Helping You

Solve Life’s Legal Puzzles

Can divorce cause post-traumatic stress disorder?

As 2020 winds down, many married couples have encountered serious challenges in their relationships. On the threshold of a new year, there are likely many people in Colorado and throughout the country who are considering filing for divorce. Even in cases where both spouses agree that going their separate ways is best, taking legal steps to do so can be traumatic, especially if there are children involved.

Many counselors and mental health experts liken the emotional upheaval of divorce to post-traumatic stress disorder. One clinical psychologist noted that PTSD typically includes life-threatening situations or the threat of bodily harm. As such, a person who is processing emotions in an average divorce would not technically meet the criteria for this condition.

The psychologist went on to say, however, that the emotional disruption and trauma many people experience in divorce can result in symptoms that are quite similar to PTSD. These symptoms may include trouble sleeping or forming coherent thoughts, paranoia, negative thoughts about oneself or risky and destructive behavior. It is possible that these symptoms may occur in children as well as adults.

In a perfect world, every Colorado divorce would be settled amicably without any legal complications or confrontation between spouses. In reality, divorce often includes complex issues that are difficult to resolve, and a relationship between spouses, particularly those who are parents, may be contentious. To help keep stress and emotional trauma to a minimum, a concerned spouse or parent can build a strong network of support from the start, including connecting with an experienced family law attorney who can help a client avoid conflict during proceedings.