With the end of summer and start of fall, thousands of parents across the country find themselves sending one or more children off to college. The lifestyle change that often occurs abruptly during this period of time is typically referred to as the empty nest syndrome where a parent faces dealing with middle age, loss, loneliness, sadness, fear, and depression. While seeing a child off to begin a new chapter in their lives is a joyful time with reason to celebrate, the changes and emotions can also interfere with a parent’s ability to function at work or home to such a degree that professional help is required.
Empty Nest Syndrome
Being impacted by the empty nest syndrome is normal and can be felt from when the first child leaves home to when the last child moves off to college or to start a new life elsewhere. College, employment, marriage, or military service are but a few reasons that a child may leave their family home. A change in the household status may bring a multitude of feelings and fears to the surface. It is normal to experience strong emotions during this time of change. It is not normal to let those feelings interfere with your daily life.
Empty Nest Symptoms That Require Help
The following more severe symptoms have been known to occur with empty nest syndrome and do indicate a need to seek mental health services as soon as possible. These emotions and feelings require professional treatment as they are impacting one’s ability to function with daily life tasks and in their social and more intimate relationships. If you or a loved one recognize any of the listed symptoms it is important to make the call for psychological help.
- Feeling your life is no longer useful
- Feeling there is nothing left to live for
- Feeling like there is no joy left in your life
- Feeling you have lost your sense of identity
- Excessive crying and weepiness
- Avoiding friends at work or in social situations
- Calling in at work to the extent it affects the job performance
- Turning to drugs and or alcohol to help deal with the situation
- Worry and anxiety about child’s safety that brings paralyzing fear
- Finding mood affects your appetite or ability to eat
- Poor sleep patterns or insomnia related to worry or fears
- Thoughts of suicide or of harming yourself
Empty Nest Syndrome Treatment
Treatment is available and can help you return to a functional life at home, work and in social situations. Change the sadness and fear into joy and excitement – call Dr. Hege, an expert in successfully treating those with empty nest syndrome for a confidential appointment today.