What Are the Signs of A Midlife Crisis? Reasons to Seek Help
Table of Contents
What Is A Midlife Crisis?
A midlife crisis is a time in one’s life, usually at their “mid-life,” where challenging emotions such as inner turmoil about mortality, identity, life choices, successes, and failures all occur. The idea of the midlife crisis is frequently associated with several common stereotypes fixated on individuals making dramatic life changes to restore a sense of youth and “gain back” lost years. There are multiple signs of a midlife crisis if you or someone you know is struggling with this issue.
Although this time in one’s life can involve several emotional and psychological challenges, it is not a medical diagnosis. However, it is not uncommon for people to experience challenges adapting to certain changes in their lives that may occur as they approach mid-life. Depending on the severity of their symptoms, some mental health challenges can arise, such as depression and anxiety.
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How Common Is A Midlife Crisis?
Although this stage of life does involve complex and sometimes exciting emotions, it does not guarantee one will experience a crisis of emotion or even see the common signs of midlife crisis. Statistics show only about 10-20% of people report experiencing some type of emotional health crisis related to midlife.1
What are the Signs of Midlife Crisis?
- An acute awareness of getting older
- Impulsive behavior
- A shift in mental or physical well-being
- Reflecting on the past
- Contemplating purpose and meaning
- A desire to experience new things
- Concerns about appearance & status
- Loss of interest in certain relationships
What Causes A Midlife Crisis?
Not everyone will experience a crisis as midlife approaches, and for those who do, the causes or reasons behind their experience may differ. Potential causes include:3
- Aging: Growing older and the idea of one’s mortality can trigger powerful emotions. For some, these emotions and associated worries and concerns may become overwhelming and difficult symptoms.
- Caring for Aging Parents: Caring for a loved one, such as a parent who is ill or needs extra support as they age, can trigger concerns about growing old, experiencing illness, or even death.
- Unmet Goals: Another cause of midlife crisis symptoms is unmet goals. Approaching midlife and examining one’s successes and failures may lead to increased stress, anxiety, and depression.
Common Stages of A Midlife Crisis
A particular stressor or tense moment leads to concern or worry over his life stage. Common examples of these triggers include job loss, the death of a parent, health concerns, and other day-to-day stressors.
The Crisis Itself
How to Deal With a Midlife Crisis
Because the signs of midlife crisis affect each person in unique and highly personal ways, there is no perfect or ideal way to manage it. Remembering your emotions and concerns are valid and finding ways to manage them safely and healthily is crucial to overcoming the challenges that a midlife crisis may present.
- Be open and honest with friends and loved ones about your concerns and emotions.
- Spend time outside in nature by going for a walk, hiking, or walking a pet.
- Be sure to care for your body with a balanced diet and adequate rest.
- Try journaling about your feelings.
- Volunteer in your community.
- Explore a new hobby or return to an old one. Develop passions and pastimes.
- Set new goals and ways to accomplish them.
- Take time for self-care.
How Does a Midlife Crisis Differ From Depression?
Some signs of midlife crisis may be confused with or mistaken for depression. Understanding the difference between the two can help you address your symptoms more effectively. There are a few differences between depression symptoms and signs of midlife crisis. For example:4
- Depression is a diagnosable mental health condition with specific criteria mental health professionals use to develop treatment plans.
- Midlife crisis symptoms occur during one’s middle adulthood, while depression can occur at any age.
- Symptoms of depression may be more severe and persistent than those of midlife crises.
- Depression treatment may include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes, while symptoms of a midlife crisis may resolve independently of therapeutic care.
- Depression, while highly treatable, is a life-long condition. In general, a midlife crisis lasts between two and ten years, depending on factors unique to the individual.
Are There Treatments for a Midlife Crisis?
Although there is no specific therapy model designed to treat midlife crises, some therapy may help you manage the symptoms that accompany this period of life. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, couples counseling, family therapy, and trauma-focused therapy are just a few examples.
How to Help Someone Experiencing a Midlife Crisis
Be A Good Listener
Express Your Concern
Let them know you are concerned and there for them when and if they need help. Remember that you cannot solve their problems and that it is essential to avoid minimizing their concerns.
Talk About the Importance of Getting Help
Mention the potential benefits of talking to someone outside of their immediate family or social group. A peer support group or therapy provider can help by encouraging your friend or loved one to explore their emotions and other potential root causes of midlife crisis symptoms or signs of midlife crisis.
Get Help For Yourself
Seek Immediate Assistance If Someone Is Suicidal
If someone you know is suicidal or talks of self-harm, it is vital to seek immediate help.
Get Professional Help for Signs of Midlife Crisis at Profound Treatment
As noted above, not everyone will experience emotional turmoil or signs of a midlife crisis as their midlife approaches. For those who do, therapy sessions with a professional at Profound Treatment can help you develop and proactive coping tools to manage your symptoms as you navigate these challenges. Therapy that teaches you about trigger and stress management will help with this crisis and future stressors later in life.
If you notice any signs of midlife crisis, contact us at Profound Treatment today to learn more about specific therapy models that may help you.