If you’re dealing with a divorce here in Western Pennsylvania and your soon to be ex-wife or ex-husband has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the process of separating can become even more emotionally difficult. So what do you need to know about divorcing from a spouse who suffers from bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Although much has been written about the disorder itself and the challenges a diagnosis brings, little has been said about the challenges faced by a spouse of an individual with bipolar disorder.
According to an article published in Psychology Today, it is estimated that a staggering 90% of marriages involving at least one bipolar spouse end in divorce. This statistic is obvious indicative of a strong nexus between divorce and the disorder itself, but why?
One reason may be the conflict that can arise from the behavior of the bipolar spouse during a mood episode; this can turn into a vicious cycle, causing the bipolar spouse’s stress and anxiety levels, in turn triggering even more episodes of mania or depression.
Further leading to conflict in trying to obtain a divorce in Pennsylvania is the fact that bipolar spouses are likely to have a different view of their marriage than their spouse does, and may not be aware of the full impact their disorder has on them. Tensions can escalate and some couples end up in a downward spiral.
The good news is that with the right treatment, a bipolar spouse can reduce both the frequency and intensity of mood swings and episodes, and further gain insight on the effect their diagnosis has on the relationship.