A mental breakdown is an acute episode of a mental disorder and is often more commonly referred to as a nervous breakdown. It is not a clinical description as most individuals suffering from a breakdown will be diagnosed with a specific problem such as depression or anxiety disorder. For sufferers it is defined by the temporary or sudden onset nature of the condition and is generally the result of a severe stress reaction or the accumulation of stress that becomes too much to handle.
A person under great pressure at work can look as though they are coping well but then suddenly plunge into a deep depression or suffer from high levels of anxiety that make it impossible to continue. Certain issues can contribute to the onset of a mental breakdown such as lack of sleep, problems in a relationship, and exposure to too much stress at work but they can also be a sign of a long term, ongoing mental health disorder.
A nervous or mental breakdown can be similar to a panic attack, particularly because stress is a major factor in each case. A breakdown can mean you can’t concentrate, don’t eat properly or overeat, you suffer from physical symptoms such as a bad stomach, and your decision making becomes confused. This becomes a mental breakdown when you are unable to cope with everyday living. It can be triggered by any number of emotional events from a personal trauma to being unable to cope with stress in your daily life.
Because a nervous breakdown relates to a variety of conditions, the statistics for it are generally tied up with other mental health issues. A mental breakdown can be a symptom of clinical depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or the development of a mental illness such as schizophrenia, to name just a few.
Suffering from a mental breakdown is a life changing experience and getting the right treatment as soon as possible is vital. The good news is that, with support, sufferers can make a full recovery and lead a successful and fruitful life.