Divorce Stress & PTSD
In a sad commentary on the state of divorce and the stress it causes in our society, a depressed Texas man and his wife were finalizing their divorce last week when he pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot himself or his wife. He said was angry over his divorce and barricaded himself for several hours in a downtown lawyer’s office before eventually surrendering to police who took him to a hospital pending a psychological evaluation.
The experience of going through a divorce is commonly recognized as a stressful period for anyone directly involved. The normal everyday stress of modern life is exacerbated by divorce and results in today’s growing number of single-parent families as well as increased poverty, homelessness, drug abuse, domestic violence and child abuse. A traumatic divorce can actually result in symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Divorce certainly fits the bill as a major psychiatric disturbance characterized caused by exposure to ongoing traumatic stress.
Because divorce has become such a common occurrence in our society, some researchers have disagreed on the necessity of a traumatic experience to be outside the range of usual human experience in order for it to produce stress reactions characteristics of PTSD. Divorce can have a wide range of effects on different individuals, and the statistics do not support the assertion that traumatic events are unusual experiences in American family life anymore.
Even though a nasty divorce might cause PTSD in some individuals, it is not an excuse for attacking your spouse in her attorney’s office. Divorce attorneys and other professionals like divorce mediators and counselors can go a long way toward helping couples get over their disagreements and help speed up the entire divorce process with the least hassle possible. The professional’s job is to make sure the break-up is resolved smoothly and the process is as easy as possible on everyone involved, especially any children that may be involved.
Attorneys working along with family and mental health professionals can help both spouses make realistic decisions that can take a lot of the anger and emotion of out the process, and hopefully avoid creating any PTSD symptoms along the way. The best solutions in a divorce are usually the ones arrived at by mutual agreement on all sides.