In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Angelina Jolie has opened up about her struggle with Bell’s palsy during her contentious divorce from Brad Pitt in 2017. She recounts in her interview that, during the final months leading up to the conclusion of her split from Pitt, symptoms for the neurological disorder suddenly appeared, culminating in an official diagnosis shortly thereafter.

Bell’s palsy is generally quite easy to identify as the condition causes temporary weakness, or even paralysis, of the muscles in one’s face. This creates a ‘lop-sided’ effect in their visage whereby one half will not respond to facial expressions such as smiling or frowning. Other coinciding symptoms can also include headaches, a loss of taste, increased sensitivity to sound, and sometimes a dry mouth or eyes. In severe cases, this infirmity can even affect one’s ability to speak properly or impact their mobility in their arms to the extent that they may not be able to keep both of them lifted at once. It is important to make sure that such symptoms are seen to as quickly as possible by a doctor as they can be an indication of a stroke in certain instances.

When recounting her experience of this condition, Angelina shared how her body ‘reacts very strongly to stress’, with spikes and dips in her blood sugar levels often occurring as a result. Amid the pressures of managing ongoing family life for her and her six children, Maddox (22), Pax (19), Zahara (18), Shiloh (17), and twins Knox and Vivienne (15), and negotiating disagreements with Pitt over financial arrangements to separate their various assets in divorce proceedings, Jolie noted how her physical health ultimately took the greatest hit from all the ensuing psychological and emotional strain.

It is a well-documented phenomenon within the medical world that excessive stress can result in a weakened immune system. Further, research in this field has also reported some correlation between getting divorced and having an increased risk of health complications. Although most people are able to recover from an extended period of exposure to high stress during a divorce, studies in psychosomatic medicine show that a small percentage of divorcees do in fact have an elevated risk of developing a health condition as well as a slightly higher mortality rate.

Thankfully in Angelina’s case, seeking therapy, in particular acupuncture, enabled her to make a full recovery from Bell’s palsy as the condition is generally treatable with most patients finding relief from symptoms within 6 months’ time. Angelina credited her close relationship with her children when speaking of her recovery, stating that they are ‘her close friends’.

Whether you are looking to separate from a partner or to begin the process of getting a divorce, the challenge of facing such a major change in one’s life is almost always certain to take a significant toll on resources, both mental/emotional and physical. Our solicitors at Grayfords understand the importance of having the right support and legal assistance in place when managing this process and pride ourselves in our long-standing client-focused approach to such cases. Don’t hesitate to book a free consultation here if you would like to find out more about how we can help.

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