Help: I’m Having a Mental Breakdown
If you feel like you are in danger of a mental breakdown, it is essential to seek help from a professional who can assess your situation and provide the resources and support you need.
If you think you or someone you know is having a mental breakdown, seeking professional help is vital.
Contact 911 in case of an emergency
Contact 988 for the suicide helpline
What is a Mental Breakdown?
A mental breakdown does not have a definition because it means different things to different people. A mental breakdown can be characterized as intense emotional or psychological distress.
Some examples of mental breakdown symptoms include:
- Panic attacks
This experience can feel all-encompassing and lead to severe impairment in day-to-day functioning. For some, a mental breakdown may manifest as a panic or anxiety attack. Others may feel unable to cope and may experience suicidal thoughts. It is important to understand that no single cause of a mental breakdown exists. Generally, a mental breakdown is a period when someone experiences an intense amount of psychological stress. Various things, such as life-altering events or prolonged periods of stress, can cause this.
If you feel like you’re in the midst of a mental breakdown, it’s important to seek professional help.
Signs You’re Having a Mental Breakdown
1. You’re feeling completely overwhelmed.
It may be a sign that you’re heading for a breakdown if you’re struggling to keep up with work, school, or your social life. Feeling like you can’t do anything right or that everything is too much is a key symptom of an impending mental breakdown.
2. You’re isolating yourself from others.
When going through tough times, it’s natural to want to turn inward and deal with our problems alone. However, if you find yourself completely cutting yourself off from family and friends—to the point where you’re not leaving your house or taking phone calls—it could be a sign that you’re in over your head.
3. Your sleep patterns have changed dramatically.
One of the telltale signs of a mental breakdown is changes in sleep patterns. Whether you can’t fall asleep because you’re worrying too much or sleeping all the time to avoid dealing with your problems, these changes are often early warning signs of more significant issues.
4. You’re starting to lose touch with reality.
If you find yourself losing touch with what’s happening around you or feeling like everything is unreal, it’s a sign that you need help. This symptom is often accompanied by paranoia or anxiety about the future.
What’s The Difference Between a Mental Breakdown and a Nervous Breakdown?
Mental breakdowns differ from nervous breakdowns because physical conditions do not cause them. They also differ from psychotic episodes because they do not involve delusions or hallucinations. Mental breakdowns are often wrongly confused with nervous breakdowns. While both involve emotional distress, the two have some key differences. Mental breakdowns tend to be a less severe form of nervous breakdowns. A nervous breakdown is characterized by an inability to function in day-to-day life and usually occurs after a triggering event, like the death of a loved one.
How Long Does a Mental Breakdown Last?
The length of time that a mental breakdown lasts varies from person to person. For some people, it may only last a few days; for others, it may last weeks or months. If you have a mental breakdown, seeking professional help to recover as soon as possible is essential.
What Causes a Mental Breakdown?
There is no one cause of a mental breakdown. Instead, it is often the result of cumulative stressors. A mental breakdown can be caused by a variety of factors, including but not limited to the following:
- Relationship problems
- Work stress
- Medical problems
Some people may be more vulnerable to mental breakdown due to genetic factors or previous experiences with mental illness.
Mental breakdowns may not have a specific trigger and don’t always result in an inability to function.
Treatment for Mental Breakdowns
The first step in treatment is to identify the causes of the stress and remove them from your life if possible. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis due to cumulative stress, this may mean taking some time off from work or delegating some of your caregiver responsibilities to others. If relationship difficulties are at the root of your problem, counseling may be helpful. Once the causes of the stress have been identified and addressed, treatment focuses on managing symptoms with medication and therapy.
Finding Mental Health Treatment for Your Situation
The most important thing to remember when experiencing a mental breakdown is that you are not alone. Millions of people experience mental health crises each year.
There is no shame in seeking help from a mental health professional if you feel overwhelmed and struggle to cope. The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center team is here to help 24/7.
MentalHealth.gov – Get Immediate Help
National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) – Health Topics
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Mental Health Resources
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – Depression, PTSD, & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights