With mental health issues on the rise, it’s essential to recognise the symptoms and seek help as soon as possible.


A ‘nervous breakdown’ may not be a proper medical term, but it’s a phrase we’ve all heard and have probably used. The term a nervous breakdown is regularly used to describe a situation where someone becomes so overwhelmed by life that doing even basic things becomes challenging, even impossible. Indicators include:

A racing heart rate.

Shallow breathing.


Rising dread and emotional distress.

Completing even small tasks is difficult.

Experiencing highs and lows in life is normal, but if experiencing lows last for days, or weeks, on end, we may need to take action and seek help. According to Beyond Blue, one in eight Australians is currently experiencing high or very high psychological distress. Symptoms of a nervous breakdown are similar to workplace burnout. For an extensive list of signs and symptoms, see Health Direct. In extreme cases, symptoms can include panic attacks, paranoia and hallucinations. Experts suggest that if you’re feeling so overwhelmed that even getting out of bed becomes a challenge, you should reach out to friends and family and book an appointment with your GP.


Feb 2020 ABC Australia What's the difference between depression, exhaustion and burnout?

Mar 2021 The Atlantic Bring Back the Nervous Breakdown

Jun 2021 Live Well Magazine When a “Nervous Breakdown” Isn’t a Joking Matter