How to Calm Someone Who Is Having an Emotional Breakdown

by Lindsay Pietroluongo

When someone is having an emotional breakdown, also referred to as a nervous breakdown, she has a lot of difficulty managing her daily life. Often, an emotional breakdown occurs as a response to a stressful situation. The situation is often both emotionally and physically draining on the person and he's unable to deal with everything all at once.

Recognize the signs that will tell you that someone is having an emotional breakdown. Physical ailments like back pain, headaches, breathing problems and disrupted sleep can point to an impending emotional breakdown. Other signs include anxiety, feeling trapped, mood swings and withdrawing from normal lives.

Help the person experiencing an emotional breakdown to find a coping method. These will vary per person. Anything from deep breathing and yoga to exercise and aromatherapy can help people handle difficult times in their lives. Having fun in social situations, getting plenty of sleep and meditating can all help lift overwhelming stress.

Contact people in the person's life who will help him through a difficult time. You may be someone who can be relied on, but when a person's dealing with an emotional breakdown, she needs all of the support she can get. Get in contact with the person's family and explain the situation to them. This is especially important if you're an acquaintance of the person and don't feel that you can provide the support he needs.

Suggest that the person visit a professional. While not every emotional breakdown is a symptom of a deeper mental issue, it can sometimes point to an anxiety disorder or depression. Both of these issues should be addressed and treated by a professional doctor or therapist. If the doctor suggests that the patient goes on medication, you can help her research the different advantages and disadvantages of medications.


  • It's just as important to prevent a future emotional breakdown as it is to overcome one that someone is already experiencing. Encourage the stressed person to use relaxation methods daily, even when not currently feeling stressed out.


  • It's important to not encourage negative coping skills. Turning to nicotine, alcohol and other drugs is not a healthy way to deal with stressors, and it won't help the person to overcome obstacles.

About the Author

As a full-time writer in New York's Hudson Valley, Lindsay Pietroluongo's nightlife column and photos have appeared regularly in the "Poughkeepsie Journal" since 2007. Additional publications include "Chronogram," the "New Paltz Sojourn," "About Town" newspaper and "Outsider" magazine. Pietroluongo graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in English.

Photo Credits

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