7 Important Signs That Will Lead to a Nervous Breakdown

Things to Be Aware of That Can Affect Your Mental, Emotional and Physical Well-Being

The thought of having a nervous breakdown is not something we want or hope to have to ever deal with.

Hearing the term nervous breakdown can bring up fear because of the risks and consequences associated to it.

What Does Nervous Breakdown Mean?

Nervous breakdown is a condition that temporarily affects a person, which makes it difficult for them to function normally.

It’s often used when describing someone who is experiencing mental health challenges. That can result in high levels of stress, anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Nervous breakdown is not a medical term. It’s commonly used when referring to someone unable to cope with the demands of their life.

By being more aware of its potential causes and signs, we can address them before they cause further issues.

nervous breakdown

Potential Causes of a Nervous Breakdown

Where there’s high levels of mental and emotional stress or turmoil, it can result in a nervous breakdown.

Causes of nervous breakdowns can include:

  • Job or career-related mental or physical burnout.
  • Extreme grief due to some type of loss.
  • Significant emotional events such as suffering life-altering injuries.
  • Being exposed to constant mental or physical abuse.
  • High levels of conflict experienced at home or at work.

While there are other causes, it’s important to be aware of the signs that can lead to a nervous breakdown.

7 Signs or Symptoms That Can Lead to a Nervous Breakdown

Here are some of the signs that indicate a person may be headed for a nervous breakdown.

  1. Your sleeping patterns have changed dramatically. This may include finding it difficult to sleep, or either sleeping too much or not enough. If getting out of bed is becoming increasingly difficult, that should be a sign something isn’t right.
  2. You feel disconnected and isolated from everyone. This plays out as being disinterested in being around other people and wanting to withdraw from daily activities. This is a compensating strategy for hiding what’s really going on.
  3. You experience moments of extreme sadness on a daily basis. This is not like being sad or upset over something that happened. This is where it’s very difficult to deal with the present moment or know how to snap out of it.
  4. You feel helpless and disinterested. This can lead to thoughts that things won’t get better and “What’s the point of doing anything?” That can trigger thoughts of just giving up, experiencing depression, and in extreme cases, causing self-harm. Being motivated is a big struggle.
  5. You feel like there is no downtime or breathing room in your life. Constantly feeling rushed, going from one thing to the next can result in overwhelm and feeling scattered. This results in poor quality work and mistakes being made more often.
  6. You are unable to control your emotions well. This can feel like being controlled by something else. Worry, anxiety, panic attacks, anger and feeling anxious show up more than usual. Even the smallest things trigger extreme swings in emotions.
  7. You don’t know how to experience joy again. No matter what happens, it’s difficult to see the bright side of things. Activities that brought joy and happiness previously no longer matters. Life feels mundane and unexciting, with no hope of changing any time in the near future.

If unaddressed, theses signs or symptoms can result in serious health issues, breakdown in relationships and poor decisions being made. We can avoid suffering a nervous breakdown by doing certain things that will prevent it from happening.

Ways to Prevent or Recover From a Nervous Breakdown

Here are some lifestyle changes, mental adjustments and actions we can take to prevent a nervous breakdown.

  1. Get help from a trained professional. Therapists and counsellors are trained to help people overcome such issues. The longer a person puts off getting help, the more problems it can cause.
  2. Pay more attention to mental health. This can include practicing mindfulness and releasing techniques. Knowing how to stay calm and centred when things are chaotic is also beneficial.
  3. Get regular exercise. Better mental health is sustainable if there is focus on better physical health as well. Some form of physical activity is necessary to have better overall health.
  4. Better manage lifestyle stress. This includes reducing work, home, family or social stress. Knowing what to say “yes” and “no” to is extremely important.
  5. Get enough sleep every night. Sleep is critical for overall health and well-being. Getting close to eight hours sleep every night will make a huge difference.


Suffering a nervous breakdown will also affect those in our lives in a significant way as well. We’re responsible for looking after ourselves. The better we take care of ourselves, the less likely we’ll suffer a nervous breakdown.

We have to pay more attention to signs that indicate things are not quite right with us. If we notice any of these signs, we must take preventative measures to deal with them.

Action Step: Reflect on how you have been feeling in recent times. Assess whether there has been any significant change in your emotional state. Evaluate what changes you’ve experienced and start taking the necessary steps to address them.

Question: What are other signs that can lead to a nervous breakdown?

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