Is “Divorce Diabetes” a Thing?
We’ve all heard that failed relationships can cause “heartbreak” – the commonly-used metaphor for the deep emotional devastation that painful or unexpected endings can cause.
But what about physical repercussions?
In a recent media article, interviewees who suffered blindsiding breakups and difficult divorces reported significant physical ailments soon after. These included significant weight loss, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, heart palpitations, among many afflictions.
One 50-year-old woman, whose 25-year marriage suddenly ended, was newly diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes which normally manifests in early childhood, rather than later in life. She wondered whether there was such a thing as “divorce diabetes”, and even wrote a book about her emotional and medical ordeal.
The fact that divorce can be stressful, is nothing new. In fact back in 2003, Statistics Canada reported that divorce is second only to the death of a loved one, in terms of the stress it causes those who are involved. Now in 2022, StatsCan is still soliciting input from the public, to better understand how divorce and other traumatic events can impact mental health. It also tracks death rates by marital status.
On an individual level, the medical ramifications of divorce can have many different manifestations. As the news article reports, there are many historic accounts of divorced people suffering poorer overall health than their married counterparts. Some even come down with a condition called takotsubo cardiomyopathy or “broken heart syndrome” – where the sudden trauma of getting dumped brings on heart attack symptoms in otherwise-healthy individuals. A full five percent of these sufferers will actually die, and 20 percent suffer complications on a long-term basis.
Of course, not everyone suffers permanently when a meaningful relationship ends. Plus there are many common strategies for getting back to a healthy physical and mental space.
We’ll cover some of those heartbreak-recovery tips in an upcoming Blog.