It’s no surprise that there are many celebrities and famous people with bipolar disorder because it impacts people from all walks of life, especially those in the creative arts.
Because May is Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s an ideal time to increase attention on mental illness and show that anyone can be affected, so it’s important to help reduce the stigma.
Some of the celebrities with bipolar listed below show that it’s possible to get help through proper treatment.
Bipolar Disorder can be debilitating, with symptoms ranging from serious to moderate. Extreme shifts in mood and huge fluctuations in energy and activity levels are some of the symptoms that characterize the disorder.
Approximately 83% of bipolar symptoms people experience are classified as severe.
Once known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is a neurological disorder that affects roughly 2.8% of U.S. adults in a given year, according to Harvard Medical.
That figure almost doubles when we’re looking at people who may suffer from bipolar disorder at some point in their lives, with 4.4% of U.S. adults reportedly experiencing bipolar symptoms.
Bipolar disorder has been connected with creativity, which may explain why there are so many famous people and celebrities with bipolar.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
People who suffer from bipolar disorder have severe disruptions in mood, from extreme lows of depressive states, to highs of hypomania and acute mania, or psychosis.
Someone with bipolar can experience mood episodes that last days, weeks or months, while in between, their moods might be stable.
Bipolar I is classified as people who experience extreme highs that reach psychosis or delirium. On the other hand, Bipolar II edges more on the side of depressive states.
Interestingly, a person with bipolar can often be creative, with a wide range of talents and ideas.
In one study from Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, they found that 80% of authors had experienced mood disorders, ranging from depression to bipolar. This compares to the control group, where only 30% of those studied had a history of mood disorders.
Is Bipolar Inherited From the Mother or Father?
Normally, genes that correlate with disease lessen over time. But that’s not true for bipolar disorder. Many people feel that the reason the genes are still being produced is due to some sort of evolutionary advantage. This may be due perhaps to creativity, and financial success.
Bipolar has been studied and found to be one of the most inheritable of medical disorders according to an article published in Neuroscience. This means if you have a parent that has bipolar disorder, then you may inherit the genes.
However, genetic factors only account for 60% to 80% of the cause of the disorder. The rest lies in external or environmental factors such as triggers or trauma.
What Triggers Bipolar?
The onset of bipolar is often preceded by a high-stress life event, such as a head injury, a death in the family, or physical injury. Another trigger for bipolar disorder is seasonal change.
This is thought to be due to the lengthening of daylight hours, which is particularly prevalent in the change between winter and spring.
Other triggers for bipolar include lack of sleep, drug or alcohol use, a birth or a menstrual period. These factors alone will not produce the disorder. Instead, they can be triggers for someone who is genetically predisposed to bipolar disorder.
Many people struggle to accept a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. It’s no wonder because many people do not want to believe they have a serious life-long mental health condition. This poses a problem because holding off and suffering in silence can lead to a painful and isolated life.
Learning about famous people with bipolar who have opened up about it can help remove some of the stigma.
10 Celebrities and Famous People With Bipolar Disorder
1. Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey is a Grammy Award winning American singer-songwriter, who was diagnosed with bipolar in 2001. Despite being hospitalized at that time, Carey wasn’t ready to accept her diagnosis.
Eighteen years later, in April 2019, she opened up to People Magazine about her lifelong struggle with Bipolar II. Carey has struggled alone and came out about her disorder to help remove the stigma surrounding bipolar.
“I didn’t want to carry around the stigma of a lifelong disease that would define me and potentially end my career, I was so terrified of losing everything.”
2. Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher was an American Actress, who died in 2016, and she often spoke openly about her mental health, which helped people feel less isolated.
Like Mariah Carey, Fisher took several years to accept her diagnosis of Bipolar. She only accepted it after she overdosed and then got sober.
Like many people with bipolar disorder, Fisher had a dual diagnosis of alcohol dependence and bipolar.
“My comfort wasn’t the most important thing – my getting through to the other side of difficult feelings was.”
Learn More: Bipolar Disorder Treatment and Addiction
3. Bebe Rexha
Bebe Rexha is an American singer-songwriter who’d like to release others from the stigma of bipolar.
She has openly disclosed that she would be kept up all night making music on some occasions, then at other times, she would be unable to leave the house.
When growing up, Rexha would be told to just get over how she was feeling, and that it was all in her head.
After opening up about her struggles with bipolar on her Twitter profile, Rexha is saying she isn’t holding anything back any longer.
“I’m Bipolar and I’m not ashamed anymore.”
4. Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson is an Academy Award winning actor who first talked about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008.
Many stories about Gibson have been circulating around the web for years, and some people wonder if he is mentally ill, or just a jerk. Recordings of him drunk and possibly suffering an episode of mania are widespread.
He has opened up publicly and announced that the illness has been a battle.
“I had really good highs but some very low lows.”
5. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato is an award-winning American singer, songwriter, actress and television personality. Like many people suffering from bipolar, Lovato also has a dual diagnosis of drug addiction.
Instead of keeping her mental health issues out of the press, she uses her fame to raise awareness. Like many others, it took years for Lovato to get her diagnosis.
“I knew that there were two options: I could either not talk about my stint in rehab and hope that it went away, or I could talk about it and inspire people to get help for their issues, as well, so that’s exactly what I did.”
6. Russell Brand
Russell Brand is an award-winning British comedian, actor, and author. He’s also an activist for both mental health and drug rehabilitation.
Brand suffers from both ADHD and Bipolar Disorder. Brand has also suffered from addiction, in all forms – from heroin to sex, and eating disorders.
“The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.”
7. Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson is a legendary American musician, famous for founding the Beach Boys. LSD use was the initial trigger for Wilson’s mental illness and he used cocaine and heroin to numb the pain of his mental illness for 15 long years before seeking help.
Wilson hears voices that impact his ability to perform, and was diagnosed with bipolar schizoaffective disorder.
”..the struggle for mental health is the result of bad drugs.”
8. Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain was one of the most iconic music artists and the front man of Nirvana.
Cobain had ADHD as a child and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder later on in his life.
Cobain used alcohol and drugs to self-medicate, and sadly didn’t seek help for his bipolar disorder and committed suicide at 27-years-of-age.
“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are.”
9. Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway was a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning American author who committed suicide at 61 years of age.
Hemingway suffered from depression and psychosis (Bipolar I). Experts state that his mental illness was triggered by several blows to the head during his life.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
10. Ted Turner
Ted Turner is an American billionaire and founder of CNN. Turner went on a manic spending spree, where he once spent $20 million on cushions and throws. He’s also known for hi outspoken and unguarded comments, which is another sign of bipolar disorder.
“You can never quit. Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
Related: World Bipolar Day
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that is often connected with drug and alcohol use, but dual diagnosis treatment can be effective for managing and overcoming the symptoms.
Outrageous highs and debilitating lows characterize the symptoms and it’s necessary to work to remove the stigma of this mental illness so that more people can step forward to get help.
We applaud celebrities and famous with bipolar disorder for coming forward to let others know it’s okay to seek help.
- Mariah Carey by WBLS
- Carrie Fisher by Riccardo Ghilardi
- Bebe Rexha by Toglenn
- Mel Gibson by Georges Biard
- Demi Lovato by Ralph Arvesen
- Russell Brand by Eva Rinaldi
- Brian Wilson by Takahiro Kyono
- Kurt Cobain by Julie Kramer
- Ted Turner by Kingkongphoto and www.celebrity-photos.com
We believe trust, meaningful connections, and kindness are the essentials to beginning a journey in recovery. We are dedicated to providing an honest, authentic, and genuine treatment environment that gives our clients a unique opportunity for healing.