Midlife Crisis Symptoms
MIDLIFE CRISIS SYMPTOMS: WHAT ARE THEY AND WHY?
Flippant quips are often jokingly blurted regarding middle aged men in society who suddenly and without obvious reason seemingly revert to their youth and begin exhibiting midlife crisis symptoms. These wisecracks may appear inadvertent and superficial, but in reality a midlife crisis is not necessarily a laughing matter. In fact, this period of time can be a serious time in a person’s life that affects many aspects of their being.
WHAT IS A MIDLIFE CRISIS?
Midlife crisis is a term used to describe a psychological condition or phenomenon that occurs in roughly 1 out of every 7 adults. Onset of symptoms for the condition usually occurs during middle age, or around 40 to 60 years old and indicators manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Although midlife crisis symptoms are most frequently associated with that of the male gender, women commonly experience the same psychological effects as men do. While there is much speculation as to whether or not a midlife crisis can be technically deemed a disorder, there are many situations believed to prompt unusual behavior in those considered to be going through this stage of adulthood. Of these life events, the following list contains those most regularly associated with producing midlife symptoms:
- Death: Usually that of a loved one, but can also be that of old friends, pets, or even a distant associate.
- Relationships: Often the discovery of a spouse’s infidelity or the disclosure of one’s own extramarital affair can trigger crisis, but other incidences may be culprit. Abrupt break-ups and/or the realization of an unhealthy union can push an individual towards sudden life change.
- Health: Issues such as menopause, serious illness, or the illness of loved ones can prompt midlife crisis.
- Transformation: While this category of triggers is possibly limitless, major changes in career, appearance, finances, or living arrangements can create unmanageable complications in life.
WHAT ARE MIDLIFE CRISIS SYMPTOMS?
Just like the causes of midlife crisis are multi-faceted, the symptoms can be just as varied. Many individuals can enter this stage of adulthood with minimal difficulty and only show small alterations in behavior. For others, this time of life can result in a complete modification of behavior, life style, and priorities. Below are signs that most generally characterize an individual suffering from midlife crisis:
- Depression: This may be moderate to severe. Patients may recognize that something seems wrong, but may not be able to pinpoint the area of concern. In serious cases, suicidal thoughts or actions may be apparent, a disinterest in previously enjoyed activities, or an inability to function well within the family or society can all be signs of severe depression.
- Life Change: Quitting or changes professions without planning ahead, neglecting responsibilities both at home and work, abruptly ending a marriage or serious relationship, pursuing extramarital relationships, and sudden drinking binges or alcohol abuse are commonly linked behaviors to midlife crisis.
- Finances: Unnecessary and excessive spending on items that would not normally be purchased by an individual.
- Appearance: A person may begin to make drastic changes in their physical appearance. Oftentimes, a sudden determination to look more youthful or a complete modification of how one looks accompanies midlife crisis.
WHAT TO DO
If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of midlife crisis there are some things to keep in mind. First, don’t panic. For many, a midlife crisis is nothing more than a time of serious reflection on past failures and missed opportunities. Many individuals are able to transition through this process with little to no effect on major areas of their life. In fact, this period of time can often be an excellent era for self improvement. However, some cases do entail extreme change and radical behavior modification. In these instances, it is important to discuss your concern with the person affected or with a trained counselor if it is your own personal struggle.