Does PTSD After Divorce Exist?

Does PTSD After Divorce Exist?

PTSD Post Divorce
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Divorce will bring about traumatic events that leave us scarred in the same way as a person who has survived combat. In fact, most divorces share similar types of combat, war, and traumatic events and end up the same way… with a loss.

Symptoms are classified into three broad categories. As you look at these, think about how they may relate to the trauma of a long-term, emotionally abusive relationship or terrible, lengthy divorce:

  1. Re-experiencing symptoms
  2. Avoidance symptoms
  3. Hyper-arousal symptoms

Within these categories are:

  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Depression
  • Emotional numbness
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Sudden, emotional outbursts of crying or rage

In a true, textbook diagnosis of PTSD, these symptoms must last longer than one month, during which time you must have at least:

  • One re-experiencing symptom
  • three avoidance symptoms
  • two hyper-arousal symptoms

Treatments for PTSD include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Medication

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".

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.

In summary, what may seem like lack of effort, in reality may be a disguise for the reactions associated with PTSD. The good news is that a problem like that can be successfully navigated through. If you believe yourself to be dating a very good person who would be very compatible with you then have a heart to heart about what you are struggling with and what you think he or she may be struggling with. Instead of pointing fingers at each other, you can recognize the discord for what it really is… a reaction to trauma. If you then can commit to the willingness to stay with the relationship then you will find yourself getting to the other side of trauma… communication can become what you hoped it would be, you can sustain a closeness, and eventually have that relationship you had longed for.

Cover Image Credit: guyvorce.com

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."
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It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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My Eating Disorder Was A Secret, Even From Me

No one ever talks about it, and if they had my life might be different.

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I remember ninth grade health class very well, specifically one day in particular. The day we talked about eating disorders, I was ready to hear about anorexia and bulimia. I was not ready to walk out of that classroom with confirmation that I had an eating disorder, but that is exactly what I did that day.

After speaking on anorexia and bulimia, my teacher told us about Binge Eating Disorder.

My 14-year-old ears perked up. I had never heard of this disease, but I was immediately interested. I knew anorexia and bulimia well, they were the diseases that, at the time, I wish I had the determination to try, but I was too scared to hurt my body.

Binge Eating Disorder was new to me. My teacher described it as continuing to eat after you were full and eating for hours at a time. As the signs and symptoms continued to be read, I realized... that the last three years of my life had been plagued by binges. There was a lot I couldn't control in my life, but eating was one thing that I always had control over. It was the one thing that always brought me comfort.

Most binges would start after I came home from a hard day at school, or maybe after I got in a fight with a family member. Maybe I felt insecure about the growing number on the scale, but I ate.

It always started with half a bag of chips, then maybe a cookie or other sweet treat, and then I would finish with something else I could find in the pantry. My mother would come home and begin making dinner.

Ashamed, I would hide the food anywhere so my family could not tell I had been eating and then I would go eat dinner.

This was a common occurrence for me, but I had no idea that my habits were wrong or should point to an eating disorder. The only thing that I knew was wrong with me, was that I was gaining weight.

For the longest time, I thought an eating disorder was something that helped you lose weight unhealthily, not gain weight. It wasn't until I sat in a health class that I realized that there was anything wrong with me.

Education is so important in overcoming eating disorders. We are making such great strides about informing people about the dangers of eating disorders and positive body image.

It is so important that we start making Binge Eating Disorder a topic that is as known as anorexia and bulimia. No one ever discusses Binge Eating Disorder, not even the dangers of it, maybe if they had my life might have been different.

Maybe I would have found out about it earlier and could have gotten help before it got out of hand.

I wish I could say that I left that health class that day and never had a binge again. The truth is I binged several times after that, and still to this day I have an episode, although they are very rare.

It would be unrealistic to tell you that I overcame my eating disorder that day because it is a journey I am still completing. Every day presents a new challenge, and sometimes I fail, but I will succeed, and succeeding is worth a few failures.

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