On the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, which ranks certain life events by the amount of stress they cause, divorce is number two, behind only the death of a spouse. For Texas couples whose marriages are coming to an end, the emotional, financial and mental strain can cause issues in other areas of life or health problems. This can be true for young couples as well as those who have been together for decades.
The divorce rate for people 50 or older has doubled since 1990, a trend that has sometimes been referred to as gray divorce. People who divorce later in life might experience health problems like depression, anxiety or chronic stress. They may also experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress like flashbacks of negative occurrences and nightmares. Depression has been associated with Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and heart problems.
People whose chronic stress goes untreated are at a higher risk of insomnia, obesity, a weakened immune system, heart disease and high blood pressure. Psychological distress symptoms like lack of focus, poor memory, fatigue, muscles aches, mood swings and appetite changes can damage health. People who divorce later in life might go through severe activity changes if they are depressed; they might grow more sedentary, for example. If they develop insomnia they might experience temporary changes in cognition and forget things like grocery shopping, eating or taking medications.
Knowing what to prepare for in divorce can relieve some of the stress of the process. It is potentially stressful, but it is also not uncommon. An attorney might be able to help a person who is approaching or going through the end of a marriage later in life by examining assets like bank and retirement accounts and developing a plan for property division.