List of people believed to have been affected by bipolar disorder

From Academic Kids

This is a list of people accompanied by verifiable source citations' associating them with bipolar disorder. This list includes only a) deceased persons and b) living persons who have been frank about their condition. It does not include speculation about status of living people who have not publically stated themselves to have bipolar disorder.

Many of the older cases are speculations based on their biographies rather than an actual medical diagnosis.

Many famous people are believed to have been affected by bipolar disorder, (formerly known as manic depression), based on evidence in their own writings and contemporaneous accounts by those who knew them. It is often suggested that genius (or, at least, creative talent) and mental disorder are linked as discussed by Kay Redfield Jamison in Touched with Fire.

The nature of the condition means it is nearly impossible to obtain a definitive list of bipolar persons, hence this is a list of those that are believed to be so. The fact that it contains many artistic geniuses can be interpreted in two ways, either that bipolar disorder occurs frequently in artistic geniuses or that people frequently associate mental disorder with genius in error, not understanding the nature of the gift.


Contents: Top - 0-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Hans Christian Andersen TWF p. 268

Adam Ant is open about having bipolar disorder: see Adam and the fall (, an art.telegraph profile which describes a 2003 television program, "The Madness of Prince Charming," detailing his mental illness.


Thomas Lovell Beddoes TWF p. 267

Ludwig Van Beethoven NAMI See this ( article for a review of Beethoven's mental state. Scientific analysis of Beethoven's hair has given rise to speculation that lead poisoning may have been a cause of his depression.

Maurice Benard The General Hospital actor sat down with Oprah Winfrey to discuss his diagnosis, and has since become active in promoting BP awareness. [1] (

Jeremy Brett

Lord Byron TWF p. 267 (Touched with fire profiles Lord Byron's illness in detail)

Charles Pierre Baudelaire TWF p. 267


Samuel Taylor Coleridge TWF pp. 219-224, 267. His condition is more commonly directly attributed to drug use "Around 1796, Coleridge started using opium as a pain reliever"

Winston Churchill NAMI Churchill often referred to "Black dog", his depression. He is also recorded to have undergone manic phases of intense productivity.


Ray Davies is openly manic-depressive; also see his autobiography, X-Ray

Charles Dickens TWF p. 267

Gaetano Donizetti NAMI

Patty Duke NAMI, also wrote about her own illness in Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depressive Illness


Ralph Waldo Emerson TWF p. 268


Carrie Fisher "'I ended up being diagnosed as a bipolar II,' says Fisher." [2] (

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald TWF p. 269

William Faulkner TWF p. 269


Vincent Van Gogh TWF p. 269; NAMI See Vincent and Me (


Alexander Hamilton "Danger, Hypomanic on Board," could well be the other title of "Washington Crossing the Delaware." John Gartner in The Hypomanic Edge makes a strong case that America owes its greatness to a liberal supply of manic lite genes. See Hypomanic Nation (

Linda Hamilton is open about her bipolar disorder; [3] (, [4] (,1,14929,00.html)

Ernest Hemingway TWF p. 269

Hermann Hesse TWF p. 269


Kay Redfield Jamison, who profiled her own bipolar disorder in her 1995 memoir An Unquiet Mind and argued for a connection between bipolar disorder and artistic creativity in her 1993 book, Touched with Fire.

Jimi Hendrix had suffered bipolar disorder, and his song Manic Depression should offer some of how he felt.


John Keats TWF p. 268; NAMI

Margot Kidder - self-described, see [5] ( "I have been well and free of the symptoms that are called manic-depression for almost five years, and have been working steadily and leading a happy and productive life since then."


Vivien Leigh - She was severely manic-depressive, and for a major part of her life attributed it to her birth sign, Scorpio: (quoted:) 'My birth sign is Scorpio and they eat themselves up and burn themselves out. I swing between happiness and misery. I am part prude and part nonconformist. I say what I think and I don't pretend and I am prepared to accept the consequences of my actions'; [6] ( "I cannot let well enough alone. I get restless. I have to be doing different things. I am a very impatient person and headstrong." [7] ( profile, mentions her manic depression (

Meriwether Lewis From Night Falls Fast by Kay Jamison: "And the same bold, restless temperament that Jefferson saw in the young Meriwether Lewis can lie uneasily just this side of a restive, deadly despair." See Murder or Suicide (


Gustav Mahler No composer leads us down the strange and disturbing and contradictory byways of the human psyche as does Mahler. See The Man Who Saw It Coming (

Kristy McNichol The former child star and teen idol left the show Empty Nest due to her battle with the depression. McNichol later returned to the show for a few episodes during the series' last season. [8] (

Spike Milligan "I had to write a new show every week for six months. If Hitler had done that to someone it would be called torture. I was in such a state of hypertension that I was unapproachable by human beings, and I became a manic depressive." See Guardian obituary (,6109,658939,00.html) and Comedy's Fab Five (

Marilyn Monroe Only Marilynís illness could explain the incredible and unpredictable ups and downs that governed her final days and resulted in her tragic ending. Something had to give. Something did. See article (


Napoleon "Life has become a burden to me," Napoleon wrote as a young man (Hershman and Lieb , Brotherhood of Tyrants). See History's Terrible Troika (

Isaac Newton NAMI

Florence Nightingale BPW "Florence heard voices and experienced a number of severe depressive episodes in her teens and early 20s - symptoms consistent with the onset of bipolar disorder," Dr. Kathy Wisner, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. See this ( article.


Jane Pauley The former Today and Dateline host came clean with her diagnosis in her autobiography, which she wrote in 2004, as well as on her short-lived talk show. [9] (, [10] (, [11] (, [12] (, [13] (, [14] (

Jimmy Piersall NAMI

Sylvia Plath "It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous and positive and despairing negative ... " See Sylvia Plath - In Her Own Words (


Rene Rivkin Sydney Morning Herald 3 May 2005 (


Robert Alexander Schumann TWF p. 269

Phil Spector in 2003 interview published in The Daily Telegraph

Robert Louis Stevenson TWF p. 268

Ben Stiller "I have not been an easygoing guy. I think it's called bipolar manic depression. I've got a rich history of that in my family" Quotation from Stiller himself, sourced from (


Sara Teasdale TWF p. 268

Mark Twain TWF p. 268 (as "Samuel Clemens")

Michael Slater Was very open on Enough Rope with Andrew Denton regarding his experiences with Bipolar II.



Virginia Woolf TWF p. 269; see also Virginia Woolf's psychiatric historyand ( Virgina Woolf and Her Madness (

Tennessee Williams TWF p. 269

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