THE male midlife crisis is often made fun of, but for many men it is a distressing experience.
A midlife crisis can happen when men think they’ve reached life’s halfway stage and feel time is running out. It’s not a medical condition but people going through a midlife crisis can experience anxiety and depression.
The age at which people experience a midlife crisis can vary. It can typically occur anywhere between the age of 35 and 50.
Dr Derek Milne, a clinical psychologist, says: “If I was giving advice on how to cope, I’d suggest telling your GP you’re feeling depressed, because depression makes up a significant portion of the midlife crisis.”
Depression can be triggered by a major life change, such as divorce, separation, long-term illness, bereavement or job loss. Sometimes there appears to be no obvious reason.
Symptoms of depression can include: low mood lasting two weeks or more, not getting any enjoyment out of life, feeling hopeless, feeling tired or lacking energy not being able to concentrate on everyday things like reading the paper or watching television, sleeping more than usual or being unable to sleep.
When they reach their late 40s to early 50s, some men experience loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, mood swings and other physical or emotional symptoms.
Is there such a thing as a ‘male menopause’?
The ‘male menopause’ is an unhelpful term sometimes used in the media to explain some of the above symptoms.
This label is misleading because it suggests the symptoms are the result of a sudden drop in testosterone in middle age, similar to what occurs in the female menopause. This isn’t true. Although testosterone levels fall as men age, the decline is steady – less than 2% a year from around the age of 30-40 – and this is unlikely to cause any problems in itself.