AKA/Synonyms: Nervous breakdown, Mental health crisis
Medical Specialties: Emergency medicine, Psychiatry
Mental breakdown is a term used to describe an acute psychiatric condition precipitated by intense stressors. Mental breakdown is not defined by the American Psychiatric Association, but is a common euphemism used to describe a reactive psychiatric condition causing impaired concentration and normal functioning.
A mental breakdown is a psychiatric state in which a person cannot function normally. It is often due to a severe stressor, which causes extreme anxiety, despair or depression. Although mental breakdown is not a medical term, it is used by the layperson or public to define a sudden abnormal mental state. The cause of a mental breakdown could be any type of severe stress, which causes a person to feel emotionally overwhelmed and unable to function.