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The Effect of Divorce on Women's Health

After a divorce, divorcees often feel an overwhelming sense of relief. That relief is key to helping your health after a divorce. Why? During an unhappy marriage, your health, especially your heart (as in the actual organ), can suffer. Unhappy marriages can lead to many serious issues in your body, but beware, so can divorce. Here are several health risks to take into account and a few ways to manage the risks.

Women who are widowed, in bad marriages, or divorced are more prone to heart attacks. The research is similar for men, but women are actually at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease simply due to the way the female body reacts to certain changes. The stress of divorce often lasts for women much longer: they take tremendous financial hits (which takes longer to recover from, if they ever do) and usually stay single for longer periods of time.

Remember the relief I mentioned? Hold on to it, because depression and anxiety are high-risk factors for women as well. The emotional impact of divorce, combined with the financial stress, can lead many women into greater levels of anxiety and depression. None of this has any positive impact on the rest of your body, and it becomes a dangerous catch-22: you can’t be happier until you are out of the marriage; you can’t overcome anxiety until you regain your financial stability; you can’t manage the depression until you feel less alone. It does get better, but the trick is balancing everything, and as research shows, it takes much longer for women to recover from the effects of divorce.

What can a girl do? There are ways to cope. First, visit your doctor. A physician who knows and understands that you are divorcing and the impact this can have on your health, can look for warning signs and get you the preventative medicine or strategies you need. Second, build that support group. Typically, women are a little better at discussing their feelings. Your insurance and gym membership might change or decline after a divorce, but a group of friends who encourage you and help you can bolster you during those times of high stress. Third, be sure you have the professional legal and, if possible, financial help you need. This sounds like a shameless plug, however, having an experienced attorney does take the pressure off at least in some ways: a good lawyer knows when to remind you of things like paperwork, will be looking for the best possible situation for you, and will have all the legal issues covered. In many cases, a good lawyer also knows the best local therapist, the best CPA, the best realtor, etc. 

Taking care of your health might seem impossible or selfish during and after a divorce, but the importance of preventing major health issues cannot be neglected. Until everything is stable, be sure you’ve subscribed to that free yoga video channel on YouTube, downloaded that financial app, and gathered your girl squad. Remember, we’re here to help you if you have any questions. Things truly are about to get better.