Mental breakdown

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Mental breakdown (also known as a nervous breakdown) is an acute, time-limited phase of a specific disorder that manifests primarily with features of depression or anxiety.

The terms “nervous breakdown” and “mental breakdown” have not been formally defined through a diagnostic system such as the  or , and are nearly absent from current scientific literature regarding mental illness. Although “nervous breakdown” does not necessarily have a rigorous or static definition, surveys of laypersons suggest that the term refers to a specific acute time-limited reactive disorder, involving symptoms such as anxiety or depression, usually precipitated by external stressors.

Specific cases are sometimes described as a “breakdown” only after a person becomes unable to function in day-to-day life.