7 symptoms of nervous breakdown to watch out for

"Nervous breakdown" is not an official medical term. However, although it does not have a precise definition, it usually involves the feeling of being under prolonged stress for so long that you feel like you

7 symptoms of nervous breakdown to watch out for
7 symptoms of nervous breakdown 

Are reaching a breaking point, explains doctor David A. Merrill, neurologist, and psychiatrist at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute in California.


A nervous breakdown can also indicate an underlying mental illness. You should talk to your doctor right away if these conditions are preventing you from living adequately in order to get the right kind of help and deal with stress so you can start feeling better, he says.

“Nervous breakdowns need to be treated both medically and psychologically,” he explains. "There are many new treatments available, so don't be afraid to ask for the help you need."

You can't concentrate

In the short term, stress can stimulate your brain by releasing hormones that improve memory and focus. But in the long run, chronic stress affects your ability to concentrate and makes it much harder not to dwell on external distractions, says David A. Merrill.

In more extreme cases, excessive amounts of cortisol - the stress hormone - can lead to memory loss. According to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, stress can be a symptom of a nervous breakdown. It might be a good idea to set aside a day not only to take care of yourself but to make an appointment with a mental health professional.

You can't stop snacking

Empty an ice cream container or a bag of chips after a long week of (TV) work? There's a perfectly normal explanation for this: A "stressed" brain releases hormones, including adrenaline, which energizes your muscles for a fight-or-flight response. Once the adrenaline wears off, the body tries to replenish its lost energy stores with food, says David A. Merrill.

The problem is, when you're stressed for reasons that involve very little, if any, physical activity, you're still biologically programmed to eat after a stressful episode. even when you don't really need it).

Foods high in fat and sugar dramatically increase pleasure chemicals in the brain, making you feel temporarily better, he explains. This is why you tend to consume snacks rather than a salad, for example.

Your stomach is upset ... all the time

Sometimes stress and anxiety can manifest as an upset stomach and cramps, says David A. Merrill. If you suffer from abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, gas, and diarrhea, you could have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which some research shows is linked to long-term stress.

IBS could be triggered by the immune system's response to stress, although the scientific community is still studying the issue. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, between 50% and 90% of people who seek treatment for IBS have a mental health problem, such as generalized anxiety disorder. If you think you have IBS, talk to your doctor about physical and emotional relief options before it contributes to a nervous breakdown.

You stop worrying about your appearance

"Neglecting basic personal care is a clear sign of serious mental distress," says David A. Merrill. Skipping basic hygiene practices, such as taking a shower or brushing your teeth, or not worrying about your dress style or makeup when you used to do it, may indicate that you are going through an episode of emotional depression, he says.

Stress overwhelms the mind and body, leading to fatigue and listlessness, followed by loss of happiness or lack of motivation for the activities you once enjoyed.

You hold a defensive posture

We communicate a lot through our posture and non-verbal language - even our mental state, says David A. Merrill. "When people take a 'protective stance', that is, arms crossed, slumped, lowered or turned down, it shows that they feel stressed and on the defensive," he explains. .

On the other hand, this tendency can become a vicious cycle: your posture pushes people away, because your stress makes you feel like you are constantly on the defensive, which makes you more stressed and so on and so on, he explains.

You can't sleep

Chronic insomnia goes hand in hand with chronic stress and could be a warning sign of a nervous breakdown.

“Stress leads to anxiety, which is why you can't relax let alone fall asleep and get restful sleep. This means that your body is not regenerating and getting the rest it needs to recover from the stress it experienced. This situation leads to more fatigue and stress symptoms, causing a vicious cycle of sleep problems and constant stress, ”says David A. Merrill.

You are overwhelmed by a feeling of dread

Are you constantly worrying about something, but not sure exactly what?

“People under a lot of stress often interpret benign things as gigantic and negative, which adds to their worry,” says David A. Merrill. He continues that overwhelming stress sometimes overshadows normal worries, causing a nervous breakdown. “This feeling stems from a loss of control and a feeling of hopelessness. People who have a nervous breakdown have lost the confidence that they are okay. "

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