A nervous breakdown can happen if you are stressed or under pressure and simply cannot cope. Sufferers may feel that they are going mad, but that is not the case, the body has just reach the limit of what it can take, and is simply unable to deal with everything any more. A nervous breakdown can affect you in many ways, but it is important to remember that it will go away; you just need some help and support.
So, what is a nervous breakdown? The name is not a medical reference but more a description of the kind of things that may happen to someone under a lot of stress and having trouble dealing with it. The following are a few of the warning signs that you or someone close to you may be under too much pressure.
Signs of a Nervous Breakdown
- Anxiety – high blood pressure, trembling, sweaty palms and an upset stomach are all signs of extreme anxiousness; they may be triggered by certain physical occurrences such as a phobia or a fear.
- Extreme mood swings – mood swings associated with a nervous breakdown are very severe; the person will quickly change mood and this will have an effect on all those around them. This can also indicate a mental illness such as bipolar disorder
- Depression – serious depression including thoughts of suicide, loss of interest in everything or loss of hope are very serious symptoms and should be dealt with by a professional immediately.
- Panic attacks – High levels of fear, pounding heart, difficulty breathing and feelings that nothing is real are all signs of a panic attack, which may go hand in hand with a nervous breakdown
- Paranoia – This can be a sign of a nervous breakdown; the feeling that you are being stalked or followed is extremely stressful and can cause a breakdown as well. If this is just in your head it is still incredibly hard to deal with so seek medical help right away.
- Hallucination – this can be scary and dangerous both for the sufferer and those around them if the hallucinations are making suggestions or giving orders.
- Sudden lifestyle changes – Inability to get up, fast weight gain or loss and lack of interest in personal hygiene; these may be associated with a physical illness but may also lead to depression and other mental problems
- Flashbacks – traumatic events can cause flashbacks if the stress of the event is not dealt with at the time, and these flashbacks can lead to a breakdown if the sufferer is unable to deal with the stress related to either the original event or the subsequent flashbacks
- Alienation and loss of interest – People under stress and having problems may pull away form friends and family and isolate themselves from the rest of the world. They may also lose interest in things that they used to enjoy, and basically seem to shut down.
If you know someone who is showing these signs or symptoms or if you recognize them in yourself then it is best to seek help as soon as you can. If it is someone else then gently suggest that you have seen a change in them and ask if all is OK, if it is yourself then speak to a friend or family member, or if you would rather then speak to your doctor or a charity helpline.
Stress is a part of daily life and although a nervous breakdown may not be the outcome for everyone it is not a sign of weakness in the sufferer, just a different way of dealing with increasing levels of stress. Nervous breakdown treatment is readily available and it is important to seek help as soon as possible for a faster fix for the problem. You will need to deal with the underlying cause as well as treat the symptoms; this may be as simple as a small lifestyle change, even a new diet can really make a difference. Dealing with stress and the effects is much easier with help and support, and there is no shame in admitting that you are having trouble dealing with things; the sooner you face up to it the less serious the effects will be, and the easier the recovery.