divorce recovery

The Disturbing Ways Divorce Can Impact Your Health

divorce recoveryFiguring out how to survive and thrive after divorce is no easy task.

Divorce is a life event that completely shakes up your life and can leave you feeling like a shell of your former self.

It is not just the fact that your family is splitting apart, your living situation is changing, and your finances are taking a hit. Divorce also has a very real impact on your physical and mental health.

Here are some of the most significant ways divorce can impact your health.

Chronic stress

Divorce is consistently ranked as one of the most stressful life events, and when that stress becomes chronic, it can pose serious problems to your overall well-being.

When the body is stressed, it releases the hormone cortisol. Overexposure to cortisol can disrupt nearly every system in the body and can contribute to anxiety, heart disease, depression, digestive problems, and other issues.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Weight gain

According to a study published in Social Science & Medicine, ending a marriage can lead to a less healthy diet for men.

That is not surprising. A lot of guys might not have handled cooking duties while they were married. And after divorce, it is common to cope with comfort foods (who couldn’t use a night on the couch with some pizza and beer after a tough breakup?).

That nutritional decline can have serious consequences, however, as a lack of fruits and vegetables puts a person at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Sleep problems

The chronic stress of divorce also can cause trouble sleeping. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation is one of those things that can easily snowball. A lack of sleep leads to more stress, which makes it even harder to fall asleep, which causes more anxiety, and so on.

“In the sleep world, stress is to sleep as yin is to yang – opposite forces that are forever linked,” said Chris Winter, medical director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center. “Stress prevents sleep. Sleep deprivation increases stress and its consequences.”

Fortunately, there are some practical steps you can take to improve your sleep hygiene so that it is easier to fall asleep.

Depression

Depression goes hand-in-hand with stress and anxiety, so it should come as no surprise that many men struggle with depression after divorce.

The end of a marriage conjures a lot of emotional turmoil, and a lot of men are not equipped to deal with these mental health issues on their own. The situation is even worse if you were dealt an unfavorable child custody arrangement forcing you to spend less time with your kids than you would like.

Do not hesitate to reach out for help if you feel overwhelmed. A mental health professional can help you find a sense of stability and start to get back on your feet after divorce.

Addiction/Substance abuse

Research shows that excessive alcohol or drug abuse is the third most common reason for divorce. Divorce itself may pose a risk factor for addiction as a Medscape study found that getting a divorce increases the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder by almost sixfold in men.

Many guys try to cope with the heartbreak of their by numbing the pain with drugs or alcohol.

This is a dangerous road to go down. If substance abuse becomes your primary means of coping with what you are going through, you are veering towards addiction and should seek help immediately.

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health during divorce

How To Stay Healthy During A Divorce

health during divorceDivorce has a way of impacting nearly every part of your life.

The costs of divorce – attorney fees, child support, alimony, and more – can wreck your finances. Depending on how the division of property goes, your living situation can drastically change. And worst of all, divorce can even change the amount of time you get to spend with your children.

With so much at stake, it is understandable if you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed. That can take a huge toll on both your mind and body.

It is critical to be proactive in taking steps to minimize the physical and mental strain of divorce so that you maintain your overall health.

Go to the doctor

Men face a number of increased health risks in the wake of divorce. The long-term consequences of the stress that comes with the divorce process can lead to some very serious long-term issues, some of which are even life-threatening.

In general, men seem less inclined to take care of their health, even when they are not going through divorce. Men are often more reluctant to go to the doctor, and that almost certainly contributes to a lower life expectancy than women.

At the very least, you should go in for an annual checkup, especially if you have a family history of certain ailments.

Your doctor can provide a roadmap to help lower your risk factor of developing serious conditions and help you deal with any preexisting conditions.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

See a therapist

Looking after your mental well-being is every bit as important as taking care of your physical health. The emotional turmoil of divorce can create a spiral of anxiety and depression that seems unending.

When the stress seems overwhelming, there is no shame in asking for help. You might reach a point where it is beneficial to seek the professional guidance of a licensed mental health professional.

Some men might feel hesitant to open up about their feelings. Traditional views of masculinity emphasize the importance of toughness, fearlessness, and invulnerability to pain, but these unrealistic notions are counterproductive and prevent many men from seeking the help they need.

Not only will a therapist allow you to vent about what you are going through, but they are qualified to recognize the symptoms of depression and can determine the best way to treat the disorder.

Divorce is not the time to hold things in. That is only going to make things worse. A therapist can help you manage the negative feelings you are experiencing and help you get back on your feet.

Avoid bad habits

One of the factors contributing to the increased health risks men face during and after divorce is their propensity to fall into bad habits.

With so much stress and frustration, there is a natural temptation to try to drown your sorrows in a case of beer or bottle of liquor, but self-medicating with alcohol is a slippery slope.

Research shows men are more likely to binge drink during divorce. Not only is this a risky behavior health-wise, but it could potentially be used as evidence to paint you as an unfit father during your child custody case.

Another mistake a lot of guys make immediately after divorce is jumping into a rebound relationship too quickly and becoming a habitual dater. Starting a new relationship too soon after divorce makes it more likely that someone ends up  hurt – whether that is you or the person you are dating.

You can find love again after divorce, but it is important to be responsible as you manage your dating life.

The post How To Stay Healthy During A Divorce appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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11 Ways Narcissists and Alcoholics are Similar

11 Ways Narcissists and Alcoholics are Similar

Narcissists gratify themselves despite the costs to those around them. Alcoholics not in recovery continue drinking even when it hurts loved ones.

While alcoholism is an addiction and extreme narcissism is a personality disorder, narcissists and alcoholics tend to share 11 similarities. Knowing these can help you cope with people in your life who have narcissism or alcoholism.

1) Denial

Narcissism is characterized by iron-clad denial. From a narcissist’s point of view, he or she has no problems and can do no wrong. Bragging and a damn-the-consequences-swagger are essential parts of many narcissists’ personae.

Similarly, denial keeps addiction in place. Denial manifests for alcoholics in many ways, such as saying they can stop drinking anytime they want, lying about when they drank, or refusing to acknowledge that their drinking has costs.

That’s why participants in 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous introduce themselves with their name and say “I’m an alcoholic.” It’s a step in breaking denial.

Narcissists don’t enter a room saying “Hi, I’m Jack, I’m a narcissist.” However, their dramatic, manipulative or entitled behaviors often announce their narcissism beyond a doubt.

2) Lack of introspection

Few narcissists are interested in self-reflection. Doing so would risk encountering the deep shame and emptiness they carry.

Similarly, addiction can cover inner conflicts and uncomfortable feelings. As long as an addict uses, those feelings go unaddressed. The longer the feelings are unaddressed, the more daunting it can become to look inward and face them.

3) Refusal to take responsibility

Narcissists are quick to blame others for making them act as they do. Alcoholics have plenty of excuses for why they drink.

Narcissists almost never apologize or promise to change their ways. That would feel like weakness, which is anathema to narcissists, sullying the image they desperately seek to cultivate.

While some alcoholics apologize for their behavior and promise to turn over a new leaf, if they only talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, their repeated apologies and broken promises eventually carry little weight with those around them.

4) Entitlement

Narcissists are defined by entitlement. Lacking empathy and feeling superior, they give themselves full permission to do whatever the want despite the rules or costs to others.

Alcoholics’ sacred entitlement is drinking. They may lose everything and everyone in their lives before they will give up alcohol.

5) Self-destructiveness

Narcissists are trapped in a non-stop holding action devoted to preserving their image and preventing anything from making them feel unworthy.

By the same token, alcoholics sacrifice their health, well-being, reputation, relationships and self-esteem unless they seek help.

6) Behavior is at others’ expense

Those close to both narcissists and alcoholics experience deprivation, abandonment, shame, rejection and feeling used. Loved ones of both alcoholics and narcissists may withdraw emotionally or eventually leave the relationship.

7) Behavior can switch rapidly

Narcissists can go from charming to threatening in a heartbeat. Feeling slighted or a lack of adoration can send a narcissist into full battle mode.

Similarly, an alcoholic’s behavior and personality can change drastically, especially when under the influence. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, leading to outrageous, dangerous or abusive behavior.

8) Superficial relationships

Trying to have a reciprocal, honest conversation with a narcissist is a hit-or-miss proposition. Similarly, trying to make a meaningful connection with someone who is drunk is a fool’s errand.

A narcissist’s dysfunction and an alcoholic’s addiction make it difficult for them to sustain deep, meaningful relationships in any consistent or lasting way.

9) Manipulation of others

Both narcissists and alcoholics will use anybody they can to get their fix.

For a narcissist, the fix is attention or gratification. Narcissists view others in terms of what they can do for the narcissist.

For an alcoholic, the fix is a drink. Others are viewed as either enabling their drinking or as potential threats to their freedom to drink. Alcoholics seek enablers to cover for their drinking.

10) Self-absorption

For both narcissists and alcoholics, it’s all about me. Their needs are primary. While both may function relatively normally in many settings (particularly if not drunk or triggered by the loss of narcissistic supply), their self-focus inevitably re-emerges.

11) Shame

Avoiding shame drives much of narcissists’ behavior. They often cope by dishing out shame to others.

Alcoholics carry immense shame. Their drinking numbs or masks their shame.

Some individuals have both narcissistic personality disorder and an active addiction. If someone in your life has such a dual diagnosis, you may find coping with them much more difficult than if that person had just narcissism or addiction.

The following actions can help you cope with someone who is an alcoholic, a narcissist, or both:

  • Recognize that you don’t cause their narcissism or alcoholism
  • Recognize that you can’t stop their narcissistic or alcoholic behaviors
  • Don’t make excuses for their behavior
  • Be clear on what you will and will not accept from them

 

Couple drawing by Lorelyn Medina

Bottle and chain by Iconic Bestiary

Self admirer by Pathdoc

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