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Formerly known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is a psychiatric illness that includes crippling mood episodes lasting weeks in one go. These mood swings may make a person feel happy and energetic on some days and depressed and extremely low on others. With up to 3 percent of the American population suffering from this disorder, it is no surprise that the victims include some famous names.
Diagnosing bipolar disorder is extremely challenging as many individuals may spread rumors or assert diagnoses from afar. However, over time, many celebrities with bipolar depression have come out and spoken about their illness in public. By doing so, they have developed countless people to understand that they are not alone, motivating them to seek the help they need and deserve.
A List of Famous People with Bipolar Disorder
While the list is huge, the following are some successful people with bipolar disorder whose illness was made public:
Carey is a famous actress, songwriter, singer, and producer with many awards and accolades. The iconic star opened up publicly about her diagnosis of bipolar disorder in 2018, 17 years after her diagnosis. Mariah also did not shy away from explaining how she had a mental and physical breakdown and needed hospitalization to recover. According to Mariah, she surrounded herself with positive people, sought treatment, and focused on making music and writing songs to overcome the disorder.
Robert Downey Jr.
As one of the popular actors with bipolar disorder, Robert has been struggling all his life with a years-long addiction to alcohol and drugs. Despite these issues, the actor has thrived and won many awards and nominations. He has also been reportedly sober since 2003. While Downey Jr. has never publicly announced his bipolar diagnosis, his mother reportedly mentioned in an interview how the actor got a diagnosis, which gave him a hard time maintaining sobriety.
Known across the world for the character of Saran Conner in the famous film franchise “The Terminator,” Linda has repeatedly discussed her struggles with bipolar disorder and depression in media. During her interview with Larry King in 2005, the actress mentioned her suicidal thoughts and violent mood swings and blamed these symptoms for her failed marriages. Fortunately, the actress later received medication and therapy to manage her issues.
Famous for playing the role of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy, Carrie Fisher has made her struggles with addiction to drugs and alcohol public in many instances. The world knows that her underlying mental health illness drives most of her addiction-related issues. As the daughter of a celebrity couple, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, the actress earned worldwide critical acclaim for accepting and publicly talking about her battle with drug abuse and bipolar disorder.
This billionaire media mogul is the founder of CNN and Turner Broadcasting. Despite battling bipolar depression, Ted lives a successful life as a businessperson. Sources suggest that he takes lithium to manage his bipolar symptoms.
This American songwriter, actress, and singer used Twitter to open up about her mental health issues. She mentioned why she kept wondering for years why she always felt so sick and did not feel like leaving her house or being around other people. Bebe Rexha also mentioned the ” high ” periods where she would find it difficult to sleep, work, or create music. However, after receiving the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, things finally started making sense for her.
Bebe Rexha described her biggest fear to be the thought of going crazy. Hence, she chose to share her diagnosis with her fans as it was her way not to feel imprisoned. In other words, she chose to share her struggles to free herself from the burden of this disease.
Pauley is a popular author, television host, and journalist widely known as the successor to Barbara Walter. However, she is also one of the most well-known celebrities with bipolar disorders known to the world. She made her bipolar disorder diagnosis public through her bestseller memoir, “Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue.” During an interview in 2014, Jane mentioned that not talking about the stigma has been a part of her advocacy. However, she realized that it did not help her move forward. Pauley also told others that she takes her medications regularly and has not had a recurrence.
Vincent Van Gogh
While it still needs confirmation, many analysts think that Van Gogh, the famous painter, displayed the traits of bipolar disorder mixed with BPD. Additionally, the painter also suffered from severe malnutrition and alcoholism. Unfortunately, Vincent died after taking a gunshot, which killed him at the young age of 37 days after spending two days in a French hospital. Even after being gone, Vincent’s artwork remains among the most expensive ever sold.
This pop singer was diagnosed with bipolar disorder following a suicide attempt when she was only 17 years of age. Shortly after getting the diagnosis, Hasley started using drugs immediately to cope with it. The world has widely criticized Hasley for using “tri-bi” for herself, i.e., bisexual, bipolar, and biracial. However, the singer believes that she has wholly embraced her diagnosis now as she believes it makes her emphatic.
This Academy Award winner has been talking openly about her bipolar II disorder for a long time. In 2007, the actress reportedly pulled back from her acting schedule to focus more on her health and family. After facing some personal struggles, including hospitalization for her bipolar disorder in two separate instances, Catherine and her husband separated due to the stress caused by her disease. However, after controlling it, the couple reconciled after a few years.
Selena is a popular actress and producer who has spent most of her life in the limelight. This took a toll on her health and affected her in various ways. However, Selena has always been brave enough to discuss her problems, especially depression and anxiety. In 2020, the actress received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, following which she founded Wondermind. This company aims to create a world where treating mental health and discussing its relevant issues is destigmatized.
Brand is a well-known podcaster, host, radio, actor, and comedian who has always been vocal about the issues he has faced in various parts of his life and career. According to his biography, Russell had multiple mental health issues, including bulimia nervosa, ADHD, self-harming, substance use disorder, and bipolar disorders since his early teenage years.
Many people adore Russell Brand for his outspoken behavior, while others consider him a bit over the top. Despite talking about his bipolar disorder, Brand revealed that he only got treatment for depression.
Does bipolar run in genes for celebrities?
Genes correlating with disease usually lessen with time; however, this may not always hold for bipolar disorder. Some professionals believe that the genetic basis for this psychiatric illness may continue to reproduce and pass down from one generation to another due to certain evolutionary advantages. Research also considers bipolar one of the most inheritable illnesses, which may easily pass to the next generation even when only one parent suffers. Since most famous families have a legacy in different areas, such as sports, film business, and politics, it makes sense that genetics play a role in passing on bipolar disorder.
What triggers bipolar depression in celebrities?
Bipolar disorder usually occurs due to a high-stress life event, the number one factor for most celebrities to develop this illness. Other reasons may also come into play, such as lack of sleep or substance use, which also make up a huge part of the celebrity lifestyle. However, most experts believe that a genetic predisposition usually backs these factors for most people.
What do most celebrities get a misdiagnosis of bipolar with?
Many celebrities have been misdiagnosed with clinical depression only to experience mania later, leading to a formal diagnosis of bipolar disorder. This misdiagnosis is because many experts and celebrities miss the manic episodes, even those experiencing these episodes. Such people get prescribed antidepressants, which, in turn, worsen their manic episodes.