Midlife Crisis

Middle age crisis! Also known as midlife crisis. A very commonly used rather misused term. We have seen many times people are judging an individual especially lady saying she has middle age crisis. When as a woman you express sorrow, anger or sometimes just any other normal emotion, you are said middle age crisis.

So what exactly is this middle age crisis? How to know if it is actually middle age crisis? In this article we are going to discuss about all these facts of midlife crisis. Lets have a look.

What is this Middle age crisis

Midlife crisis is a crisis that is related with a feeling of depression, anxiety, anger, loss of interest with a feeling of approaching end of life. There is loss of creativity and confidence.

When Midlife Crisis Appear

Mid life is generally considered when one is between 40 to 60 years old. In this time range, people look back and think about their life path. Some are satisfied with their life, some are hopeful about their future days, but some have regrets about their past choices or past mistakes. They wish if they could change their life back and can correct all those mistakes. These are the people those who usually suffer from midlife crisis.

But the time range of midlife crisis can differ from person to person. Most commonly it is seen in the age range of 40 to 60 years. But it can come earlier or later based on individual life journey such as career, family life, new roles, responsibilities, health, social status, economical stability, etc.

Who may suffer from midlife crisis

Midlife crisis is not gender related. So, men and women both can be affected. There is a myth that women are mostly affected with the midlife crisis. But this is not true.

The symptoms of midlife crisis of men can be different from women. The symptoms in case of men usually are like

  1. Buying new cars (even when the capability is limited)
  2. Involved with new affairs
  3. Not taking responsibility of family
  4. Lack of interest for household work, etc.

The symptoms of midlife crisis of women are like

  1. A desperate attempt to stay young
  2. Lack of interest in daily works
  3. Lack of sex drive

What anyone will feel about aging does not depend upon gender. It depends upon the type of the person, the thinking ability, life experiences, life incidents, the overall health status of the person and about the ultimate mission and vision of the person about life.

Why does midlife crisis occur?

With aging, there are certain changes regarding health, brain function and memory, capability to do the work, sexual desire, and many more health-related changes. The perception of these changes differs from person to person. The ability to cope up with the changes also vary from person to person. May be this is the reason, not all person suffers from midlife crisis.

Some people don’t even show any symptoms of midlife crisis, some show moderate symptoms. But there are some people who are severely affected with midlife crisis symptoms.

Hormonal changes play an important role in the midlife crisis. Menopause effects and associated mental emotions can increase the chances to get midlife crisis symptoms.

Midlife crisis stages:

There are no prominent stages of midlife crisis. The scientific evidence does not support any stages. But yes, age related changes can cause distress. In that case, midlife crisis has three stages

The trigger:

Any stress in life has detrimental effects on our health. These can be triggering factor for midlife crisis. Any stress or moment of tension can cause anxiety over aging or getting older, a loss or lack of life purpose, or a fear of death. Most common triggers include job loss, health concern, illness of parents, loss of parents, any financial fear, concern over children, tension over daily activities, etc.

The crisis period:

This stage typically involves examining your doubts, values, self-esteem, relationship management, etc. When you don’t like what you discover about yourself or about your life journey, you may feel lost. One tries to reshape the life again by resuming childhood passions that was not continued due to any reason, or by exploring new passions. One also tries to be connected with romantic relations. People in this period try to explore every dimension of life once they wished for.


After the crisis period, period of resolution comes. The crisis usually ends when one accepts the life and feels more comfortable about what they have. One tries to accept the life and starts to be comfortable with the ongoing life.

How long does midlife crisis last?

There is no exact time limit that how long the symptoms of midlife crisis will last. Some people recover within a week or months. But some people finds it difficult to cope up with the present life and the symptoms may last for years.

How long one can suffer from midlife crisis depends upon the following factors

1. Stressors:

Presence of increased stress leads to longer presence of midlife crisis.

2. Cope up ability:

Cope up ability with the aging process or with any changes can determine how long a person will suffer from midlife crisis.

3. Life experiences:

When there is a history of previous traumatic life events, then midlife crisis can last longer.

4. Overall health condition:

Overall health condition plays a major role to determine how long midlife crisis can last. Good health lessen the chances to get midlife crisis and if it occurs, it usually lasts for shorter time period.

5. Personality:

Personality of the person also determines how long midlife crisis will last. Some people have a younger mindset, some are forever young in mind and heart, these type of people usually recover very earlier (may be within weeks) from midlife crisis.

6. Social factor:

Social well being of a person determines how early a person can recover from midlife crisis. People with social well being usually recovers early. Similarly, people with strong family bonding with other members of family recovers early.

How to know if one has midlife crisis

Midlife crisis shows symptoms. Though there are many other conditions where these symptoms can be present, but in general midlife crisis also shows these symptoms. So when a person shows these symptoms in the age range of 40-60 years, there are high chances that the person is suffering from midlife crisis.

The symptoms are the following

  • Decreased satisfaction towards life and decreased happiness
  •  Loss of life purpose or there is lack for leading a purposeful life
  • Self-doubt and lack of self confidence
  • Development of frustration with the new responsibilities or life roles
  • Boredom, dissatisfaction, depressed with any kind of relationship, career, or about life
  • Concern about appearance or outer look
  • Concerns about not getting attention by others
  • Thoughts about meaning of life, thoughts about death and after death life.
  • Changes in energy levels, from increased restlessness to unusual fatigue. One may loss interests in usual activities.
  •  Lack of motivation
  • Mood changes such as sadness, irritability, anger, etc. There are emotional outburst sometimes. A prominent emotional turmoil can be seen.
  • Sexual desire changes can be seen.

How to recover from midlife crisis

The feelings that you are going through in this midlife crisis is valid. No matter whether it is media hype or scientifically proven facts. There are ways to feel better or to deal with the symptoms so that one can get better with time. The following are the common ways to deal the midlife crisis.

Acknowledge your feelings

Your feelings are true. acknowledge it.

It is always better to open up about your feelings to your loved ones. If you can share your thoughts, your distress, your anxiety or any feeling that you are going through, try to discuss it with your loved ones. Sharing thoughts can help us to cope up with the situation in a much better way. Eventually you will feel relaxed.  Deep down you can also try to discover yourself

What can make me feel happy?

How can I take care my own needs?

With whom I enjoy my time?

What is the purpose of my life? What can make my life meaningful?

How can I make my days better?

What can make me fully satisfied?  

Remember age is just a number!

Yes,  you are getting older but that does not mean everything is over. In fact, everyone of this world is getting older in every second! Who not?! Try to acknowledge this fact. One can fulfil their dreams and desires in any time in their life. So, being a middle aged is not an issue. You still have a long way to go. Enjoy the life that you have in store.

Explore new things

Exploring new things can make the life adventurous. You can resume your old passion or can start to work for your new passion. Explore every possibility. Take all the challenges to make the life meaningful.

No regret about life, try to satisfy your life

You are still alive, so try every moment to satisfy your life. If it is possible, try to make up your past regrets. If it is not possible, do not waste your time just by regretting that what you could do. Rather try to engage yourself with newer activities that you like to do.

Take care of your health

Taking care for your own health is very important to live happily. Your feelings are also correlated with your health- be it physical or mental.

Never ignore your feelings. If you still unable to feel better, consult with a doctor. Many times, other health conditions can be the reason for your unwellness. Midlife crisis can be misinterpreted too. So, never delay to consult with a doctor. Live healthily and happily.


  1. Psychiatry, 2 Volume Set Book By Wiley
  2. Year Book of Psychiatry and Applied Mental Health 2012
  3. Textbook of Psychiatry E-Book, Elsevier
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