Irvine, CA (PressExposure) September 20, 2011 -- Everyone knows that a marriage gone bad can be painful. But can it actually cause you to suffer from increased health problems-or even lead you straight to the grave?
"No doubt, when the wedded bliss ends and you're trapped in a loveless marriage, it can affect you-and, of course, your children-not just psychologically but physically," says Judy Joseph Hamlin, author of the book "From Riches to Happiness," which details her life as a real housewife of Orange County and how she walked away from the lifestyle. "When my marriage was on the rocks, I regularly suffered from stress-induced illnesses. I can imagine some women-those who don't want their marriages to end-have it much worse."
As we see from Bravo TV's Real Housewives series, divorce can be very harmful and change people's lives 380 degrees. This happened to housewife Taylor Armstrong, whose husband recently committed suicide after deciding to get a divorce.
According to studies presented on Health.com, women and men who live in unhappy marriages are more like to fall victim to:
High blood pressure
Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
Depression and stress
In many cases, ongoing misery at home can lead to a depleted immune system, which can open you up to a whole range of ailments and pain. With your body's defenses lowered, it's easier to pick up viruses or other illnesses that can become life-threatening if they go untreated.
"The problem is," says Ms. Hamlin, "when you're in the middle of a divorce, or even if you're just questioning if you want one, you get so caught up in the drama of what's going on, you forget to take care of yourself. But you have to-it's an important step toward becoming an independent woman. Learn how to care for you and the rest will fall into place."