What To Do If I Think I Have Bipolar – “Nervous breakdown” is not a medical diagnosis. But, it is a kind of mental or emotional health crisis. You may feel extremely stressed, anxious, or depressed. In turn, you no longer function in everyday life. Your health care provider will work with you to identify your stressors, develop a treatment plan, and help you cope.
A “nervous breakdown” or mental health crisis refers to feeling overwhelmed physically, mentally and emotionally by the stresses of life.
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We’ve all heard someone say, “I think I’m having a nervous breakdown.” You might have said it yourself. But what exactly is a “nervous breakdown”? What does this really mean?
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“Nervous breakdown” is a vague term sometimes used by the public or the press. It fell out of favor because it was not a medical term and – over time – it took on a negative connotation.
“Nervous breakdown” is not a medical diagnosis. This is not a term your health care provider will use. It is not a certain state of mind. Rather, a mental health crisis or breakdown of your mental health is a situation that occurs when you are under severe physical and emotional stress, find it difficult to cope, and cannot cope well. It is the feeling of being physically, mentally and emotionally overwhelmed by the stresses of life.
In a mental health crisis, your severe stress reaction shares many characteristics with other medical conditions. Some of the medical conditions that you and your health care provider will discover as contributing to your mental distress include:
If you’re going through a mental health crisis, you may feel like you’re losing control. Certain events or changes in your life cause you great stress, causing symptoms such as fear, anxiety, worry, nervousness and depression. You may feel “stuck”, overwhelmed or disempowered, causing you to be unable to cope and function in life.
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A “nervous breakdown” can be a serious health condition if you are unable to do your daily activities due to stress and difficulty coping.
Everyone handles stress in different ways. Some people handle stress better than others. However, when you can’t do everyday tasks, like getting out of bed, brushing your teeth or going to work, it’s time to seek professional help.
Some people may have self-destructive thoughts. This is an emergency. Dial 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 or emotional health crisis vary from person to person, depending on the underlying cause.
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Each person is unique, with their own breakdown “setpoint”. 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 the areas of emotional, behavioral and mental health issues.
The main treatment for psychological or behavioral stress is psychotherapy (talk therapy). A commonly used form of psychotherapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The goal of CBT is to manage your severe stress and anxiety by changing the way you think, feel, and behave.
What can 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 you can do if you are actively engaged in a highly stressful situation is to remove yourself from that environment — if you can. Think of it as your personal “time out”. Give yourself time to calm your mind and body.
Practice deep breathing. Breathe in forcefully through your nose (mouth closed), hold for three seconds, then exhale slowly through pursed lips (like a whistle). Repeat several times.
If you are thinking about hurting yourself, call 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.TALK (1.800.273.8255). You will speak with a qualified and trained counselor. 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 developing a mental health crisis or depression?
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Many of the best self-help tips involve lifestyle changes. Although these suggestions cannot completely prevent episodes of uncontrollable stress, anxiety, or depression, they can reduce the intensity and frequency of these episodes.
It appears that your stress reaction, otherwise known in simple terms as a nervous or mental breakdown, is a time-limited condition that is often brought on by an external event. Signs of your reaction to the event are likely to be a combination of anxiety and depression and a lack of adaptability and coping.
No one can say how long it will take to recover from a mental and emotional crisis. Each person is different and has unique stressors and the ability to learn how to cope. However, if you are accurately diagnosed, your stressor(s) are identified, and you receive appropriate treatment, 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 may take longer.
When you feel like you can no longer deal with life’s stresses and challenges in a healthy way and find it difficult to perform ordinary daily tasks, it’s time to get help. You may be at a point where dealing with your situation alone is not possible. Your primary health care provider or a psychologist or psychiatrist can help you understand your symptoms and provide the help you need.
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A psychotic crisis is when a person loses touch with reality and experiences delusions (false beliefs), hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that isn’t there) and paranoia. In most cases, a person who is overwhelmed by the stresses and challenges of life (or having a “nervous breakdown”) has not lost touch with reality. They lose the ability to cope with these stresses, making daily functioning difficult.
People usually use words like “nervous breakdown” or “mental breakdown” to talk about when someone can’t cope with everyday life. Although the terms are not a medical diagnosis, your feelings, reactions and symptoms are very real. Severe stress that causes severe mental and emotional distress, preventing you from working, playing and enjoying life is a health problem. These are not signs of personal weakness or failure. If you have these feelings and symptoms, you are not alone. Consult your health care professional for help.
The Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. PolicyPage Medically Reviewed by Alison Hardy (Dip. in Counselling, PG CBT), Senior Cognitive Behavioral Therapist at Priory Hospital Chelmsford
If you are suffering from sadness or feeling depressed, it is important to remember that this is something you can overcome. You deserve to feel happy and satisfied, and there are steps you can take to get there.
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In this blog, we’ll outline some simple strategies to help you cope with feelings of loneliness and keep moving forward. For those really struggling with severe isolation, loneliness or symptoms of depression, we’ll also explain the professional support and treatment available if you feel you need help.
Loneliness and depression are closely related, but they are not exactly the same. Depression is a diagnosable mental health condition characterized by persistent feelings of sadness. Loneliness is a subjective feeling of isolation where our levels of social interaction are not as frequent as we would like. When someone is alone and doesn’t take steps to address it, it can increase the likelihood that they will suffer from depression and other mental health issues. When it comes to loneliness, a person often feels sad when the relationships in their life lack the intensity, intimacy, and authenticity they need to feel content.
If you feel alone and isolated, know that this is something you can try to reduce. With some of the tips outlined in this article, you can break the cycle of sadness and depression and prevent these feelings from getting worse over time.
The causes of loneliness can be many and often a combination of factors are at play. Some of these include: physical separation from others, significant changes in your life, such as a divorce or moving house, or a stressful time in your life, such as long hours at work or an upcoming period of exam.
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There are also many reasons why people experience depression, many of which overlap with what can cause sadness. This may include the following:
Since feeling alone and depressed are often related, reaching out to one can often help the other. We understand that being punctual and getting certain tasks done can be very difficult, but if you can really push yourself, these steps can help.
During times when you feel sad or depressed, write down your exact emotions and the reasons behind them. This will help in the following ways:
In your thought journal, also write when you are happy and
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