Change is tough, and life transitions – such as moving to a new area, transitioning into or out of a relationship, adjusting to parenting for the first time, or changing careers – can be difficult.
It’s normal to feel a certain amount of stress during these types of transitions. You are adjusting mentally and physically to a new normal, which can be uncomfortable or unsettling.
However, sometimes transitions can get in the way of a healthy lifestyle and feelings that accompany them can become serious.
Mental Health & Life Transitions
“Life transitions” is not a mental health diagnosis in and of itself, but problems can arise while adjusting to changes that can lead to diagnosis, including:
- Major depressive disorder
- General anxiety disorder
- Substance abuse disorder
Examples of Life Transitions
There are many life transitions that may result in the diagnosis of a mental health disorder. Some scenarios include:
- A new relationship/marriage or divorce
- The birth of a child
- Financial struggles
- Illness or a death of a family member
- Losing a job
Signs of Trouble Adjusting
Difficulties adjusting to a life transition may cause symptoms similar to those during other stressful experiences.
These may include:
- Low energy
- Low moods
- Upset stomach
- Frequent colds and infections
- Significant decrease of sex drive
- Either loss of appetite, or increased appetite
- Feeling generally overwhelmed
- More anxiety than usual
- Tendency to socially isolate one’s self
Periods of acute stress—like significant lifestyle changes—can also exacerbate mental health problems among individuals with psychiatric disorders like anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders.