Many studies of addiction concentrate on the use of substances by young adults, however as the children of the sixties age there is a need for a greater understanding of the issues that contribute to the continued abuse of substances in middle age. It has been recognized in previous studies that substance abuse is often a self medicating behaviour for symptoms of stress amongst individuals who interpret life events as stressful or experience difficulty coping. This study looks at possible causes for life stressors in middle-age and proposes that mid-life can be a time when self-discrepancy inconsistency is at its most distressing. Perhaps mid-life crises can be explained by the distress that arises when our actual self does not meet our parent''s expectations or our own ambitions. This study proposes that when symptoms of distress occur the personality trait of sensation seeking can determine whether the individual attends the doctor for treatment or attempts to self-medicate. This report can be of use to health professionals working with addiction and distress amongst the middle aged population.