The Effects of Mental Health Issues within a Relationship

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The Effects of Mental Health Issues within a Relationship Essay Sample


The paper is aimed at assessing the issues involved in family relationships where one of the family members faces some problems. Mental issues are very prevalent nowadays since they range from the mildest to the very severe ones, and they both cause issues in the family. Therefore, it is necessary to  establish corresponding strategies to curb the issue early enough before more damage is caused to the family members and the patients themselves. Secondly the paper tackles the major issues in families where one of the spouses or family members has some mental problems. The effects are discussed in details with reference to various studies conducted on these families where one of their members suffers from mental illness. Lastly, at the end of the paper, there is some information regarding the modalities of care for family members facing afore-mentioned condition.


Mental illness may be considered as one of the worst misfortunes a family can ever face where a couple or children may be involved; however, there are treatment modalities provided for easier ways of managing and tolerating these patients. Mental health is characterized by the patient’s inability to cope with the family members sometimes in severe cases.  There are various issues involved in mental illness stipulated in the paper. Patients with mental problems cannot think rationally. They may cause harm to both themselves or to their family members. The effect varies from fear, anxiety to depression. In the process, the patient may cause harm to their family members or to people around them (Day, Edgren, & Eshleman, 2007).

Most of the patients have been characterized with violent and aggressive behavior. At the family level, there is psychological abuse, hostility and even sexual abuse. The victims of these patients can be the family members such as children, spouse, or the parents. In addition, they can be withdrawn from the community.  Children raised in a family that is characterized by mentally ill parents are usually affected in their further social life (Feldman & Crandall, 2007). As a result, they become very emotional since they miss normal parents who could care of them like the parents of other children do. Lastly, the paper highlights the fact that there are medical managements that can ensure the patient and family members get the best help.

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The Effects of Mental Health Issues within a Relationship

Mental health issues pose a great challenge in the relationships today.  The extent of mental illness varies over time depending on the patients. There are cases when the patient is totally healthy and at some moment he starts to have problems. Mental health is so labile and can be triggered with the slightest disturbance of the patients.  The Bible does not condemn mental illnesses, but it encourages tolerance towards the people suffering from this conditions. In the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 41, verse ten,  the Lord says encouraging words to  the heart broken and dismayed not to fear for He will offer His  righteous right hand, strengthen them and help them (Smith, 1993).

The significance of mental health problems cannot be underestimated. The prevalence of various studies has shown that at least one of five adults had a period in life when he suffered from a mental disorder. As Kazdin & Blase (2011) observes that in Australia there were about 80 percent of adults who had suffered from mental illness. They ranged from the most simple and frequent kind of mental disorders to the most complex that involved violent individuals. WonPat-Borja, Yang, Link, & Phelan (2012) identified the following major forms of mental illnesses that affect most people. They include depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Day et al. (2007) confirm that depression plays an important role in the number of psychotic patients. About 80 % of the mentally ill people are suffering from depression as the cause of this condition (Draine, Salzer, Culhane, & Hadley, 2002)

The family and relationships as well as dynamics are greatly affected by the presence of a mental illness. Furthermore, the burden of the disease is peculiarly relevant to the family relations for a number of reasons. First, the mental illness affects the whole group of the family members surrounding the patient, and finally causes difficulties in the relationship of the family. Secondly despite the fact that most mental illnesses are amenable to treatment, most of the patients suffering from these conditions remain unnoticed, hence missing the treatment. Thirdly, most of these disorders are chronic; hence, they need lifetime treatment while others change for the patient depending on the situation at the times of relapse. Besides, most of the care provided for the mentally sick patients irrespective of the severity is offered by the family members.

Feldman & Crandall (2007) are convinced that marriages of mentally ill spouse or couple occur mostly by chance. Form these explanations regarding marriage concordance it is evident that people tend to marry partners who are themselves alike, and this could result in mental illness similarities. Secondly, spouses may have similar environments and experiences that contribute to mental illness after marriage. And lastly, when one spouse is affected by a kind of mental illness, there is definite effect on the other partner since they share the same experience.

The effects of mental illness of one spouse on the other can either be positive or negative. However, they are mostly negative with great impact on their lives. Various issues are involved when considering mentally ill couples, and they affect their relationship. According to Pickett & Wilkinson (2010), women are more affected by their spouses when they find themselves in a relationship where the couples are suffering from mental illness. The most common form of behavior that is associated with mental illness is violence. In most couples where one of the partners if mentally ill, there are many cases of violence. According to Link, Yang, Phelan, & Collins (2004), the violence can be projected on either side of the couple’s life. However, the emphasis is made on the female than male due to the fact of obvious advantage of masculine in nature.  The threshold of irritability among the spouses is lowered,  hence making it possible for the spouses to improve their relations.. In some cases the patients may even  fight using the harmful weapons such as machetes and firearms. According to De Silva, McKenzie, Harpham, & Huttly (2005), 60 percent of the victims of violence in such kind of relationships are women.

Secondly, the couples may experience psychological abuse. This is done through  intimidation by the fellow partner who  slowly spoils the relationship. Some of the activities involved can be discussing family issues with friends aiming to intimidate the other partner. Gaebel, Zäske, & Baumann (2006) argue that most women are affected by this condition whereby they share issues without paying much attention to the impact it has on the other spouse. Sometimes, the couple may offend each other and through nasty words that can impair their self-esteem and destroy the relationships completely. There are cases when the partner shares some secret facts with other people, thus hurting the other spouse. Moreover, the words have a great impact on the emotional status of the individual. According to Abdullah & Brown (2011), around seventy percent of the patients faced the problem of psychological abuse.

 Moreover, since one partner is sick, there is possibility that the colleague will suffers from stress and anxiety which might lead to depression if not properly managed. In cases where a partner is sick, the colleagues should send the patient to psychiatric review and also seek medical care depending on how labile they are psychologically. People with such problems mostly identify themselves; hence they understand what can happen to them if they do not refer to the psychiatrist for prophylaxis.

Thirdly, sexual abuse was the main problem among couples in this situation. At the time when the patient lost control, they became irrational and went against wishes of their spouses. At this point, they neither listened to the pleas of the spouses nor paid attention to their demands. Livingston & Boyd (2010) state that women are mostly affected in cases of sexual abuse. The risk factor is that these patients are feminine, and they are not able to defend themselves as the male counterparts do.

Negative marital interactions make the life of these couples less tolerable at this point when the disease starts. In some cases, the patients may issue threats to their couples that sometimes may be real and instill fear among the couple.  As Livingston & Boyd (2010) stated in the study that 70 percent of the associated fear and anxiety of the other family members is instilled by the fear of attack or the threats that have been issued by the ailing patient. At the same time, the patient becomes hostile while interacting with other family members.

Drug and substance abuse is one of the major causes of the problems in families that lead to mental illness. Some patients began taking drugs after the marriage. With the strong drugs, one loses the originality. For example, marijuana modifies the person’s behavior completely.  These patients are not able to reason together with colleagues, and they may turn violent.

On the other hand, there is rising number of drug-induced psychosis, depending on the family member involved who may also engage some of the teammates, thus affecting the family negatively. Evidently, one of the spouses might try to keep off drugs the other one who taints the family name. According to the studies conducted by Link et al. (2004), most of the drug addicts come from the same family. Once they are in the company of one another, they always hurt each other (Link et al., 2004).

In the current society stigma is still an issue of the patients’ suffering from mental illness. Therefore, the family members have that stigma as they interact with people outside the family.  Some others could miss or have friends from a particular region since they are associated with mentally ill people. As Ben-Zeev, Young, & Corrigan (2010) observe that a number of young girls and women have had difficulties of getting into relationships since people do not approach them, or those persons they try to communicate with are not receptive. People in the society associate mental illness with demons while others say it is congenital. Therefore, it is difficult for the young people to make a decision to start relationships with somebody who comes from the family that has a mentally ill patient.

Children raised by the parents who face psychological issues have shown that the situation greatly affects them in their social life. Most of these children have become paranoids with inability to trust people. At the same time, they become very emotional, hence being able to fail easily at the slightest provocation. That forms part of a major trauma the children received from their parent’s relationship. During the time they were raised, they saw violence as part of their lives with people who did not treat each other kindly. Sometimes when they understand the situation, they feel sorry and decide to stay with that parent who is mentally stable and can guide them in life. Concisely, the children miss the fathers and mothers which can lead to their psychological turmoil that will be difficult to get out of (Ben-Zeev, Young & Corrigan, 2010).

From the biblical point of view, as observed earlier, the people suffering from mental illness should receive sufficient care. At the same time, people should endeavor to live like brothers and sisters irrespective of the denomination or religion. They should love one another and try to be tolerant.

Responding to Mental Health Problems

With numerous challenges involved in the relationships of the patients and their families, there are opportunities offered by the public health care that can be geared towards the prevention of the disease or early intervention in order to curb the negative outcome. Service capacity of dealing with the clients who have mental problems is directed by the availability of resources. Thus, it varies depending on the available resources, skills, and knowledge. First, the less serious mental health problems that are amenable to treatment can be death at the comfort of the patient and his families. The context of therapy can be based on relationship or family counseling therapy.

In cases of serious drug and substance abuse, there can be involvement of a multidisciplinary team to deal with the problems separately. Firstly, there must be a rehabilitation specialist who has to ensure that the client gains self-control and will stop using drugs. After the patient is liberated from the drugs he is sent to the family and relationship psychologist. It is important to bring the family  together and maintain its fabric as interactive as possible.

Involvement of the local sectors sometimes plays an important role in the patient’s management. It is crucial since the patient can be dealt with more so when he may have a relapse and fail to reach the required physicians at the stipulated time. Therefore, they can contact the locally available health care providers before seeking more sophisticated care that requires time before they access it. This is crucial that the patient is contained before hurting himself or the family members. Some patients, when they have a relapse, can be involved in violent activities that might cause injuring of their family members. A good example is schizophrenia. Most of the patients with schizophrenia are very dangerous to handle. Therefore, adequate care and close monitoring is paramount for ensuring the safety of family members and the patient. As Abdullah & Brown (2011) observed, that these patients have bizarre behavior and can easily kill without considering the consequences (Abdullah & Brown, 2011).

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Thus, that fact categorizes patients as those of higher risk than others. The patient care will have to initiate the measures depending on the level of risk the patient poses on both himself and the family. As stipulated above, some cases are manageable; and if they remain unnoticed the client will still survive without much conflict in the family. But in case of severe conditions, such as schizophrenia, the patient has to be monitored closely since the physician ensures that the client takes the prescribed medications according to the requirements. Most cases failure to take the drugs as the major cause of relapse that can be detrimental to the family members and the people around the patient. Concisely, treatment modalities area is available for various conditions of the patients, and upon proper utilization they have chances to recover. They will lead a normal life   without much interference of their condition to their daily activities and relationships with their family members.