There are countless reasons that a couple may make the difficult decision to end their marriage. But it might surprise you to learn that if you or your spouse are diagnosed with a mental illness, the chances of your marriage ending in divorce increases significantly. If both of you have a mental illness, the chances are even higher.

Mental illness is a rampant concern in the United States. In fact, nearly half of adults in the U.S. will experience a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. That means that even if you’re fortunate enough not to experience a mental illness in your life, there’s a good chance that the person you married will not be as lucky.

What the research says

A multinational study that examined mental disorders, marriage and divorce looked at 18 different disorders across the globe. They studied the disorder’s relation to divorce in a variety of different cultural and income backgrounds. Researchers found that all 18 of these mental disorders led to a higher risk of divorce.

What’s more, is that people who had one of three specific disorders – alcohol abuse, major depression and specific phobia like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – had an even greater likelihood of filing for divorce.

When to consider divorce

The decision to divorce a partner with a mental disorder can bring up many hard emotions. You may feel ashamed or guilty about leaving your spouse in their condition or worry whether they will be safe. However, if your spouse engages in behaviors or actions that are harmful to your marriage and well-being, it may be time to consider what is best for you.

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