Research suggests that divorcees may be twice as likely to develop dementia than those who stay married. Scientists from Michigan State University evaluated over 15,000 people with different marital statuses who participated in the Health and Retirement Study. The study was done between the years of 2000 and 2014, with the results showing an increased inclination for those who were divorced, mostly men, to develop a mental disorder called dementia.
Dementia is an umbrella term used to identify a myriad of mental health disorders, generally characterized by a decline in mental ability. Memory loss is the most common example of dementia, with Alzheimer’s being the most common form. The symptoms affect not only thinking but social skills, which ends up interfering with daily life.
It affects three areas of the brain, including language, memory, and decision-making. Other forms of dementia include Parkinson’s disease, Creutzfeldt Jacob’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and more. The ways in which one’s life can be affected by the condition are losing the ability to focus or pay attention, faulty reasoning and judgment, and problems with visual perception, to name a few. The condition is chronic and currently has no cure.
The researchers came to the conclusion that “differing economic resources” and health-related behaviors” may play a part in developing the condition as well as financial poverty and loneliness. On the other end of the spectrum, better health has been linked to the long term support marriage offers on both emotional health and finances.
Statistics show that dementia affects over 5.7 million people in the United States. Also, the number of unmarried older men is increasing in the country. To top it all off, statistics from the American Psychological Association show that almost 50 percent of couples end up divorcing in the US, so it’s now more important than ever to consider marital status when evaluating mental health.
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