Is it a Mid-Life Crisis or Mid-Life Depression?

In today’s culture, dealing with a mid-life crisis has become a bit of a punchline. Your neighbor turns 50 and buys a red sports car. Or your brother hits 45 and suddenly quits his corporate job to start his passion project. But are actions like these just about chasing your youth or could they be a sign of something more serious? Sometimes, drastic life changes can be a sign of depression or anxiety.

It’s important to note that making significant changes or deciding to pursue a dream job isn’t necessarily a cry for help; sometimes these changes can be for the better. For some, a mid-life transition can be a time to evaluate what they’ve done so far in life and the things they would like to explore. Some people take up new hobbies or spend time developing new relationships or deepening current ones. It can be a good thing when people expand their horizons by trying new things; for example, taking a ballroom dance class or learning how to cook.

However, if you notice that these changes are accompanied by changes to a person’s behavior or lifestyle—they’ve abandoned hobbies or turned away from longtime friends, for example—it may be a sign that they’re dealing with depression. Depression can be common among men, particularly in midlife, and it can be difficult to ask for help. Keep an eye on the men in your life, and talk to them if you start to notice changes like:

  • Feeling hopeless or pessimistic about the future
  • A loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Feeling irritable
  • A change in sleeping habits – either sleeping more or less
  • A change in appetite – eating more or less than usual
  • Feeling guilt, helplessness or worthlessness
  • Physical aches or pains that don’t respond to treatment
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts

Keep in mind that men don’t always show typical signs of depression. Instead, they may withdraw, feel irritable or aggressive or display hostile behavior. Men may also hide their depression until it’s too late – men are three to four times more likely to commit suicide than women.

If you or a loved one is suffering with depression, seek help from a medical professional. Behavioral therapy, along with medication and lifestyle changes, can help put depression in remission so you feel more like your normal self.

Main Line Health provides comprehensive behavioral health services. Our holistic approach to treatment recognizes that mental and emotional health are integral to a healthy, full life. We provide both in-patient and outpatient services that address the whole person – mind, body and spirit.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 888-227-3898 or use our secure online appointment request form.

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