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What Does It Mean to Have a “Breakdown”?

It can be common to hear people refer to having “a breakdown” frequently, sometimes in a tongue-in-cheek manner. While “nervous/mental/emotional breakdown” is not a medical or clinical term, experiencing symptoms of any kind is distressing. People can exhibit symptoms that may indicate a mental health problem is out of control or that they require treatment.

Most people use the term “mental/nervous/emotional breakdown” when referring to someone in deep emotional or mental distress. During a disruption of mental health, the stress is so severe it prevents the person from functioning in a day-to-day capacity.

What Can Cause The Symptoms of Mental/Emotional Distress?

  • Extreme stress in life
  • Untreated or undertreated chronic illness such as substance use disorder (SUD)
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Loss and grief
  • Military combat
  • Physical stress such as being assaulted
  • Death and grief
  • A major life event such as divorce

Can Trauma, Exhaustion, or SUD Play a Role in Someone Becoming Acutely Mentally Distressed?

  • Trauma is a definite contributor to becoming acutely mentally distressed
  • Exhaustion, while not the main cause, is a definite contributor to the problem
  • Substance use disorder, because of the symptoms it causes, like impulsivity and poor consequences, is a definite contributor
  • Mental health disorders such as anxiety disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, can all contribute to this problem

What Symptoms Manifest During Acute Mental Distress?

People with mental distress think and behave in troubling ways. Their thinking and behavior are confused. When in a confused state, such confusion interferes with interaction with other people. It also causes a decline in having any joy in life. People with mental distress can suffer symptoms slowly and for a long time, or they can develop it very quickly because of a sudden life event. Symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Insomnia and exhaustion
  • Agitation
  • Feeling physical symptoms such as achiness, muscle tension, trembling
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Avoiding routine activities
  • Missing appointments and work
  • Neglecting appearance
  • Changes in diet or weight
  • Difficulty getting along with others
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Dry mouth, racing heart, and sweating
  • Psychosis

Even though having “a breakdown” is not medical terminology, it is a series of events that commonly happen to people. People lose their ability to cope with life and with stress. At The Guest House, we understand that everyone develops their own unique set of symptoms, and they vary in cause and function from person to person. This is why professional assistance is necessary to gain control over what is happening and to understand what has happened. We can help. To learn more, call The Guest House today at (855) 483-7800.