What is Empty Nest Syndrome?

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on December 20, 2021.

Empty nest syndrome refers to feelings of sadness and grief many parents experience when their children leave home. As a parent, letting your children go can be painful, even if you've encouraged them to become independent. You may miss the constant companionship or feel nostalgic for the days you had children at home who needed your care.

How Does Empty Nest Syndrome Lead to Substance Use?  

Sadness is normal for parents who have difficulty adjusting to an empty nest. In more severe cases, parents experience substance dependencies and mental health conditions such as depression. To deal with empty nest syndrome, some parents may search for a way to soothe their unwanted feelings.

Certain methods of dealing with empty nest syndrome may lead individuals to engage in substance use. If doctors can identify depression and generalized anxiety in parents, they may provide treatment and help these individuals before they misuse substances.

Healthier Options for Overcoming Empty Nest Syndrome 

To cope with empty nest syndrome, you can:

  • Socialize: Being around other people can improve our emotional and mental health, and research shows connecting with others is healthy for our body and mind. 
  • Practice self-care: Small decisions or actions that add up to a healthier lifestyle can help you day-to-day.
  • Make plans: Scheduling meet-ups with your children will give you something to look forward to and help you feel like you're a part of their lives. 
  • Travel: Having new experiences is a great way to boost your mental health and improve brain function. 
  • Take up a new hobby: Whether it's doing something musical or artistic, reading, spending time outdoors or learning a new skill, having a hobby is an excellent way to improve your wellbeing and mental health. 
  • Ignite romance: Carving out time to spend with your significant other can help you bring more positivity into your life. If you don't have a significant other, you could try dating.

Let Diamond House Detox Help You Deal With Empty Nest Syndrome

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction due to empty nest syndrome, Diamond House Detox is here to help. We focus on mental health and evidence-based treatment to help our clients cope with this phenomenon.

Explore our available treatment programs for empty nesters in California, including residential stabilizationaddiction therapy and addiction treatment programs. You can also contact us online today for more information.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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