Empty Nest Syndrome Can Overpower Ability to Function

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.

Empty Nest Depression

For thousands of parents, the end of summer also brings the arrival of “the empty nest syndrome,” when one or more children leave home for college. Middle age brings many life changes one of which is having to discover living a new lifestyle – an “empty nest” one.  A parent may experience sadness, grief, loss, and loneliness when the children leave home; for many, these negative feelings may linger on, developing into depression.

Treatment for Empty Nest Depression

It is normal to feel sadness, grief and loss when a child leaves home; however, when those emotions interfere with your daily life it is imperative to seek professional help. Empty nest syndrome’s emotions, fears and depression are treatable. This can be a time to enjoy new freedom in your life as well as realizing that without having a child at home there are new adventures waiting just ahead.

Seek Help with Severe Symptoms

Painful emotions and feelings that become stronger and more severe signal that it is time to seek professional help. Following is a list of symptoms that may occur during empty nest syndrome depression – if you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, call for mental health help:

  • Excessive crying
  • Feeling that your life is now useless with nothing left to live for
  • Avoidance of friends; relationships damaged
  • Calling in at work; job performance impaired
  • Losing your sense of identity
  • Mood related changes in appetite
  • Constant worry and anxiety over child’s welfare
  • Insomnia, low energy and poor concentration
  • Finding no joy in life any longer
  • Looking for solace in alcohol and drugs
  • Thoughts of suicide or of harming yourself

Empty Nest Syndrome Help

If you experience symptoms of depression that are interfering with your life, call the office to set up a confidential appointment. Learn to manage your symptoms to begin enjoying life once again.


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.