The phrase nervous breakdown isn’t an official medical term and is not used by doctors to describe one particular disorder. Rather, it is a phrase used to characterize a period of severe, mental anguish or distress. It’s not a healthy or normal response to negative situations. Symptoms of a nervous breakdown vary significantly from one person to another and can manifest in numerous ways, including the following:
Overwhelming Anxiety and Nervousness
Not surprisingly, two of the most common symptoms of a nervous breakdown are extreme anxiety and nervousness. A rapid heartbeat, trembling and even chest pain may occur when these symptoms are experienced.
Depersonalization and the Absence of Emotion
These are classic symptoms of any serious nervous disorder and involve feeling as if you are removed from your natural self. You may experience an absence of emotion or feel like you don’t recognize yourself.
The depression experienced during a nervous breakdown often results from the aforementioned anxiety. Because this type of nervous tension can become crippling, you may find that you’ve lost confidence in yourself and develop a negative outlook on life, feeling as if you’ll never recover.
Confusion and Feelings of Insanity
It is common to experience confused or unclear thinking when your brain is overloaded with a stress response. You may also feel like you are going crazy, or fear that you have a serious, undiagnosed mental illness, such as schizophrenia.
Another very common symptom associated with this disorder is insomnia. This usually occurs because you cannot calm your brain down enough to enjoy a good night’s sleep. This symptom frequently feeds into depression and anxiety, creating an endless cycle of negativity.
Loss of Interest in Life or Overreacting
As previously mentioned, some signs of a breakdown include the absence of emotion. You may also lose interest in the things that you once found enjoyable. However, a person suffering from this condition may also overreact to a simple stimulus or become extremely sensitive or even hysterical.
Isolation and Agoraphobia
If you are experiencing a breakdown, you may choose to isolate yourself from family and friends. You may even develop a fear of going outside your home.
Problems with Memory
Struggling with both long-term and short-term memory is not uncommon during a nervous breakdown. In fact, this symptom is associated with virtually all nervous conditions.
One prevalent symptom of a breakdown is exaggerated mood swings. You may quickly cycle through a variety of emotions, such as sadness, hatred, fear, anger or resentment.
Thoughts of Suicide
It is very common to have suicidal thoughts if you are having a nervous breakdown. This is usually because you don’t know what’s happening to your body and can’t control your emotions or thoughts. This symptom, however, should be immediately discussed with a healthcare professional, regardless of its source.
Fortunately, help is available for anyone suffering from a nervous breakdown. In fact, most individuals recover once treatment is sought. Therapy may be short-term or long-term and may involve inpatient or outpatient treatment with mental health professionals, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.
If you’re experiencing any of the signs and symptoms listed above, contact a licensed healthcare practitioner for professional advice.