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When do you think is the most common age to experience a midlife crisis? 35 years old? 40? 50?
The truth is there’s no set age for this phenomenon; everyone experiences a midlife crisis differently. Although, a lucky few may not experience it at all.
Most men feel the negative feeling creeping up sometime between their middle age, typically somewhere between their 40s to 60s. However, it’s not unheard of for these middle-aged men to experience it before or beyond this timeline.
Regardless of when you’re experiencing a male midlife crisis, it can be a great source of frustration, depression, and discomfort.
More specifically, the thought of aging can bring about feelings of great distress and put one’s focus on imminent mortality, which can be an unsettling realization.
While everyone harbors negative thoughts from time to time, a midlife crisis is something that can crush a man’s mental health. It’s not a medical diagnosis per se, but this dissatisfaction is a common enough phenomenon in clinical settings.
Worried you’re experiencing a midlife crisis yourself? Here are signs of a midlife crisis, its potential causes, and what you can do to overcome this distressing condition.
What is a Midlife Crisis?
A midlife crisis is a time in a person’s life wherein they feel an overwhelming sense of self-doubt and uncertainty due to certain life events. It typically happens between a person’s 40s to 60s; however, the timelines differ depending on who you ask.
During this period, men can feel their sadness seep into their everyday lives. A man’s midlife crisis can cause great strain in their romantic relationships, for instance. It can also negatively affect their career, personal life, and social relationships.
While the term midlife crisis is not recognized as an actual medical condition, it has been the subject of research in the past. One older study has reported that about 10% to 20% of people do experience it.
Development is a lifelong process, and major life events can lead to this state of emotional turmoil. If you are facing this problem, it’s in your best interest to seek the appropriate testing and the help of a mental health professional.
Signs of a Midlife Crisis
A midlife crisis can manifest differently from person to person. Here are some of the more common signs to tell that someone’s facing this crisis head-on:
- Clinical depression
- Other depressive symptoms
- Low self-confidence
- Increased moodiness
- Prone to poor judgment
- Giving up easily
- Anxiety, frustration and anger
Many of these signs overlap with diagnosable health conditions, like hormone imbalances, thyroid disorders, and major depressive disorder. Be sure to address the health complications before your internal state worsens.
Furthermore, if your partner notices any stark differences in you lately, it’s a good idea to listen to them as they may have insights that you may be currently blind to.
Causes of a Midlife Crisis
A midlife crisis materializes from the influence of family dynamics, cultural norms, personal values, and accumulated life experiences. It could be a sudden, drastic change in mindset or a slow and gradual realization.
Whatever the case, undergoing a midlife crisis can make living day-to-day much harder. Here are some potential causes that may explain your current emotional crisis:
- Aging concerns
- Empty nest syndrome
- Acknowledgment of mortality
- Unhappy relationships
- Hormonal issues
- Financial problems
These causes can happen in early adulthood and last until a person’s 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.
Many middle-aged adults can experience a combination of these causes and gradually spiral into feeling a great deal of existential concerns. They can also just experience one cause, like lowered testosterone levels, which can bring about these negative feelings with profound intensities.
Whatever the case, it’s best that you check for underlying health concerns before sweeping symptoms as a “midlife crisis”. Catching problems before they become worse can help you more easily overcome these health conditions.
How to Deal With a Midlife Crisis
Even if your distress has no medical recognition, it’s something that deserves to be addressed and treated accordingly, especially if it’s causing you great distress.
Here’s how men can develop healthy coping strategies for a midlife crisis.
- Acknowledge the root of your emotions: Introspect about your concerns and why you’re feeling the way you feel regarding the midlife crisis you’re facing. Refrain from pushing these painful thoughts away; instead, write them down in a journal or on your smartphone.
- Address underlying health concerns: If your blood test shows that you have low hormone levels, for example, take corrective action with your doctor’s guidance. Treating the root physiological health problem may help make recovery easier.
- Visit family members: If you’re facing Empty Nest Syndrome, schedule a time and date to meet with your children. This can fill up your social energy and bring you renewed energy and vigor for life.
- Make lifestyle changes: Living unhealthily can exacerbate depressive symptoms, whether due to midlife crisis, seasonal depression, or life circumstances. Eat a balanced diet, exercise more often, and avoid sleeping less than 7 hours a night.
- Take care of your mental health: If your mental health is in shambles, be proactive in correcting it. Go to a mental health provider to talk and ask for treatment; they may include SSRIs aimed to help aging parents become happier.