If you've ever wondered what the signs of a nervous breakdown are, here is guest contributor Anna Kaminsky with an enlightening list.
Put simply, a nervous breakdown occurs when an individual temporarily loses control over his/her actions and therefore cannot participate in everyday activities. A threshold of utter exhaustion or helplessness is reached when a person is subjected to continuous anxiety. When this threshold is surpassed, a person experiences a nervous breakdown.
Psychiatrists, however, found this term unsuited for this mental state. As a result, this broad term gave way to narrower and more precise constructs such as acute psychotic breaks or schizophrenic episodes and panic attacks – finally forming the most applicative one – an episode of Major Depressive Disorder. The former three constructs portray manic breaks and paranoia. The latter construct represents a situation where an individual does not find interest in almost any activity and suffers from weariness without enduring any such physical wear and tear.
After a stressful routine, a person only needs a slight push to mentally breakdown. It could be a bad day at work, a rainy day, a flat tire or a cake gone wrong. It is usually the last straw that pushes people over the edge. As simple as it may seem, it is best to verify a nervous breakdown by checking the following signs:
1. Loss of Concentration
You have trouble focusing. Everyone goes through a period where they fail to pay attention to pending matters. However, if this inattention is prolonged and unexplainable, it poses questions about your mental status.
2. Violent Fantasies
The roots of your stress manifest in your fantasies and these are not pretty, to say the least. A problem at work may want you to jump from your window. A problem at home will make you run away. Frustration at the absence of ‘a way out’ forces you to wish for the worst to happen.
3. The Devil’s Advocate – 24/7
You usually do not bark or bite, but at the moment you cannot seem to refrain yourself from doing both. Negativity emanates from you in the form of criticism or aggressive comments in social gatherings or work related events. Once you start venting your anger, things appear unpleasant.
4. Food Can Make or Break Problems
Your hands are full of tasks and your dog just ate the one document that would have helped you, or your boyfriend broke up with you through a text message. These situations usually make you turn toward comfort food or you end up losing your appetite from the stress In the event of prolonged stress, individuals may start either eating more or living on one meal a day. Loss of appetite or a strange urge to excessively binge are signs that you need to relax.
5. Substance Abuse
Alcohol, nicotine, or other substances is not the answer to your stress. Using drugs only increases your tolerance level temporarily, enough for you to relax. However, these substances will not increase your tolerance, but instead make you dependent on them. Going this way is a sign of trouble and only makes the stress worse.
6. What Does «Mirror, Mirror» Tell You
Most people obsess over their appearances and push themselves into stressful situations, whereby they go the extra mile to ‘look good’. The other end of the continuum is just as troubling. Not caring how presentable you are sends a poor signal to those with whom you interact. The best thing to do is stay away from the two extremes and position yourself somewhere in the middle.
7. Organization Just Went out the Window
An individual’s mental state is reflected by the condition of his surroundings. This can be the orderliness of your office table, the cleanliness of your room or the aesthetics of your lounge. A little mess never hurt anyone, but if you have to wade through piles of clutter to find anything, your mental disorganization is showing through.
8. «Leave Me Alone»
If you are on the way to a nervous breakdown, you leave others behind. Not only do you coil back in your comfort zone without your colleagues, friends or loved ones, you’ll try to repel them. This is a very important factor in determining nervous breakdowns. Individuals tend to remove themselves from reality to attain the mental state they supposedly want. It is highly important for such individuals to remain surrounded by their friends or loved ones.
9. Under Pressure
Excessive problems have an obvious tendency to mentally drain a person. However, if these problems seem to be nearing the boiling point, you need to seek assistance immediately.
10. Do Not Harm Yourself
Causing self sabotage is a sign the person needs help regardless of it being a sign of a nervous breakdown. Depression can cause you to place yourself in life-threatening or risky situations that you would not have considered with a healthy mind.
Added to the aforementioned signs, problems such as depression, panic attacks, mood swings, hallucinations, paranoia and lifestyle changes should be looked at. These are not the result of a normal, healthy mental state and need to be investigated before it is too late.