How To Treat And Recover From A Nervous Breakdown

A nervous breakdown isn't considered an official psychiatric term, which means there are no official diagnostic criteria for a nervous breakdown and everyone has different definitions. With that said, most agree a nervous breakdown usually involves some kind of intense mental distress that leads to an impairment in day-to-day functioning. The distress might be related to mental illness, but it's also typically exacerbated by a variety of outside factors. When recovering from a mental breakdown, there are several different steps affected individuals will need to take. One is to treat any underlying mental health symptoms. Another is to make lifestyle changes to help alleviate stress and tension. Individuals might need to make more time for self-care as well.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychological treatment that has become mainstream for the treatment of many different disorders. It is effective for a range of problems and emotional issues including alcohol and drug use, anxiety, depression, personality disorders, eating disorders, and relationship issues. There have been multiple studies indicating cognitive behavioral therapy increases a patient's overall wellness and quality of life. This type of therapy is often used alongside other forms of therapy and medications. Some patients might find cognitive behavioral therapy is effective on its own without needing other types of therapy. The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to help patients identify and correct their faulty ways of thinking. The practice also helps individuals recognize and stop patterns of harmful behavior. By teaching individuals better coping mechanisms to use in their day-to-day life, they're given the tools they need to prevent another nervous breakdown. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on becoming aware of one's thoughts and behaviors, and then on taking steps to change those behaviors. It teaches a range of problem-solving and self-awareness skills.

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Meditation

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Meditation can be vital in today's busy world. Many individuals experience extreme stress because they don't take the time to relax and get in touch with themselves. Individuals adding ten minutes of meditation to their morning or evening routine has multiple proven scientific benefits. Meditation is often recommended as a means of stress reduction. Stress is caused by cortisol, which is a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland. If individuals deal with chronic stress, they might end up experiencing toxic physical effects like inflammation and pain. Chronic stress also greatly increases an individual's chances of having a nervous breakdown because it increases depression, disrupts sleep, increases anxiety, and disrupts concentration. Studies have indicated meditation can reduce the inflammatory responses caused by cortisol. Individuals with high stress levels have also been shown to benefit from meditation. Some studies have indicated meditation can help with physical conditions related to stress like post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. The meditation that works best will vary, so individuals shouldn't be afraid to try a few different methods.

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Physical Exercise

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Physical exercise is hugely beneficial when recovering from a nervous breakdown, especially if the affected individual lived a sedentary lifestyle before. Even individuals with physical disabilities can benefit from certain levels of physical exercise, provided they don't experience exercise intolerance. Those concerned about the effect of exercise on their health should talk to a doctor before picking up a new exercise regimen. Humans aren't built to sit at a desk all day without stretching, especially if they also drive to work and sit on the couch when they get home. Physical activity is necessary to stimulate both brain and body. Studies have shown regular physical activity helps reduce the risk of a heart attack, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, lowers fall risk, and increases overall bone strength. In addition, physical exercise helps release endorphins that make individuals feel good. Moving the body is a great way to release stress, and it can also help with sleep quality.

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Talking To Loved Ones

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If an individual has been under so much stress that it's caused a nervous breakdown, one of the best treatment methods is talking to loved ones. Everyone needs to have a support network behind them when recovering from any kind of mental health issue. There are several things loved ones can do to help someone dealing with a nervous breakdown or another mental health issue. One is to be a listening ear when they're stressed, so they have a place to vent and get emotional support. Another is to take on some of the tasks that are leaving them feeling overwhelmed. For example, if an individual is too exhausted to cook and clean when they get home from work, they can ask a family member or roommate to take on some of their responsibilities. Telling loved ones about stress can often take a lot of the burdened feeling away, since it reminds individuals they have people who love them. It's okay for everyone to let others take care of them when they're having a hard time. Humans need connection to thrive, and trying to recover alone will just make stress worse.

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Maintaining A Healthy Sleep Schedule

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Another one of the most important things individuals can do when recovering from a nervous breakdown is to maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Sleep issues contribute hugely to stress. When individuals don't get enough sleep, they have a reduced ability to function, are more likely to experience physical pain, and have a decreased ability for emotional regulation. If an individual has been dealing with chronic stress, they might find sleeping regularly is difficult. Individuals should try other lifestyle changes to see if they help with regulating their sleep schedule. If someone still has trouble drifting off, they should talk to a doctor. They should also make sure to keep their room cool and sleep underneath blankets for the best rest. Other sleep hygiene practices include keeping the room dark, using a white noise machine in noisy environments, and avoiding screens and caffeine for a few hours before bed.

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Katherine MacAulay