Can Divorce Harm You Physically? Research Says It Absolutely Can

Divorce is a mentally draining event. Grief, anger, jealousy ”“ all kinds of negative emotion are to be expected. But what if the pain of divorce went beyond simply the psychological?

Can Divorce Cause Physical Pain?

Yes, it absolutely can ”“ there are well-documented physical effects of divorce.

  1. Divorce can affect your weight, and the effect can go both ways. Some people use comfort food as a way of calming themselves during divorce, and overindulgence can lead to weight gain. But others might lose their appetites entirely and end up losing weight. Either way, unrestricted weight gain or loss can lead to harmful health effects. In some cases, it can lead to metabolic syndrome, or a combination of several conditions like high blood pressure, excess fat and high cholesterol.
  2. Depression can contribute to the above weight fluctuation as well as other sinister side effects, such as insomnia.
  3. The stress of divorce can lead to cardiovascular effects. A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family showed that middle-aged people, especially women, are more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease after divorce. One study from Karolinska University Hospital and Institute showed that people who divorce their spouses have a 14 percent higher risk of suffering second heart attacks as well.

There are many other physical consequences that can result from divorce, and they tend to be linked. If depression causes a person to neglect physical exercise and not eat well, then those unhealthy habits can contribute to more serious diseases and conditions over time. That is why it is important to keep an eye on your physical health and needs following divorce, and seek help if necessary.

Our Denver divorce attorneys practice throughout the state of Colorado, including Adams County; Arapahoe County; Boulder County; Broomfield County; Denver County; Douglas County; Elbert County; and Jefferson County.

Does Divorce Affect Your Diet? Research May Surprise You

Divorce is stressful, and stress can have a big impact on your diet and nutrition. But did you know that women are much more immune to divorce’s effect on diet than men are?

Men vs. Women: Diet After Divorce

According to a study in Social Science & Medicine, men are more likely to suffer from bad dietary practices that could have “clinical significance” than women are following divorce. Women’s diets, oddly enough, tend to stay the same.

The study involved over 11,000 subjects between the ages of 40 and 80. Over a period of eight years, separated by a one-year gap, the subjects went through health testing and reported their consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables. During the first four-year period, 89 percent of the male subjects and 78 percent of the females were married. Over the course of 3.6 years, a small percentage of both men and women became separated, divorced or widowed.

What researchers discovered was that men who became separated from their spouses consumed 25 percent less produce and also had more monotonous diets than they did when they were married. Women? No statistically significant change in their diets. The study also looked at alcohol use, finding that men drank alcohol at about the same rate regardless of marital status, while women had a slight increase in alcohol intake upon separation.

One theory put forth by the lead researcher said that the reason women may be overall more consistent in their dietary habits following divorce may not be a gender thing, but a cultural thing ”“ because the subjects were born between the 1920s and the 1960s, they lived in a society where culinary tasks were largely relegated to women.

You don’t have to let your divorce lead to negative changes in your diet and health. In fact, divorce can be a wake-up call that inspires you to be more health-conscious. Maybe enroll with some friends in a healthy cooking class, or visit some farmers markets for fresh produce for new recipes and to support local business.