The term “nervous breakdown” is used to describe a stressful situation in which a person is temporarily unable to function normally. It can occur when stress becomes physically and emotionally overwhelming. Nervous breakdown is not a medical term, but many people use it to describe a mental breakdown caused by depression, anxiety or stress. Long-term stress takes a toll on our bodies and our minds. There is a limit to how much we can endure. By learning to recognize the the signs of a nervous breakdown, you can get help before you reach rock bottom.

Here are six warning signs of a nervous breakdown:

1. Irregular Heartbeat

A nervous breakdown may be accompanied by an irregular heartbeat. You might feel your heart pounding against your chest and it will become hard to breathe. You may also begin to sweat. A panic attack has similar symptoms to a nervous breakdown. Practice deep breaths with long inhales and exhales, and stretching to open up the chest.

2. Lack of Concentration

Chronic stress affects your attention span and your ability to focus. Constant lack of concentration makes it hard to accomplish normal every day functions. In severe cases, the stress hormone cortisol can affect the memory. It’s important to recognize when your stress levels are getting to high, and make an effort to reduce them.

3. Tension Headaches

Chronic stress can also cause headaches. Holding onto stress affects the inside and outside of the body. Your neck and shoulder muscles may become rigid, and you may notice yourself slouching more. Stress affects the muscles, especially around the head and neck area. Constant tension headaches can be a sign that your stress is becoming overwhelming.

4. Sleep Problems

Lack of sleep is one of the most common causes of mental stress. Without adequate sleep, your body and mind are not able to function properly. Symptoms of insomnia include lyring awake for long periods of time before falling asleep, short intervals of sleep, being awake for most of the night and the overwhelming feeling of not having slept at all.

5. Anxiety

Occasional anxiety is common. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away. Instead, it gets worse over time. Constant anxiety can interfere with daily activities such as job performance and relationships. Doing something to lower your stress levels, such as yoga, exercise or finding a creative outlet, may be able to help with your anxiety.

6. Depression

Depression can severely affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being. It can also be the underlying cause of a nervous breakdown. If you feel hopeless or depressed, have restless or suicidal thoughts, it’s important to seek professional help. Untreated depression can lead to both mental and physical health problems.

Power of Positivity
Mayo Clinic
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute of Mental Health
Reader’s Digest