Most everyone is familiar with the term “midlife crisis,” manifested in behaviors like buying a motorcycle or engaging in somewhat reckless or random actions. Midlife is no joking manner and can pose some difficulties in the lives of those individuals. 

What happens in midlife?

Ages 45 to 64 are traditionally considered midlife when you’ve braved the younger years but have yet to reach the golden ones. Midlife can be closely associated with periods of stress due to a number of factors, including: 

  • Career dissatisfaction or anxiety
  • Spousal relationship complications
  • Empty nest syndrome
  • Bodily changes, such as menopause
  • The realities of aging
  • A change in relationships or roles
  • Reflecting on past experiences and possible regrets 

For some, midlife might manifest as depression. Others might simply feel a lack of energy, zeal or motivation in what they do. Still, others will fall into addiction as a means to cope with new or unrecognized feelings or emotions.

Addiction and substance abuse in midlife

A large number of midlife individuals can turn to addictive substances as a coping mechanism. Substances such as marijuana and alcohol act as stress relievers, which can be very appealing for those undergoing intense periods of stress and anxiety. However, so many middle-aged individuals have begun turning to substance abuse that middle-aged addiction is nearly as large a problem as addiction in the younger years.

Dependence on foreign substances occurs partially as a means of coping with stress, but also because of other factors. These can include: 

  • The ease with which opioid prescription medication is acquired
  • Past experiences with substance use
  • Coping with mental health

High stress levels and depression are common occurrences in middle-aged individuals. Unfortunately, these same individuals are less likely to seek out counseling or therapy than someone below the age of 44, with only 9.1% of adults aged 45-64 utilizing their services. Instead, a great number turn towards substance use to stem mental health symptoms.

When someone chooses to use addictive substances as a means of handling emotional and mental problems, it’s more of a band-aid solution than a long-term fix. Co-occurring mental health conditions are magnified into a bigger problem with an additional substance abuse factor. 

When should I seek help for midlife addiction?

Visiting a professional counselor or therapist for help can be intimidating, but it in no way makes you a failure. In fact, it’s a huge step in the right direction, and one marked with much courage and admirable humility.

You might want to consider reaching out to a licensed professional if you experience any of these symptoms: 

  • You find yourself so restless and anxious that you frequently can’t eat or sleep. Failing to seek help could lead to additional health problems linked to lack of sleep or poor nutrition.
  • Your stress is impeding both your attendance and concentration levels at your job.
  • You find yourself more likely to get into fights with your significant other, your family or possibly even coworkers about a wide range of issues, some unimportant.
  • Hobbies and leisure activities don’t seem to interest you anymore.

The training and guidance a counselor or therapist offers can help you address midlife trials, embrace a period of growth and enable you to emerge stronger and more determined.

To speak with a counselor today or learn more about substance abuse and addiction treatment programs for middle-aged individuals, reach out to Silver Ridge Recovery today at (855)-945-7788.