Can a mental breakdown change your personality?  (3 insights)

This blog post aims to answer the question, “Can a mental breakdown change your personality?” and explore the various aspects of mental breakdowns and personality and their relationship to help understand the answer. 

Can a mental breakdown change your personality?

Yes, a mental breakdown can change your personality. The following are 3 insights into how a mental breakdown can change your personality –

  • A mental breakdown can lead to personality changes by inducing unusual behaviour.
  • A shift in someone’s personality can be subtle and gradual, or dramatic and abrupt. 
  • Treatment.

What are these 3 insights into how a mental breakdown can change your personality?

A mental breakdown can lead to personality changes by inducing unusual behaviour.

A mental breakdown is a mental health illness that can induce weird or unusual behaviour in a person who has experienced it, as well as a change in personality.

When stress builds up to a point that you can no longer handle it, it can lead to a nervous breakdown and a mental health crisis. 

After obtaining professional help, you may begin to put your life back together by learning and employing better stress coping skills, as well as seeking social support from friends and family. 

You should also be aware of the warning indications of a coming breakdown and utilise stress-relieving techniques to avoid it.

A nervous breakdown can cause significant worry or panic, as well as intense stress and an inability to cope with any emotional demands that arise. 

You will be unable to function regularly, go to work or school, care for children, or engage in any of your typical activities as a result of this crisis.  Emotional anguish as well as physical consequences such as chest aches and trouble breathing can be signs of a mental breakdown.

This type of breakdown usually occurs after you’ve been under a lot of stress and haven’t been able to handle in a healthy way. What causes a nervous breakdown, how much stress it takes to cause one, and how long it lasts differs from person to person.

Everyone’s breaking point is different, but those who have good coping methods are less likely to have a nervous breakdown. In addition to stress, an underlying and untreated mental health problem might be a contributing cause.

There are many different types of mental disorders, each with its own set of symptoms ranging from sadness to mania. These people can switch between violent and apathetic behaviours. 

Chemical abnormalities in the brain can cause changes in sexual desire, sleep, and eating habits. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mental disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are all examples of psychiatric ailments.

A shift in someone’s personality can be subtle and gradual, or dramatic and abrupt. 

A person may appear depressed, impatient, or enraged. They can also be more energised, or “hyper.” Someone may begin to appear forgetful or perplexed. Family members are often the first to notice these changes.

Understanding the causes of personality changes can be difficult due to the fact that they can be triggered by a variety of mental and physiological conditions. 

Depression, anxiety, or dementia are all possibilities. However, in the elderly, it can also be caused by a concussion, a tumour, or even a urinary tract infection. Certain drugs have the potential to alter one’s personality.

Treatment.

It is not natural to know how to recover from a neurological breakdown, which is why treatment is so crucial. Therapists and other mental health specialists can teach you the tools you’ll need to recover and avoid a mental health crisis from happening again.

One of the most essential things you’ll learn during this process is how to adjust your lifestyle to lessen stress and reduce your risks of having another nervous breakdown, which includes –

  • Changing the stressors in your life, such as your work or a terrible relationship.
  • Limiting obligations that have become too much to handle.
  • enlisting the support of family and friends to help you with obligations you can’t completely avoid, such as child care.
  • Investing more time in activities that you like and relaxing.
  • Smoking cessation and reduced or complete abstinence from alcohol and other substances.
  • Eating a balanced diet and getting lots of exercises are two of the most important things you can do for your health.
  • Getting adequate sleep each night.
  • Relaxation techniques should be used on a regular basis, and coping skills should be implemented as needed.

These alterations, either collectively or alone, may lead to personality change following a mental breakdown.

Any personality changes should be discussed with your doctor. Keeping a mood journal and keeping note of any physical symptoms you’re experiencing will help you and your doctor figure out what’s causing your problems and build a treatment plan.

What is personality change?

Personality characteristics are broad categories of individual variations that relate to how we interact with our social environments. They support our ability to think, behave, and feel consistently in a variety of contexts and across time.

Early childhood temperament variations, which are partially genetically driven and influence exposure to social situations, are assumed to be the source of adult personality characteristics. There are five personality dimensions in all.

The five factors are: “extraversion or positive emotionality (incorporating traits such as sociability, energy, shyness and dominance/subordination); neuroticism or negative emotionality (including lower‐order traits such as proneness to anxiety, irritability, sadness, insecurity and guilt); conscientiousness (factors such as reliability, carefulness, persistence and self‐control); agreeableness (cooperativeness, consideration, generosity, kindness and politeness); and openness to experience (imaginativeness, insight and aesthetic sensitivity)”. 

Individuals differ in all of these characteristics, therefore each individual is regarded to have a unique set of traits. Personality factors influence the quality of social and familial connections, marital status and satisfaction, career choices, political opinions, and crime with moderate consistency.

Your personality might evolve during the course of your life. It’s natural to have mood swings from time to time. Unusual personality changes, on the other hand, might be an indication of a physical or mental problem.

A personality shift can manifest itself in a number of ways –

  • A personality shift is indicated by behaviour that differs from how you would normally behave in the same situation.
  • A person’s mood, aggression, or euphoria are abnormally moody, aggressive, or euphoric in comparison to their regular behaviour in comparable conditions, indicating a personality shift.

Examples of personality change –

  • Being unconcerned in conditions that would typically induce anxiety or worry.
  • Being glad when hearing bad news.

What can cause a sudden personality change?

While a gradual shift in personality isn’t uncommon, an accident or sickness might create an abrupt transformation.

A generally joyful individual might become depressed as a result of grief, unpleasant news, or disappointment. After hearing the sad news, a person’s mood might be affected for weeks or months.

Some people have had bizarre or aberrant behaviour for years, which might be caused by disease or injury. After being exposed to a stressful scenario or seeing an unpleasant incident, a person’s demeanour may shift.

These behavioural changes may be caused by a mental health condition, such as –

Anxiety.

When a person feels apprehensive or unpleasant about a situation, they are said to be anxious. It’s natural to feel anxious from time to time, but when it happens without warning, it might be an indication of generalised anxiety disorder.

Panic attacks.

Panic episodes are intense bouts of dread. Fear might appear to be illogical at times. A person suffering a panic attack while seeing an elevator or speaking in public is an example of such a circumstance.

Post-traumatic stress disorder.

This mental health disease, also known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is characterised by acute terror, flashbacks, and, in some cases, hallucinations. Traumatic memories, such as a terrorist attack or a vehicle accident, might cause PTSD.

Bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is characterised by mood swings that are intense. Mood swings may range from exhilaration to severe sadness, and they might modify how a person reacts to specific encounters or events, depending on their mood.

Schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia makes it difficult to think clearly, interpret circumstances efficiently, behave appropriately in social situations, and discern what is genuine from what isn’t.

Strange or odd behaviour might be caused by medical problems that cause hormone levels to fluctuate. These conditions include –

  • menopause
  • premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • andropause (male menopause)
  • hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism (an overactive or underactive thyroid gland, respectively)

Medical emergencies that can cause strange or unusual behaviour include-

  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • dehydration
  • malnutrition

What is a mental breakdown?

A “mental breakdown” or “nervous breakdown” refers to a sudden onset of severe mental anguish or sickness. You are unable to operate in your daily life during this time.

This phrase was originally applied to a wide range of mental health issues, including –

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • acute stress disorder

The phrase “nervous breakdown” is not a medical term or an official diagnosis of a disorder. Many individuals use this term to describe extreme stress symptoms and an inability to cope with life’s obstacles because there is no universally accepted definition.

Conclusion – 

This blog post aimed to answer the question, “Can a mental breakdown change your personality?” and reviewed the different aspects of mental breakdowns and personality and their relationship to help determine if a mental breakdown can cause a personality change in someone. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

References –

Legg, T. J.  Everything You Want to Know About Personality Change. (2019, December 4). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/behavior-unusual-or-strange#:~:text=An%20injury%20to%20the%20brain,you%20understand%20your%20personality%20change.

Conditions That Can Change Your Personality. WebMD. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/ss/slideshow-conditions-change-personality

Healthgrades Editorial Staff. Personality Change. (2021, January 7). Retrieved from https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/mental-health-and-behavior/personality-change

Lesser, B. An Adult’s Guide to Coping with Abrupt Personality Changes. (2021, March 6). Retrieved from https://dualdiagnosis.org/mental-disorders-caused-addiction/sudden-personality-changes-in-adults/

First , M. B. Personality and Behavior Changes. (2020, March). Retrieved from https://www.msdmanuals.com/en-in/home/mental-health-disorders/overview-of-mental-health-care/personality-and-behavior-changes

Grant, E. T. 9 Signs Your Personality Changes May Actually Be Because Of A Health Issue. (2018, August 2). Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/p/9-signs-your-personality-changes-may-actually-be-because-of-a-health-issue-9948622

Life After a Nervous Breakdown. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/nervous-breakdown/life-nervous-breakdown/

Shea, M. T., Leon,  A. C.,  Mueller, T. I., Solomon, D. A., Warshaw,  M. G.,& Keller, M.B. Does major depression result in lasting personality change? (1996, November). Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8890672/

Hall-Flavin, D. K. Nervous breakdown: What does it mean? (2016, October 26). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/nervous-breakdown/faq-20057830

Somanath, K. Top Causes of Personality Changes. (2021,  September 21). Retrieved from https://www.buoyhealth.com/learn/personality-change

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