How is nervous breakdown treated?

Nervous breakdowns may be treatable by lifestyle modifications such as practicing regular relaxation or learning breathing techniques to practice when you feel stress coming on. In some cases, however, especially when nervous breakdowns are related to an anxiety disorder, medication may be required to treat your nervous breakdown. Therapy, such as talk therapy, is also helpful for many people.

Treatments for nervous breakdown

Treatments for the stress and chemical imbalances that can lead to nervous breakdowns include:

  • Lifestyle modification, including relaxation techniques, eliminating certain substances such as caffeine from your diet, and scheduled sleeping
  • Medications, such as antianxiety medications or antidepressants, to address chemical imbalances
  • Therapy such as talk, cognitive or behavioral therapy

What you can do to lessen the severity of a nervous breakdown

In addition to following the treatment plan developed by your health care providers, you may be able to lessen the frequency and severity of your nervous breakdowns by:

  • Avoiding caffeine, alcohol and drugs
  • Getting counseling for stress management
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation
  • Sleeping regularly

Complementary treatments

Some complementary treatments may help some people to better deal with nervous breakdowns. These treatments, sometimes referred to as alternative therapies, are used in conjunction with traditional medical treatments. Complementary treatments are not meant to substitute for traditional medical care. Be sure to notify your doctor if you are consuming nutritional supplements or homeopathic (nonprescription) remedies as they may interact with the prescribed medical therapy.

Complementary treatments may include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Nutritional dietary supplements, herbal remedies, tea beverages, and similar products
  • Yoga

What are the potential complications of nervous breakdown?

A single nervous breakdown may not have any complications. You may be able to treat your nervous breakdown with lifestyle modification and counseling. In serious cases, however, nervous breakdowns can lead to the development of a more severe disorder. Complications of untreated or poorly controlled nervous breakdowns can be serious. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of nervous breakdown include:

  • Absenteeism from work or school
  • Depression
  • Development of an anxiety disorder such as a phobia
  • Embarrassment
  • Social isolation


  1. Stress. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  2. Anxiety. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  3. Kroenke K, Spitzer RL, Williams JB, et al. Anxiety disorders in primary care: prevalence, impairment, comorbidity, and detection. Ann Intern Med 2007; 146:317.

What is nervous breakdown?

A nervous breakdown refers to an acute attack of anxiety that disrupts your daily life. Nervous breakdowns are part of a family of mental disorders known as anxiety disorders. Nervous breakdowns can happen when you are experiencing sudden, extreme, or prolonged stress. When a nervous breakdown happens, you may feel like you lose control of your feelings and give in to stress, anxiety, or worry.... Read more about nervous breakdownintroduction


What are the symptoms of nervous breakdown?

Symptoms of nervous breakdown include negative feelings, such as feelings of nervousness and stress. Nervous breakdowns usually correspond to a period of high stress in your life, or a time when you feel like you just can’t take any more.

Common symptoms of nervous breakdowns

You may experience nervous breakdown symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times any of th... Read more about nervous breakdownsymptoms


What causes nervous breakdown?

Nervous breakdowns are caused by your body’s stress response. In some cases, your body reacts inappropriately to stress, or you are faced with so much stress that your body cannot react appropriately. In these cases, you can feel excess anxiety that can lead to a nervous breakdown.

Nervous breakdowns can happen because of abnormally stressful situations or long-term high stress le... Read more about nervous breakdowncauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Mental Health and Behavior