Divorce stress syndrome is similar to PTSD

Divorce stress syndrome is similar to PTSD

By Liz Lockhart

With several recent high-profile marriage break-ups, the mental health implications are now hitting the headlines.  Experts believe that break-ups are taking a worrying toll on our health with symptoms such as panic attacks, insomnia and many psychosomatic health problems and are calling this condition 'divorce stress syndrome'.

It was recently reported that Andrea McLean, the Loose Women presenter, has suffered a harrowing panic attack just minutes before she was due to appear live on television.  The Mail Online reported that she collapsed backstage, crying uncontrollably as she struggled with the emotional aftermath of the collapse of her second marriage to builder Steve Toms after just two years.

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The same article states that Demi Moore is reported to be in rehab following the break-up of her marriage to Ashton Kutcher last November.  She has been suffering from seriously deteriorating health with weight-loss leaving her a worrying six-and-a-half stone.

Michigan State University has recently published research findings from a 15 year study which reveals that those who divorce experience a more rapid decline in their health than those who remain married.  Other studies suggest that men suffer more long-term health problem if they do not remarry, whilst women are inclined to suffer more seriously in the short-term.

Experts say that it is important for women to accept that they may go through a difficult transitional stage.  Some feel that newly-divorced people go through the same stages of readjustment as those who are coming to terms with bereavement.  Feelings of denial, depression, anger and acceptance are common but it is important to seek help if the feelings become overwhelming.

The worries which bombard people who are faced with life without their partner vary dependent on the age of the individual.  For those with young children their concerns often center on raising their family alone along with natural feelings of rejection and failure.  For older people it can be the prospect of growing old on their own and feelings of resentment having given the ‘best years of their lives’.  Financial worries tend to fill the minds of most people facing life without their partner, especially those with young children.

It would appear that in America the attitude towards the stress suffered through divorce seems to be one of far better understanding and acceptance.  High-conflict divorce is seen to be so stressful that it has been reclassified as one of the causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Women are twice as likely to suffer from PTSD under this circumstance having symptoms which include flashbacks, heightened anxiety, insomnia and psychosomatic illness.

If you feel that you are one of many who are not coping with the break-up of your marriage or relationship there is help at hand.  There is a service which offers therapy and advice to people going through a marriage break-up the details of which can be found here.  

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