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What is a word which describes when a person loses it, when they reach their limit or pass the tipping point? I'm trying to use it to describe a person's transition from sane to insane. For example,

Dick Prosser's (transition to insanity) was accompanied by a ...

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Are you "going nuts" for a border-line answer? ;-D (Great question, +1) –  Randolf Richardson Nov 6 '11 at 1:12
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I would definitely use that in conversation (+1), but unfortunately this is for a formal paper. Slang is a no-no. (lol) –  XenElement Nov 6 '11 at 1:16
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4 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

You might use breakdown or crack-up.

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Breakdown sounds right to me. It stands in for mental breakdown. Maybe crack-up is okay for some (Americans?), but it sounds a bit a bit "flip" to me. –  FumbleFingers Nov 5 '11 at 23:04
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@FumbleFingers (+1): I agree -- "breakdown" seems serious while "crack-up" seems more casual and possibly comedic. –  Randolf Richardson Nov 6 '11 at 9:33
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How about

Dick Prosser's descent into insanity was accompanied by...

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How about derangement / derailment?

Dick Prosser's derailment was accompanied by...

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One could use the gerund of to increase or a similar verb that takes insanity as its object.

Dick Prosser's increasing insanity was accompanied by...

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I'm trying to represent the actual moment when he becomes insane, not the journey towards insanity. –  XenElement Nov 6 '11 at 20:54
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