Empty Nest Syndrome, Depression, and Anxiety

Empty nest syndrome typically refers to the feelings of depression, grief, sadness or anxiety experienced by parents when their children, especially their last child leaves home for college, a job or marriage. While women predominantly make up the majority of those dealing with empty nest syndrome, men can also experience similar feelings of loss when their children leave home.

Empty Nest Syndrome and Depression or Anxiety Disorder

Empty nest syndrome may be responsible for feeling sad or depressed. These feelings are normal during this time of change. Feeling anxious as your child moves on to start their life away from home is also a normal reaction to experience. It is not normal however to let those feelings interfere with your daily life. Men and women who find themselves weighed down by loneliness, sadness, and negative emotions may develop depression which requires professional help.

Effects of Additional Life Changes

While dealing with the symptoms and depression associated with empty nest syndrome other factors can come into play that makes a parent even more vulnerable to developing clinical depression. Additional life changes include grieving for loss of a loved one, caring for an elderly frail parent, coming to terms with their place in the changing workforce, or facing retirement and any financial constraints that go along with that. Women have an additional strain as the empty nest syndrome often occurs along with perimenopause and menopause and their own challenge of living with fluctuating hormones.

Monitor Empty Nest Symptoms

It is important to keep track of your reactions and how long they may last. If you find yourself crying excessively, unable to function at work or with your daily routine, fearful and anxious about not knowing what your child is doing or if they are safe, or find yourself withdrawing from friends or family, please seek professional help. Depression and anxiety are treatable.

Empty Nest Psychiatrist

Making an appointment with a qualified psychiatrist will help you change the overwhelming sadness into excitement for your child’s new life adventures, and how you can continue to be an active part of their lives now and into the future. Call for a confidential appointment today.

About Darvin Hege

Dr. Darvin Hege, MD, PC, is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is an Emory Hospital residency trained psychiatrist who has been practicing psychiatry for more than 25 years. He maintains over 50 hours of AMA certified education each year to stay informed of advances in psychiatry.

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