You may have heard the common statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce. In reality, divorce occurs in about 37 percent of marriages according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although only 45 states provided data.
The interruption of everyday lifestyle practices and loss of overall security that can come with divorce can bring with them a wealth of mental health issues. These are some of the most common mental health issues linked to divorce and what you can do to overcome them.
Types of Mental Health Issues Linked to Divorce
Divorce can cause a range of issues that affect your mental and physical well-being. These are some of the most widely seen mental health issues that people experience during and after a divorce:
Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions divorced people experience. You might experience overwhelming sadness that feels similar to that felt when a loved one dies. It’s not uncommon to feel a sense of worthlessness after a divorce as well. It becomes a concern when those feelings affect your ability to perform everyday household management, work, child-rearing, and other activities. Suicidal ideation and thoughts are urgent matters that need immediate attention as well.
Anxiety is also common to family members affected by divorce. Children often become anxious when faced with the idea of not having their parents together or choosing who to live with. You might feel distraught and worried about how to pay your bills without an additional household income. It’s common to feel anxious that you’ll never meet the right person. Anxiety can be a crippling issue that causes other mental health issues to occur. So if you’re experiencing divorce-related anxiety, talk to a professional immediately.
A divorce can cause self-esteem issues such as low confidence, codependency, and body dysmorphia. You might feel like you’re unworthy of long-term committed love. You might believe you don’t measure up to other people in terms of looks, age, or weight. The likelihood of developing a self-esteem issue after divorce is higher in relationships that involve domestic violence, emotional abuse, or infidelity. You’ll need to search for ways to build your self-esteem, like participating in a sport or activity where you can see yourself improve little by little.
The ending of a relationship can cause sleepless nights and insomnia. People living with Insomnia usually can’t get to sleep at a reasonable time, or can’t stay asleep once they fall into it. The lack of sleep can cause additional issues, such as confusion, irritability, fatigue, and lowered judgment and reaction time.
When you’re going through a divorce, it may be tempting to soothe your emotions with pizza and ice cream, and once in a while, that’s fine. But when eating junk food becomes a habit, you can pack on extra pounds and see your energy levels dip, which will make you feel worse.
Some people suffering from emotional issues after a divorce turn to alcohol or drugs. It may be tempting to down a few extra glasses of wine or experiment with drugs to numb the sting of relationship loss. But those indulgences can turn into a habit that can cause serious addiction, legal issues, or the loss of custody of your children.
Signs of Mental Health Distress
Some signs usually become apparent when someone suffers from mental health distress. These are some of the most common symptoms that a divorce is taking its toll on you.
Feelings of Worthlessness
Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness may arise when you experience a sudden loss. A long-term commitment or relationship such as a job or marriage can easily cause those feelings to occur. You might feel like it was your fault the relationship ended, even if that’s not the case.
Lack of Motivation
Lack of motivation can signal a mental health crisis. You might lose the desire to show up for work, keep up with household chores, or communicate with other people. That can become a serious issue if it affects your job, schooling, or personal relationships.
Turning to Alcohol or Drugs
Habits form right before full-blown addictions occur. You might notice an increased tendency to consume drugs or alcohol when painful feelings arise. Dependency occurs when ceasing to use a substance results in painful bodily and mental health withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment Options for Divorce-Induced Mental Health Crises
If you’re suffering from a mental health issue during or after a divorce, treatment is available. These are some of your options:
Drug or Alcohol Rehabilitation
A drug or alcohol rehabilitation program is one of the most effective treatment plans for someone suffering from drug addiction. Programs may include detox, counseling, one-on-one therapy, alternative therapies, and 12-step programs.
Spiritual programs focus on becoming one with the universe or a deity and recovering using those ideals. A spiritual program may include pastoral coaching, reshaping one’s lifestyle, and reading certain faith-based texts.
Meditation is a practice that can help with anxiety, stress, and even waves of depression. The art of meditation consists of learning how to calm oneself and breathe to release negative energies. You can meditate with or without music, anywhere and any time you’d like. Try taking five minutes to meditate before leaving for work, or incorporate meditation into another daily task, like walking the dog.
Health and Wellness Programs
Focusing on health and wellness is another way you can get through a mental health crisis. Sometimes, vitamin and nutrient deficiencies contribute to those crises. Try talking to a nutritionist about your diet and what nutrients you might be missing. An exercise program will also help release good-mood endorphins that can improve your mental and physical health.
Self-Pampering and Personal Growth
Self-pampering is always an excellent way to get through a mental health crisis. Love starts with your love for yourself. That’s why it’s essential to take time for yourself. Watch your most-loved movies, cook your favorite dinner, and treat yourself to a nice bubble bath. Taking time to treat yourself right can put you on the right track to feeling better.
cdc.org – Marriage and Divorce
healthline.com – Managing Depression After Divorce
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32338552/- Anxiety, depression and associated factors among recently divorced individuals
healthypeople.gov – Mental Health and Mental Disorders
nimh.nih.gov – Depression