How To Recover From A Mental Breakdown

If you are struggling with your mental health, you are not alone. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, over 51 million U.S. adults have some type of mental health disorder. And, over 13 million of these individuals struggle with a serious mental illness. 

A mental breakdown is a serious mental illness often requiring immediate attention. Previously called a nervous breakdown, a mental breakdown severely impacts your ability to function. Although things can seem hopeless, it’s crucial to know how to recover from a nervous breakdown. 

What Is A Mental Breakdown?

A nervous breakdown is when the anxiety, fear, and stress become so intense you cannot cope. A mental breakdown is not a diagnosable condition, but it is scary and can be serious. It interferes with your daily activities such as taking care of your children, going to work, or even getting out of bed. 

What Triggers A Mental Breakdown?

There isn’t one specific cause of a nervous breakdown. Because it is the result of excessive stress, a mental breakdown can be triggered by:

  • Extreme anxiety
  • Severe depression
  • A sudden tragedy
  • Major life changes
  • Constant work stress
  • Insomnia
  • Mental, physical, sexual abuse
  • Financial struggles
  • Substance use disorder

We all feel stressed sometimes, and that’s normal. However, when your feelings become overwhelming, it can lead to a mental breakdown. Knowing the signs and symptoms, and getting treatment can help you learn how to recover from a nervous breakdown. 

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Mental Breakdown?

Signs and symptoms of a mental breakdown vary from one person to the next. However, several signs can indicate you or someone you love is having a mental breakdown. When learning how to recover from a mental breakdown, you will also become aware of some early warning signs.

Early Warning Signs Of A Mental Breakdown

Recognizing the following signs is essential to stopping a nervous breakdown before it happens. 

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Extreme amounts of pressure
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating
  • Unable to perform daily tasks
  • Mood swings
  • Change in self-care – sleeping, eating
  • Misusing drugs or alcohol to cope

Signs Of A Mental Breakdown

The signs and symptoms of a mental breakdown are similar to the early signs of a nervous breakdown, but a mental breakdown happens when you become completely overwhelmed by these symptoms. 

Your mental health impacts your physical health. So, when you have a mental breakdown, your body becomes chaotic and causes the following physical symptoms. 

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscle tightness and soreness
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Heart palpitations or racing heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Back pain

The symptoms of a mental breakdown may be mistaken for a panic attack or even a heart attack. As with all mental health disorders, including substance use disorder, getting treatment is how to recover from a mental breakdown. 

What Is The Difference Between A Mental Breakdown And A Nervous Breakdown?

A mental breakdown and a nervous breakdown both describe the inability to function due to extreme mental stress. In previous years, doctors used the terms nervous breakdown or midlife crisis. However, today we use the term mental breakdown to help people understand what is happening. 

How Does Stress Affect Your Mental Health?

Every day someone or something is demanding your time and our energy. Whether it’s your job, your family, or your financial struggles, it can leave you feeling stressed out. 

Stress is normal and in small doses, can be beneficial. For instance, stress helps you meet deadlines and arrive on time for events. However, long periods of high stress and being overwhelmed can lead to mental and physical health issues.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Stress?

Stress can affect your emotions, thinking process, and behaviors. The higher your stress levels and the longer it lasts increases the severity of your symptoms. For this reason, it’s crucial to understand how to recover from a nervous breakdown quickly. 

Cognitive Symptoms of Mental Breakdown

Cognitive symptoms include:

  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • Memory issues
  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Constant worry
  • Trouble making decisions

Emotional Symptoms Of Mental Breakdown

High levels of stress take an emotional toll on a person, especially their anxiety and depression. The emotional symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Low morale
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Unhappy

Behavioral Symptoms Of Stress

Behavioral symptoms are often the first sign of stress and a mental breakdown. These symptoms include:

  • Isolation or social withdrawal
  • Changes in sleep and eating patterns
  • Nervous habits or tics
  • Misusing drugs or alcohol
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Declining in productivity and performance

Do Mental Health Disorders Increase The Risk Of A Mental Breakdown?

Chronic and high levels of stress are the main reasons for having a mental breakdown. However, if you have a mental health disorder, it increases your risk of having one, especially if the disorders are undiagnosed. 

Living with a mental health disorder is challenging. Adding endless stress on top of the struggles of mental illness becomes overwhelming, causing the mental break. Two common underlying mental health illnesses linked to a mental breakdown are anxiety and depression. 

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), over 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder. While all anxiety disorders have unique symptoms, they have one thing in common – constant, excessive fear and worry about non-threatening situations.

The emotional symptoms of anxiety disorders include:

  • Feeling dread and apprehensive
  • Tense or jumpy
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Anticipating the worst
  • On alert for signs of danger

The physical symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Racing heart
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach issues


Sad people often say they are struggling with depression. However, depression is more than feeling down or sad. Depression is severe and requires medical attention.

Nearly 8 percent or 19 million U.S. adults experienced a depressive episode last year, according to NAMI. Because depression doesn’t have one single cause, it can be triggered by high levels of stress. The combination of depression and stress often leads to a mental breakdown.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Sleep changes
  • Appetite changes
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Lack of energy
  • No interest in hobbies and other activities
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts

When you seek treatment for depression, you decrease the risk of a mental breakdown and learn how to recover from a nervous breakdown. 

How Do You Recover From A Mental Breakdown?

A mental breakdown is not a mental health disorder. So, when people have a mental breakdown, doctors typically diagnose them with major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, or stress disorder. 

If you think you are about to have or are having a mental breakdown, it’s vital to seek help. Treatment for mental breakdowns is typically residential treatment. Also known as inpatient treatment, stepping away from the stressors in life allows people to focus on therapy, self-care, and building healthy coping skills.

We Can Help You Recover From A Mental Breakdown At Miracles Recovery Center

Mental breakdowns exacerbate underlying mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Unfortunately, almost half of people with a mental health disorder go undiagnosed and without treatment. 

For this reason, each person who enters Miracles Recovery Center receives thorough psychological evaluations. This allows our therapists to develop a comprehensive individualized treatment plan. 

Therapy: How to Recover from a Nervous Breakdown

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is crucial in recovering from a mental breakdown. Therapists work with individuals to minimize stress, build healthy coping skills, and make lifestyle changes to promote recovery. 

How to Recover from a Mental Breakdown with Medication

Individuals who have a mental breakdown are generally diagnosed with a mental disorder like anxiety or depression. Depending on the severity of the disorder, medication may be necessary to recover from and manage symptoms of their disorder.

Lifestyle Changes Can Prevent Mental Breakdowns

The overwhelming stress and demands in life are the leading causes of a mental breakdown. So, when learning how to recover from a nervous breakdown, making significant lifestyle changes is crucial. This may mean finding a new job, ending relationships with friends or loved ones, and learning to say no. 

Mindfulness And Meditation

Many people who have a nervous breakdown have been self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. And some have developed a substance use disorder. Therefore, medication may not be an option for them. On top of that, more people are staying away from pharmaceuticals. 

Alternative or holistic therapies can help individuals calm their mind, body and reset their stress levels. The most common holistic therapies when learning how to recover from a nervous breakdown include yoga and meditation.

Why Should You Choose Miracles Recovery Center For Mental Breakdown Treatment?

At Miracles Recovery Center, we are transforming the lives of individuals struggling with nervous breakdowns. By treating you with dignity and respect and offering comprehensive treatment, you build the skills to cope with stress and prevent a nervous breakdown. 

Start Your New Life At Miracles Recovery Center Today

If you or someone you love is overwhelmed by stress and having a nervous breakdown, you are not alone. With help from our compassionate therapists and doctors, you will learn how to recover from a mental breakdown and prevent another one from happening. Contact us today and start your path to a calmer life.