Warning: Marriage can be bad for your health

Marital problems can have a destructive effect on individuals’ mental and physical health, according to a specialist at Belhoul European Hospital.

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By  David Ingham Published  December 12, 2005

Marital problems not only cause unhappiness, but also have a destructive effect on individuals’ mental and physical health, according to Belhoul European Hospital’s specialist in psychiatry, Dr Bahar Celen. Dr Celen says most people avoid facing up to their marital issues and expressing their unhappiness in order to ‘keep the peace’. “This denial of truth does not minimize the couple’s problems but endangers their health and the future of their marriage,” Dr Celen said. According to Dr Celen, feelings of anger, disappointment, mistrust or resentment can accumulate and cause depression, anxiety, sleep problems and physical complaints. These anxiety and depression-related conditions can cause palpitations, breathing difficulty, chest pain and choking sensations. Other symptoms include headaches, neck, shoulder, and back pain, digestive problems, increased stomach acidity, increased or decreased appetite and/or weight gain or loss. Marital problems are among the most common reasons of depression in middle aged men and women, according to Dr Celen. He says marital discord is one of the most prominent background issues in anxiety disorders in both genders. To ease their emotional pain, individuals often begin to abuse substances like alcohol, tranquilizers, pain killers and sleep medication. Depression can cause autoimmune diseases and infertility in women; coronary heart disease in men; and skin diseases, obesity and pain in both genders. “Not being able to resolve relationship issues in the long run seriously endangers the health of both genders,” warns Dr Celen. In a relationship, Dr Celen says the number one ingredient that keeps couples together is success in resolving conflicts. “Love goes far, but it is difficult to keep good feelings alive in the midst of strife,” Dr Celen explains. Therapy, he says, can help in overcoming problems and increasing marital intimacy. However, relationship problems are not easy to resolve, due to the fact people seeking professional help have usually waited far too long. The therapist’s job is to help the couple understand their conflicts, get to the root of their problems, develop possible solutions and try these out. “The good news is that if the couple is motivated to stay together, therapy can still be effective in repairing the damage in the connection and the hurt feelings,” Dr Celen concludes.

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