5 Celebrities With Mental Illness

5 Celebs With Mental Illness

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Everybody either has or is at risk for mental illness. Like physical illness and disability, mental illness can affect anybody including celebrities.  

Here are five celebrities with mental illness.

Jim Carrey

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In a winter 2008 interview with Larry King, Jim Carrey (rubberface himself) said that he was at peace, happy with his career and in love with Jenny McCarthy. (In the same interview, Carrey said he came up with the Fockers.) By fall 2013, if you put stock in celebrity gossip—by way of The International New York TImes no less—friends were worried about Carrey's well-being and that he was depressed, forlorn and crestfallen. 

What had happened in the interim? Carrey bombed at the box office with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Kick-Ass 2 and broke up with Jenny McCarthy (who subsequently went on to marry Donny Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block- and Wahlburger's-fame).

Carrey has depression, and although his ideas on psychiatric medication are lukewarm, he apparently does like getting to the root of a problem (awareness). Apparently, between 2008 and 2012, stressors in Carrey's life exacerbated his depression.

According to Kaplan & Sadock's, although the definitions are somewhat "arbitrary" major depressive disorder represents a general set of diagnostic criteria regarding severity and minimum duration. Although proven by loads of research and supported by equal amounts of discussion, how we define depression is still somewhat subjective.

The WHO estimates that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression, and it's the leading cause of disability worldwide. More women experience depression than men. Fortunately, there exists psychiatric medications and psychotherapy that can help with depressive symptoms.

Bill Cosby

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Victims of Bill Cosby's sex crimes can take little comfort in the fact that some speculate Cosby has somnophilia. Somnophilia—also known as Sleeping Princess syndrome (not to be confused with Sleeping Beauty or Klein-Levin syndrome)—is a paraphilia where a person desires to have sex with an unconscious person. This paraphilia may partly explain media reports that Cosby drugged and raped women.

According to CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment: Psychiatry, people with paraphilias tend to avoid treatment unless required by law. In cases of treatment, people can progress from cognitive-behavioral therapy to antidepressants to antiandrogens and other hormones.

"Men with paraphilias seem, in general, to have difficulties with attachment and intimacy and are self-centered, antagonistic, have higher levels of neuroticism, lower agreeableness and lower conscientiousness."

Joe Pantoliano

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Depression suffuses health with such strong prevalence—affecting nearly 16 million Americans every 12 months—that it warrants a second celebrity example. Moreover, Carrey's views of depression fail to support maintenance therapy, and Joe Pantoliano found value in both pharmaco- and psychotherapy

According to an interview with People in 2007, Joe Pantoliano, from Risky Business, Matrix and Sopranos fame, explained that he went to a psychiatrist who prescribed him Lexapro, Wellbutrin, psychotherapy and exercise and that he feels "great." 

5 Celebs With Mental Illness: Justin Timberlake

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Recording artist, actor and frequent Jimmy Fallon collaborator Justin Timberlake has both ADHD and OCD.

In adults, hyperactivity usually abates, and people with ADHD typically present only with problems with attention or focus. Many people with ADHD are very intelligent and can compensate for problems with attention for some time before being finally diagnosed with ADHD as adults. ADHD is treated with stimulants.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is characterized by anxiety-ridden obsessions or unwanted, intrusive and repetitive thoughts that a person attempts to relieve through compulsions or ritualized behaviors. For example, a person obsessed with germs may feel compelled to wash her hands repetitively and excessively (until they bleed). OCD is treated with a mix of psychotherapy, antidepressants and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medications.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman

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After nearly two decades of sobriety, Oscar winner and character actor nonpareil, Philip Seymour Hoffman, died of a heroin overdose in 2014. His death stunned the entertainment world, many unaware of Hoffman's more recent battles with substance dependence; without continued treatment and support, relapse is far too common.

In 2010, the CDC estimated that nearly 40,000 Americans died of drug overdose.

Parting Thoughts

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In addition to these five celebrities, countless people worldwide suffer from mental illness. Unfortunately, people still attach stigma to psychiatric illness, pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy.  In time, it would be ideal if people understood that mental illness is just as dangerous as physical illness, with disability and death possible consequences of failure to receive proper treatment.

Selected Sources

Balon R, Segraves R. Chapter 25. Sexual Dysfunction and Paraphilias. In: Ebert MH, Loosen PT, Nurcombe B, Leckman JF. eds. CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment: Psychiatry, 2e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2008. Accessed July 10, 2015.

Kaplan & Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry, Eighth Edition by HI Kaplan and BJ Sadock published in 2004.



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