Anyone who experiences a nervous breakdown should be taken seriously and should be treated as a mental health emergency patient. It is vital that the family of the concerned mental health patient find a professional who can appropriately evaluate and administer the proper treatment plan. Treatment programs tremendously help in reversing the breakdown while lifestyle modification, continuing therapy, stress relief management, and the patient’s commitment to care for self are all important elements that determine the speed of recovery from a nervous breakdown and avoiding another breakdown in the future.
What Is Nervous Breakdown?
A nervous breakdown is an unofficial term that pertains to a mental health emergency that is caused by extreme stress, fatigue, and a poor ability to handle that stress healthily. Though a breakdown is not a real diagnosis, it is nonetheless a true mental health predicament that requires immediate attention and treatment. Failure for a breakdown to be addressed timely may result in loss of function. An individual who suffers from a breakdown is momentarily unable to normally function either at home, in the workplace, and other circumstances.
Several underlying factors could cause a nervous breakdown, but the most devastating are severe stress and poor coping skills. The individual’s stress may be coming from his obligations at home, such as caring for a sick family member, a traumatic experience, stress from work, and a lot of other factors that all sum up to cause the person a tremendous amount of insurmountable stress. The most obvious signs of a breakdown include feeling depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, having outbursts and mood swings, poor performance at school or in the workplace, and displaying unhealthy coping skills like alcohol or drug abuse. A breakdown can also possibly cause physical manifestations such as sleep and weight changes and physical pains coming from nowhere.
In-Patient Treatment For Nervous Breakdown
A nervous breakdown is an emergency, meaning that it often calls for a thorough treatment. The individual may be required to stay in a residential treatment center to allow him freedom from the obligations that have caused him so much stress and give him time to be in better shape. How long he will stay depends on his progress obviously, and the level of his breakdown in the first place. Treatment may include supportive therapy, relaxation strategies, psychotherapy, and natural therapies like acupuncture and art therapy.
Ultimately, individual therapy plays a vital role in the recovery of the patient. The therapist can use one or more techniques to walk the patient through being aware of his triggers and recognizing the negative emotions and behavioral patterns. The therapist is also tasked to teach the patient how to manage his stress better effectively and how to relax when he is overwhelmed with his chores and daily challenges so that he can prevent another breakdown from ever happening.
Continuing Therapy For Nervous Breakdown
While a residential treatment program is important, continuing therapy is equally vital for weeks or months. The therapist regularly guides the patient so that he can cope and reduce his stress in healthier ways. He also teaches the patient how to modify his lifestyle and make positive changes to his once negative thought patterns and behaviors. Individual and group therapy are both helpful for patients who’ve had a nervous breakdown, as these will allow time for personal sharing as well as an exchange of stories from the group and enable patients to help each other. Family therapy can also be incorporated.
Coping With Stress Through Relaxation Techniques
It is important for a nervous breakdown patient to learn how to relax and to manage stress more effectively than he used to. These relaxation techniques are introduced during the treatment period and should be continued even after the end of the treatment. Some commonly used relaxation techniques that have been proven to be effective include yoga or tai chi, breathing exercises, massage, guided imagery, meditation, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and muscle relaxation.
There are also relaxation strategies that are specifically advised to be used at the exact moment that stress is just building up. These strategies can also be utilized regularly to reduce stress and promote relaxation throughout the day. For instance, an individual going to a dinner party with his friends after a toxic workday is considered a healthy way of coping, instead of just locking himself in his room and feeling depressed and isolated. Doing outdoor exercises, painting, going to the spa, or attending a group meeting are also great ways to handle stress.