Unlike the blanket term nervous breakdown, which has no true medical meaning, a condition known as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is now recognized as a separate complaint. It results from the over-activity of the nervous system that causes the well-known syndrome of symptoms such as palpitations, hot flushes, sweating, trembling and dry mouth. The chest symptoms are the same as those brought on by stress, and include breathlessness, tingling in the limbs, difficulty in swallowing, nausea and intestinal upsets.
The person's mental state is also affected so that they feel dizzy; there is de-realization and depersonalization, i.e. it seems either that objects are unreal or that the person is separated from his or her own body, is looking down on it from a height and isn't really here. GAD suffers may faint. And just as in any real severe anxiety disorder, where there is an element of the panic response, there is also a fear of death.