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Can Divorce Cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?


Divorce is a process that takes different paths depending on each of our particular histories. Some people zip through a divorce as if it were something they do every day and for those who have been married more than twice, it probably is just that easy! For others, the divorce process may push us to the point of despair and turbulent emotional wail. Then there are others who are stunned for a time, but seem to be able to shake it off and go on pretty normally with their lives.
What causes these different responses to the same event? It can be postulated that the difference is related to the paths each individual has taken in their lives up to the point of divorce. The Zip…

Some group of divorced people reaction is probably fairly emotionally healthy. A divorce should be a bit stunning and there should be a reaction to the event and process. It is normal for human beings to react to change and to spend some time learning how to accept and understand what has happened to them.

Some group of people, who suffer long and many times not silently, is a difficult group to categorize. This reaction may be due to numerous reasons including: low self-esteem, a personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental illness, just to name of few. The overall hallmark of this group is their inability to let go of their spouse, to take responsibility for their role in the divorce, and their need to be seen a martyr.


Can Divorce Cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


All of these characteristics are normal responses to a divorce up to a point. If someone is still trapped in them after 12 to 18 months they have passed from a normal reaction and moved into what this author is calling Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental and emotional condition that has its origins in a physical, emotional and/or mentally traumatic event that occurred anywhere from a few days to several years in the past. PTSD can develop by one overwhelming trauma as in 9/11 or by a series of smaller traumas or abuses occurring over several years such as living in an alcoholic home. It can be recognized from symptoms such as recurrent and persistent recollections of the traumatic event and recurring dreams of the event. Psychology has made great strides in recent years in the treatment of PTSD. Recent powerful psychology techniques such as Neuro Emotional Technique? or NET(TM), TFT, and EMDR have proven to be particularly effective in treating this disorder. It is not hard to spot someone who has PTSD. They are the people who continue to be depressed after the normal period of grief has passed. They are the person who tells complete strangers about how awful their ex-spouse was and continues to be to them.

They are the ones who are desperate to have their children and friends hate their other parent. They are the ones who carry their cross out in the open and go through the story of their martyrdom at least two or more times a day (even if it only to themselves and not to someone else. 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. It would appear that in today’s society, 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.


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