A recent research study by the National Institute on Aging has shown an unexpected link between substance abuse and higher mortality rates among people in the U.S. who are middle-aged. It’s not uncommon for people in this age group to find themselves going through a midlife crisis, which can predispose some to seek out drugs or alcohol to cope with a time of intense difficulty.
Substance Abuse In Midlife
According to results from one national survey, 14 percent of men and 6 percent of women who are at least 50 and older have self-reported one binge drinking episode during a 30-day period. Overall substance abuse disorder rates among this age group are expected to increase to 5.7 million people by the year 2020.
Midlife Crisis and Addiction
The ages between 45 and 64 years old are typically considered midlife years. At this point in life, you may be going through some stressful periods that are often related to:
- Career or job issues
- Relationship with a significant other
- Children getting older who may have left home (empty nest syndrome)
- Thoughts of aging and nearing the end of life
- Bodily changes that come with aging
The stress and sadness you endure during a midlife crisis may cause some to try to cope by turning to substance abuse. If you’ve struggled with addiction at some point in your youth, there is a greater risk for substance addiction in the midlife years.
The emotional crisis that can occur during your forties or fifties may cloud judgment, and alcohol and drugs can seem like the only answer to shut down the psychological pain. Recognizing and understanding the signs of a midlife crisis can better equip you to deal with the issues you’re facing. Professional help can assist you in addressing these concerns to prevent substance use or help you return to sobriety.
Signs of Midlife Crisis
The signs that you may be experiencing a midlife crisis can be a different for everyone.
- You may begin to worry excessively about your health.
- Hard, existential questions occur often, like “Who am I?” or “Where is my life or career headed?”
- You begin to compare yourself to others and where they are in their successful lives as compared to yours.
- Time may feel as though it’s flying by and you’ve accomplished very little in life.
- Obsessions with weight loss and looking more youthful seem to take over. This may present as trying to dress and act more youthfully.
- As you become confused about where your life is going, you may begin to blame others for your situation.
- Depression may set in as thoughts of death become more and more scary.
- Some desire more romance in their lives and seek out an extramarital affair.
If these symptoms apply to you or someone you care about, and substance use has become an issue, Silver Ridge is committed to providing you with the clinical, emotional, and psychological help that will meet your needs during recovery.