nervous breakdown

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nervous breakdown (plural nervous breakdowns)

  1. An attack of a psychological disorder such as depression or anxiety so severe that it prevents a person from continuing to function normally
    • 1887, George Gissing, Thyrza
      There was organic disease, and there was what is vaguely called nervous breakdown; it was too clear that Mr. Newthorpe must count upon very moderate activity either of mind or body henceforth.
    • 1915, P. G. Wodehouse, Something New
      ...will you kindly think up at your earliest convenience some plan for politely ejecting this Mr Chalmers of yours from our humble home?--because if you don't, I'm going to have a nervous breakdown.
  2. (Philippines) A psychological disorder usually characterized by panic attacks and aggressiveness, related to the Hispanic ataque de nervios.