Divorce-Related Depression: What to Watch For

iStock_000011119461XSmallThe high levels of stress often associated with divorce can lead to serious health effects, including depression. While not everyone who goes through divorce experiences depression, and depression can be triggered by things outside of divorce, it’s important to know what the most common signs and symptoms are so you or someone you know can get help and stop suffering.

If you feel you are suffering from depression, let your Chapel Hill divorce lawyer know. Your attorney might be able to confidentially provide you with a referral to a local professional with extensive experience in the relationship between divorce and depression.

Divorce-Related Depression: What Does it Feel Like?
Generally, depressed people exhibit similar symptoms. Although every person is unique, depression is often characterized by:
•    continuous “low” mood or irritability
•    trouble falling asleep or a constant desire to sleep
•    a dramatic change in appetite and weight gain or weight loss
•    difficulty concentrating
•    feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
•    a loss of enjoyment in usually pleasurable activities
•    thoughts of death or suicide
•    avoidance of usual activities
•    low self-esteem and feelings of guilt or worthlessness

It’s important to know that depression isn’t anyone’s fault. In fact, it’s likely your body’s way of telling you that you’re taking on too much and you need to find a way to decompress. Working through child custody, property distribution and other common divorce issues is extremely emotionally taxing.

Even if you’re only experiencing one or two of these divorce-related depression symptoms, it can’t hurt to ask your Chapel Hill divorce lawyer for a referral to a counselor or therapist in your area.

Talking to a professional might even help you ward off depression and learn new coping skills that will help you during your divorce.

Who Suffers from Depression?
Depression doesn’t discriminate. Anyone can suffer from it, regardless of gender, age or ethnicity. Sometimes depression is triggered by divorce or a break-up, the loss of a job, or the death of someone close to you.

Even kids can be prone to divorce-related depression. If you suspect your kids are depressed, ask your Chapel Hill divorce lawyer if he or she knows a qualified counselor or therapist that they can talk to.

When Depression Becomes a Medical Issue
In some cases, it’s a good idea to call 9-1-1 or get emergency medical assistance right away. Get help immediately if you, your kids or someone else mentions or attempts suicide. If you, your kids or someone you know experiences symptoms of depression for more than two weeks, or if crying without provocation becomes the norm, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Additionally, if you or someone you know has three or more symptoms of depression, it’s a good idea to talk to a medical professional.

While your Chapel Hill divorce lawyer isn’t a therapist, he or she can provide you with a confidential referral to someone who can help you and your kids through this tumultuous time.