Oct 12, 2022 - Health

Making it through midlife

Illustration of someone holding up a lamp in the darkness with a glowing brain inside

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The midlife crisis is real, new research tells us.

  • People in their 40s and 50s, in rich countries, are prone to a rise in suicidal thoughts, job stress, depression and alcohol dependence, according to a new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.
  • In fact, age 45 is when people reach their "maximum level of work stress," per the study.

The backdrop: Researchers studied 500,000 people from wealthy nations around the world — and discovered a series of "hill curves" when looking at their mental health.

  • Major indicators of mental duress (depression, thoughts of suicide, stress, headaches and alcohol use) peaked in midlife — regardless of income, nationality, gender, or whether or not people had kids.

Between the lines: The study authors noted that midlife crises aren't discussed enough.

  • "We believe the seriousness of this societal problem has not been grasped by the affluent world's policymakers," they wrote.

👀 What to watch: There's evidence that the midlife crisis may be moving to earlier in life due to the pandemic, Fortune reports.

  • Younger workers are reporting mounting burnout. They're resigning and "quiet quitting" in droves — potentially pointing to a rise in mental duress and work stress hitting us all sooner.

The bottom line: This research study — like many others — reinforces the critical act of checking in with friends, family, colleagues and neighbors.

  • You never know how someone is doing ... until you ask. 
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