Are you looking to consult a divorce lawyer? A significant divorce problem you will need to address is the impact a divorce has on the parties’ mental health.
Statistics on divorce in Singapore show that 7,623 marriages were annulled or ended in divorce in 2019, indicating that three ended in divorce out of every ten marriages. When a marriage ends, it signals the end of dreams and expectations for both parties and their families.
While there are financial, legal, and practical challenges, mental health during divorce often is the crucial divorce problem.
Mental health during divorce
Studies show that the likelihood of seeking help from mental health professionals or spiritual advisors is higher for divorced people than those who are married.
This is due to the psychological distress that the couple experiences when the relationship breaks down.
Feelings of loneliness, insecurity, hopelessness, anger, and worthlessness can lead a person towards destructive behaviors such as excessive eating or alcohol addiction.
Researchers across the world have found that divorce increases the risk of substance abuse and addiction. This is often the result of unhealthy coping mechanisms that parties to the divorce develop. Substance abuse leads to additional problems related to work performance, maintaining relationships, or meeting responsibilities.
Divorce stress is the second-highest stressor, while the top stressor is the spouse’s death. A 2021 study investigated the levels of divorce stress in adults and found that those recently divorced had significantly higher stress levels than the general population.
Some factors that exacerbated the stress levels include infidelity, lower age, lower-income, divorce initiation from the spouse, and higher divorce conflict. Other studies have found that the higher the levels of conflict in a divorce, the higher the stress levels in both women and men.
How does a divorce affect children?
Parental divorce can have both short and long-term impacts on children. Depending on their age, children experience anger, sadness, resentment towards either parent, denial, and low self-esteem.
Younger children, for instance, may resort to thumb-sucking or bed-wetting, while older ones can become depressed and withdrawn.
Studies have documented that divorce increases the risk of adjustment problems in children and adolescents, including academic difficulties, disruptive behaviours, and depressed mood. However, the signs of depression often go unnoticed in children. Children may experience unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach ache that parents fail to link to depression.
Over 50 percent of divorces between 2010 and 2019 involved children, according to a study conducted by the MSF (Ministry of Social and Family Development). Researchers had an aim to study the intergenerational impact of divorce and whether children suffered a long-term ‘divorce penalty.’
The study found that the long-drawn-out tensions associated with a divorce and the reduced emotional and financial resources take a heavy toll on children’s wellbeing.
In adulthood, these children earn less than children from non-divorced families. They are less likely to acquire a degree and marry. Expert psychologists believe children of divorced parents experience higher rates of anxiety and depression in adulthood.
If you are looking to consult a divorce lawyer or have a family problem, evaluating the possible mental health issues in yourself as well as your children is crucial.
Your divorce lawyer or divorce coach can help you understand the steps involved in minimizing conflict and hassles in a divorce while referring you to relevant professionals for mental health issues and parental counselling
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental health issues during divorce will help you take preventive action to optimize your wellbeing.