If your spouse has been exhibiting midlife crisis symptoms, you may be concerned about his emotional health. Midlife crises are not uncommon - in fact, they can partially be explained by the medical changes that happen to your body as you hit your late 40s and 50s.
Both men and women experience hormonal changes in this decade of change; if you're not prepared for the challenges that come along with these changes, you can be in for a doozey of a midlife crisis. Although individual reactions will vary, certain middle age transition indications are common.
What Causes Midlife Crises?
Midlife crises -- also termed midlife depression -- are brought on by a variety of changes that typically hit people in their 50s. The death of a parent, empty-nest syndrome, visible signs of aging, boredom with a job or hormonal changes can all converge to produce an emotional environment full of questioning, resentment, fear and depression.
Many men and women in their 50s find themselves desperate to reverse signs of aging, longing for the energy, zeal and virility of their youth and contemplative about the significance of the life they have lived thus far.
What Hormonal Changes Occur Midlife?
Most people know about and talk about how women go through menopause, but a lot of people don't know that men go through their own midlife hormonal changes. Men's bodies produce less testosterone and less human growth hormone as they get older, causing them to experience issues related to virility and energy levels. This hormonal change is now being referred to as andropause.
Women likewise may experience emotional instability and significant changes in sexual response as they go through menopause. All of these changes can cause you to long for your youth, resent growing older and become aware of your mortality in a keener way than previously.
What Are Common Midlife Crisis Symptoms in Men?
Men experiencing midlife crises often do things that make them feel young and hopeful again. These choices can be positive or negative. It is common for men experiencing midlife crises to quit jobs and start new careers that are more fulfilling or exciting, question their relationships and wonder if a younger partner might be more invigorating or spend money on toys such as cars or boats. They may suddenly take up exercising when exercise was never a priority before, or find themselves terribly depressed about and obsessed with how they have lived their lives thus far and how little time they have left.
They may be concerned about sexual changes, including ability to perform sexually, enjoy intense orgasms or make love as often as before. This can result in interest in sexual enhancement products, new sexual partners or new sexual experiences.
What Are Common Midlife Crisis Symptoms in Women?
Women having midlife crises are more likely to experience depression, gain weight, become introspective and question their purpose than men. They are likely to question the equality of their life position, especially if they stayed home with children who have now left home; many realize they too want to work a fulfilling career.
Women may question their choice of a life partner and fear they are losing value as a mate as they see signs of aging. They are less likely to spend money on toys or pursue younger men, but they are more likely to consider divorce and search for purposeful employment and equitable life partners.
What Should You Do if You Experience Midlife Depression?
Midlife crises need not be negative, but middle years problems, like any problems, need to be taken seriously. The changes that precipitate a midlife crisis can propel you towards purposeful life changes or drag you into midlife depression. An experienced therapist can help you navigate through these changes, including prescriptions for anti-depressants, if needed. Your medical doctor may also have suggestions for hormonal supplements and life changes that can help you ride out this time in your life.
Common midlife crisis symptoms are neither myth nor embarrassment. In fact, you can transform a midlife crisis symptom into a positive life change.
If you are coping with your midlife crisis symptoms, you may feel overwhelmed. Learn to navigate the choppy waters of a midlife crisis.
Ladies: has your 35-50 year-old man suddenly begun acting even more weirdly than he usually does? Has he hatched plans for giving up his sales job, taking all your savings and going to South America to find a cure for cancer?