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While the term mental breakdown is commonly used, it is not actually a medically recognized designation, and therefore can potentially refer to a number of different psychological symptoms and conditions. It is often intended, however, to indicate a collapse of one’s mental stability, which may occur in response to one or more external crises. The symptoms of such a collapse can vary widely, but may resemble those of depression and anxiety disorders, and usually pose a major interruption to one’s normal life. Those who feel they are experiencing a breakdown of their mental stability should seek medical treatment immediately.
Mental breakdown is not a medical term, and consequently it has no exact definition. Outside the medical community, however, the term is often understood to mean a collapse of one’s mental stability, often which has occurred in response to an external crisis or series of crises. Events which can spur this kind of psychological collapse might include job stress, unemployment, divorce, the death of a loved one, or financial troubles.
Since mental breakdown is not actually a specific, medically defined condition, it is difficult to describe its exact symptoms. In the minds of many, in fact, this type of breakdown is not characterized by a fixed list of symptoms, but rather by the severity of an individual’s symptoms. That is to say, a mental breakdown is distinguished from other mental health difficulties in that a breakdown causes a major disruption of the sufferer’s normal life. A sufferer may, for instance, suddenly abandon all personal relationships or feel unable to leave the house.
Like nervous breakdown, the term mental breakdown can often be a euphemism which is used instead of proper mental health disorder names in order to avoid causing offense, embarrassment, or discomfort. What is referred to as a mental breakdown is often in fact a severe case of depression. A flare-up of an anxiety disorder may also be mistakenly labeled a breakdown.
Those who feel they are experiencing a collapse of their mental stability should seek medical attention as soon as possible. A physician or psychiatrist can diagnose any underlying mental health conditions which may be lumped under the generic breakdown label. Medical experts can also provide the support necessary to help the breakdown sufferer address his psychological issues and return to his normal life when ready. Treatment can vary widely, but may include one-on-one or group therapy sessions, a stay at a rehabilitation facility, or medication.