Divorce Depression Symptoms

9 Divorce Depression Symptoms and it’s Treatment you should know

Writen By: Sana Ihsan
Reviewed By: Huma Khan
Publish Date: November 1, 2023

Have you ever heard of divorce depression symptoms or personally experienced them? Have you ever felt really sad and miserable because of a big change in your life, like a divorce? It’s like a deep and seemingly never-ending sense of melancholy and emptiness. Well, let me ask you another question: have you ever wondered how to be happy again after your divorce? That’s what we are going to talk about. Here’s a quick guide on how to move on from divorce and find happiness. 

Divorce, which is the legal dissolution of a marriage, can have profound emotional impacts on individuals, often leading to symptoms of depression after divorce. The symptoms can be overwhelming, including intense feelings of despair. Many individuals going through divorce experience a deep sense of loss as well as anxiety about an uncertain future. This emotional rollercoaster can also affect you physically, leading to sleep disturbances, appetite changes, and even physical health issues. It’s important to recognize and address these divorce depression symptoms to seek the necessary support during this life transition.

In this blog post, we’re going to talk about a topic that is not discussed very openly: divorce depression symptoms. This article is a hope and a lifeline for those battling with the weight of post-divorce depression. We are going to talk about the coping strategies, treatments, and lifestyle changes required to get rid of your depression. We are going to mention authentic organizations that provide therapy as well as self-help books that will help you get through this challenging time of your life. So if you are someone who is going through all these symptoms, then just stick around till the end for some helpful guidance and authentic information.

What is Divorce Depression?

Divorce depression, sometimes referred to as post-divorce depression or divorce-related depression, is the term used to describe the intense sadness and suffering that people go through during and after the divorce process. It includes a range of depressive symptoms, including feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loneliness. Depression and divorce often go hand in hand, with the emotional stress of ending a marriage taking a toll on the individual’s mental well-being.

Prevalence of divorce depression

The prevalence of divorce depression symptoms is a significant concern in today’s society. A survey found that 28% of adults over 40 experience post-divorce depression. With divorce rates on the rise, many individuals find themselves struggling with symptoms of divorce depression. While the precise statistics may vary, it is clear that divorce-related depression affects a major portion of those going through divorce.

This very recent research, which was published in 2023 claims that the end of a marriage can be difficult for both parties, and statistics show that nearly 50% of divorced individuals experience some kind of post-divorce depression symptoms, with women more likely than men to suffer from this condition (65%). Even 10-15% may continue to battle depression a decade after divorce. Additionally, 5-12% of divorcing parents may suffer from major depressive episodes, affecting their relationships with their children. Furthermore, 42% of the divorcees claimed that they would have sought professional help if they were aware of the impact of this condition.

Diagnosis

Divorce depression is not a formal diagnosis in the DSM-5. Instead, individuals experiencing severe emotional distress related to divorce may receive diagnoses such as major depressive disorder (if symptoms persist for at least two weeks) or adjustment disorder with depressed mood (for symptoms related to specific life stressors lasting less than six months). The specific diagnosis depends on the nature and duration of their symptoms and whether they meet the criteria outlined in the DSM-5.

Divorce Depression Symptoms

Divorce Depression Symptoms

Divorce depression can appear in a variety of ways. Let’s look at some common symptoms and emotional struggles individuals might experience during divorce-related depression:

1. Overwhelming Sadness and Grief:

A divorced person may experience prolonged and intense feelings of sadness. This sadness comes from the divorce being emotionally tough, losing their partner, and changing their life a lot.

2. Intense feelings of loneliness and isolation: 

The intense loneliness and isolation after a divorce can be emotionally paralyzing. It leaves an unfillable void when your life partner, who was once your closest companion, is suddenly gone. In many cases, friends and family may not be able to fully understand this deep feeling of loneliness, making it even more isolating. Moreover, divorce often brings changes to your social circles and routines, and losing mutual friends can intensify feelings of loneliness and isolation.

3. Anxiety and constant worry: 

Divorce often brings about a lot of uncertainty. People who have gone through a divorce may find themselves worrying all the time and feeling anxious. They might be concerned about things like money, how they’ll share parenting responsibilities, and what the future holds. This constant worry and anxiety is quite common during and after a divorce.

4. Anger and resentment towards the Ex-Spouse: 

Divorce can bring about a lot of different feelings, including anger and resentment toward your ex-spouse. This anger might come from things like feelings of betrayal, unmet expectations, or hurtful experiences during the marriage or divorce. They can also be triggered by conflicts over child custody and property division after divorce. Dealing with these emotions is important, as holding on to anger can hinder personal healing and growth. 

5. Loss of interest and activities: 

Many people lose interest in things they once loved after getting divorced. This might include hobbies they once enjoyed with their ex-partner or social activities they did together. These activities can feel less enjoyable and become painful reminders of the past due to the emotional strain of separation.

6. Sleep disturbances and fatigue: 

Sleep disturbances are common in divorce depression. Some people struggle to get a good night’s sleep due to insomnia brought on by racing thoughts and worry about the future. On the other hand, some may find themselves oversleeping as a way to escape the emotional pain. In any case, these sleep disruptions can cause fatigue during the day, which makes it difficult to function normally on a daily basis after your divorce.

7. Changes in appetite and weight: 

Divorce can really mess with your appetite and weight. For some, the stress and sadness make them lose their appetite, causing them to shed weight unintentionally. This can lead to not getting the right nutrients and make their divorce blues even worse. On the other side, some people may turn to food for comfort during a divorce. This emotional eating can lead to unhealthy weight gain and even eating disorders. It’s like food becomes a way to cope with all the emotions of divorce.

8. Aches and pains: 

After going through a divorce and dealing with depression, it’s quite common to feel physical aches and pains. Prolonged stress and emotional disturbance can lead to things like muscle tension, headaches, and physical discomfort. These are like your body’s way of showing the psychological struggles you’re going through during and after a divorce.

9. Self-destructive behavior: 

Depression after divorce can lead some people to do harmful things. They might not take proper care of themselves, use drugs, or consume excessive amounts of alcohol. In serious situations, these feelings can even make someone think about hurting themselves or ending their life. These thoughts should not be taken lightly and should be addressed with immediate professional help.

Divorce and Depression: Can Divorce Cause Depression?

Alright, so a divorce is like a huge storm of emotions. It can make you feel really sad, alone, and confused. You know, once you tie the knot, you start making all these plans for the future with your spouse. However, those plans are destroyed, and the pain is immense when a divorce occurs.

Also, if you are a parent, you are concerned about how all this is going to impact your children. All these emotions can lead to post divorce depression symptoms. Depression is when you feel sad almost all the time, and it can mess with your sleep and appetite.

Research has shown that divorce can be a tough experience. A 1997 study found that people who had recently divorced had higher rates of depressive symptoms.  Another 2013 study found that while 60% of those who had divorced felt depressed, only 10% of those who had never been divorced experienced this feeling.

Divorce may not always be a direct cause of depression, but it can be a significant event that increases the likelihood of it. A 2020 study examined the mental well-being of divorced individuals. It found that divorcees had a higher chance of feeling depressed and anxious.

Individuals’ mental health can be severely impacted by divorce. All this mental tension can even cause clinical depression, which is a more severe form of sadness. You may experience anxiety due to future uncertainties, and self-esteem issues may arise from chronic stress. It might even lead to physical health problems.  

Now, here’s something you should know. A study found that the couple going through a divorce is not the only one who may be impacted. But also, the children who experience their parent’s separation can feel the impact, even when they’re all grown up in their thirties or forties. These children become vulnerable to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. 

Additionally, a 2021 research paper looked at the connection between mental health and divorce. They reviewed a number of studies from 2011 to 2021, drawing comparisons between married, unmarried, and divorced people. They found that divorce is a major cause of depression, anxiety, stress, and other behavioral and emotional disturbances and that divorcees face higher rates of mental health problems than married and single individuals.

So, all this research shows that divorce is a really tough thing, and it can have a big impact on people’s mental and emotional well-being. If you or someone you know is dealing with these feelings, it’s important to reach out for support. You’re not alone in this, and it’s okay to ask for help.

Factors Contributing to Divorce Depression Symptoms:

Divorce-related depression symptoms are caused by the following factors:

1. Loss of a very significant bond or relationship:

After a divorce, losing a close relationship can be extremely painful and leave an emotional scar that will take time to heal.

2. The feeling of failure or guilt:

After a divorce, guilt can come from believing that one could have avoided the separation, while feelings of failure can occur if one believes they are incapable of fulfilling a lifetime commitment.

3. New relationships: 

Depression may arise when you start a new relationship or deal with an ex-partner starting a new relationship. When stepfamilies are introduced, one or more of those families’ members may experience stress and depression.

4. Family stress: 

After a divorce, children of divorced parents may have strained relationships with their parents, which could lead to depression in either parent.

5. Social stigma or judgment :

Social stigma and misconceptions frequently result from criticism and assumptions made by society following a divorce, which can give rise to feelings of failure.

6. Co-parenting challenge 

Co-parenting after divorce is the challenge of sharing child-rearing responsibilities for both ex-spouses, even after their marriage ends. This can further exacerbate the symptoms of divorce depression.

7. Loneliness and isolation:

The loss of a partner’s companionship and shared circles can often lead to feelings of isolation after divorce.

8. Grief over the end of shared dreams and plans:

The end of shared dreams and a life together can leave a long-lasting emotional void that can take time to heal.

9. Emotional and financial stress associated with divorce proceedings:

Divorce legal proceedings can be both mentally and financially draining, which further creates feelings of stress and anxiety.

10. Uncertainty about the future:

After a divorce, feelings of confusion and uncertainty are common issues because it can seem like there is no clear path ahead of them.

Treatment Options:

  1. Therapy: Individual therapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy (IPT), can help to address the emotional challenges and thought patterns associated with depression.
  1. Medication: Antidepressant medication may be prescribed by a psychiatrist or medical professional to manage severe or persistent depression symptoms.
  1. Support Groups: Joining divorce support groups can offer a sense of community and shared experiences, reducing feelings of isolation.
  1. Self-care: Encourage self-care routines, including regular exercise, a healthy diet, and a fulfilling sleep routine.
  1. Stress reduction techniques: Practicing meditation or yoga can help you manage your stress and anxiety.
  1. Social support: Maintaining good relationships with friends and family can provide emotional support during this difficult time.
  1. Legal and financial counseling: If divorce-related legal and financial issues are causing post-divorce depression, consulting professionals in these fields can be beneficial.
  1. Life Coaching: Involving a life coach can help you create new goals and a path forward after divorce. 
  1. Finding New Hobbies: Discovering a new hobby after divorce can be a transformative and healing experience, as it offers a fresh focus and an opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery.
  1. Career Revamp: A career revamp can be a powerful opportunity for personal reinvention. It allows individuals to reassess their professional goals, skills, and aspirations, which will motivate you and increase your self-confidence, especially for women. Usually, many women put their careers on hold for their kids or household responsibilities. This can be a great opportunity to start your career again and achieve your goals.

Helpful Resources

Here are the organizations that provide therapy services to divorced individuals in the USA.

Here are some books from Amazon that will assist you in helping yourself get through this difficult phase of your life.

Conclusion

In conclusion, divorce can trigger a variety of emotional and physical challenges commonly referred to as divorce depression symptoms. These emotions involve a complicated interplay of social difficulties, financial hardship, emotional loss, and a broken sense of self. It is like a heartache that seems so tough to deal with. But here is the truth: you can rise above it, and you will. 

You just have to acknowledge your symptoms if you are going through divorce-related depression and take healthy steps towards your new life by taking care of your physical and emotional well-being. Do not ever shy away from taking help from professionals or your friends and family if needed. Remember that taking help is not at all a selfish act but a crucial step towards your new beginnings. 

Divorce can also mean a fresh start, a chance to find happiness in a new way. So let’s take the first step together, hand in hand, towards a brighter and more hopeful tomorrow. You have the resilience to rebuild, rediscover your worth, and shape a future that reflects your true potential. So, take courage from within, emerge from the pit of hopelessness, and stand up for yourself. 

FAQs

1. Is it normal to cry every day after a divorce?

Even though it might not be regarded as normal under usual circumstances, crying every day after a divorce is quite common and can be a normal part of the grieving process. It is important to seek professional help and emotional support if you are crying every day for a long time, as it can be a major sign of your divorce depression symptoms. 

2. How long does divorce depression last?

This is a very subjective topic, as post-divorce depression varies widely from person to person, but it always gets better with time. While some may recover in a few months, for others, it might take years to fully overcome depression after divorce.

3. Is divorce the leading cause of depression?

Divorce can be a very significant trigger for depression, but it is not the leading cause of depression.  Depression can result from various factors, such as genetics, other life events, and individual vulnerabilities.

4. Who suffers the most in a divorce?

Divorce is equally challenging for both spouses, but if children are involved, then they suffer the most as they have to adapt to changes in family structures and dynamics. This 2019 research mentions that children of divorced parents are more vulnerable to depression as compared to those with continuously married parents. If there are no children involved, then the suffering totally depends on the situation, which can be totally unique for every couple, but usually, women tend to suffer more emotionally and financially if they were not independent previously while being married.

5. What is divorced husband syndrome?

There is no official medical or psychological diagnosis for divorced husband syndrome. This is an informal term that is sometimes used to characterize the emotional and psychological difficulties that some men experience following a divorce. These challenges can include feelings of sadness, loneliness, stress, and difficulty adjusting to life after the divorce.

6. What is a walkaway wife syndrome?

Walkaway Wife Syndrome is a term used to describe a situation in which a wife, who may have been feeling emotionally neglected or unfulfilled in her marriage, decides to end the marriage abruptly. It often occurs when a woman feels that she has tried to communicate her needs and concerns to her spouse but hasn’t seen any meaningful change, leaving her feeling like she has no other option but to leave.

7. Which spouse is more likely to be depressed after a divorce?

Research shows that both spouses are equally at risk for depression after divorce, but it can vary based on individual circumstances and coping strategies.

8. What is divorce psychosis?

Divorce psychosis is the term used to describe a mental illness that some people may have either during or following a divorce. It is marked by intense emotional distress, disorientation, and occasionally insane behavior as a result of the psychological strain and emotional drain of divorce. This illness can have an impact on one’s mental health and is usually difficult to manage without expert assistance.