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.
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 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 considering people who may suffer from bipolar disorder at some point in their life, 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 celebrities and famous people with bipolar.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
People who suffer from bipolar disorder experience disruptions in mood, from extreme lows of depressive states, to highs of hypomania and acute mania.
People with bipolar can experience mood episodes that last days, weeks, or months, while their mood might be stable in between those events.
Bipolar I is classified as people who experience extreme highs that reach psychosis or delirium, while Bipolar II can include more depressive states.
Interestingly, people with the condition are often creative, with a wide range of talents and ideas, which explains why there are so many celebrities with bipolar disorder.
In one study from Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, it was 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.
There hasn’t been a study that compares the percentage of famous people with bipolar disorder to the general public, although it’s interesting that the data about authors showed the rate to be much higher than the control group.
Is Bipolar Genetic and What Triggers it?
Normally, genes that correlate with disease lessen over time. But that’s not necessarily true for bipolar. Some medical professionals believe the genes are still being produced might be due to some sort of evolutionary advantage related to creativity or financial success.
Bipolar has been studied and found to be one of the most inheritable of medical conditions according to an article published in Neuroscience. This means that a parent with the condition could pass it on to their children.
Even though genetic factors only account for approximately 60% to 80% of the cause of the disorder, it is still a fairly high number.
Famous families often have a legacy in the areas of politics, sports, and the Hollywood film business. So it makes sense that genetics would also play a role in the number of famous people with bipolar disorder.
What Triggers Bipolar?
Bipolar is often preceded by a high-stress life event or seasonal change related to less daylight hours, particularly in the fall and winter.
Other triggers include lack of sleep, and drug or alcohol use. These factors alone will not produce the disorder although they can be triggers for someone who is genetically predisposed to the condition.
Many people are hesitant to seek treatment or accept a diagnosis of bipolar disorder because of the stigma associated with many mental health issues.
Unfortunately suffering in silence can lead to a painful and isolated life.
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that is often connected with drug and alcohol use as a way to cope with the symptoms.
Dual diagnosis treatment is effective for recovery of mental health issues combined with drug or alcohol addiction.
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 will get treatment.
Luckily, many celebrities and famous people with bipolar disorder have opened up about their personal struggles with the condition to help remove some of the stigma faced by the general public.
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. She had 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 was an example of a celebrity with bipolar who often spoke publicly about her mental health, which helped people feel less isolated.
Like Mariah Carey, it took several years for Fisher to accept her diagnosis of Bipolar. She only recognized it after she overdosed and then got sober.
Fisher also had a dual diagnosis of alcohol dependence and bipolar like many others with bipolar disorder.
“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, she 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 she 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 internet 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 struggling with the condition, Lovato is a famous person with bipolar who 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 and he has also struggled with addiction in all forms – from heroin to sex, and eating disorders. There are many famous people with ADHD and it’s a very common condition from childhood that continues into adult life.
“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 an iconic musical artist 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 died by suicide at 61 years of age.
Hemingway suffered from depression and psychosis (Bipolar I). Experts state that his mental illness may have been triggered by trauma 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 his outspoken and unguarded comments, which can be another sign of bipolar disorder.
“You can never quit. Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
18 Other Celebrities and Famous People With Bipolar Disorder
- Chris Brown (musician)
- Francis Ford Coppola (film director)
- Ray Davies (musician)
- Robert Downey Jr. (actor)
- Richard Dreyfuss (actor)
- Selena Gomez (actress and musician)
- Halsey (musician)
- Linda Hamilton (actress)
- Patrick J. Kennedy (politician)
- Johnny Manziel (athlete)
- Jane Pauley (TV journalist)
- Rene Russo (actress)
- Charlie Sheen (actor)
- Ben Stiller (actor)
- Catherine Zeta-Jones (actress)
- Lily Allen (musician)
- Britney Spears (singer)
- Kanye West (rapper and music producer)
We applaud all of the famous people and celebrities with bipolar disorder who have spoken publicly about the condition to let others know it’s okay to seek help.
Photo Credits for famous people with bipolar disorder:
- 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