Schizophrenia and Divorce

HLM422 Community Member August 25, 2011
  • Does anyone know of any statistically significance between Schizophrenia and the rate of divorce?  I am currently going through a divorce, that I do not want, and my husband has schizoaffective disorder.  I struggle every day with doing what I think is best for me and our children and the guilt I feel over whether I am turning my back on him for his illness.  I have read online that alot of people suffering from a schizophrenic breakdown file for divorce out of impulse.  I'm just worried that if I don't go through with it, we'll be back in the same spot when he has another break. 

2 Comments
  • Christina Bruni
    Health Guide
    Aug. 30, 2011

    From what I've heard, it is the husband who files for divorce quickly when his wife has schizophrenia, as is often possible.

     

    Your husband will definitely have another psychotic break if he refuses to take his medication.  Only you know his current and most likely future level of functioning as regards to being an active father caring for his kids....

    RHMLucky777

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    From what I've heard, it is the husband who files for divorce quickly when his wife has schizophrenia, as is often possible.

     

    Your husband will definitely have another psychotic break if he refuses to take his medication.  Only you know his current and most likely future level of functioning as regards to being an active father caring for his kids.

     

    I was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was 22, I've been in total remission for 19 years (have no symptoms) and I do not take your question lightly.  it is a question that has been asked at least three times by other women and men whose spouses have schizophrenia and are in a bad way.

     

    I can't give you advice as to what to do.  However I can tell you (and I'm going to take heat for telling you this) that if you feel you must leave your husband, I will stand by you.  I could not ever tell you to stay with a spouse whose recovery is light years away in the future relative to the needs of you and your children now.

     

    Are you willing to wait?  Are you willing to accept that not everyone, and possibly not your husband, can achieve total remission and you will have to deal every day with some manifestation of his symptoms and behavior relative to the illness?

     

    I have schizophrenia and I do not take your question lightly as I already told you.  Some people will think I should automatically take the side of the person with schizophrenia.  Only if you stay, your role will be that of a caregiver to your husband when he is not well, in the same vein of being a caregiver to someone with Alzheimer's or another illness.

     

    I realize the wedding vow tells us we marry "for better or worse."  That doesn't take into account a situation that if you stay in it could do more harm than good for everyone involved.

     

    Like I said I have no symptoms because I'm in remission.  And I'm in remission because every day for 19 years I took my medication as prescribed and missed only one dose on the day I had to get a medical procedure done in a doctor's office.

     

    You deserve some assurance that your husband will take his medication every day as prescribed, because if he doesn't you can very well call yourself a caregiver as well as a wife.

     

    Only you know what's going on right now with your husband's behavior, symptoms and level of remission.  Only you know if he has shown himself capable of being a father and husband in a good way even if he might occasionally have a flare-up of his symptoms.

     

    Some people go through life with no symptoms, others have varying levels and types of symptoms throughout their life on a regular basis, and others have breakthrough symptoms only rarely.

     

    Ask yourself in your heart what you feel his prognosis might be and whether you have the stamina strength and emotional wherewithal to be a caregiver should this need arise.

     

    Because you and your kids have needs too.  If your husband is so far gone you can't adequately care for him and your kids at the same time, with the possibility that you will be the sole breadwinner supporting the family, you have to understand a group home or residence might be the place for him to live if you decide to go through with the divorce.

     

    Like I said only you know the details of what's going on.

     

    Do what you feel you have to do.  I will understand whatever choice you make.

     

    Regards,

    Christina

  • absent minded
    Aug. 30, 2011

    I know it can seem like an odd situiation.  You find a person you love,  you marry and even have children, then that person changes in a substantially negative way and becomes, in effect, "not the man you married." But you seen the occasional glimpse of the man you once knew and loved...and may still love.  It may be that he is no longer available...

    RHMLucky777

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    I know it can seem like an odd situiation.  You find a person you love,  you marry and even have children, then that person changes in a substantially negative way and becomes, in effect, "not the man you married." But you seen the occasional glimpse of the man you once knew and loved...and may still love.  It may be that he is no longer available in any viable and substantial way.

     

    When I found out I had major depression and schizophrenia, my husband of 13 yrs said, "I don't want to be married to a mental case."  It was devastating because I had always waited on him hand and foot and he had always been mean and abusive.  I thought, "Just this once, when I really need you, can't you be kind to me?"  So from my point of view, my spouse was the one who really had mental and emotional problems.  We went our separate ways.

     

    So mine has been a completely different series of events than yours.  I was the one who had schizophrenia.

     

    That said, I do look back now and see where divorce was the best thing for both of us.  No, we didn't have kids.  That might make a difference.  But I can look at my own life and see I was totally out of touch with reality, I was psychotic, I was having bouts of amnesia and derealization, I was about to lose my job (which would mean we would have to lose our house), I would have been totally dependent on him for my care for who knows how long (turned out to be years.)  I was hospitalized repeatedly for years and would have been a financial drain.  I did not feel like showing any physical affection or intimacy.  I was falling apart and falling out of touch with reality.

     

    Yes, it would have been nice if he had taken care of me.  And in the best of all possible worlds, that would have happened.  But this is the real world we are talking about.  I understand where you are because I know what happened in my own marriage.  There were too many problems to overcome.  And perhaps I needed the solitude and reclusiveness in order to heal again.  You spouse may need that.  Plus you have children to protect and to raise in a loving environment.  They may not understand divorce, but they are certainly not able to understand what has happened to their dad, either.  It is possible that he cannot be there for them in any meaningful way.

     

    Should you divorce and move on?  I can't make that decision for you, nor would I want to.  My marriage was already a disaster before I got sick, so it was not all that hard for me to make the decision.  And it may be a matter of deciding what is best for the kids in the present and in the long run.  You are faced with the consequences, I know, no matter what you decide.  I just offer one caution: make the decision and go with it.  Make your decision work for you.  Don't look back and doubt yourself.

     

    You have to make the best you decision you can with the information you have available.