Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.

Do I Suffer From Post Traumatic Stress Divorce Syndrome?

Something that many of you may not know it that this month is the three year anniversary of my own divorce.  Now, while I was an excellent divorce attorney before that tragedy, I now fly at an even higher level because I now truly understand what my client's are going through emotionally.  Certainly, as an expert on New Jersey divorce law I know how to plan out a legal strategy that protect both my client and their children.  However, after going through this major life crisis myself, I now truly empathize with my clients in a way I never dreamed possible.  When I share this fact with my client's I can see just by the look on their faces that they are thinking, "wow, this guy REALLY gets it."  However, as I always give each client close attention with respect to how they are "holding up" during the NJ divorce process,  my vast experience, both personally and professionally, now helps me quickly detect when one of my clients are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Divorce Syndrome (PTSDS).  

What is PTSDS?  It falls under something more commonly known as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  Basically, it is a relentless and serious anxiety disorder due to an event that causes extreme psychological trauma.  A great example of this disorder is that many veterans of war (only after Vietnam War was this condition even remotely understood and treated) have been diagnosed with this condition.  However, as medical advances enhance our understanding of such emotional and mental disorders, many specialists have focused on how divorce can cause this illness as well.  Also, the more "high-conflict" the divorce is, the more likely that the person who went through this terrible life event will succumb to this illness.  And it can happen to anyone.  Look at how Demi Moore, a wealthy, international celebrity has suffered from her anorexia, depression and even had a highly publicized seizure due to drug use.  She has also tried to avoid the divorce and only recently finally responded to her divorce in court after she and Ashton Kutcher had been separated for well over a year.  Why did she wait so long?  It is called denial; one of many symptoms of PTSDS.

What are the typical symptoms of PTSDS?  These include insomnia, anger, , depression and avoiding or isolating one's self from their loved ones.  It can even cause back pain.  Many a time a person has come to visit me at my office and I notice that they keep shifting in their seat.  I then ask if they have back pain and every single time they look at me with a look of total shock that I guessed correctly.  I then politely explain that after nearly 20 years of being a NJ divorce lawyer, I am well aware that the stress in and of itself can cause back problems.  This is one of many times during the consultation that the potential client understands that I am truly a New Jersey divorce expert.  

In more severe cases following a really messy, drawn out divorce, the person may suffer flashbacks, panic attacks and an inability to maintain their careers and personal relationship.  No matter what or how severe the warning signs may be, it is essential to seek help immediately.

The first thing I advise my client's to consider once I detect that they may be suffering from PTSDS is intensive therapy.  Only a mental health professional can evaluate your symptoms in order to create a plan to build the "road of recovery" from divorce.  Sometimes medication, ranging from anti-depression to anti-anxiety drugs are in order, and some medicines can help with both at the same time.  A prescription can be the bridge that a person needs in order to get through the process and come out the other side a stronger, wiser and happier person.  Other things that a person can do is watch their diet, restrict alcohol intake, exercise.  Many of my client's rave about yoga and meditation.   

The bottom line to a divorce is to allow me and my New Jersey Divorce law firm to walk you through and protect your legal interests so that you have more time to work on "you."  A divorce is very much like the loss of a loved one, with one big difference; your spouse is still here, and if you have children, guess who you need to find a way to get along with this person (who is likely low on your list of "favorite people") for the best interest of your children

Do not ever let divorce define your life.  I found a way not to let it happen to me and if I can do it, then so can you!