Buying an expensive sports car, getting a fancy Tattoo, Botox injections or trading your partner for a younger model. What do you think first about this kind of behaviour? Midlife Depression? MIDLIFE CRISIS! Right, so what is it really all about?
Midlife is an emotionally and sometimes physically uncomfortable period that men and women go through between the age of 35 and 55. Individuals differ. Each one has unique experiences about this time. And they are not all negative. Studies suggest that only 10% of the U.S. population has an identifiable midlife crisis. Most people manage to work their way through midlife without too much trouble. They look on it as a time to question priorities and adjust their lifestyle to fit better with emotional needs.
However, others struggle to find balance in their life. They may experience an inability to make decisions about their future. This runs counter to the need for adventure and change. Many direct anger and blame towards their spouse. Perhaps they have doubts about their choice of partner. Perhaps they desire a new, more passionate and intimate relationship. Other symptoms include loss of interest in things that used to be important, as well as feelings of depression.
This article aims to help you understand and deal with midlife depression.
Women’s risk of depression often increases when they reach midlife. Research indicates that depression occurs most often in the period leading up to menopause, called the perimenopausal years, rather than during menopause itself. In perimenopause oestrogen levels gradually decline, leading to depression. Genetic predispositions, stress factors and role changes emerging during middle age raise the likelihood of depression further.
The Most Common Symptoms of Midlife Depression
- Sadness, hopelessness and pessimism
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Inability to focus or make decisions
- Unusual appetite, leading to weight loss or gain
- Change in sleep patterns
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Excessive feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Restlessness, anxiety or irritability
- Thoughts of suicide
Please note: Depression and menopause share many of the same symptoms. Therefore, depression can go undiagnosed and untreated in women. Consequently, it can increase the risk of developing other serious medical conditions, such as heart attacks. If you are in any doubt, seek professional guidance.
Treating Midlife Depression
Antidepressant medications and hormone replacement therapy are shown to counteract depression. However, be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of these treatments with your health care provider.
- Herbal Remedies, Dietary Supplements and Alternative Medicine
At this time, there is very little scientific evidence supporting alternative treatments for depression, and no standardised information about ingredients or dosing instructions. Seek advice before taking any herbal or dietary supplements.
Either alone or in combination with medications, psychotherapy (or so called “talk therapy”) has been shown to be effective in helping patients manage the fight against depression.
In addition to pursuing medication and psychotherapy as strategies to treat your depression, you can take a number of actions on your own to help manage your symptoms and feel better.
Don’t feel as if you have to do it all by yourself. Ask for help with housekeeping, meals and other daily tasks. Make it a priority to participate in activities you enjoy. Now is your time to be Sensibly Selfish, put yourself first and your energies will be the right sort to help those you love.
As little as 10 minutes’ exercise a day has been shown to be beneficial for both physical health and your mood. The activity doesn’t have to be exhausting; a brisk walk is all it takes.
All those changes going on at Midlife lead to increased stress which makes symptoms even worse. Set realistic expectations about what you can accomplish, and let go of those high expectations you place on yourself, they won’t do you any good. Allow yourself time to rest and relax.
Getting enough good quality sleep is important for promoting good physical health. Establish good sleep habits, and make sleep a priority. It is not always easy to get a good night’s sleep and deal with night sweats. Look for ways of keeping these to the minimum.
Healthy nutrition is essential to managing depression. A balanced diet will make you feel better and let you think clearer. Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and nuts.
How did you experience midlife, would you consider it to have been a midlife crisis? Tell your story, share your experience or ask a question. You can use the comment box below or send me a personal message by clicking HERE.
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