Background: Bipolar disorder (BD) is a complex mental disorder which is characterized by episodes of depression/ mania/hypomania/mixed states along with interepisodic phases of remission. This study is conducted with hope that a better understanding of marital functioning will help to address the needs of both patient and spouse resultantly improving the outcome of marriage and illness.
Methods: This study is conducted with 60 married patients with BD along with their spouses and 61 subjects free of any psychiatric disorder. Spouses and controls were age and gender matched.
Results: Less than half of the spouses felt cheated and about one-third of the spouses reported that they felt (to little or some extent) that they should separate from their spouses. About one-fifth (21.7%) of the spouses believed that marriage can be a treatment of mental illnesses and about one-fourth (23.3%) believed that marriage can be a cure from mental illnesses. About one-third (36.7%), of the spouses felt that marriage can help in improving the mental illness. About half of the spouses (45%) also believed that marriage can worsen mental illness.
Conclusion: We conclude that when comparisons were made based on the onset of illness prior or after marriage, it was seen that higher proportion of spouse of patients with bipolar disorder who had illness prior to marriage were worried that children may develop mental illness and were not fully satisfied with the child care provided by mentally ill spouse.
Keywords: Bipolar disorder (BD), Marriage