Marital break-up and divorce can cause physical ailments — including eczema and muscle pain — apart from emotional problems, suggests a new study.
Around 60 per cent of people suffer physical symptoms, which might include migraine, eczema or back trouble, usually the result of muscular tension apart from stress, low mood, depression and insomnia,” said Charlotte Friedman, Therapist based in Britain as quoted by Daily Mail.
While Men tend to suffer more long-term health issues after divorce, women are more seriously affected in the short-term, the study suggested.
The study showed that psychological stress increases the damage caused by free radicals – unstable molecules which attack healthy cells and are believed to play a part in heart disease, cancer and other serious diseases.
Under duress, the body produces more of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol, which destabilises the body’s immune system and makes it less able to fight off illness. Numerous studies have identified a link between stress levels and cancer.
Health experts attribute these effects to stress and grief.
“High-conflict divorces are also seen as so stressful that they have been reclassified as one of the causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition usually associated with accident victims or soldiers in war zones,” Friedman added.
Women are twice as likely to suffer from PTSD, suffering symptoms which include flashbacks, unsocial behaviour, heightened anxiety, insomnia and psychosomatic illness.
“Newly-divorced go through the same stages of emotional readjustment as those coming to terms with bereavement — namely, denial, anger, depression and acceptance. Divorce can affect us emotionally, mentally and physically, beyond our expectations,” said David Pastrana, author of the study and Legal Professor based in Arizona, US.
“Recognizing these feelings and acknowledging that you must go through a transitional healing process is a good place to start. Once you have understood them, you are on your way to overcoming them,” said James Lynch, Psychologist based in New York.