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What is a Mental Breakdown?

February 6, 2013

A mental breakdown often happens when a person has experienced a lot of stress over a long period of time. There is only so much stress that the mind and body can cope with. When you reach this limit, it can seem impossible to go about your normal routine. You may feel so overwhelmed that activities that once seemed easy now seem too hard to even consider.

Causes of Mental Breakdown

There is no precise medical definition of a mental breakdown. Many of the symptoms of a breakdown are also symptoms of anxiety and depression. In fact, a breakdown may indicate an underlying problem with anxiety or depression. This is not always the case, however.

Breakdowns do not usually just happen overnight; they often build up over time. In fact, the term breakdown generally describes a sudden onset of panic and loss of control in response to a prolonged stressor.  Think of it as the straw that broke the camel’s back.2013_02_08_Mental Health Treatment Center Affirmations

The causes of a mental breakdown are often different from person to person. Each person’s life and experiences are different, so their stressors are likely to be different as well. Overwhelming work or school obligations, divorce and financial problems are all common causes of emotional difficulties that can lead to breakdowns.

Are There Warning Signs?

If you know that you are vulnerable to having a mental breakdown, you may be able to prevent it from occurring, but how can you recognize warning signs? Preventing a breakdown from occurring is better than treating it, since a breakdown can cause havoc in your professional life and your personal relationships.

Many people who have a mental breakdown experience some symptoms of burnout beforehand, such as failing to meet obligations and calling out of work. Even getting through a normal day is too difficult to bear, and people who are heading toward a breakdown can sometimes start to avoid difficult situations to the point that they can be fired from their jobs.

Stress can make it hard for you to recognize the emotional warning signs like irritability and other changes in your mood. However, the physical symptoms of an impending mental breakdown are hard to ignore. Problems like insomnia and changes in appetite are common. Some people even have panic attacks, which are sudden episodes of anxiety that can cause a rapid heart rate and difficulty breathing.

It is important to seek counseling if you feel like you are experiencing high stress or feel like you are losing control.  Most people who experience a mental breakdown are not a physical danger to themselves or others, but preventing and avoiding the situation in the first place is always advisable. A trained therapist or counselor will encourage you to talk through your feelings and help you develop strategies to cope with stress. Many people find that this kind of counseling is what they need to improve their lives and prevent a crisis.

If you or a loved one in your life is suffering from depression or exhibits stress and anxiety that prevent them from living a healthy, productive life, it may be time to seek  treatment from a professional mental health center. We offer personalized treatment plans to help with a mental breakdown, depression, anger and anxiety.  Please call us at 1-888-205-2775. The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center is a full service mental health facility dedicated to helping individuals who suffer from mental illness find a path to living better.

Call Our 24-Hour Helpline and Speak to a Counselor Today.  888-205-2775
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