Mariah Carey, Britney Spears and Justin Bieber and many other stars spiraled out of control and ended up going to a hospital for a nervous breakdown. But what does a nervous breakdown mean? Firstly, it's not a medical term and it does not symbolize a specific illness. It does indicate the sufferer can no longer manage the stresses of life and they may have the inability to function on a daily basis. They may experience insomnia, paranoia and a period of self-confinement. The suspected risk factors of having a nervous breakdown may develop from having pertinacious work stress, anxiety disorders, financial issues, divorce or a family history of mental disorders. "A mental breakdown is a period of mental illness during which intense feelings of depression, stress, or anxiety result in an inability to function in daily life," Heather Senior Monroe, MSW, LCSW, shared with Prevention. The term nervous breakdown is used flippantly and often joked about and yet, this blanketed term includes a variety of mental disorders. This includes major depression, acute stress disorder, panic disorder or schizophrenia. Anyone can be traumatized and can hit rock bottom. Know the signs of a nervous breakdown and start to prioritize self-care immediately if you exhibit the following signs.
A Lack of Focus
Are you having trouble concentrating? Chronic stress according to the University of Maryland Medical Centre can play havoc on your mind. The reason is excessive amounts of the "Stress hormone cortisol can deteriorate your memory.” Chronic stress impairs attention spans and people may start noticing an increase in memory loss. This includes missing appointments, missing deadlines and being unable to keep pace with the progression of life. A lack of problem-solving, decisiveness, stuttering, processing things slower could become more apparent if not addressed. Short-term memory can become moderate, to severe. It’s important to recognize your stress levels when focus continues to decline. Writing your distractions down can be effective in helping to become more centered. Enlist a person who can help with schedules and appointments.
Poor Sleeping Habits
When there are periods of depression and chronic stress, sleeping patterns will be impacted. Not enough sleep could include waking up in the middle of the night, tossing and turning and lying awake for hours. Sleep deprivation can lead to a higher risk of chronic health problems like strokes and hypertension. "There's a big relationship between psychiatric and psychological problems and sleep. So people who are depressed or have anxiety often have trouble with sleep as part of those disorders," said Dr. Lawrence Epstein, Medical Director of Sleep Health Centers. A lack of sleep will continually feed the monster of depression and anxiety contributing to a nervous breakdown. Adults with insomnia or who have poor sleep habits are more predisposed to mood disorders and a lack of sleep sharpens stress.
"The distinction between an anxiety disorder and just having normal anxiety is whether your emotions are causing a lot of suffering and dysfunction," said Sally Winston, PsyD, and co-director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorder Institute of Maryland. Anxiety could be the underlying reason for a nervous breakdown as it progresses. Although it is very common, it is easy to feel alone and isolated if you have severe anxiety. However, it can become alarming when it paralyzes people with fear and makes everything a burden. Embracing uncertainty and mastering anxiety is not simple and when you're on the edge it can become more hair-raising. If you're having disturbing thoughts or suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
When we're undergoing a nervous breakdown the process will be evident by the way it impacts the stomach and for many people, it leads to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Symptoms range from abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea and or constipation. Stress can cause your esophagus to go into spasms. "Although stress may not cause stomach ulcers, celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease, it can make these and other diseases of digestion worse," Everyday Health reported. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of those suffering from IBS have a mental health condition like generalized anxiety disorder or depression. Most people with IBS find symptoms become worse during times of stress. If this becomes ongoing, there could be other problems starting to develop like stress-induced gastritis.
You Crave Junk Foods
Stress causes the brain to release hormones into the body including adrenaline, which makes you consume calorie-dense food. These foods have a high-sugar and high-fat content and will trick the brain into making the body feel better, but the pleasure never lasts. Sherry Pagoto, Ph.D. of Psychology Today wrote distractions will be key in overcoming emotional eating. “When you eat during a negative emotion you are distracting yourself, which does not allow the feeling to run its course. The next time you have an overwhelming emotion, I challenge you to just experience it, making no action to prevent it." Have a plan to stay away from overeating. Take a power walk, walk the dog or take a drive to combat the temptation to eat. Some people won't eat and will increasingly shy away from food. In this case, put yourself around favorite foods and appoint an accountability partner to help you eat.
A Lack of Personal Hygiene
You don't care what is being worn or how you look anymore. This may include not wanting to bathe or to brush your hair. Depression affects the body as well as the mind. Many depressed individuals complain of a lack of energy on why they can't dress or attend to personal hygiene. Additionally, this is a major sign of depression. Put people on notice on what is going on and reach out for help because the hole will only broaden at this point. You need good, dependable assistance to help with recovery. Cry out to God to send people our way because He'll never leave you, never will I forsake you. "So we say with confidence, the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.” However, there needs to be action on your part, so bribe yourself with something to get you into some clean clothes.
Don’t take any of these symptoms lightly and even if you suspect there's something amiss, talk with a friend regarding the struggle. Ultimately, you need to seek a professional who can talk you through and who can prescribe medication to assist in any chemical imbalances detected. You're too valuable to allow a nervous breakdown to take you down.