Skip to main content

Having a mental breakdown may seem like something that rarely happens, but honestly, it likely happens more than most realize. Just by taking a look at some of our favorite celebrities, it becomes apparent that mental breakdowns can happen to anyone.

Think back to Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, and even Winona Ryder. I am not by any means saying that celebrities are the golden standard, but the point I am trying to get across is that mental illness and the climax of an untreated mental illness can cause ANYONE to have a mental breakdown.

It’s important to realize that the term nervous breakdown isn’t a diagnosis. It’s more so of a situation in which immense stress or an untreated mental disorder continues to place more and more pressure on a person until they cannot take it anymore. When this happens, it can be devastating.

Put simply, a ‘nervous breakdown’ happens when our ability to cope is less than the stress that we are dealing with. Here are 9 early warning signs of a nervous (mental) breakdown to look out for.

1. Addiction/ Substance abuse or misuse is present.

Addiction and substance abuse may seem like the cause of a nervous breakdown, but actually, addiction is a symptom of an impending nervous breakdown. I am not saying that it doesn’t contribute, especially in the case of substances like drugs and alcohol, but typically, people reach for these things as a means to self-medicate.

2. Life is extremely stressful and more stress keeps piling on.

When life is already stressful and it seems like it’s only getting even more stressful by the minute it can place a lot of pressure on a person. Especially if you are already struggling to make it through your current struggles, only to find that you may one step forward and three more back.

3. You feel like if one more bad thing happens, you are going to fall apart.

For awhile before a nervous breakdown, you are going to feel the pressure build. At first, it will likely feel manageable, but you will begin to sense a dark cloud hanging over you. And then, before you know it, you will feel as though if one more thing goes wrong, everything will fall apart.

4. You cry under the slightest bit of added pressure.

Even the slightest thing can send you into a tailspin. Even small things that deep down you realize aren’t worth crying over can make all of the big things spill over too.

5. Your sleep schedule is disrupted.

Sleep schedule disruptions are typical among those who are on the verge of a nervous breakdown. This can come out in a more manic way, in which you cannot sleep, or in a more depressed way in which all you want to do is sleep.

6. You are working yourself to the bone.

Work burnout is a leading cause of nervous breakdowns. One person can only do so much and people are not meant to work all of the time, especially for crazy hours and with few breaks. The pressure of constantly going, going, going is enough to set anyone off.

7. You have no outlet.

When you have immense stress but no way to vent and let go of some of it, it can become too much. People need someone to vent to, or an activity in which they can relax and calm down. Without that, life can become extremely overwhelming.

8. You are having frequent panic attacks.

Frequent panic attacks are typical in the early days before a nervous breakdown. And while panic attacks are common with anxiety disorders, it is not normal to have them on a regular and frequent basis. If you do, it’s time to see professional help.

9. Day to day life seems unmanageable.

For those who are on the verge of a meltdown, simple tasks like getting out of bed and fixing coffee can feel like too much. Even paying bills or going grocery shopping can make you feel as though you aren’t going to be able to do one more thing.