A new study has said that one-third of bright, educated women in their 20s are actually suffering from a 'quarter-life' crisis.
A toxic cocktail of financial worries and fear of unemployment due to the recession has left hundreds of thousands of high-flying young women terrified.
A report by investment firm Skandia claims that one in three women in their 20s with a university degree are suffering from an anxiety crisis and have even delayed entering romantic relationships as a result.
The reported also fund that one in four men are gripped by the same anxieties.
"These young women have worked hard through school and university," the Daily Mail quoted Dr Meg Jay, a leading psychologist who worked with the study's authors, as saying.ut now in the real world the recession has thrown them off course and caused them huge amounts of uncertainty.
"I've come across young women like this who keep up an appearance of being strong but find themselves every day in tears," Jay said.
It's usually men who struggle through a mid-life crisis in their 40s or early 50s but the research suggests young women are also at risk of going off the rails.
Other symptoms suffered by women included nightmares and loss of appetite. In the worst cases, young women delayed entering romantic relationships because they were so stressed out by their financial fears.
"These young women feel they have enough on their plates with keeping their jobs and raising money for their homes - they don't feel they can cope with dating as well," Dr. Jay said.
The study found an estimated 4.1million young people in Britain were suffering from a quarter-life crisis and were unsatisfied with the direction their lives were taking.
Of these, 1.7million were in the grip of a 'severe crisis'. Most believed they had fallen hopelessly behind with financial goals such as buying a home or paying off student debt and a third were putting themselves under huge amounts of pressure to succeed in their careers or jobs.
However the majority of young people surveyed said they were not yet worried about saving for retirement.
"The decade between your 20s and 30s is probably the most challenging time of your life, where ambition meets reality and the term "cost of living" really hits home," Graham Bentley, head of investment strategy at Skandia UK, said.
"What's worrying though is that less than a quarter are saving anything towards their retirement, which means they could be heading for a three-quarter-life crisis further down the line," Bentley added.