A mental collapse, more commonly referred to as a nervous breakdown, occurs when stress levels are so high that your body is unable to cope with them. You become emotionally and physically unable to function on a daily basis. Because you are unable to fulfil obligations, your personal and professional life suffers. The signs associated with a mental collapse differ per person, but recognising them may help you seek treatment faster.
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According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of a mental collapse can include changes in your eating and sleeping behaviour. When you have a nervous breakdown, you may pay less attention to what you eat and you may sleep more (or less) than normal. Your weight can increase due to comfort eating, or decrease due to a lack of ingested calories. You may feel highly fatigued and experience panic attacks and breathing difficulty. Headaches, menstrual problems and a lack of interest in sex --- due to a low libido --- are other signs you may recognise.
The way someone behaves can indicate a mental breakdown. According to the Help Guide website, resorting to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism is not uncommon. Responsibilities and obligations become irrelevant and the individual may start skipping work or school. His moods are constantly changing and any anger he experiences is taken out on others. Activities and hobbies that he once enjoyed are not of interest anymore. He becomes withdrawn and wallows in self-pity.
A reduced self-esteem, feelings of guilt and lack of self-confidence can all be brought on by a mental collapse. Various emotions and conditions can emerge, including depression and anxiety. Victims of a mental collapse may cry uncontrollably and not even know the reason why they are crying. Frequent flashback to traumatic events can make emotions worse. Victims may suffer from schizophrenia and ultimately the breakdown can overwhelm the victim and suicidal thoughts may emerge.
Changing your lifestyle is one way to treat a mental breakdowns. Eating a proper diet, getting sufficient sleep and practicing relaxation techniques are all things sufferers of mental breakdowns can do themselves. Treatment for chemical imbalances, which cause depression and anxiety, can be obtained with the help of your doctor. He can prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. Talking to a therapist or undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy, which teaches you to think, learn and act differently in stressful situations, can also help treat your collapse.
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- MayoClinic; What Doet It Mean to Have a Nervous Breakdown; Daniel K. Hall-Flavin; Jan. 2011
- Help Guide; Preventing Burnout; Melinda Smith, et al.; June 2011
- Uncommon Help: Spotting Nervous Breakdown Symptoms; Mark Tyrell
- Native Remedies: Nervouse Breakdown
- Better Medicine: Nervous Breakdown Treatments