Can Divorce Cause PTSD?

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Divorce is difficult for everyone involved, no matter how amicable it may be. It requires an entire change of lifestyle, behavior, location, family dynamic, and more. Many people experience symptoms of grief and depression after divorce, even if they are satisfied with the outcome. This brings up an important question: can divorce cause PTSD?

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post-traumatic stress disorder occurs after any traumatic event. The mind struggles to process memories and emotions, so it ‘short circuits.’ This can lead to memory lapses, blackouts, uncontrollable crying, and much more. PTSD is most often associated with military members in combat, but it can also stem from car accidents, extreme grief, sudden life transitions, and other traumatic events. Divorce can be a traumatic experience, so it is possible for divorce to cause PTSD symptoms. This does not occur in every case, but it is a possibility.

Symptoms of PTSD after Divorce

The symptoms of PTSD vary from one person to the next. Common PTSD symptoms include:

  • Flashbacks or blackouts
  • Memory lapses (Example: you can’t remember anything that happened from 7PM to 9 PM last night)
  • Being easily startled or feeling on-edge
  • Nightmares or bad dreams
  • Avoiding places, items and tasks that trigger memories from the past
  • Feeling emotionally numb

For an official PTSD diagnosis, these symptoms must occur for at least 30 days and have an impact on day-to-day life. If this is not the case for you, you can still seek treatment for your symptoms. At Urban Balance, we provide depression counseling, grief counseling, family counseling, post-divorce counseling, and much more.

Note that PTSD tends to develop after a series of traumas, not a standalone event. In the case of a divorce, the traumas may be associated with violent arguments, abuse or constant fear for your marriage. Your PTSD triggers may cover a range of experiences because they are rooted in many different memories.

How to Treat Post-Divorce PTSD

Whether your depression after divorce is temporary or long term, there are treatments available for you. One of the best ways to overcome depression and control PTSD is through therapy. By working with a therapist, you can address the underlying issues that are causing your depression or PTSD symptoms. For instance, you may be holding on to anger about your marriage, or events from your marriage may have changed your perspective about events in the present. With therapy, you can learn how to change negative thought patterns and bring closure to past experiences.

If you are interested in post-divorce counseling, PTSD treatment or depression therapy, contact us at (888) 726-7170.