For many, middle age brings with it a number of changes to a person’s life. One change that parents know is coming but cannot be completely prepared for in advance, is when children leave the home for school or career goals. Parents are left with an “empty nest” for the first time in years.
Having a quiet home changes the dynamic of a couple’s relationship. Some find that this is a time in life when they can focus on their own goals after having raised their family to adulthood, while others (mothers and fathers included) find the transition more difficult.
The empty nest period can be a time of loss because the child is no longer at home or in touch regularly. Some parents regret they were not a bigger part of their children’s life when they were growing up and sometimes these feelings take a long time to or do not resolve completely. These individuals may develop depression.
How An Empty Nest Can Lead To Depression
Moving from having a household of hustle and bustle with activities and teenagers to one of quiet where only the couple resides can cause boredom and bring up feelings that have been buried for some time. If they are not dealt with appropriately, a parent can become depressed. Of course kids leaving home is not the only contributing factor. If a parent chooses to self-medicate their emotions and/or has a family history of mental illness, then the chance of depression is increased.
Changes In Relationships
The adjustment in the relationship between parents and children is not the only relationship which changes when an empty nest is experienced. The parents are forced to start dealing with life as a couple instead of “Mom and Dad.”
If they have not been taking steps to stay close over the years and nurture and grow their own relationship while raising a family, they may find this transition challenging. It can be very difficult to start to get to know one’s own spouse again after a number of years of putting the focus on the children.
The cost of post-secondary education is a big expense for families, especially if there is more than one child planning to go to college. Families may find it challenging to pay these expenses along with their regular financial obligations.
Once the children complete their education, they may still need financial help from their parents. This can continue to create a strain on the family budget at a time when parents were looking forward to their own retirement.
Some people may look back on the choices they made raising their children now that the children are moving on with their adult lives. They may feel guilty about decisions they made or about things they failed to do for their children.
Treatment For Mental Health Issues And/Or Addiction
Depression is a highly treatable mental health concern. Some people try to self-medicate by using drugs or alcohol, which does nothing to treat the depression and only opens the door to addiction. If you need help with depression, contact your family doctor. If you are looking for treatment for addiction and depression, contact us. We can help.
We do a complete assessment on each individual and determine any mental health issues and substance abuse issues. We then create a customized plan which includes holistic and traditional methods to treat both issues and focus on your individual needs and goals.
We will treat you with the respect and care that you need and deserve. Call our knowledgeable and caring staff now.