Oftentimes, marriages end due to outside stressors. One medical condition few married couples expect to endure is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Many individuals diagnosed with PTSD report significant marital difficulties that ultimately end in divorce. Understanding this very real medical condition can help you identify the root cause of your marital problems and begin to heal or find closure.
PTSD is a serious mental health condition that typically occurs after a traumatic event. Many veterans returning from war are diagnosed with PTSD, as are victims of horrific or violent attacks or accidents. Some of the common signs and symptoms of PTSD include anxiety, fear, helplessness, acting violently, flashbacks, nightmares, hallucinations, emotional detachment, memory loss, and avoidance. Some other behavior exhibited by those suffering from PTSD may include reliving the event over and over, engaging in addictive activities such as gambling or substance abuse, or feeling irritable or anxious all the time. PTSD must be diagnosed by a medical professional, and if you believe your spouse may be suffering from PTSD and you want to save the marriage, consider visiting with a doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible.
How PTSD Impacts a Marriage
PTSD can negatively impact a marriage, as the sufferer may have developed significant issues regarding trust, intimacy, communication, problem-solving, decision-making, or the ability to be close with someone. Along with detaching themselves from the relationship, they may also lose interest in normal activities they once had such as hobbies, social groups, or even sex. This lack of connection can leave the other spouse desperate for intimacy, while also feeling pushed away. If the spouse of a PTSD sufferer experiences this disconnect for months, or even years, they may feel increasingly isolated, frustrated, and alienated. They may feel hurt that their partner is not “getting over” the original traumatic event.
Recognizing and Treating PTSD
PTSD can truly affect anyone. If one spouse develops PTSD after returning from an armed conflict overseas, or after a violent or severe accident or injury, there are multiple options for treatment including, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, relational therapy, or group therapy. Couples and individual counseling, remaining respectful and compassionate, learning relaxation techniques, taking appropriate medications, and avoiding addictive substances can all begin to heal a person from PTSD; however, treatment and professional counseling are essential.
Contact a Family Law Attorney
If your spouse suffers from PTSD, has a complete disconnection from the marriage, and refuses any type of treatment, you may be considering divorce. During this tumultuous time, you may be worried about your legal rights, how your property will be divided, and how the child support and child custody issues will be resolved. Our experienced family law attorneys can help you understand your rights and determine your next steps. Contact Edwards-Swift and Associates today at 909-345-2787 for a consultation.