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Nervous breakdown: What does it mean?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nervous-breakdown/AN00476
- With Mayo Clinic psychiatrist
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.read biographyclose window
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Dr. Daniel Hall-Flavin, board certified in general psychiatry and addiction psychiatry, is a St. Louis native looking to the Internet as a way to help people improve their health and be more active participants in their own health care by learning from Mayo Clinic's experts.
Dr. Hall-Flavin served on the faculties of Cornell University Medical College, New York Medical College and The George Washington University Medical School before joining the Mayo Clinic staff in 1996. He has special interests in adult psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, pharmacogenetics and personalized medicine. He served as medical director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence from 1986 to 1999, and is currently involved in translational medicine research involving the introduction of pharmacogenetic technology into the daily practice of community psychiatry.
"With the advent of pharmacogenetics and related fields and the advances in translational medicine, informed collaborative relationships between knowledgeable, capable health professionals and informed, proactive individuals and their families are more vital than ever," he said.
"I'm optimistic that our Internet health education activities will contribute to ever-improving health outcomes for all who participate and apply what is learned."
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Nervous breakdown: What does it mean?
What does it mean to have a nervous breakdown?
from Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
The term "nervous breakdown" is sometimes used to describe a stressful situation in which someone becomes temporarily unable to function normally in day-to-day life. It's commonly understood to occur when life's demands become physically and emotionally overwhelming. The term was commonly used in the past to cover a variety of mental disorders; it's used less often today.
Nervous breakdown isn't a medical term, however, nor does it indicate a specific mental illness. But that doesn't mean it's a normal or a healthy response to stress. A nervous breakdown may indicate an underlying mental health problem that needs attention, such as depression or anxiety.
Signs of a nervous breakdown vary from person to person and depend on the underlying cause. Exactly what constitutes a nervous breakdown also varies from one culture to another. Generally, it's understood to mean that a person is no longer able to function normally. For example, he or she may:
- Call in sick to work for days or longer
- Avoid social engagements and miss appointments
- Have trouble following healthy patterns of eating, sleeping and hygiene
A number of other unusual or dysfunctional behaviors may be considered signs and symptoms of a nervous breakdown.
If you're concerned that you're experiencing a nervous breakdown, get help. If you have a primary care doctor, talk to him or her about your signs and symptoms or seek help from a mental health provider.Next question
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- Gove WR. The career of the mentally ill: An integration of psychiatric, labeling/social construction, and lay perspectives. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 2004;45:357.
- Parker G. The mechanics of a "breakdown." American Journal of Psychiatry. 2007;164:1646.