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  • Coco Zhu

Mindfull X Shield: Nervous Breakdown & How You Can Treat It

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

“Nervous breakdown” isn't a medical diagnosis. Rather, it’s a type of mental or emotional health crisis. In this blog, we will explore the topic of nervous breakdown, why students are related to this term, and what we should do to treat it.

Unlike specific mental health diagnoses, “nervous breakdown,” more commonly called a mental health crisis, describes an intense mental reaction to physical and emotional stress. Usually under a nervous breakdown, an individual would not be able to perform day-to-day activities as they were able to on other days. It is important to recognize that a nervous breakdown is not a clinical diagnosis, meaning it is not a formal mental health disorder, nor is it a term widely used by professional healthcare providers – a nervous breakdown is more of a day-to-day term used to describe this specific reaction, which can be attributed to a variety of mental health factors depending on the specific person. However, not being a professional term does not mean that mental health crisis is not significant for treatment. Constantly having nervous breakdowns often signifies an individual’s incapability to deal with stress in a healthy way. This means that a mental breakdown happens because the person fails to cope with a long-standing stressful situation, and chooses to use a rather unhealthy physical response to deal with the situation. As a result, a nervous breakdown often indicates a larger underlying issue of a negative habit. In addition, nervous breakdowns usually lead to and concur with psychological diagnoses of mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

What are some symptoms of a nervous breakdown? A nervous breakdown comes with the feeling of losing control. This will usually come with symptoms such as fear, anxiety, worry, nervousness, and depression. You may feel “stuck,” overwhelmed, or incapacitated, which makes you unable to cope and function with life. A nervous breakdown can also be caused by a sudden tragedy, a major life change, poor sleep, abuse, and more. During a mental health crisis, individuals can experience symptoms such as the following:

  • Low self-esteem

  • Fearfulness

  • Irritability

  • Worrying

  • Feeling helpless

  • Getting angry easily

  • Withdrawing from family and friends

  • Losing interest in your favorite activities

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Uncontrollable crying

  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

  • Trouble concentrating

Now we know what is a nervous breakdown, but how is it related to us as youths and students? Well, nowadays, students are faced with numerous responsibilities in various areas of their lives; therefore, they frequently suffer from symptoms of a nervous breakdown. We always hear the term “mental breakdown” on our campus, but how many of those are taken seriously and effectively treated? During stages of our lives where we are taking in information, learning habits, and coping mechanisms, it is extra important for students to treat nervous breakdowns by learning how to deal with stress in a healthy way.

Treatments for nervous breakdown include actions in a wide array of fields: they can be lifestyle changes, medication, and more. Moreover, perhaps the best thing you can do if you’re actively engaged in an overwhelmingly stressful situation is to step away from that environment — if you can. Think of this as your personal “time out.” Give yourself some time to calm your mind and body. One can also practice deep breathing exercises. Breathe in a full belly of air through your nose (with your mouth closed), hold for three seconds, then breathe out slowly through pursed lips (like you are whistling). Repeat a few times. In addition, call your healthcare provider whenever needed. If you feel you’re in a crisis, call your healthcare provider right away.

Ultimately, the end goal of education is not only to learn academically but to learn a better lifestyle that can prepare us for the future, no matter if it is stress during future careers or daily lives. We hope everyone can take the step to identify nervous breakdowns and treat them.

Writer: Coco Zhu




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