THE term “midlife crisis” is often used to describe someone who suddenly does something atypical later in life.
It’s usually said as part of a joke, but it can actually be a serious event and a sign that they may need mental health help.
A number of things can trigger a midlife crisis, including caring for teenage children, caring for sick relatives, health problems, children leaving home, or relationship breakdowns.
For women, going through menopause can also trigger a midlife crisis-type event.
The impact of the “change” is enormous mentally and physically, and the hormonal transition can be very challenging.
It’s not clear who will or will not experience a midlife crisis, which is often accompanied by stress or anxiety.
Depression and stress are most common in midlife and are strongly associated with aging.
dr Deborah Lee from Dr. Fox Online Pharmacy tells patient.info: “When the crisis point is reached, they experience a profound mental breakdown, often accompanied by symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
“When people are younger, they are so energetic that they believe they can do anything they want, but a decrease in aliveness makes them notice the limitations of life and their activities.”
It is believed that people who smoke, drink heavily, are obese or do not exercise much are at greatest risk.
Strong social connections, good sleep, regular exercise, and the ability to keep your emotions in check will help stave it off.
The American Psychological Association says that common signs of a midlife crisis in a loved one are:
- A remarkable change in personal behavior
- Lack of usual personal hygiene
- A dramatic change in sleeping habits (either not being able to sleep or sleeping all the time)
- reduction in work performance
- Emotional outbursts (including anger, irritability, or anxiety)
- preoccupation with death
- withdrawal from social activities
- give up relationships
- Drink more alcohol
- Heavier smoking or abuse of illegal drugs
- Become obsessed with looks
Men and women may experience slightly different symptoms.
In women it is often related to menopause, so the more classic associated symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, insomniaDepressions.
Men may suffer from erectile dysfunction, feelings of intense sadness, have an affair, or develop sudden impulses.
dr Lee said, “It’s hard to say when a midlife crisis is likely to be over, but it tends to occur when the person reaches a stage of acceptance of their life changes.
“Although it might be a big shock at first when the person accepts that this is a part of life, they can focus on what they can do according to their age and continue to enjoy life.
“Even so, some people find it difficult to admit that they want to change and stay young.”
She said the best way to support someone you love going through a midlife crisis is to keep communicating.
Talk to the person you’re worried about, use sensitive language, and listen if they want to speak.
Be aware of any depressive or worrisome behavior and remain calm and patient.
If possible, you can encourage them to accept the changes they are facing and develop a more positive attitude.
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https://www.thesun.ie/health/8616484/midlife-crisis-11-signs/ The 11 Signs of Midlife Crisis Revealed in Men and Women