical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms persist, though the exact signs differ depending on the person. 

You may experience a variety of symptoms, including depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia, hallucinations, extreme mood swings, paranoia, and even panic attacks. It’s also likely you’ll withdraw from loved ones, similar to an extremely depressed person.

A nervous breakdown can be caused by anything from work stress, to traumatic events including a recent death, financial issues, major life changes including divorce, poor sleep or relaxation, and, of course, underlying medical issues. There are also existing factors that may contribute, including if there’s a history of anxiety disorders in your family.

There are plenty of remedies for a nervous breakdown

The good news is, if you’re experiencing a nervous breakdown, you can break the cycle by making several small changes to your lifestyle. Medical News Today lays out quite a few, the most pressing of which is to seek counseling, talk to a doctor about taking antidepressants or other anti-anxiety medications, de-stress in a comfortable environment, or even take up exercise (particularly yoga, which promotes controlled breathing). You should also cut down on alcohol and caffeine, as these can negatively affect your mental health. Getting enough rest is paramount to managing stress, too.

It’s worth noting, as Healthline advises, a so-called nervous breakdown could be symptomatic of an underlying mental health disorder, in which case it’s imperative you get professional help as soon as possible. There are easy ways to manage your stress, but if you feel it’s getting on top of you in a way that’s affecting your ability to work or live in peace, contact your doctor immediately. Stress, whether temporary or chronic, can impact everything else in your life, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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