How long does it take to recover from a nervous breakdown

How Long Does a Nervous Breakdown Last? – Bridges to Recovery

A nervous breakdown, which is a loss of the ability to function in everyday life, may last for a few hours or a few weeks. The duration of this type of mental health crisis depends on the individual and factors such as the amount of stress leading up to the breakdown, coping strategies, timing and quality of treatment, any undiagnosed or untreated mental illnesses, and the state of a social support system. Good, timely treatment can help minimize the duration and severity of a nervous breakdown.

A nervous breakdown is a state in which a person is no longer functioning normally and is typically brought on by stress and compounded by an inability to cope with stress in healthy ways. This is not an official mental health diagnosis, but it does represent a crisis in dealing with stress that many people face. The severity of the breakdown, how much it impacts the ability to function, and how long it lasts, vary by individual and contributing factors.

Signs that someone is going through a nervous breakdown include drops in performance at work, school or in other activities, not managing responsibilities, not keeping up with hygiene, personal appearance or housekeeping, mood swings, emotional outbursts, difficulty thinking or concentrating, social isolation, and feelings of depression, anxiety and being overwhelmed. A nervous breakdown requires treatment. Without treatment, it can take much longer to recover and a second incident is much more likely.

The Duration of a Nervous Breakdown Varies by Individual

A nervous breakdown is not a diagnosable mental health condition, and that means there are no official criteria to describe it, including duration. These mental health crises are highly variable, lasting a few hours for one person or weeks for another. There are many risk factors for having a nervous breakdown, and the more an individual has, the greater the chance is that a breakdown will last longer. These risk factors include:

  • An undiagnosed and untreated mental health condition, often depression or anxiety in the case of a nervous breakdown
  • Having a lot of responsibilities, at home, at work, or in other areas of life
  • A traumatic or stressful situation, such as a divorce, a chronic illness, or abuse
  • Having no or poor coping strategies for dealing with stressful situations
  • Using negative coping strategies, such as substance abuse
  • Having a type-A or perfectionist personality
  • Being unable to let go of control or delegate to others
  • Lacking good social support and a healthy social life with close friends or family members
  • Not taking care of personal health, including sleeping too little, eating a poor diet, or not getting enough exercise

A nervous breakdown may also vary in severity, which can impact the duration of the episode. A less severe breakdown that leads to deterioration in function but not total loss of function may go on for some time before a person seeks help. A severe crisis, on the other hand, may be shorter in duration, while recovery and treatment take much longer.

The Length of Hospitalization for Severe Breakdowns

In some instances of nervous breakdown, a hospital stay may be necessary for stabilization and treatment. Reasons to hospitalize a patient include talk of suicide or death, violence toward others, self-harm, symptoms of psychosis such as hallucinations and delusions, or a complete inability to function at all. In all of these cases the mental health crisis is severe and could result in harm to the patient, or the patient may be considered harmful to others.

The duration of the severe episode varies, but most patients can be stabilized within a few days. However, the length of stay in the hospital is often longer. One study found that among thousands of patients with severe mental illness, the average length of hospitalization was 10 days. Stays are longer when patients are taken to dedicated psychiatric hospitals than when they are sent to regular hospitals.

A person going through a nervous breakdown has some control over the duration of the episode. By being aware of and recognizing early signs that stress is mounting and that a person is not coping well with it, he or she can reach out for help sooner and thereby shorten the length of the crisis. This is much easier said than done, of course, and it may be easier for someone close to that person to recognize the early warning signs and to reach out and offer help. Some early indicators of a pending breakdown include:

  • Unusual, new, or worse signs of negative emotions like depression, sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, and general distress
  • Showing signs of being overwhelmed by a sense of pressure or by specific responsibilities, such as academics, work duties, or responsibilities in the home or for family members
  • Changes in behaviors, including eating or sleeping, missing appointments, deteriorating self-care, or decreased attention to normal activities
  • Struggling to think, remember things, make decisions, or get tasks done
  • An increase in reliance on unhealthy coping mechanisms, like drinking, gambling, emotional eating, or angry outbursts
  • Physical symptoms that can’t be explained by any physical illness, such as stomach upset, headaches, muscle aches, chest pains, fatigue, or being sick more often than usual
  • Avoiding treatment for a mental illness

These warning signs are much like the symptoms of a full nervous breakdown, but someone who is paying attention should begin to notice subtle changes before a person completely loses the ability to function normally. By recognizing warning signs early, the duration of a breakdown can be shortened following intervention and treatment.

Begin Your Recovery Journey.

We Treat Nervous Breakdown Related Issues

Visit Our Program Page

The Importance of Treatment for Shortening a Nervous Breakdown

Another important factor in determining the length of a nervous breakdown is treatment. To minimize the duration of the crisis, treatment should be sought as soon as possible. The best, most comprehensive treatment gives a patient the best chance of recovering quickly. This usually means starting with inpatient care. A stay in a residential facility, for anywhere from a few days to a few months, provides a patient with the opportunity to receive intensive care and to be able to focus on that care and on getting well again.

When a patient leaves the treatment facility to go back home, the nervous breakdown may be long over, but the repercussions are not. The consequences of going through this experience are longer-lasting. Ongoing care and support is necessary to help patients return to so-called normal life, to face going back to family, to work, and to other responsibilities.

Good ongoing care for a nervous breakdown may include regular therapy sessions, working with support groups, putting relaxation techniques and healthy coping strategies to work, and prioritizing self-care. Also important is making lifestyle changes that will reduce daily stress and that address the factors that led to the initial breakdown. Not only does this thorough treatment plan shorten the duration of a nervous breakdown, it also reduces the risk of having a second crisis.

How long a nervous breakdown will last depends on many factors. Some people may have a minor crisis that lasts for an afternoon, while someone else may experience a more severe breakdown that leaves them dysfunctional for weeks. Factors that can shorten the duration of a breakdown include early detection, seeking professional help immediately, and getting high quality care as soon as possible.

Life After a Nervous Breakdown – Bridges to Recovery

A nervous breakdown happens when stress builds up to a level that you can no longer cope with and leads to a mental health crisis. After seeking professional treatment, you can begin to put your life back together by learning and using healthier coping strategies for stress and by relying on friends and family for social support. You should also be aware of warning signs of an impending breakdown and use stress relief strategies to prevent it happening again

What Happens During a Nervous Breakdown?

A nervous breakdown is a mental health crisis rather than a diagnosable condition, but it can be just as serious and it can be very frightening. If you suffer a nervous breakdown you may feel extreme anxiety or fear, intense stress, and as if you simply can’t cope with any of the emotional demands you feel. This crisis will leave you unable to function normally, to go to work or school, to take care of children, or to do any of your usual activities. Symptoms of a nervous breakdown may include emotional distress as well as physical effects, like chest pains and difficulty breathing.

This kind of breakdown typically comes after experiencing a great deal of stress that you find you can’t cope with in healthy ways. Exactly what will trigger a nervous breakdown, how much buildup of stress it takes, and how long it lasts depends on each individual. Everyone has a different breaking point, but people with healthy coping strategies are less likely to suffer from a nervous breakdown. Another contributing factor, in addition to stress, may be an underlying and untreated mental health condition, like an anxiety disorder or major depression.

Treatment for a Nervous Breakdown

If you have experienced something that resembles what is often referred to as a nervous breakdown, seek out an evaluation from a mental health professional. Your diagnosis is likely to be a mental health crisis, although a psychiatrist may also determine that you have an underlying mental illness that may or may not have contributed to your current crisis.

Once you have been evaluated you can work with a psychiatrist or therapist to develop a treatment plan that will help you better cope with stress and avoid future crises. Depending on the severity of the crisis, you may want to consider a short stay in a residential treatment facility. This can help by giving you the chance to focus only on your well-being as you heal. Your treatment plan may include several types of therapy, stress relief and relaxation strategies, group support, and possibly medication.

Making Lifestyle Changes after a Nervous Breakdown

Knowing how to recover from a nervous breakdown is not something that will come naturally, and this is why treatment is so important. Therapists and other mental health professionals can teach you the strategies you need to recover and to take steps to prevent having a mental health crisis again in the future. One of the most important things you will learn is how to change your lifestyle to reduce stress and minimize the chances of having another nervous breakdown, including:

  • Changing what causes you stress, such as your job or a bad relationship
  • Cutting back on responsibilities that may have become overwhelming
  • Asking people close to you for help with responsibilities you cannot totally eliminate, like child care
  • Spending more time doing things you enjoy and relaxing
  • Quitting smoking and reducing or quitting drinking or other substance use
  • Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise
  • Getting enough sleep every night
  • Practicing relaxation techniques regularly and implementing coping strategies as needed

Learning and Using Healthy Coping Strategies

One of the most important things you can do as you get back to life after a nervous breakdown is to use healthy strategies for coping with stress and for relaxing. Not having these strategies is part of what led to the breakdown in the first place, but if you go through a good treatment plan you will learn these tools and practice putting them to use. Here are some ideas for coping with stress in a healthy way if you feel it beginning to build again:

  • Back off from whatever is causing you too much stress. This doesn’t mean you have to quit your job if that is your stressor, but if something is causing your stress levels to climb, take a short break from it. Just one day away from work can help.
  • Get exercise and fresh air as stress builds. Exercise is a great stress reliever, and all it really takes is walking. Do whatever exercise you like, but do it outside if possible.
  • Talk to a close friend who is a good listener. When stress is getting to be too much, someone who is good at listening will allow you to vent and share your feelings.
  • Sit with a hot tea or coffee, not alcohol. A hot drink can be very soothing, but a lot of people are tempted to use alcohol to relax. This can backfire, so avoid alcohol or other substances when you’re feeling stressed.
  • Try meditation, slow breathing, or yoga. Relaxation techniques are easy once you learn how to do them. If you went through a treatment program after your breakdown, you probably were given some of these tools. Turn to them when you start to feel overwhelmed again. Even just five minutes of focusing on your breathing can take your stress levels down.

Getting back to normal, or to a healthier lifestyle, after having a breakdown should involve increasing your social support and time spent with others. Socializing is a natural way to combat stress. Just talking to someone who will listen is a great way to relieve stress, even if it doesn’t solve any concrete problems that are causing stress.

A big part of increasing your social support is investing time and effort in your closest relationships. It can be easy with a busy life to let these relationships slide, but if you take the time to cultivate them you will both get benefits. Schedule blocks of time to spend with family, individual friends, and groups of friends. Carve out that time regularly, even if you can only spare 15 minutes, so that you can maintain your supportive friendships and relationships.

It also helps to look for social support outside of your closest circle. If work is a major cause of stress in your life, cultivate friendships with coworkers. Get involved with work social activities. This will give you a healthy way to cope with stress on the job. You can also look for support groups for people who have gone through a similar mental health crisis. Meeting up with this group once in awhile is a good way to reflect, share, and support one another.

One of many great reasons to get professional treatment after a nervous breakdown is that it helps you to reflect on what triggered the crisis. If you understand what led to it, and you learn what the early warning signs of a breakdown are, you can watch out for them and take steps to prevent it from happening again. As part of your recovery from a nervous breakdown, be more self-aware. Journaling a few minutes a day is a great way to practice that self-awareness and to notice early signs you may be heading for trouble again.

These are some examples of early warning signs:

  • Your performance at work or school is declining in small ways, or your responsibilities at home are starting to slide. You feel like you’re not keeping up.
  • Your appetite has changed, and you are losing or gaining weight.
  • You feel a lot of pressure.
  • You’re struggling with concentration, memory, or completing tasks.
  • You have started to neglect your appearance or hygiene.
  • You feel disengaged and isolated.
  • Your mood is low, and you feel depressed or anxious.
  • You are turning to old, unhealthy coping strategies, like drinking more.

Begin Your Recovery Journey.

We Treat Nervous Breakdown Related Issues

Visit Our Program Page

Diagnosing and Managing Mental Health Conditions

Many people who have suffered from a nervous breakdown had an underlying mental illness that contributed to it. Any mental health condition could contribute to a crisis, but some of the more common ones are anxiety disorders and depression. If you are still struggling to manage your stress and your mood, be sure to get a professional mental health evaluation. If you are diagnosed with a mental illness, stick with the treatment plan over the long term, even as you start to feel better. This maintenance will help you prevent having a nervous breakdown in the future.

Having a nervous breakdown can be frightening, and the idea of recovering may seem daunting. With intensive residential treatment, followed up by ongoing care, lifestyle changes, healthy coping strategies, social support, and management of any mental illnesses, you can return to a better way of life and prevent burning out in the future.

13 principles for quick recovery from stress

Tatyana Burtseva

We all get stressed and depressed when the winter drags on and the weekend goes by too fast. Some of us have an enviable ability to quickly recover from all sorts of troubles, during autumn-spring depressions and hard working days. But if you are not one of them, then know that this can be learned. The book "Closer to the Body" will teach you to maintain harmony and optimism. Here are some tips from the author to help you recover quickly.


It's not stress per se. It's about the fear that you won't be able to overcome this stress. Without realizing how difficulties affect our lives, we will not be able to properly take care of our bodies. Neither food, nor alcohol, nor grueling workouts will get rid of negative emotions, will not correct the mistakes made and will not be able to prevent the sad events that life has in store for us. If we do not follow certain principles, we will go down a slope of sad thoughts, bad health, chronic sadness and depression.


Before you act, you need to understand what category your trouble belongs to. Otherwise, you will be in a dead end. A sober look at the “scale of the disaster” will help you not to panic and reduce the degree of emotions that lead to wrong actions. Think about whether what is happening will be just as important for you a year later? Many reasons for our experiences lose their relevance the very next day. Disappointments, mistakes and misunderstandings are an integral part of life, and only you decide how much it upsets you.


While being positive and caring for our body can energize us, small and big problems can upset this balance. At the same time, every trouble in life carries a lesson. Ask yourself the following questions more often: “What can I learn? What benefit should be drawn from this situation? What view of what is happening will be the most positive in this situation?” Are you able to be grateful to fate for the difficulties you have encountered?

Of course, this approach is not valid for every situation. It is not easy to find the strength to be grateful after losing a loved one or being fired from a job. But still, reconsider your loss, find meaning in it. Try to recover by building on something good in your life.


Of course, big problems cannot be solved just by taking a walk or taking a bubble bath. Serious battles require serious weapons: patience, compassion, flexibility, determination, hope, and an open mind. And also time - and you will certainly find it if you love yourself. Man always wants more. When the most precious thing is at stake, he is ready for anything. A caring attitude to the body is a medicine that will fill you with energy and give you the strength to cope with difficulties.


Mindset is incredibly important when you are trying to recover from stress. Categoricalness and perfectionism are not the qualities that you need during this period. Strive for the good, not the perfect. Do not burden yourself with unnecessary thoughts, goals and images that can undermine your self-esteem.


Train yourself to always act on the principles of caring for your body. This is a very important first step. It will serve as a starting point and a point to which you can return if you go astray.


Allow yourself to grieve, but also allow yourself to recover from the experience. Don't block negative emotions, let them pour out. So you can get to know them better. Yes, you will be hurt, but then you will return to normal again.


Don't forget your daily cherished respite. Prayer, meditation, self-hypnosis, journaling, or all of the above - whatever you enjoy and don't require a lot of time, you need to make an indispensable part of your day. Use any spiritual practices that suit you personally to feel the value of your soul and realize yourself as part of the Universe. Plan purposeful activities that help you express love for your body.


Everyday little things can give you amazing comfort, especially during a difficult period of recovery from stress. Follow the plan instead of making choices every time. Take care of yourself in everything - food, sports, fun, sleep. She will heal both body and soul.


Learn to forgive. As you master the art of restoration, you will, of course, make mistakes. Learn to forgive yourself. It is possible that loved ones will be rude or aggressive towards you, and this will once again unsettle you. Forgive them. Learn to let go of hurt so you can move on. Your consciousness works for your recovery.


The Three Good Things Method has been proven by many studies and is very simple. By noticing something positive three times during the day, you will multiply the impact of positive emotions on your body. Spend more time with upbeat, kind people, or introduce a ceremony of mutual gratitude.

Learn to capture joyful moments in everyday life! For example, the next time you do the dishes, remind yourself that for many people on Earth, clean water is already a luxury. Take a moment away from dirty dishes and look out the window at the flowers in the garden or admire the funny toys on the windowsill. Where did they come from, by the way, and why are they dear to you? On the way to work, pay attention to how beautifully the sun's rays break through the foliage. Listen to music instead of news.


Like any healthy habit, nurturing the senses requires attention and effort. Do not be upset if your mood does not immediately become as rosy as you expected. We are not looking for permanent nirvana. Our goal is to tip the scales in the direction of positive emotions by devoting more time to activities and actions that open our hearts to the world and help us love ourselves. Remember: hard times pass, but the habit of good things stays with you forever.


Wait. Adhering to the philosophy of love for your body, you will recover faster, but do not forget: suffering is not healed in one day. If the process takes longer than you thought, don't treat it as a defeat. Don't stop loving yourself every minute!

Based on the book Closer to the Body.
Post cover: pixabay.

How dangerous is stress, how to get out of this state and restore health?

All people often experience stress. Anything can be the impetus for it, and it is not always a threat to life, the death of a loved one, divorce or other painful events. The cause of strong excitement is often difficulties at work, overdue deadlines, quarrels, life troubles. And if some people know how to correct or quickly let go of such situations, then others take them so close to their hearts that they begin to experience problems not only on an emotional, but also on a physiological level. Fortunately, there are effective ways to recover from stress.

Why is stress dangerous?

Stress is a specific state of the body that occurs in response to the influence of factors that threaten to disrupt the constancy of its internal environment. The brain perceives the stressor (factor) as a threat and forms a special impulse that passes to the pituitary gland. Pituitary gland cells produce adrenocorticotropic hormone, which causes the adrenal cortex to become more active. They, in turn, release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream. Their task is to push a person to action aimed at saving lives or adapting to changing conditions. For example, adrenaline is responsible for the fear that prompts us to flee or fight in the face of impending danger. And cortisol is for raising blood glucose levels to produce more energy and platelets to speed up blood clotting in case of injury.

Attention! Stress hormones are designed to help a person cope with a potentially dangerous situation. But they are useful only with a short-term effect on the body.

Prolonged stress leads to moral and physical exhaustion. As a result, numerous diseases of the nervous, digestive, cardiovascular, genitourinary, and respiratory systems can develop. Among them are asthma, arthritis, dermatitis, heart attack, stroke, ischemic attacks, angina pectoris, hypertension, insomnia, gastritis, stomach ulcers, colitis, neurosis, oncology. External manifestations are possible - early baldness, thinning and fragility of the nail plates, skin rashes, premature aging. Therefore, it is so important to pull yourself together and do everything to recover from stress.

Stress management

First of all, analyze the situation that triggered the stress. Often a thoughtful analysis is enough to understand that the point is not the problem itself, but the fear of not coping with it. Worrying about the approaching deadline, you only hasten its onset. You need to pull yourself together and decide what you can do to reduce guilt and avoid serious consequences. It may be worth telling your employer that you are not on time to complete the work and ask for a delay. Even if he refuses and remains dissatisfied with you, how much will you lose? What is your main goal? Can you improve your position in the future? How will you treat him in a month, a year? Will the problem still exist?

To get out of long-term stress without health consequences, you need to act comprehensively. In this case, it is worth taking care of both the thoughts and the body.

Take care of your body

If you find it difficult to control your emotions, focus on taking care of your body. Force yourself to walk, exercise, eat right, get enough sleep. This will not solve mental problems, but will help increase the endurance of the body and avoid nervous exhaustion. In addition, a surge of adrenaline requires active action. Help your body deal with it through exercise.

What should be done:

  • Sleep 7.5 or 9 hours a day. No less and no more. Go to bed on schedule, before 12 at night. This will give strength and bring order to life.
  • Eat healthy foods. They contain complex carbohydrates, proteins, unsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Give up simple carbohydrates (sugar, flour), fast food, fatty meats, fried foods, convenience foods. Do not diet - this is another stress for the body.
  • If you don't have the strength to adjust your diet, at least take nutritional supplements. First of all, vitamin C. It will strengthen the immune system, improve appearance and give vigor. Ascorbic acid is rich in rose hips, as well as lemon, pomegranate juice, spinach. Magnesium, vitamin D and zinc are also useful for increasing the adaptive capacity of the body.
  • Sign up for a gym or pool. Don't want to leave the house? Squat, do a plank, twist a hoop, start a general cleaning.

Don't hold back your emotions

Do you want to scream, cry or punch? Do it! By not holding back your emotions, you will recover faster from stress. If you are afraid of hurting a loved one in the heat of the moment, do not shout, but throw out your anger with the help of intense physical activity.

Rest mentally

Taking control of your physical condition, begin to correct the moral. Allow your brain to rest, distract from problems. Learn meditation, yoga, breathing exercises. Keep a journal to share your innermost thoughts with him.

The Stress Re.Live - Siberian Super Natural Nutrition complex can help you provide a multi-level effect on the nervous system and cope with stress faster. The anti-stress program contains an organic form of magnesium associated with glycine for better absorption, lactoprotein, and a powerful complex of plant extracts that stabilize the emotional background.

Herbal tea from wild herbs No. 3 (Natural antistress) will help you relax and find harmony after a busy day. A cup of aromatic tea with a mild herbal taste of motherwort, mint, valerian and oregano helps to reduce nervous excitement, helps to cope with stress and improve sleep quality.

It will also help to reduce nervous excitement. Honey paste with meadowsweet, hawthorn, passionflower and lemon balm. The honey treat helps keep the cardiovascular system working properly and strengthens the heart muscle, helping to keep stress under control.

Attention! Listen to music.

Learn more