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Can Divorce Cause Depression?

Can Divorce Cause Depression

Essentially yes, because divorce can be a traumatic event. Depression can best be described as a psychological disorder arising from prolonged negative moods. Depression is associated with lingering negative thoughts, despondency and emotional sensitivity which persist even up to two weeks. Symptoms for depression can vary among people, but the most common ones to look out for are:

● Despondency or unexplained sadness
● Sudden loss of interest in daily routines like making the bed.
● Increase in substance or alcohol abuse
● Excess body weight loss or gain
● Insomnia or hypersomnia
● Low or negative self esteem
● Unexplained body or joint aches
● Impaired and confused thinking
● Contemplating suicide or thinking about death all the time

An expert diagnosis is required so as to rule out any medical condition which may present similar symptoms to depression, such as thyroiditis or mineral deficiencies.

Depression and Divorce

Adjusting to life after divorce is quite a tough experience. It can take days, weeks, months, or years to move on from the divorce trauma. During this time, you undergo so many emotions. It is during this time when you are susceptible to serious conditions like depression, post-traumatic disorder, and other physical conditions.

Depression that occurs due to divorce is different from clinical depression. It is known as situational depression. In some people, depression after divorce occurs with behaviors like:
● Ignoring responsibilities
● Avoiding family and friends
● Performing poorly at work due to a lack of focus
● Fighting

Once you note these symptoms, this should be a red flag indication that depression is knocking at the door or you are already in depression.

What Makes You Depressed After Divorce?

It starts with thoughts. Imagine those thoughts that cross your mind after divorce. Reminiscing on the good moments you shared with your spouse before things turned sour. Maybe even looking at the wedding photos. The thoughts of how they betrayed you or failed to take responsibility.
These thoughts send you into serious depression. Sometimes even the thoughts of how the society will view you and the world at large. There are so many thoughts that cross your mind and make you susceptible to depression.


It is so hurting to see your child adapt to a new life without one parent. When the child was used to seeing both parents after school, then they have to adapt to the life of a single parent. You see them try to battle with the agony and even try to adapt to the situation.
This can easily throw you into depression. And sometimes in worst cases, the children end up depressed themselves and you have to deal with that too. What is worse, is when the court does not give you custody over the children. It hurts so much when you want to see your children you have to follow a legal process or have to face your ex. All these things about your children put you at a risk of being depressed


It is very obvious that divorce is very expensive. It leaves your pockets dry if not torn. The expenses incurred in court proceedings and moving out are too much to bear. Sometimes they leave you in so much debt which can be paid in a lifetime.
Starting life on your own is also very expensive as you have to move to a new house, pay for the bills and even the cost of moving your stuff to the new house. It is quite a scare. When undergoing these financial strains, it is very easy to find yourself in a depressed situation not knowing what step to take. Then it adds you more costs of hospital bills trying to get out of depression.

The society

You will be ridiculed and may be even lose friends. Divorce means you create enemies as you are portrayed as the bad character from the in-laws side. Other people will criticize you that you did not take the right path in marriage while others will definitely insult you.
Words really hurt – yes they do! And when they are thrown at you because of divorce, you definitely hurt and they may easily lead you to depression.

Your partner

This is the main cause of divorce. It can also be the main cause of depression after divorce. If you had an arrogant spouse who wants to make your life terrible, they may choose to make your life a living hell after divorce.
They may try to show you how they have moved on, how they are better off without you and even how terrible you are. If they did not have restriction orders from the court, they can even pass by your place to make you regret leaving them. This can be quite traumatizing and may cause depression.
There are several causes of depression after divorce some which I have not mentioned. It ranges from direct causes to indirect causes. Other causes are not as a result of the divorce itself. They are due to accumulated stress during the marriage. But above all, remember divorce is quite stressful. Do not go through it alone. Avoid depression as much as you can after divorce because depression can kill. Yes, you can take away your life if depression becomes severe. Watch out for it.
Are you depressed because of divorce? Here are remedies and steps to take if depression becomes a big stumbling block in your life. Read on to get tips on how to deal with it. Bearing in mind that depression may also affect your children, larger family members and family friends as a result of your divorce.

Exercise daily

According to research, 20 to 40 minutes of brisk walking or exercise everyday may ease symptoms of depression. Wake up in the morning and exercise. Go to the gym, do workouts even at home, take an evening walk, but above all, make sure you exercise daily.
Yoga is exercise too and it is good for depression. Find a yoga instructor to conduct your yoga sessions. Sometimes you might not be feeling like exercising. Even so, just force yourself. It is very crucial.

Write in a journal

Even if you have a support network, it is always relieving to put down your thoughts in a paper or type them on your computer. Your thoughts are not good if they are held back.
Just write them down in a piece of paper and throw it away or burn it. You can type on your computer and ensure that you delete it. Even more, you can write a letter to your ex telling them how you feel about the whole scenario and how you feel about them now that you are divorced.
Do not send the letter though. This will give you a closure of some kind. But always remember, writing your thoughts will help get the thoughts off your head.

Eat healthy

When depressed, you might be tempted to eat lots of junk food and even drink excess alcohol. This might be so tempting especially when you have them in your house. Just keep the healthy foods around and ensue that alcohol is not anywhere near your vicinity. If the urge to eat unhealthy foods persists, feed on wholesome snacks like dark chocolates.
Ensure that your meals contains balanced diet, make your own drinks at home and take coffee as a replacement to alcohol. Within no time, your body will adjust and depression will be history.

Pamper yourself

You definitely need this. Take a long shower in a jacuzzi while watching a feel-good movie. If you have children, arrange for some babysitting so that they can be away. During this time, you can light candles around you, have a hot shower uninterrupted and just focus on having a good time and pampering yourself. You can decide to go to a spa for a massage and have some good time there. If you do this twice a week, you will bid depression goodbye in no time and your life will be back to normal.

Accept help

During this period of adjustment, you may not have the strength to carry out normal house chores. If people offer to help you with activities like preparing meals, cleaning the house, doing laundry or watching over your kids, just let them. Don’t worry – you can return the favor later. This gives you time to relax and get off any feelings of being tired. If you allow this, then your days of depression are numbered


Depression increases your risk of insomnia, which causes more depression. If you have a problem falling asleep at night, look for a night routine that will assist in calming your body and mind.
You can decide to have a cup of chamomile tea, take a shower or a bath as well as read an interesting book. Avoid using electronic screens at that time because they can prevent you from settling to sleep. Just make sure before bedtime, you soothe yourself with some cool music and meditate and focus on sleeping. You will have bid insomnia bye. Consequently, you will have bid depression bye.


Loneliness will lead you into depression easily. I know how hard it is to be around people during this time. But this can help calm the situation. Spend time with people who are focused on making you heal, those who can listen and those with a positive attitude towards life. These people will be willing to change your state of mind when necessary.

How Is Depression Treated?

We have already seen that depression can be treated. Statistics show that a high percentage of depression patients, approximately 90% are receptive to the methods used to treat depression. The initial step involves a comprehensive diagnosis from a certified practitioner. It is only after this diagnosis that the patient can embark on treatment. There are three types of depression treatments which are explained below:

Prescribed medicine

People with depression are mainly given antidepressants. These medications are used to alleviate mood fluctuation episodes. They work by balancing the chemicals and signals found in the brain. Antidepressants help to enhance the energy levels, anxiety episodes as well as the overall mood of the patient. Research shows that it takes between 1 month to 1.5 months for the drugs to become effective.


This is a broad term used to describe alternative forms of treatments used besides medicine to treat various illnesses. It mainly involves a relational approach. This is a broad field thus there are psychotherapists who have specialized in different niches.
Patients who have mild to moderate depression can benefit from this method. It is usually conducted through progressive sessions and patients are advised never to miss any session. The psychotherapist will create a conducive environment to ensure that the patients open up. Psychotherapy also entails confidentiality and the practitioners must respect the patient’s wishes.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

As its name suggests, this form of treatment entails a short stimulation done on the brain through electrodes. Usually it is administered only after the patient is put on anaesthesia. Experts suggest that this treatment is suitable for patients with major depression who do not respond effectively to antidepressants. Nevertheless, it only offers a relief, thus patients are still advised to continue with other therapies.
How to evade depression after divorce
● Recognize that it’s OK to have different feelings.
● Take care of yourself emotionally and physically.
● Give yourself a break. Give yourself permission to feel and to function at a less than optimal level for a period of time.
● Don’t go through this alone
● Take time to explore your interests
● Avoid power struggles and arguments with your spouse or former spouse.
● Think positively
● Life will get back to normal
● Reassure and listen to your kids. Make sure your kids know that your divorce is not their fault
● Maintain stability and routines. Try to keep your kids’ daily and weekly routines as familiar and stable as possible.
● Let your children know they can rely on you
● Don’t involve your children in the conflict.
Remember, depression after divorce is real but using the tips I have highlighted will help you overcome depression. Ensure that your kids are in a good situation and try as much as you can to avoid depression for your kids. Always listen and follow advice from your therapist and close family and friends.

Divorce Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need legal help for a divorce in Utah, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506