5 Celebs Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

5 Celebs with Bipolar Disorder

Demi Lovato
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Bipolar disorder, once referred to as manic-depressive disease, is a serious medical condition marked by episodic and jarring shifts in mood. These moods can be manic, hypomanic, depressive and mixed. Because mood states in bipolar disorder run the gamut, this mental illness is difficult to diagnose—especially initially, when it's commonly confused with depression.

Mania is a mood state characterized by elation with hyperactivity, flight of ideas, distractibility, irritability, grandiosity, interpersonal difficulties, and little need for sleep. Hypomania is a milder form of mania.

When a celebrity has bipolar disorder, the media often fixates on her manic or hypomanic episodes. It's during these episodes when celebrities with bipolar disorder often do bizarre and illogical things. To make things worse, bipolar disorder is often accompanied by substance misuse which further exacerbates shifts in mood.

Here are five celebrities with bipolar disorder.

Celeb #1: Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes
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It's hard to believe that Amanda Bynes once was a Nickelodeon star with hits like All That and The Amanda Show. Nowadays, Bynes is most recently remembered for a series of illegal acts and irrational decisions that made her fodder for tabloids everywhere.

Although Bynes has never publicly discussed her diagnosis of bipolar disorder outside of a tweet that she subsequently deleted—and her mother denies that Amanda has either bipolar disorder or schizophrenia—many speculate that during her worst, Bynes was in the throes of the illness. Between 2012 and 2014, Bynes received much attention for two DUIs, driving on a suspended license, throwing a bong out of her thirty-sixth floor Manhattan apartment, setting fire in a stranger's driveway and, of course, the outrageous tweets. 

After experiencing these and other problems, Bynes received psychiatric care and her parents assumed conservatorship over her affairs.

(Interestingly, because Amanda has an apparent history of mood swings and delusions, some have also speculated that she may have schizoaffective disorder. Furthermore, Bynes's mother has blamed Amanda's problems on marijuana.)

Celeb #2: Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato
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Although Demi Lovato and Amanda Bynes are both former child stars with bipolar disorder—remember that we're assuming that Bynes has the disorder—the similarities stop there. 

Unlike Bynes, Lovato has been open regarding her diagnosis of not only bipolar disorder but also anorexia and bulimia. Additionally, Lovato has received the treatment that she needs, and her career has been on fire with palpable excitement surrounding the release her fifth studio album, Confident, in 2015.

In addition to entertainment, Lovato is actively involved in philanthropy and is celebrity spokesperson for the Be Vocal: Speak up for Mental Illness initiative.

Celeb #3: Jane Pauley

Jane Pauley
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Nobody seems more "normal" than Jane Pauley; in fact, she was once called the "sanest" person on television. However, this long-time anchor of Today and Dateline struggles with bipolar disorder.

Apparently, Pauley's bipolar disorder was unmasked in 2000 after she took steroids to treat hives. Steroids can have profound affects on mood, and in Pauley's case, these drugs precipitated mania.

Celeb #4: Ted Turner

Ted Turner
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Ted Turner is probably a prime example of how illness and disability don't discriminate. The flamboyant billionaire with wild ideas—he once incited the ire of film purists everywhere by floating an idea to colorize Citizen Kane—has bipolar disorder. Reportedly during his depths of depression, Ted Turner considered suicide.

Celeb #5: Suzy Favor Hamilton

Suzy Favor Hamilton
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Three-time Olympic middle-distance runner Suzy Favor Hamilton was outed by The Smoking Gun as a high-priced Las Vegas escort in December 2012. This revelation shocked many who remember Favor Hamilton as a quintessential American female athlete. In fact, before it was revealed that Hamilton was a sex worker, the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year award was actually called the Big Ten Suzy Favor Athlete of the Year award.

As could probably be expected from any story that involves a star athlete turned sex worker, Hamilton's tale has many layers. In 2005, Hamilton developed depression after the birth of her child. She was then prescribed antidepressants which unmasked mania and hypersexuality. This hypersexuality resulted in a year-long stint as a $600-an-hour prostitute in Vegas.  

5 Celebs with Bipolar Disorder

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In addition to being hard to diagnose, bipolar disorder is hard to treat. First-line treatment for bipolar disorder is mood stabilizers (think valproic acid, lamotrigine and lithium). Other medications used to treat bipolar disorder are atypical antipsychotics and antidepressants. Please keep in mind, however, some people with bipolar disorder who are treated with antidepressants for a depressive episode end up becoming manic, like Suzy Favor Hamilton. 

Selected Sources

DeBattista C, Eisendrath SJ, Lichtmacher JE. Psychiatric Disorders. In: Papadakis MA, McPhee SJ, Rabow MW. eds. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2015. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2014.


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