Having a Nervous Breakdown at Work: Recognizing the Signs, and Learning How to Cope

A nervous breakdown at work is nothing to take lightly. Whether you feel on the brink of having one or have already experienced it, knowing the signs (panic attacks, depressive symptoms, mood swings, and insomnia to name a few) is crucial. After acknowledging the potential of underlying mental health issues, residential treatment is the next step needed to learn how to cope with them. By creating a space for recovery through comprehensive diagnosis, therapies, and peer support, you will learn how to properly manage your mental health and improve your personal and work life.

Your place of employment can be a source of many things: personal fulfillment, lifelong relationships, but also, at times, potentially overwhelming stress. And for anyone struggling with mental health challenges, this stress can be the catalyst for a nervous breakdown. Unfortunately, workplaces are environments where most don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal problems—especially mental health-related ones—due to a fear of being misunderstood, ostracized, or even fired.

“Nervous breakdown” is a non-medical term for a mental health crisis that prevents someone from being able to function for a set period of time. Given how general this blanket term is, the root cause(s) of the crisis can vary from prolonged stress and anxiety disorders to depression. And when you can’t function properly, work is typically the first place it will begin to manifest itself.

Recognizing the signs is crucial so that you can take the proper steps toward treatment. Using the supports and therapies in residential treatment programs, you can learn how to cope with your mental health challenges in an adaptive environment that promotes positive personal growth. Through this learning process, you will better understand how to function with your challenges and prevent future mental health issues from dragging you down.

Recognizing the Signs of a Nervous Breakdown


While some popular culture depictions of nervous breakdowns suggest that they come out of the blue, in reality, it is just the opposite. Given that they’re manifestations of underlying mental health issues, nervous breakdowns are the culmination of numerous symptoms and struggles that have built up over time. These signs will vary with the issues, but knowing some of the most common ones is important.

  • Panic attacks. Experiencing panic attacks with increased frequency can be a sign of culminating mental health issues. While many people describe the feeling as an intense fear often accompanied by detachment from reality and difficulty breathing, the majority of the 13 symptoms are physical. This means that treatment with a beta-blocker can reduce many of these symptoms and greatly help with the vicious cycle of physical symptoms that feed into it and exacerbate mental symptoms.
  • Depressive symptoms. Persistent thoughts of hopelessness, suicide, and self-harm are common signs of an underlying depressive disorder that could culminate in a mental health crisis. When your day-to-day life becomes clouded by these kinds of thoughts, it can be difficult to pull yourself out of the haze and realize just how much it is affecting you. But doing this is an important step in realizing the significance of your underlying issues and the path to overcoming them.
  • Mood swings. Feeling at the mercy of unpredictable moods and emotions is not something to take lightly. Whether this is an outburst of anger, sadness, or mania, it could be a sign of a serious underlying mental health issue such as Bipolar Disorder that requires intensive treatment.
  • Insomnia. While an inability to sleep can be symptomatic of a lot of things, it doesn’t do any favors for mental health issues. To complicate things even more, not only can it make the aforementioned problems worse, those problems can also have a negative impact on your sleep. This is a perfect example of the complexity of the mental health issues that can lead to a nervous breakdown and the necessity of addressing them properly.

Other symptoms include social isolation, feeling detached from yourself, hallucinations, and difficulty concentrating. Together, they can make it difficult to live normally and cause you to isolate yourself, avoid social situations, miss work or school, and fall behind on maintaining your home.

If you find the above symptoms all too familiar, or if you’ve already experienced a breakdown and are starting to connect the dots, it’s time to start thinking about your next steps. Although it might seem difficult, even nerve-wracking, to think of seeking treatment, remember that the road the recovery leads to a positive life highlighted by continuous learning. By avoiding it, you’ll simply fall into the same patterns and never learn more about yourself and the things that fuel your mental health challenges.

Reclaim Your Life

Reclaim Your Life

Care and Treatment for Nervous Breakdowns

Learning How to Cope with a Breakdown


Because there are so many potential causes and effects of mental health disorders and the breakdowns they can create, it’s crucial that you receive the proper diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Here’s how you can benefit:

  • Comprehensive diagnosis. Through neuropsychological testing and diagnostic assessments, you will get a professional analysis of the mental health issues that are disrupting your life. By using information from numerous tests, a professional team of psychiatrists, counselors, and therapists will create a fluid treatment plan designed to adapt with your unique and shifting needs.
  • Therapies. A whole host of treatment modalities are out there, and each can be beneficial for various different situations. Families can learn to reestablish their dynamics to better support their loved one with Bipolar Disorder, while art therapy can give a voice to your pain and help you express the dark thoughts that typically remain trapped in your head. Using the results of your diagnosis, you will receive the optimal therapies for your needs.
  • Peer support. Connection with others on parallel journeys is a great way to decrease social isolation, reduce shame, and help you learn how to re-engage with people while adapting to your improving mental health. It’s also a great way to give you hope for the future and push you harder towards your goals.

Creating a Space for Recovery


Acknowledging the signs of a nervous breakdown at work is the first step toward putting yourself in a resourceful environment that promotes recovery. Through comprehensive residential treatment, you will have the professional guidance needed to create your unique path that will ultimately give you the tools needed to manage and overcome your mental health challenges. Taking this time for yourself is necessary for your growth and will ultimately do wonderful things for your work and personal life.

Bridges to Recovery offers comprehensive rehabilitation programs for people suffering from various mental health challenges. Contact us today to learn more about how you can uncover the roots of your mental health crises and learn to adapt and take control of your life.