Leonardo DiCaprio and 14 Other Celebrities Who Struggle With Mental Illness
We often assume that celebrities are perfect, and therefore don’t have to worry about anything. On top of that assumption, mental illness is taboo in our society, so people don’t want to talk about it. However, there are many celebrities who have bravely spoken out about their mental health in order to raise awareness and breakdown stereotypes.
So which celebrities have told their own stories? Here are 15 celebrities who spoke out about their mental health.
1. Adele on postpartum depression
After the singer had her son, she experienced depression but didn’t turn to medication. Instead, she vented to her close friend about it. “One day, I said to a friend, ‘I f***in’ hate this,’ and she burst into tears and said, ‘I f***in’ hate this, too,'” Adele revealed to Vanity Fair. “And it was done. It lifted.”
2. Adam Levine on ADHD
The singer has opened up about having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and what that means for him. “Throughout my life, I struggled with ADHD,” he said according to Verywell. “It was hard for me at times to sit down, focus and get school work done. I was frustrated because of the challenges I was having in school. I was really struggling.”
So what does it mean for him as an adult? “As a young adult and adult,” he continued, “I continued having difficulty in the studio as I was trying to write new songs and focus on completing my work. On the first album, I remember very distinctly being stuck and not being able to focus. And I had 30 ideas floating through my mind and just couldn’t document them.”
Eventually Levine came up with a treatment plan with his doctor’s help.
3. Lady Gaga on PTSD
The singer has spoken out in support of the LGBT community throughout her career. But recently, she has been talking about post traumatic stress disorder because it was something she experienced after she was raped.
“My own trauma in my life has helped me to understand the trauma of others,” she said. She has also visited campuses to speak to students about the subject. “I told the kids today that I suffer from a mental illness. I suffer from PTSD. I’ve never told that to anyone before, so here we are.”
4. Lena Dunham on OCD
The Girls creator introduced her character’s obsessive compulsive on the show, but it didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. The actress is actually challenged by it in real life. She wrote about this in her book, Not That Kind of Girl. There she revealed that due to her disorder, “I am afraid of everything.”
The list of things that keep me up at night includes but is not limited to: appendicitis, typhoid, leprosy, unclean meat, foods I haven’t seen emerge from their packaging, foods my mother hasn’t tasted first so that if we die we die together, homeless people, headaches, rape, kidnapping, milk, the subway, sleep.
5. Jim Carrey on depression
The funny man also struggles with depression and has been treated for it. “I was on Prozac for a long time,” he said according to The Australian. “It may have helped me out of a jam for a little bit, but people stay on it for ever. I had to get off at a certain point because I realised that, you know, everything’s just OK.”
6. Demi Lovato on bipolar disorder
The singer got into trouble earlier on in her career. While on tour with Nick Jonas she punched a backup dancer. Turns out, her behavior was due to her bipolar disorder going untreated. This violent incident is what led to her getting treatment.
“Getting the diagnosis kind of explained why I would act out,” she said according to Elle. “So when I was diagnosed, I went back and told my manager and my parents and my closest friends. I was like, ‘Hey, so I’m bipolar …that‘s why….'”
Now, the actress talks about her mental illness openly and created the The Lovato Treatment Scholarship Program, which helps those who suffer from mental illness to get healthcare.
7. Jon Hamm on depression
The Mad Men star played a very dark and complex character for years. It turns out, the actor has battled with depression and addiction in his own life. “I struggled with chronic depression. I was in bad shape,” he told The Observer. He eventually got it treated with therapy and antidepressants.
He continued, “You can change your brain chemistry enough to think: ‘I want to get up in the morning; I don’t want to sleep until four in the afternoon. I want to get up and … go to work and …’ Reset the auto-meter, kick-start the engine!”
8. Kesha on eating disorders
Many forget that eating disorders are also a form of mental illness. Kesha went to rehab to address her struggle, then talked openly about it. “That first day at the treatment center was the scariest of my life,” she wrote in an op-ed piece. “I felt like part of my job was to be as skinny as possible and, to make that happen, I had been abusing my body. I just wasn’t giving it the energy it needed to keep me healthy and strong.”
This pressure reportedly didn’t just come from the singer herself. It has been revealed that her producer, would call her a “fat f****ing refrigerator” and would criticize her diet.
9. Dennis Quaid on anorexia
Often in our society, women are the focus when we talk about eating disorders. However, men suffer from them as well. The actor opened up about his own experience with it. “I’d look in the mirror and still see a 180-lb. guy, even though I was 138 pounds,” he explained according to People Magazine. “For many years, I was obsessed about what I was eating, how many calories it had, and how much exercise I’d have to do.” He also was physically weak, “My arms were so skinny that I couldn’t pull myself out of a pool.”
10. Carrie Fisher on bipolar disorder
The Star Wars star is known for her role playing Princess Leia in the space saga. But when she wasn’t writing and acting, she was talking pretty openly about her struggle with bipolar disorder. She wrote about her experiences in her memoir, Wishful Drinking. Fisher also talked about it in interviews and on her one-woman show, also titled Wishful Drinking. She also explained that she went through electroconvulsive therapy to handle her depression.
“They put you to sleep,” she explained on Oprah. “They give you a medication so there are no more convulsions or anything … It’s over very quickly and you go home and take a nap.” She continued, “Some of my memories will never return. They are lost – along with the crippling feeling of defeat and hopelessness. Not a tremendous price to pay.”
Fisher knew how important it was to stand up to the stigma of mental illness. “I have a chemical imbalance that, in its most extreme state, will lead me to a mental hospital,” she said in an interview with Diane Sawyer. “I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on. Better me than you.”
11. Russell Brand on bulimia and bipolar disorder
The comedian opened up about battling with an eating disorder. “It’s awful to be bulimic but I lost a whole lot of weight when I needed to,” he said according to Celebs Now. “I was a fat kid, not obese but chubby.”
He also said he’s taking “Prozac and other things like Prozac for a while” to medicate for bipolar disorder.
12. Jessica Alba on OCD
The actress and entrepreneur has struggled to manage her OCD. “I used to unplug every single appliance in my house,” she told Cosmo Girl. “Or I’d double-check every door in my house to make sure it was locked at night. It was like a panic comes over me and I had to do something, and once I did it, I was OK. … It was really me needing to control something.”
But it doesn’t seem like she feels alone in her struggle. “I think a lot of actors have OCD. I think it’s part of being creative, whether your outlet is acting or science or math. Whatever it is, it takes some sort of drive to get anywhere.”
13. Ryan Reynolds on anxiety
The funny action star’s anxiety has really taken a toll on him in the past. “I went to go see a doctor because I felt like I was suffering from a neurological problem or something,” he told GQ Magazine, “and every doctor I saw said, ‘You have anxiety.'”
The actor acknowledged that fame might have set his anxiety off. “I say this with the caveat that I completely recognize the ridiculously fortunate position that I am in,” he continued. “But the attention is hard on your nervous system—that might be why I live out in the woods.”
14. Paula Deen on agoraphobia
The chef had severe agoraphobia, which is a fear of places that can cause panic, for 20 years. She got really into cooking during this time since it didn’t require her to leave her home. She did, however, manage to go to the store for ingredients.
“I could concentrate on what was in my pots and block out what was in my head,” she said according to The New York Times. “Some days I could get to the supermarket, but I could never go too far inside. I learned to cook with the ingredients they kept close to the door.”
15. Leonardo DiCaprio on OCD
The actor opened up about his struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder that returned after he played Howard Hughes in The Aviator, a character who had OCD. “I’m able to say at some point, ‘OK, you’re being ridiculous, stop stepping on every gum stain you see,'” he said according to Contact Music. “You don’t need to do walk 20 feet back and put your foot on that thing.”
Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz helped advise the actor to address the disorder. “There were moments when I was very concerned for Leo,” Schwartz said according to World Net Daily. “He let his own mild OCD get worse to play the part. There were times when it was getting not so easy for him to control it. By playing Hughes and giving into his own compulsions, Leo induced a more severe form of OCD in himself. There is strong experimental evidence this kind of switch can happen to actors who concentrate so hard on playing OCD sufferers.”
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