Signs of a Nervous Breakdown to Watch out for!

nervous breakdown

When the stresses of life begin to pile up, it can become too much for us to handle and can lead to a nervous breakdown. Believe it or not, this reaction is our mind trying to protect us from further psychological damage. Of course the causes of a mental breakdown aren’t limited to the mind and can in fact be the result of physical or spiritual ailments. In this article we will explore some of the symptoms of a nervous breakdown that you should keep an eye out for.

Definition – Nervous Breakdown: What it is and what should You do?

In the event that these signs of a nervous breakdown apply to you, you’re perhaps wondering how you should respond. A mental breakdown (or emotional breakdown as it is also referred to as) is the result of putting too much strain on your mind, body and soul. It’s like fizzing up a bottle of champagne: eventually it pops! The best thing you can do is take your foot off the gas for a while to allow yourself the opportunity to recover. If you keep pushing then you’ll do yourself some serious damage. So let’s take a look at the symptoms of nervous breakdown to watch out for.


As would be the case with all of these signs of a mental breakdown, you have to consider if you had this symptom already. For example, if you already suffer from anxiety then you should consider all the other signs before coming to the conclusion that you’ve had an emotional breakdown. Anxiety can present itself in many different ways. For example, you may find that you struggle to interact with people at a normal level, particularly with strangers. Alternatively, it could be a very specific fear that begins to overwhelm you.


The onset of depression is another symptom of a nervous breakdown. This is due to the mental strain that stress can cause and as such, your brain reacts by causing your to cower from anything that could be remotely stressful. You may find that you’re spending too much time in bed or even struggle to get up in the morning. There could be times where you’re overwhelmed with sadness or dread and it could even seem like there is no bright side to anything in this world. All your energy may feel negative and you may struggle to even do the simplest task such as going to the shop or making food.


A nervous breakdown can lead to neurons in your brain firing at all the wrong moments and as such, you may be trying desperately to get to sleep at night to no avail. Insomnia is one of the most noticeable mental breakdown symptoms. You may have tried everything: exercise, meditation, essential oils, herbal tea and even hypnosis but still not be able to sleep at night. If this is the case, you have to take some time to ask yourself if there could be another reason for this other than a mental breakdown e.g. caffeine in your system.


Muscular pain in general can be a symptom of a mental breakdown but in particular is that of the shoulders upwards. Parts of your neck will begin to ache but perhaps more noticeably, you’ll experience tension headaches. This is most noticeable across your temples but can be felt anywhere and may feel like tightness around your head. If you try taking pain killers but to no long-term benefit then the cause of your headache could be a signal of an emotional breakdown or at the very least being on the edge of one.

Digestive Problems

When your mind begins to be clogged up by the stresses of life, your brain can interpret it as a fight or flight situation. When your body enters its fight or flight response, non-essential processes are put on pause. This includes (but is not limited to) digestion. This in turn can lead to stomach ache, gas, heartburn, indigestion and other problems. So you can begin to see where the digestive problems stem from in relation to nervous breakdown symptoms.

Irregular Heartbeat

During an emotional breakdown, you may find that you heartbeat feels somewhat irregular. This is known as an arrhythmia. If you experience an irregular heartbeat (such as a racing heart, skipped beats, pounding or fluttering) and you’re unsure if a nervous breakdown is the cause, then you should consult a doctor and have it checked out.

Assuming that it’s nothing serious, you can take control of an irregular heartbeat quite easily. This may need to be the case as an irregular heartbeat can trigger a panic attack or anxiety attack in many people. The best thing you can do is take some controlled breaths. They should be deep but slow so that you’re not rapidly inhaling oxygen.

Reduced Concentration

An inability to concentrate on even the simplest tasks can in itself be a sign of stress. So you can view this as an early warning sign that your body, mind or spirit is dealing with higher levels of stress than normal and you should perhaps ease up a little. If this lack of concentration is persistent over a period of days or weeks then you should consider that the stress stage has passed and you’ve now entered into the nervous breakdown stage.

Now that you have a clearer idea of the symptoms of an emotional breakdown, you know what to watch out for and you also know when it’s time to relax a bit and stop pushing yourself to the point of mental, physical and/or spiritual exhaustion. The earlier you can take steps to reduce your stress, the less severe these symptoms will become.

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