When you build a life with someone over years or decades, separating can be the best but hardest decision. When you divorce later in life, it can be more difficult than for younger people. According to U.S. News, divorce is one of the highest stressors that you and your spouse could experience.
Gray divorce involves people over the age of 50. Due to age and the stress of a divorce, many older adults face more health issues.
Divorce wreaks havoc on your mental state. Newly divorced people may experience chronic stress, anxiety and depression. They may also develop post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Psychological issues may manifest as fatigue, muscle aches or a change in your appetite. You may find it difficult to focus at work or on your hobbies. You may have trouble relying on your memory and lose interest in the activities that bring you joy. Many people become more sedentary due to depression.
Physical conditions are also a concern. Psychological issues can affect your physical health. If you suffer from depression, you have a higher risk of:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Parkinson’s disease
Gray divorce causes a chronic level of stress that can weaken your immune system and contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure and insomnia. If you have any current health problems, the stress may exacerbate them.
To protect your health, you should do your best to avoid any isolation. Rely on your friends and family and try to expand your social network. Do not use alcohol or other substances as coping mechanisms. If necessary, seek support from a professional.