Bipolar Disorder and Divorce

Hi there,

I heard the tapes of Mel Gibson calling his ex-girlfriend this week on a newscast.  If indeed they are real, they were horrifying and to me they sounded like someone suffering from some form of  untreated mental illness.

I have posted about narcissism and sociopaths, but not yet discussed the other mental illnesses which are most frequently seen in divorce cases; addictions, bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder. No divorce lawyer should be without her copy of "DSM-IV" (aka Diagnostic And Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition), the Bible of the American Psychiatric Association.

Nor have I discussed parental alienation syndrome (which is not yet in the DSM-IV), which I believe occurs as a result of some sort of underlying disorder on the part of the alienator, which precludes him/her from seeing the damage caused to the kids.

Bipolar Disorder, once diagnosed, is one of the most easily treatable mental illnesses; however, many patients will be reluctant to seek help, may often self-medicate with alcohol, and when diagnosed can often be non-compliant with their medication.  As a result, many of their marriages fall apart.  Mental illness is just that, an illness, and is handled by the court as a condition requiring help and support.  It can add to the needs of the recipient spouse in an alimony situation, and is often an issue raised in custody cases.  If the parent who suffers from the illness has a history of non-compliance with medication, this can be a serious factor in determining access to children.

After the fight over whether or not the Gibson tapes were tampered with, the custody battle may well shift to Mr. Gibson’s mental status.

Best,

Nancy

2 Comments


  1. Everyone is condemning Mel Gibson. Who are we to diagnos any mental illness from some phone conversations? I’m going through a tumultous divorce. My soon to be ex has had me screaming at him because of the situation he has put me in. I, myself, feel sorry for Gibson. I understand the frustration and insulting comments. So anyone who thinks Mel Gibson is crazy ought to understand that he’s been set up.
    My husband gambles and makes over 100 thousand a year as a carpenter and yet I get $300.00 a week to support 4 people. He comes in my home weekly and constantly harrasses me to help him get money out of his annuity. I’m losing the home I grew up in and bought when my mother died because he didn’t pay the mortgage for 2 years (I was kept in the dark about this because he opened a bank acct three years ago and never put me on it).
    Anyway, I look back and know I was stupid and that gets my goat. He tells me to call him at some certain time and then ignores every call until I sound like a maniac. That’s why I feel sorry for Gibson. I never ranted about racial issues but God knows I’ve said really awful things on voice mail. That’s my stance and I’m sticking to it.


  2. Everyone is condemning Mel Gibson. Who are we to diagnos any mental illness from some phone conversations? I’m going through a tumultous divorce. My soon to be ex has had me screaming at him because of the situation he has put me in. I, myself, feel sorry for Gibson. I understand the frustration and insulting comments. So anyone who thinks Mel Gibson is crazy ought to understand that he’s been set up.
    My husband gambles and makes over 100 thousand a year as a carpenter and yet I get $300.00 a week to support 4 people. He comes in my home weekly and constantly harrasses me to help him get money out of his annuity. I’m losing the home I grew up in and bought when my mother died because he didn’t pay the mortgage for 2 years (I was kept in the dark about this because he opened a bank acct three years ago and never put me on it).
    Anyway, I look back and know I was stupid and that gets my goat. He tells me to call him at some certain time and then ignores every call until I sound like a maniac. That’s why I feel sorry for Gibson. I never ranted about racial issues but God knows I’ve said really awful things on voice mail. That’s my stance and I’m sticking to it.

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