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Over the past few years, more and more celebrities have come forward to discuss their personal struggles with their mental health.
Celebs have discussed their journies with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, and more in an attempt to destigmatize the issue and encourage fans to get the help they may need.
While many have sung the praises of things like talk therapy, meditation, and even supplements like vitamin d and phenibut, only a few have been open enough to tell the public that they take medication as a part of their treatment plans. Unfortunately, taking medication is still highly stigmatized, even for those who are already seeking alternative forms of treatment.
But medication is an incredibly valid and important part of recovery for many people struggling with mental illness. While it may not be for everyone, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds can sometimes treat things that talk therapy just can’t treat.
Although the theory that illnesses like depression are caused by “chemical imbalances” in the brain is now outdated, many psychiatrists still continue to prescribe SSRIs (selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors) because they do work for many patients.
For those suffering from anxiety, many doctors prescribe benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Klonopin, which, unlike most other mental health medications, can be taken on an as-needed basis for some folks.
Mental illness is extremely common and medication can be a vital part of a person’s treatment plan. And while it still may carry a huge stigma, celebrities like Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga are trying to change that by speaking out.
Below, read what they — and more famous women — have said about taking medication to treat their mental illness.
1. Selena Gomez
“I found out I do suffer from mental health issues and, honestly, that was such a relief. I realized that there was a way to get help and to find people that you trust. I got on the right medication, and my life has been completely changed.”
— to the Wall Street Journal
2. Lady Gaga
“I once believed that there was no way back from my trauma. I really did. I was in physical, mental, and emotional pain. And medicine works, but you need medicine with the therapy for it to really work because there’s a part that you have to do yourself.”
— to Elle magazine
3. Brooke Shields
“I couldn’t believe it when my doctor told me that I was suffering from postpartum depression and gave me a prescription for the antidepressant Paxil. I wasn’t thrilled to be taking drugs. In fact, I prematurely stopped taking them and had a relapse that almost led me to drive my car into a wall with Rowan in the backseat. But the drugs, along with weekly therapy sessions, are what saved me — and my family.”
— in an essay for the New York Times
4. Sarah Silverman
“I got a prescription for Klonopin, which blocks panic attacks. It saved my life, even when I was fired from SNL at the end of the season (as it turned out, I didn’t know myself well enough to make a real impression). I eventually weaned off Klonopin, but to this day I have a bottle of seven pills in my backpack that I never touch because just knowing that they’re there is all I need.
“Since then I’ve lived with depression and learned to control it, or at least to ride the waves as best I can. I’m on a small dose of Zoloft, which, combined with therapy, keeps me healthy but still lets me feel highs and lows.”
— in an essay for Glamour magazine
5. Sara Bareilles
“I wanted to write a little bit about the fact that after 20 years of feeling very strongly that it was not the path I needed to take…I have tried medication for the first time. For the first time in months I can feel myself again- my joy, my optimism and my laughter are among some of the precious parts of myself I have rediscovered. They sit at my soul’s table, along with my sweet sadness and my tender anxiety…who, by the way, aren’t the only ones talking anymore. It is a profound, holy relief.”
— on Instagram
6. Amanda Seyfried
“I’m on Lexapro, and I’ll never get off of it. I’ve been on it since I was 19, so 11 years. I’m on the lowest dose. I don’t see the point of getting off of it. Whether it’s placebo or not, I don’t want to risk it. And what are you fighting against? Just the stigma of using a tool? A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is. It should be taken as seriously as anything else.”
— to Allure magazine
7. Katy Perry
“I’d had bouts of depression before, but I had been able to avoid falling into the really dark depression by making music. It’s like all these things you do to distract: you eat, you work, you get a new boyfriend, you shop… I was so ashamed about being on medication because I was like: ‘I wrote Firework.’ But it was one of those things where I’d sprained my brain a little bit.”
8. Carrie Ann Inaba
“I moved and my fiancé and I broke up, and I had to go on antidepressants. You can’t judge people for being on meds because it’s very personal and you have to make the choice that is right for you…
“I was on them for three months. They helped me find a new homeostasis and remember what it felt like to feel good … for me it was very helpful, even though I had some struggles.”
— on The Talk