Divorce can affect you in ways that you might not expect. For example, it can take a toll on your physical and mental health.
Your mental and physical health influence one another. There is a positive correlation between the two, meaning that when one declines, the other is likely to follow. The effect may be greater if you are older or already have underlying health issues.
Mental health effects
According to U.S. News and World Report, you may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder following your divorce, especially if you left an abusive relationship. For example, the unhappiest events of your relationship may manifest themselves as uncontrollable flashbacks. Divorce can also lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety as you face an uncertain future.
Physical health effects
Chronic stress is a mental effect of divorce that can also exacerbate any existing health problems you may have. Even if you do not have any health problems already, you may be at greater risk of developing conditions such as immune deficiency, obesity, insomnia and high blood pressure if the chronic stress goes untreated. Best Life reports that, compared to their married counterparts, divorce increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged men and women.
While the risk of cardiovascular disease increases for both men and women following divorce, they do not show the same increase. If you are a woman, your risk for heart disease following your divorce is greater than it would be if you were a man.
Not all the effects of divorce are negative. Some people report greater freedom and joy once the process is complete. The freedom that you gain may help you to take the necessary steps to improve your health.