How to cope with a nervous breakdown

May 2012

How to cope with a nervous breakdown

Dealing with a nervous breakdown can be difficult when you’re in the midst of it, especially if you’re unaware of possible causes, outcomes and ways of coping. Usually, when we speak of the term ‘breakdown’, we’re referring to an object such as a car or computer. In a way, a nervous breakdown has similarities, as it involves an overload of information, a level of psychological malfunction, and a lack of information required for self-repair.

Symptoms of a nervous breakdown can vary from a gradual inability to function normally during everyday life, to a dramatic event such as a panic attack, hearing voices or unprovoked angry outbursts.

For many people the first signs of a nervous breakdown are an inability to follow regular sleeping patterns, physical and mental exhaustion, withdrawal from usual activities and feelings of anxiety. Other symptoms can involve flashbacks to a particular stressful event, depression, and constant thoughts about death and suicide.

Sufferers may develop a dependency on drugs and alcohol as a means of attempting to ease symptoms, although this will not help and is likely to cause further complications.

A sufferer may deny the existence of a nervous breakdown for some time. This is partly because its onset can be so gradual that symptoms are mistaken for life just being tiring and sad, and partly because there is a social stigma attached to mental health problems and people don’t like to imagine they may have them.

To deal with a nervous breakdown it is necessary to establish its cause. If, for example, a breakdown occurs due to the pressure of an unbearable workload or a demanding emotional life, such burdens need to be lifted.

Adjusting the situation so an individual feels they only have a workload and emotional issues they can manage adequately can help remove part of the pressure that is pushing them over the edge.

At other times, a nervous breakdown may be due to a major negative life change such as an unwanted divorce or redundancy. In this case, a sufferer could benefit from counselling so that they can discuss feelings of loss and fears, alongside learning self-esteem boosting exercises.

Nervous breakdowns often stem from a trigger in a suffers life. This occurs when they are already predisposed to mental ill health. There may have been no warning of this predisposition if they have never been pushed to their emotional limit before.

A trigger may be anything from a life-changing event to an event that reminds them of a past trauma and acts to bring back past fears and worries. If this happens a doctor can give them medication to help them through the worst period of upset, and counselling can help to lessen anxiety from the past.

Studies have shown a lack of vitamin B6, niacin, can also be responsible for psychological breakdown. People need certain vitamins in order to maintain good mental health. When lacking them their brain functioning can become impaired.

Sufferers of a breakdown need to be sure they have a balanced diet including B vitamins, vitamins E, D, C and A. Kelp, brewers yeast and bonemeal tablets can help also.

It is important for sufferers to have adequate emotional support from friends and family during this time too. The resulting depression caused by a nervous breakdown can make them less socially active, which lessens their ability to receive the support they need.

Reaching out to others can be hard for sufferers, especially when they are withdrawn and less confident. Scheduling time to be around other people is an important part of rehabilitation, so it can be positive for sufferers to let others know they need encouragement to remain socially active.

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10 thoughts on “How to cope with a nervous breakdown

  1. It was an informative article, mostly had experienced myself. That is true, breakdown is so gradual that you don’t realise initially, I had sudden breakup, I dint knew that I will feel that bad. Felt like screaming but dint, just tried to keep going. But then out of something started crying in blanket and got unable to stop tears for hours. I tried calling friends, but to people I sounded like seeking attention or trying to get back by crying publicity sorts. But inside my brain, there was exactly as you mentioned unstoppable excessive thinking like brain searching all stored data to find what went wrong. Flashbacks that I wasn’t able to stop. Next my food intake declined to 1 meal per day, then per 2 days.. i dint felt any cold even on floor without woolens in extreme winters. in 2-3 nights was badly sleep deprived, took excess vodka i never take more than 30 ml that too in months and was unconscious for more than 20 hrs.It is scariest when you have no idea where whole day flew. again badly dehydrated after alcohol and vomits after it.blabbering in that state..Thought of parents came in mind who were supposed to come see me in a week and then we had family vacasion plan. I said to myself, they not coming to see my like this and I also wanted to hide my pain from them..Saw an orange on table ..picked it, tried squeezing some juice in mouth in but swallowing was painful. Then from somewhere gathered energy to to turn on laptop, felt nausea and vomited again. I had around 200ml water on side table.. started wetting my lips. then in 1 and half day i was able to drink again. crying reduced to 4-5 hours in night, then there is a movie, “mamma mia” started watching and I did some theatre and skits so made up my mind to do lip-sing on all songs and singing in a day when had 1st meal. after how long i coudn’t recall exact number of days. tried putting all emotions in singing, Crying on “dancing queen” “winner takes it all” but that was in control. It was like all system shutting down and then physical recovery took month. but in this time period i got bad hairfall, bad deep skin acne whick took another 6 months. Emotionally i have become more teary in general. No one ever saw me crying before but now that incident little changed personality and not to get much attatched to people and crying on saying bye to friends or when meeting some good friend after long.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Yashpriya. I hope people will read and take knowledge on how hard it can be when it happens. I hope that your spirit will only go upwards from now on. Aknowledgement is the first big step and then take our time to heal. Love n’ Light.

  2. Just read the above. Can’t turn to my wife or her children. Very good piece and describes what I’m going though. Thanks john

      1. Hi Cat,
        Sorry to hear you went through a breakdown. A breakdown is not the same as depression, but depression can linger when the storm looks (to outsiders) like it’s over. Everyone’s experience is different and cannot adequately be put into words by another; only you know what you’ve been through, and I sincerely hope you are getting better and send warm thoughts your way. If you have wise advice for people in a similar situation, feel free to share your words.

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