Celebrities who spoke about their battle with mental health and addiction
Mental illnesses and addiction issues are some of the most serious problems that affect human society. However, harmful stereotypes around it make it impossible for people to talk about it, let alone ask for help. Thankfully, in the last few years, conversations around mental health and addiction are moving from the private space to the public domain. With more and more celebrities opening up about their struggles with mental health and addiction, the stigma around these topics is finally breaking down. For many, especially teenagers and youngsters, celebrities are role models. Seeing them speak up gives them the courage to talk to their friends, parents, and counsellors about their own struggles with mental health and addiction. This can lead to a better chance at recovery and healing.
We have compiled a list of some Indian and international celebrities who bravely spoke up about their issues with mental health and addiction.
“People talk about physical fitness, but mental health is equally important. I see people suffering, and their families feel a sense of shame about it, which doesn’t help. One needs support and understanding. I am now working on an initiative to create awareness about anxiety and depression and help people.” – Deepika Padukone.
It is very difficult for people to accept that people who seemingly have it all, riches, good looks, and fame, can be depressed. However, in 2015, one of the reigning Bollywood actresses, Deepika Padukone, opened up about her battle with depression. Inspired by her own struggles, she also started the LiveLoveLaugh (LLL) foundation to help others who are struggling with mental health issues. The Foundation aims at creating awareness about mental health, reducing the stigma surrounding mental illnesses, and providing dependable mental health resources.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and a lack of interest in everyday life activities. Also known as major depressive disorder (MDD) or clinical depression, it affects how one feels, thinks and behaves, leading to a range of emotional and physical problems. Depression requires long-term treatment, either through psychotherapy or medication or sometimes both.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
“That’s the problem with body dysmorphia. No matter what size you are, no matter what number you are on the scale, you will always find fault with yourself. And the problem is you end up asking people to validate your fears.” – Ileana D’Cruz.
In 2020, Bollywood and Tollywood actress Ilena D’Cruz spoke about her constant struggle with Body Dysmorphic Disorder and depression. She also confessed that it made her suicidal at one point. Following her disclosure, she also urged her fans to stop commenting on her body, even if they were good comments, as they didn’t help her and just aggravated her problems.
Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health condition in which one can’t stop obsessing about one or more perceived defects or flaws in their appearance — these flaws may not even be visible or exist to others. People with BDD constantly seek reassurance from others, keep checking themselves in the mirror or avoiding it altogether, and in some cases, even opt for plastic surgery. BDD can be treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and medication.
Bulimia and addiction
“It’s very important we create conversations, we take away the stigma, and that we stand up for ourselves if we’re dealing with the symptoms of a mental illness, it is possible to live well and thrive with a mental illness.” – Demi Lovato.
Multiple Grammy award-winning singer, Demi Lovato, produced and released a documentary, “Beyond Silence,” showcasing her struggle and recovery from bulimia and substance abuse disorders.
Bulimia nervosa, also called bulimia, is an eating disorder. Eating disorders are mental health conditions that can be life-threatening. A person suffering from bulimia may consume large amounts of food in a short period of time and then purge the food either through induced vomiting or taking laxatives. CBT, nutritional counselling and medication can help treat this disorder.
Sanjay Dutt struggled with substance abuse for 12 years. When his father, the famous actor Sunil Dutt, took him to a rehab centre in America, he ticked off every drug mentioned on the list provided. He eventually gave up drugs and concentrated on films, fitness and his family. He constantly urges youngsters to never be tempted to do drugs as it is very difficult to quit and is the worst thing in the world. According to him, you do not need to get high on drugs if you can get high on life. Sanjay Dutt has also been vocal about the fact that it was the constant support of his family and friends that helped him get out of his addiction problems and that parents of drug abusers need to support their children during the healing process.
Other prominent celebrities who have spoken about mental health issues are actress Shraddha Kapoor who struggled with anxiety, singer Honey Singh who suffered from bipolar disorder and alcoholism and film director and producer Karan Johar who suffered from Depression.
It takes immense courage to tell someone about your personal struggles with mental health or drug addiction. For these celebrities to tell the entire world about their private struggles so openly is not just a courageous act but an empowering one. Their struggles, their actions, and their words have given hope and support to many struggling with these same issues.
If you know someone who is struggling with mental health issues or drug addiction problems, then be there for them in any way you can. You can also browse through our list of treatment centres and various other resources here.
Mental health problems and addiction issues can affect anyone. These disorders and diseases don’t favour anyone in particular and can happen irrespective of societal status, financial background, educational qualifications, job status, etc. It can happen to your friend, your siblings, your relatives and even your children. All you can do is educate yourself, be supportive throughout the healing process and be around as a reliable friend.
Filmfare. (2021, April) 10 quotes from Deepika Padukone on battling depression. www.filmfare.com
Depression (major depressive disorder). https://www.mayoclinic.org/
Body dysmorphic disorder. https://www.mayoclinic.org/
Kundu. T. (2021, Oct) Ileana D’Cruz Requests Fans To “Stop Commenting” On Her Body, Even If It’s Something “Good”. https://www.idiva.com/
(2021, July) From Deepika Padukone to Karan Johar, 7 Celebrities Get Real About Their Battle With Depression! https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com
(2021, March) Ileana D’Cruz opens up about body dysmorphia; know about the psychological condition. https://indianexpress.com/
Singh. O. (2020, May) 35 celebrities who have opened up about their struggles with mental illness. https://www.insider.com/
(2022, May) Bulimia Nervosa. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/
(2022, April) Sanjay Dutt urges youth to say no to drugs; ‘If I could come out of drugs, so can you’. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/
(2020, Sep) From Ranbir Kapoor to Sanjay Dutt to Gauri Khan: The celebrities who flew ‘high’ and have battled drug addiction
(2022, Oct) World Mental Health Day 2022: Bollywood Celebrities Who Opened About Their Mental Health. https://news.abplive.com/