Divorce can Give Rise to PTSD and other Mental and Physical Problems

It seems that even though a couple might be willing to get divorced, the act itself, still gives rise to a lot of negative health impacts. A recent study suggests that divorce makes people experience physical as well as emotional ailments.

The new study adds to the ever growing field of research that focuses on ‘divorce stress syndrome’. According to a lot of therapists and doctors, divorce can lead to a person suffer from mental and physical side effects that include stress, depression, eczema, and even muscle pain.

A family therapist by the name Charlotte Friedman, she also runs the Divorce Support Group in the U.K., said that nearly all of the individuals she has seen suffer from symptoms such as low mood, insomnia, stress and depression. She added that approximately 60% of the people she has worked with also end up suffering from physical side effects such as migraines, muscular tension and eczema. Even though a marriage is unhappy and a divorce is inevitable, it can still take its toll on the health of individuals involved.


A recent study by researchers from the University of Michigan shone more light on the issue. The current study focused on the experience of divorce and how it led to people reducing their overall health when compared to people who remain married.

The results of the study showed that when it came to gender, men were seen to suffer from more long-term health issues after getting a divorce, while women demonstrated being affected in the short-term. These health issues have been linked to grief and stress by experts.

High-conflict divorces, due to being very stressful, have been reclassified in the U.S. as a cause of PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a condition that is commonly linked to victims of accidents or soldiers who have experienced war.

Research shows that women are twice as vulnerable to suffer from PTSD. They end up suffering from symptoms such as unsocial behavior, insomnia, psychosomatic illness, heightened anxiety, and even flashbacks. Even though the divorce could be a decision made by the wife, things such as leaving the marriage, emptiness and stress can still play a negative role in her life.

The lead author of the current study, and a legal professor based in Arizona, Dr. David Pastrana said that people who are newly-divorced end up going through the same stages linked to emotional readjustments that people trying to come to terms with bereavement have to go through. These stages are denial, anger, depression and acceptance. Going through a divorce can have physical, emotional and mental affects that an individual wasn’t expecting.

He added that acknowledging that a person has to move on and experience a transitional healing process can help individuals cope with the whole ordeal. When a person understands why and what they’re feeling, they can start working on treatment and proper adjustments.

Dr. Pastrana’s opinions have been supported by Dr. James Lynch, the author of The Broken Heart: The Medical Consequences Of Loneliness. He added that research has only just begun to understand the links present between physical illness and emotional stress.


According to conducted research, the damage due to free radicals is increased because of psychological stress. Free radicals can be defined as unstable molecules that end up attacking healthy cells inside a person’s body. It is believed that these free radicals play a role in the development of heart related diseases, cancer, and more.

When a person feels stress, the body produces more cortisol. This hormone destabilizes the immune system and makes it less efficient with regards to preventing numerous illnesses. A lot of studies have shown a relationship to be present between cancer and a person’s stress levels.

Keeping the results from the current study in mind it is being advised that people going through a divorce should understand and acknowledge all of the emotional stress it comes with. Proper counseling and other coping mechanisms can help lessen negative effects.

Category: News

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Article by: Douglas Norman

Douglas writes all the latest health news for BodyFatLoss. He is very diligent about finding all the facts and sources of any new health and fitness findings.