Banner: what is a nervous breakdown1. What is a nervous breakdown?

A medical professional (and some mental health professionals) will use terms such as mental illness, anxiety disorder, stress disorder, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, as a professional counsellor, I totally understand the term ‘nervous breakdown’ or ‘mental breakdown’.
A nervous breakdown is a state of severe mental distress with a combination of mental, emotional and physical symptoms associated with anxiety, panic attacks and depression. Get the complete low down…

Banner: physical symptoms of a mental breakdown2. What are the symptoms of a nervous breakdown?

The mental symptoms of a nervous breakdown are: anxiety about everyday things, panic attacks, Inability to cope with the most menial tasks, low male libido/low female libidoimpotence, sleep problems, Withdrawal from loved ones, irritability and angry outbursts, Inability to concentrate, depression (See my articles on treating depression without or with drugs and The symptoms of depression in men), excessive dreaming (see how dreaming is linked to mental health), a memory like a sieve.

Banner: physical signs of a nervous breakdown3. What are the physical signs of a nervous breakdown?

Irregular heartbeat
You can feel your heart pounding. Or maybe you’re aware that your heart is beating really fast. You may be terrified that you’re having or have had a heart attack.
Tensed and/or painful muscles
No wonder… they’re working overtime without you being consciously aware of it. They’re at the ready to help you run away from the (imagined) disaster, constantly in fight/flight mode.
Clammy hands and armpits
Your body works hard to cool you down. You’re worried about having to shake hands and other people noticing how much you’re sweating.
Dizziness and lightheadedness
Your blood is drawn to the major muscle groups to ensure they’re well-fed and can deal with the (imagined) catastrophe.
Trembling or shaking
You may feel these are the most embarrassing symptoms – you’re convinced other people will notice.
Upset stomach and bowel problems
Your body/mind reacts as if your life’s in danger. Digestion is secondary to survival – your body wants to get rid of whatever it doesn’t immediately need. Diarrhoea, frequently needing to urinate and nausea or vomiting are normal under the circumstances. It’s no surprise then that weight loss is a common symptom!
Exhaustion
All your energy is being used trying to manage or even just cope with this crisis – physically and mentally.
Unexplained aches, pains, cramps and illness
Your body/mind is out of balance. Existing health issues appear magnified. You may be convinced you’re at death’s door.
Coughs and colds
You seem to be catching every bug that’s floating around. The prolonged extreme stress is undermining your immune system.
Tension headaches
No wonder with tight muscles, constant worry, stress and anxiety. Mind and body out of balance, you’re feeling poorly most of the time.
Unrelenting restlessness
You can’t seem to sit still long enough to even draw a few long breaths. You’re in a constant state of agitation, preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep. This is one of the most telling signs of a nervous breakdown!
Sensitive hearing
Normal sounds may feel too harsh, loud or shrill

Banner: emotional signs of a mental breakdown4. What are the emotional signs of a nervous breakdown?

Crying ‘for no reason’
Feeling guilty for all kinds of reasons
Feeling alone with it all
Feeling no joy in anything at all
Being/feeling paranoid
Feeling manic
Feeling suicidal

Banner: how long it takes to get over a breakdown5. How long does it take to get over a nervous breakdown?

You want to have recovered from your nervous breakdown yesterday, I totally understand!
But how long your recovery will take depends on many different factors. In my article on how long a nervous breakdown lasts, I’ve included some of the key issues that will have an impact on your recovery:
How long the nervous breakdown has been lurking around the corner.
How much time you can give yourself to rest.
What you do and don’t do to aid your recovery.
What underlying issues may have led to your breakdown.

Banner: can you faint from a panic attack?7. Can you faint during a panic attack?

During a panic attack, you’ll struggle to catch your breath and you might become dizzy. But you won’t faint. People faint when their blood pressure drops. Your blood pressure is far more likely to rise during an anxiety attack. Read more...

Banner: can you choke during a panic attack?8. Can you choke during a panic attack?

No, you won’t choke during an anxiety attack (panic attack). Panic attacks can cause shortness of breath, but only due to the way you start breathing during an attack. Read on to discover how to treat this symptom…

Banner: are anxiety- or panic attacks treatable?9. Are anxiety- or panic attacks treatable?

Absolutely they are! However, the treatment for panic attacks depends to a large extent on whether or not they occur as a symptom of a nervous breakdown or of a phobia.
There’s much you can do to help yourself, though. Read my article on the treatment of anxiety- or panic attacks for the 3-step action plans that match your particular symptoms. See also my 3-step treatment plan to help you recover from a nervous breakdown.

Banner: Can a nervous breakdown be cured?10. Can a nervous breakdown be cured?

Let me reassure you right away – a nervous- or mental breakdown can definitely be cured. It probably is going to take somewhat longer to recover from a breakdown than you’d hoped for. And, you’re likely to need a bit of help. However, there’s much you can do to speed up your recovery, so hop over to my article on how to recover from a nervous breakdown in 3 steps.

Banner: Emotional breakdown v nervous breakdown11. What is the difference between an emotional breakdown and a nervous breakdown?

An emotional breakdown refers to someone breaking down after, for example, receiving bad news or having experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. However, an emotional breakdown can also be a sign that you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

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