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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

15 Famous People With Personality Disorders

15 Famous People With Personality Disorders

At the risk of sounding like the awful US Weekly segment devoted to showing how stars are just like us because they also buy gasoline and eat food (who knew?), famous people are, well, people. They're no better or worse than anyone else, and no less susceptible to things like personality disorders or emotional or mental instability. Unfortunately, problems like that tend to be pretty heavily stigmatized in Hollywood, which drives those who suffer from them to ignore or hide their problems, which only makes them worse. If there's anything to be gleaned from the collective stories of these famous people who've suffered from personality disorders -- some of whom are famous because of those disorders -- it's that it's never too late to get help, and it's always OK to be honest with people about what you're going through.

1. Carrie Fisher: Carrie Fisher has made no secret of her struggles with substance abuse and bipolar disorder. Stephen Fry (who appears later on this list) also suffers from the disease, also known as manic depression, and Fisher appeared on a TV special he did about the disease and its various stigmas and myths. As Fisher said a few years ago, "It is really important to see a doctor, particularly a psychiatrist who specializes in mental illness."

2.Herschel Walker: In his autobiography, former running back Herschel Walker revealed that he suffered from dissociative identity disorder, or what used to be called multiple personality disorder. As a result of the warring personalities, Walker says he doesn't remember the moment or even the season that he won the Heisman Trophy. "I feel the greatest achievement of my life will be to tell the world my truth," he wrote.

3.# Howard Hughes: In his prime, Howard Hughes was known for being a pioneer in business, aviation, and filmmaking -- three skill sets that merged when he designed a new cantilevered bra for Jane Russell -- but now he's sadly remembered as a recluse driven to crippling depths by obsessive-compulsive disorder. Yet even his fixation on Russell's physique was a sign of his mind's inability to let things alone. In December 1947, he spent four months in his private screening room, holed up like an animal. He spent most of the end of his life hiding from public view and addicted to various medications.

4.Paula Deen: Paula Deen is known to TV viewers as a cook unafraid to use staggering amounts of butter on everything, but she's also struggled with anxiety disorders. A bout of depression in her early 20s led to an onset of agoraphobia, and she became basically housebound for close to 20 years. She spent most of her time cooking for her family because it allowed her to pursue a skill without having to set foot outside her home. She didn't even know much about her agoraphobia until learning about the disorder on an episode of The Phil Donahue Show, which encouraged her to re-examine things. Her approach worked for her, but most people are better off talking with a professional.

5.Elton John: A persistent but dangerous myth about bulimia nervosa is that it only affects women, or teenage girls. In truth, it can affect people of both genders and all ages. In a 2002 interview with Larry King, Elton John revealed not only that he'd been aware of Princess

6.Brooke Shields: In 2005, Brooke Shields went public with her battles against postpartum depression, which had wrecked her after the birth of her first child in 2003. The depression manifests itself in fatigue, diminished sexual urges, erratic eating patterns, and an inability to stay emotionally balanced. It's a common problem for many women (and occasionally a few men), and Shields' problems were likely complicated by personal stresses including a previous miscarriage and the death of her father shortly before the birth. As many people remember, she was subsequently blasted by Tom Cruise for seeking psychiatric help to overcome the problem.

7.# John Nash: John Nash's lifelong struggle with paranoid schizophrenia was ably documented in the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind. Although the man was a mathematical genius who was wooed by the Ivy League and who eventually won a Nobel Prize, he began to believe that a shadowy group of men was chasing him with the intention of starting a new government. Some medications worked better than others, and through sheer perseverance, Nash eventually began to climb out of the mental hole he'd dug.

8.# Michael Phelps: Amid the insane number of world records and Olympic gold medals, Michael Phelps is just another guy who's had to deal with a problem that's confronted many other people: attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. After an inability to concentrate led to the diagnosis when Phelps was in middle school, he worked with his parents and teachers to impose a better structure on his life and learning habits. Coupled with the right medication and dedication, he was able to overcome the issue.

9 Stephen Fry: Stephen Fry's been making fantastic comedy since the early 1980s, but it wasn't until years later that he discussed his struggles with bipolar disorder. His documentary, Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive, examined his ups and downs while also interviewing other celebrities who've dealt with the issue. Fry even attempted suicide at one point, but he's been able to push through and take a dryly positive on the affair: "I rely on it to give my life a sense of adventure, and I think most of the good about me has developed as a result of my mood swings."

10. 10. Richard Dreyfuss: Richard Dreyfuss was one of the many who appeared on Fry's documentary, and he spoke about his own battles with bipolar disorder. Before being diagnosed, Dreyfuss would often lose control of his emotions, but work and medication have turned him around. "I reclaimed a career," he says of his ability to not only live with the disease but thrive.
11. Billy Joel: Billy Joel's latter-day battles with alcohol were popular tabloid fodder, but the man had some serious issues with depression when he was younger. Career setbacks in the early 1970s led to an onset so severe that he tried to kill himself by drinking furniture polish. The only thing that saved him was being taken to the hospital by his drummer. He was eventually able to bounce back and resume his musical career.
12. Drew Carey: For all his outward good humor, Drew Carey's dealt with some serious problems in his day. His 1997 autobiography revealed that he was once molested and that he later suffered bouts of depression and even attempted suicide (twice) by swallowing copious amounts of sleeping pills. It was his time in the military in his 20s that helped him discover purpose and direction and helped shape the personality he'd eventually use in his stand-up comedy.
13. Brian Wilson: Beach Boy Brian Wilson's mental health issues aren't news -- there have been songs about them -- but they serve as a reminder to everyone else that the earlier you seek diagnosis and help, the better. His creative worries and despondency deepened when the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band forced him to abandon his band's own Smile, and he spent years locked away in his home. He was later diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, as well as hints of other ailments. Thankfully, he's made improvements, even releasing Smile after decades of getting it just right.

14. Jim Carrey: Extreme moods are no strangers to comedians, and Jim Carrey's no exception. In 2004, he revealed that he's had problems with depression, and took medication for a while before trying a regimen that mixed dietary restrictions with spiritual focus.
15. Mike Wallace: Legendary journalist Mike Wallace was frank about his depression in a recent interview, saying, "There's nothing, repeat, nothing to be ashamed of when you're going through a depression. If you get help, the chances of your licking it are really good. But, you have to get yourself onto a safe path." Wallace sank into depression in the mid-1980s, spurred by a libel lawsuit filed by Gen. Westmoreland about a piece Wallace had done on Vietnam two years earlier. His keys to survival were the same ones for everyone: treatment and support.

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