I think there is practical value in knowing about famous/successful people who suffered from a psychiatric disorder. There are several potential benefits from knowing about these persons and their disorders. One of the main ones is that we can share this knowledge with our patients and provide them with hope and encouragement that having a mental disorder does not necessarily mean that a person cannot be productive, successful, or happy.
Many mental health clinicians whom I have spoken to did not know that this very famous person suffered from serious “melancholy.” Who wrote the following words?
“I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall ever be better I can not tell; I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to me.”
The answer is Abraham Lincoln.
Read more about Lincoln’s melancholy.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Sir Richard Branson (Founder of Virgin Airlines)
David Neeleman (Founder of JetBlue Airways)
Michael Phelps (Olympic swimmer)
Justin Timberlake (Singer, actor)
Terry Bradshaw (American football player–former quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers)
Which famous composer suffered from Tourette’s disorder? The answer is Mozart (Camargo and Bronzini, 2015).
Social Anxiety Disorder
American football player Ricky Williams talks about his struggle with social anxiety disorder.
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Camargo CH, Bronzini A. Tourette’s syndrome in famous musicians. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2015 Dec;73(12):1038-40. PubMed PMID: 26445123.
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Drjudith Driver says
I appreciate your attempt to show that famous people suffer from mental disorders. However, most of them may have been financially successful but what is the evidence that they took the CURE?
Rajnish Mago, MD says
Thanks, Dr. D, for your comment! My point was only to inspire patients by showing that having a mental disorder does not mean that the person cannot be very successful. Not only financially but in other ways, e.g., Lincoln. You are right that this should NOT be taken to mean that treatment is not needed. In almost all cases, I think that if persons with mental disorders get treatment, they can achieve even more.