Though everyone experiences mood swings from time to time, people struggling Bipolar Disorder (BD) live with dramatic shifts that can affect their energy, behavior and ability to think clearly. Because it can impact anyone, it should come as no surprise there are many celebrities and famous people with Bipolar Disorder who have been able to succeed while coping with it.
The extremely high highs, and desperately low lows of bipolar are sometimes referred to as mania and depression. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that an estimated 2.8 percent of the U.S. population suffers from bipolar disorder.
Though it’s unclear what causes bipolar disorder, researchers believe it’s a combination of genetic factors, environmental stressors, as well as brain function and structure. The average age of onset is 25 and the illness affects women and men equally.
While bipolar disorder is a treatable condition, 83 percent of those diagnosed with the illness are classified as having a severe case. The associated symptoms of BD can be especially debilitating and painful.
Common Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder Can Include:
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and hopelessness
- Long periods of sadness or crying spells
- Intense worry, fear or anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts and ideations
- Severely elevated mood and manic energy despite a serious lack of sleep
- Racing speech and thoughts, along with impulsive or risky behavior
- Dependence or an addiction to drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate
- Grandiose sense of self
- Anger and aggression
- In psychotic episodes, hallucinations and delusions may be present
It is extremely important for people with bipolar disorder to avoid using drugs or alcohol as a coping technique because these substances impact the brain chemistry and functioning.
The presence of a mental illness and a substance use disorder is known as co-occurring disorders or a dual diagnosis.
Of the more than 20 million people suffering from substance use disorders in the U.S., around 40 percent of them also live with a mental illness, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Each condition worsens the symptoms of the other and for a full recovery to be achievable, both illnesses must be treated simultaneously through a dual diagnosis treatment program.
Fortunately, advances in treatment, such as mood-stabilizing medications, are extremely effective in helping people manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. A combination of medication, counseling and an understanding of the symptoms, along with regular exercise and good nutrition can result in a healthy, productive lifestyle.
Living with bipolar disorder is nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, many people in the spotlight have been extremely open about their struggles with the illness.
Here are 8 Celebrities and Famous People With Bipolar Disorder
For whatever reason, many of us look up to celebrities and those in the spotlight, so seeing famous bipolar people tell there stories of how they managed to endure despite their illness, can be motivating for many other people. Here are a few who have shared their stories…
1. Kanye West
An award winning rapper, producer, singer songwriter, composer and fashion designer, Kanye West has struggled very publicly with manic episodes related to his BD diagnosis.
Recently, Kim Kardashian, who is married to West, wrote “Anyone who has a [bipolar disorder] or has a loved in their life who does, know how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand.
She continued, people who are unaware or far removed from this experience can be judgmental and not understand that the individual themselves have to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try.”
2. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato is a popular singer and actress who has struggled with bulimia, depression and self-harm as early as age 11, but it wasn’t until she entered treatment as an adult that she learned of her bipolar disorder diagnosis.
“I was actually manic a lot of the time. I was conquering the world, but then I would come crashing down and I would be more depressed than ever,” Lovato said in an interview.
3. Russell Brand
Russell Brand is a well-known British radio host, actor, writer, and activist who has been very open about his struggles with addiction and mental health.
Brand, who says he had a very unhappy childhood, was suspected of having bipolar disorder in early adolescence.
He continues to advocate for understanding and self-growth with video-posts like Mental Breakdown vs. Mental Breakthrough on his YouTube Channel.
4. Jane Pauley
Jane Pauley is a veteran journalist, and currently an anchor on CBS Sunday Morning, who has been reporting the news since 1972.
Pauley shared her experience of being treated in the hospital for bipolar disorder.
“My doctor suggested we tell NBC that I was being treated for a thyroid disorder. That was our cover story. It was the first and only time I have ever experienced, ‘Oh, yes. I’m supposed to feel shame and guilt.’ I got over it instantly,” she told the Pioneer Press in Minnesota.
5. Bebe Rexha
With her unique sounding powerhouse voice, Bebe Rexha is famous for hits like Say My Name, as well as songwriting credits with Eminem, Selena Gomez and Joe Jonas.
In 2019, Rexha announced her diagnosis on Twitter, writing, “I’m bipolar and not I’m not ashamed anymore. That is all. (Crying my eyes out).”
6. Rene Russo
Famous for roles in blockbusters like “Lethal Weapon” and “The Thomas Crown Affair,” Rene Russo talked about out her bipolar diagnosis on an episode of the “Queen Latifah Show,” saying, “I literally crashed, hit a wall and couldn’t get out of bed. And I thought it was depression, but if you have [bipolar disorder and take] antidepressants, it speeds you up more.”
Russo added, “[To] all the people having trouble and maybe feeling bad about taking medication, it’s okay. You will make it through. It’s not easy, but you will make it through.”
Rapper and actor Earl Simmons, who goes by the name DMX, is the only artist to have his first two albums debut at number one in the same year.
As it turns out, DMX has been talking about mental health in his lyrics for a long time, but it wasn’t until 2011 that he opened up in an interview about his battle with bipolar disorder.
8. Francis Ford Coppola
Considered something of a filmmaking genius, Francis Ford Coppola is most famous for films like “The Godfather” series among others.
In 1977, the director was prescribed lithium for his manic-depressive tendencies.
After directing the iconic 1979 Vietnam film “Apocalypse Now,” Coppola said, “We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much equipment and little by little we went insane.”
Famous People With Bipolar Disorder Can Give Hope to Others
As mentioned previously, mental health issues can affect anyone. So for those who might experience some guilt or shame about their condition, they should feel some comfort and encouragement by knowing there are famous people with bipolar who have overcome the same issues they share.
For anyone who is struggling in his or her life, the first step is an assessment from a medical professional that can provide an accurate diagnosis and start a treatment program to begin the road to recovery.
Many of the famous bipolar people mentioned above have said medications or antidepressants helped them get their life back, and some form of treatment, such as talk therapy, helped them gain a better understanding of their disease.
It’s all too easy to use alcohol or drugs to cope with depression and other symptoms of bipolar, but these will only make matters worse in the long run, and should always be avoided.
Listen to what others have to say, and use their experiences as motivation to seek help for getting better.
Kanye West by David Shankbone
Demi Lovato by Neon Tommy
Russell Brand by Eva Rinaldi
Jane Pauley by David Shankbone
Bebe Rexha by Toglenn
Rene Russo by John Mathew Smith & www.celebrity-photos.com
DMX by John Mueller
Francis Ford Coppola by Georges Biard