Top 5 Mental Disorders Affecting Relationships

There are large stigmas associated with mental disorders and relationships, and there are very few people who are willing to enter into partnerships with those that they know have a mental illness. This complex problem has valid arguments from both sides, but the bottom line is that neurotypical individuals can be in fruitful and happy relationships with those who suffer from a disorder.

Problems arise in relationships such as these when a disorder’s projected symptoms get in between and cause friction between two people. Untreated individuals with mental illness can exhibit abusive and neglectful behaviors because of their disorders, and other symptoms can cause their partner frustration and create an understanding disconnect between the two. While there is a possibility that all mental disorders can cause friction in relationships, these five disorders are prevalent and common in partnerships.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Dependence

Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Dependence

Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Dependence

Alcohol and drug addiction are often considered a disease by the media and medical professionals, but the two dependencies are actually categorized as mental disorders in the DSM and ICD, both references for psychiatry and health. Alcohol and drug abuse are common problems and probably receive the most attention of all the mental disorders on this list.

Alcohol addiction can cause a very abusive and toxic environment in a relationship because of an addict’s need to continue their consumption of alcohol by any means necessary and the attitudes and neglect that can be exhibited while they are under the influence. Drug addiction is much the same. These disorders can lead to being physically violent, manipulative, and antagonistic towards a partner and also can lead to theft, personal injury, and property damage.

ADD and ADHD

ADD

ADD

Attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADD and ADHD) are often thought to be associated only with children, but the sad truth is that these two disorders are often overlooked and neglected in adults. These two illnesses are associated with frustration in educational settings and an inability to focus or sit still which many wouldn’t think to be large problems in a relationship, but the opposite is the case.

Because these two disorders are marked by forgetfulness, distraction, disorganization and becoming easily frustrated, these behaviors can cause problems for the other partner in the relationship. These frustrations and misunderstandings can lead to bigger fights, and the small instances can pile up. The non-effected partner in the scenario may feel like the other person isn’t trying hard enough to change their habits when in reality there isn’t a lot they can do about these things undiagnosed and untreated.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can be put into two subcategories; Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Sometimes referred to as manic depression, this disorder is sometimes stereotyped incorrectly by people as a disorder that includes whiplashing emotions at the drop of a hat. The exact illness is actually more complicated. There are periods of happiness (usually called mania) and sadness (depression), but these emotions aren’t typically switching in short intervals. Those with bipolar disorder can experience extended periods of time where they are incapable of leaving their bed because their depression is so incredibly debilitating, but the next day a long period of mania and elation can occur.

Because there aren’t many ways to predict the longevity of these extreme mood periods or when they will start or stop, relationships with someone with bipolar disorder can be draining if the disorder is improperly treated or undiagnosed. Other symptoms like self-harm and emotional distance can also cause disconnect.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder, commonly referred to as OCD, is a disorder that can be described as a person wanting absolute control. Though this disorder is often categorized as people who are “neat freaks”, the compulsive behavior exhibited doesn’t necessarily have to do with cleanliness. To create the air of control within their lives and themselves, the individuals have to go through certain thoughts and routines over and over again as a compulsion.

No matter what their compulsions are, the behaviors of OCD individuals can be very agitating and destructive to their relationships. It’s often that those with OCD put their routines and rituals before anyone else, including their partner, and sometimes these routines will be so disruptive and bizarre that their partner will get frustrated and angry. OCD is also a disorder that can severely limit a person’s social capabilities, a cornerstone in maintaining a relationship.

Depression Disorders

Depression Disorders

Depression Disorders

Many disorders can have depression as a symptom or side effect, but depression itself is a disorder all on its own and is clinically called major depressive disorder (MDD) or clinical depression. In a relationship where one person has depression and another doesn’t have experience with the illness, the lethargy, apathy, and extreme sadness of the effected person can be confusing and draining. Depression can ruin relationships if gone untreated.

Depression can also cause other disorders to rear their heads, including the common side effect of alcohol or drug dependency. Self-harm is also prevalent in untreated depression cases, which can also cause relationship rifts.

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