PTSD and Divorce

  • ptsd

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a disorder characterized by failure to recover after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event.  While most individuals associate PTSD with soldiers coming back from war, it is a disorder which can affect anyone (and can lead to tension in a marriage).

The most common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Reliving the trauma and having continuous nightmares related to the trauma.
  • Avoiding people or situations that remind one of the trauma he/she suffered.
  • Feeling on guard, easily irritated, and startling easily.

The symptoms listed above are typically considered PTSD if they last for longer than a month. It is common for these forms of PTSD to turn into chronic depression, anxiety, violence, substance abuse, being emotionally shut off, and strained relationships.

PTSD is not only devastating for the individual suffering from it; it has a tremendous effect on loved ones — friends, extended family, children, and spouses. Unfortunately, no matter how understanding a spouse may be when it comes to supporting the loved one who suffers from PTSD, it isn’t always enough and can destroy relationships and marriages.

Every individual and every situation is different. One individual suffering from PTSD may have a tendency to push loved ones away while another individual may become extremely needy. Both scenarios can create strain on a relationship. If drugs and/or alcohol are involved, it can lead to violent and unsafe situations for the spouse and the parties’ children (if involved). Maintaining relationships with others-whether it be with family, friends, or with the assistance of a professional therapist is vital in helping someone suffering from PTSD .

While not all treatments for PTSD are successful, there are several helpful options available including:

  • One-on-one and group therapy
  • Anger and stress management
  • Assertiveness training
  • Couples counseling
  • Family education classes
  • Family therapy

If you or a spouse suffers from PTSD, you should first seek the assistance of a mental health professional.  There are ways to prevent the stress from PTSD leading to the end of a marriage.  If the approaches listed above are not successful, then hiring an experienced divorce attorney will be essential in guiding you through this difficult time.