How Do You Know If Your Mentally Unstable – “Nervous breakdown” is not a medical diagnosis. But this is some kind of mental or emotional health crisis. You may experience severe stress, anxiety or depression. In turn, you cannot function in everyday life. Your healthcare provider will work with you to identify stress triggers, develop a treatment plan, and help you cope.
A “nervous breakdown” or mental health crisis refers to feeling physically, mentally and emotionally overwhelmed by the stresses of life.
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We’ve all heard someone say, “I think I’m having a nervous breakdown.” Maybe you said it yourself. But what is a “nervous breakdown”? What does this really mean?
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“Nerve breakdown” is a loose term sometimes used by the public or the press. It has fallen out of favor because it is not a medical term and over time has acquired a negative connotation.
“Nervous breakdown” is not a medical diagnosis. This is not the term your healthcare provider will use. It is not a specific mental state. In contrast, a mental health crisis or mental health disorder is a situation that occurs when you are under severe physical and emotional stress, have difficulty coping, and are unable to function effectively. It is the feeling of being physically, mentally and emotionally overwhelmed by the stresses of life.
In a mental health crisis, your response to intense stress has many similarities to other illnesses. Some of the medical conditions that you and your healthcare provider may consider contributing to your mental illness include:
If you’re having a mental health crisis, you may feel like you’re losing control. An event or change in your life causes you a lot of stress, which causes symptoms such as fear, anxiety, restlessness, nervousness and depression. You may feel stuck, depressed or unable, making you unable to cope with life and function normally.
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A “nervous breakdown” can be a serious health problem if you are unable to carry out daily activities due to stress and coping.
Everyone deals with stress differently. Some people handle stress better than others. However, when you can no longer perform daily tasks—getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, or going to work—it’s time to seek professional help.
Some people may have thoughts of harming themselves. This is urgent. Call 911, go to the emergency room, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255.
The signs and symptoms of a mental health or emotional crisis vary from person to person, depending on the underlying cause.
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Each person is unique, having their own “starting point” for a breakdown. There is no limit to the possible causes or combinations of causes that can lead to a “nervous breakdown” or mental health crisis.
Your health care provider may refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist, who are mental health professionals specially trained in emotional, behavioral, and mental health issues.
The main treatment for psychological or behavioral stress is psychotherapy (talk therapy). A widely used form of psychotherapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to manage intense stress and anxiety by changing the way you think, feel, and behave.
What should I do if I feel like I’m on the verge of a “nervous breakdown” or mental health crisis?
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Perhaps the best thing to do if you are actively involved in a highly stressful situation is to remove yourself from that environment – if you can. Think of it as personal “time out.” Take some time to calm your mind and body.
Practice deep breathing exercises. Inhale with a full belly through the nose (with the mouth closed), hold the breath for three seconds, then slowly exhale through pursed lips (as if whistling). Repeat several times.
If you are having thoughts of harming yourself, call 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (1.800.273.8255). You will speak with an experienced and trained consultant. This service is free and confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Prevention What can I do to prevent or reduce the risk of a mental breakdown or relapse?
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Many of the best self-help tips involve lifestyle changes. Although these recommendations cannot completely prevent episodes of uncontrolled stress, anxiety or depression, they can reduce the intensity and frequency of these episodes.
It may seem that your stress response, known to laymen as a nervous or mental breakdown, is a time-limited state that is usually triggered by an external event. The characteristics of your reaction to the event are probably a combination of anxiety and depression, as well as a lack of ability to adapt and cope.
No one can say exactly how long it takes to recover from a mental and emotional crisis. Each person is different and has unique stressors and the ability to learn how to cope with them. However, if you’ve been accurately diagnosed, stressors identified, and treated appropriately, your symptoms will likely resolve within six months. The exception is if your stress is related to the loss of a loved one. In this case, recovery can be much longer.
When you feel like you can no longer cope with the stress and challenges of life in a healthy way and find it difficult to carry out normal everyday tasks, it’s time to seek help. Perhaps you are in a situation where it is impossible to handle the situation alone. Your health care provider, psychologist, or psychiatrist can help you decipher your symptoms and get you the help you need.
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A psychotic break is when a person loses touch with reality and experiences delusions (false beliefs), hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that isn’t there) and paranoia. A person overloaded with the stresses and challenges of life (or having a “nervous breakdown”), for the most part, does not lose touch with reality. They have lost the ability to cope with these stresses, making their daily lives difficult.
People usually use words like “nervous breakdown” or “mental breakdown” when talking about a person who cannot cope with everyday life. Although the terms are not a medical diagnosis, your feelings, reactions, and symptoms are very real. Extreme stress that causes severe mental and emotional distress that prevents you from working, playing and enjoying life is a health condition. These are not signs of personal weakness or failure. If you have these feelings and symptoms, you are not alone. Contact your healthcare provider for help.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our website helps us support our mission. We do not endorse products or services not owned by Cleveland Clinic. Policy Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness. People with BPD have extreme mood swings, unstable relationships, and trouble controlling their emotions. They have a higher risk of suicide and self-destructive behavior. Talk therapy is the main treatment for BPD.
Borderline personality disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings, instability in interpersonal relationships, and impulsivity.
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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings, instability in interpersonal relationships, and impulsivity.
People with BPD have an intense fear of abandonment and have difficulty controlling their emotions, especially anger. They also tend to exhibit impulsive and dangerous behavior such as reckless driving and threats of self-harm. All this behavior prevents them from maintaining relationships.
Borderline personality disorder belongs to a group of conditions called “cluster B” personality disorders that involve dramatic and erratic behavior. Personality disorders are chronic (long-term) dysfunctional behaviors that are inflexible, frequent, and lead to social problems and stress.
Many people living with borderline personality disorder do not know they have it and may not realize that there is a healthier way to behave and interact with others.
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Although bipolar disorder is also characterized by wide fluctuations in mood and behavior, it is different from borderline personality disorder (BPD).
In BPD, mood and behavior change rapidly in response to significant stress, especially when interacting with other people, whereas in bipolar disorder, mood is more stable and less reactive. People with bipolar disorder also have significant changes in energy and activity, unlike people with borderline personality disorder.
Most personality disorders begin during adolescence as your personality develops and matures. As a result, almost all people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder are over 18 years old.
Although anyone can develop BPD, it is more common if you have a family history of BPD. People with other mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression or eating disorders, are also at higher risk.
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Almost 75% of people diagnosed with BPD at birth are female (AFAB). Research shows that individuals assigned male at birth (MAB) can equally suffer from BPD, but may be misdiagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.
Signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder usually appear in late adolescence or early adulthood. A distressing event or stressful experience can trigger symptoms or make them worse.
Not everyone with borderline personality disorder experiences all of these symptoms. The severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms are unique to each individual.
Personality continues to develop throughout child and adolescent development. Because of this, healthcare
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