What is depression after divorce and where can I find help

Depression is the most common mental health problem amongst all sections of the population and can be triggered by a number of  traumatic life events such as divorce.

Depressed and how not to be after divorce
It is unlikely that you will survive your divorce unscathed. Different people deal with crises in their life in different ways, but it is understandable that after relationship breakdown you will be left with feelings of disappointment and sadness particularly when that relationship has been of long standing.

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Even if your marriage ended acrimoniously it does not necessarily follow that getting a divorce has made you deliriously happy. Sometimes the residual grief and heartache a person feels after a divorce can trigger a bout of serious depression.

What is depression?
Depression is much more than a temporary low mood or feeling unhappy.  At its most extreme it can lead to thoughts of, if not actual, self harm or suicide.  If this is the case, you may be suffering from clinical depression, which means that you need the help of a health professional and some form of treatment pretty swiftly.

Other indicators of depression include:
feelings of anxiety
persistent tiredness
inability to concentrate
difficulty sleeping
loss of libido
tearfulness
persistent or frequent headaches
stomach or digestive problems

If you experience these types of symptoms for more than a couple of weeks then you may be depressed and in need of help.

What to do about it
Depression is the most common mental health problem and can affect anyone, although twice as many women as men will be diagnosed. This may be because men are less likely to discuss feelings and emotions than women or because such admissions will be interpreted as unmanly.  The very first thing to do is see your doctor.  Most people who suffer short periods of depression are treated by their GP so this must be your first port of call.  A minority of those with a more severe problem may be referred by their doctor to a psychiatrist or to a local Community Health Team member.

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Depression after divorce will, hopefully be temporary. Acknowledging your feelings is important, as is keeping in touch with friends and family members. It is only too easy when you are in a negative frame of mind to lose contact with others and, by so doing, isolate yourself instead of trying to remember that there are still many good things in your life and better times to come. Divorce has been likened to bereavement and, as such, a period of mourning can be required.

It may be trite to say so, but time really is the great healer. A period of reflection after divorce will give you time to see ways of progressing onwards and upwards and, will hopefully, leave you eager to embrace new challenges.

Helpful websites
Apart from a referral from your GP both the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the UK Council for Psychotherapy may be able to help.

Mind is the leading mental health charity for England and Wales with a network of over two hundred local associations. Mind campaigns for greater understanding for those with mental health problems. They have a wide range of publications as well as a telephone helpline and there are over one hundred Mind charity shops which help fund the organisation.

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