When Celebrities Suffer from a Mental Illness - Charlie Sheen and BiPolar Disorder
It is Up to All of Us to Show Responsible Conduct
Charlie Sheen’s obvious mental breakdown is being played out in the public arena He is not helping the situation by having his own web show. While it is difficult to diagnose someone from a distance, there is obviously something wrong emotionally. He shows signs of having bipolar, we know he is a drug abuser, and he may have hints of narcissism, as a personality disorder. While he has brought on a lot of the attention on himself, he is not necessarily consciously aware of his behavior. Whether it is from a mental illness or from drug abuse or a combination of the two, there needs to be some responsible conduct on the part of society instead of exploiting his erratic behavior, and laughing at someone who is unaware of their behavior.
The Two Faces of Bipolar Disorder
Do We Have Different Standards for People With Emotional Disturbances?
Sheen probably has bipolar disorder, and maybe self medicating with drugs. While Sheen is responsible for his drug abuse, and it may be the withdrawl, which could have triggered his most recent episode of bipolar, his mental illness needs to be respected and he needs help. It is wrong make him a laughingstock. At the very least, his drug abuse is a symptom of some emotional pain that he is trying to dull. Charlie Sheen’s father, Martin said “ if he had cancer, how would we treat him. The disease of addiction is a form of cancer and you have to have an equal measure of concern and love and lift them up and that’s what we’re doing for him.”
Somehow when we see disturbed behavior staring us straight in the face, we turn away.
When Michael Douglas had his recent bout with throat cancer, he was showered with support and get well wishes, as he should have been. Yet, when a person suffers from mental illness, no one treats them that way. What we are probably seeing with Charlie Sheen now, is manic behavior. Some of the grandiose things he has said may be due to his manic behavior. He may also be narcissitic, which adds to the complication of him getting proper treatment. People in the manic part of bipolar, usually feel good, have an overabundance of energy, go on very little sleep and believe they are really okay. After a few weeks, he may cycle down, and go into a depression. At this point, he won’t feel so good, and hopefully will seek treatment in a rehab facility. When someone has a mental illness, they don’t realize they need help. For people to make fun of his behavior, it is taking advantage of a person who is unaware of their own actions, it is part of the illness. Society and the media needs to be more sensitive to people who suffer from a disorder that has no visible physical signs. People shouldn’t laugh at the misfortunes of others. And these comedians and popular shows , I believe, should use their platform as a way to offer support for the millions of people who see themselves in Charlie Sheen. We would be empathetic to someone who has a physical illness. Yet we have different standards for people who suffer from a mental disorder. What messages are we sending to all those and their families who probably feel ostracized and isolated because of a mental illness?
Millions of People Suffer from Bipolar Disorder
Facing a person with a mental illness makes people nervous and uncomfortable. None of us are quite sure we are normal to begin with. Watching Charlie Sheen is very uncomfortable. While late night television comedians poke fun at Charlie Sheen, the facts show mental illness is no laughing matter.
- Approximately 25% of the population, or 1 in 4 people is or will deal with a mental disorder in a one year period.
- When you add in people who are dealing with substance abuse, which is also an emotional disorder, according to the medical community, statistics show that 32.4% of the population suffers from a mental disorder over a 12 month common timeframe. That means nearly 1 in 3 individuals or 75 million people each year, are coping with a mental disease.
- Approximately 9.5% (nearly 21 million Americans) suffers from a mood disorder, such as bipolar, depressive disorder, or dysthymia. Many of these people suffer from anxiety disorders also, and abuse drugs or alcohol.
- Approximately 5.7 million people suffer from bipolar disorder.
It is Common for People to Have Substance Abuse Disorder and a Mental Illness
Bipolar disorder causes a person to have vary between extreme moods ( the term polar refers to one end of a spectrum. Bi refers to two) The term bipolar is when a person goes from a state of extreme elation or a manic state to very sad, depressive feelings. Bipolar is also known as manic-depression and is a disease. While the person is in their manic state, they sleep very little, are highly irritable, their mind have racing thoughts, they are easily distracted, have poor judgement. They are unaware that anything is wrong with them, because they feel like they have plenty of energy, deny anything is wrong, and think they are okay, because they are not feeling depressed. When they cycle down, they feel extremely sad, and hopeless. They will sleep all the time, have little energy and can have suicidal thoughts. As a person with a mental illness gets older, they can have more frequent bouts, they stay in their extreme state longer, and are affected more deeply. The highest rate of suicide for mood disorder illnesses increases as the person approaches middle age and beyond due to the extended and greater intensity of each episode.
People with bipolar disorder have a very high rate of alcoholism and drug abuse, as much as 7 times that of the population at large. Studies have found that when one condition worsens, so does the other.
- Bipolar disorder affects approximately 2.3 million American adult men and women. It is believed that inheritable factors play a role in who suffers form bipolar.
A Number of Factors Can Trigger a Mental Disease
Environmental factors can also impact a person’s mental health. With the economic conditions they way they are, there are many people who are financially distressed, which can lead to emotional distress. If the person has the propensity for a mental illness, environmental, stress inducers and substance abuse can trigger the condition.
- More than 90% of people who commit suicide have a mental illness or are substance abusers.
- Over 450 million people throughout the world in developed and third world countries, are dealing with a mental illness. Some are mild cases, and some are serious and debilitating.
- Of these people, 154 million people have depression or bi polar disorder.
- 106 million people are substance abusers
- 15 million being drug abusers
- 91 million people abusing alcohol.
- As many as ⅔ of those suffering from a mental disorder do not get treated. Largely in part to the stigma that goes along with a mental illness.
But most of these people can be treated successfully, and would welcome the relief if only they had awareness, access, and support.
- Mental illness claims lives through suicide and in shorter lived lives due to lack of self care.
- People who are mentally ill tend to live 25 years less than the rest of the population, because they don’t get proper medical or dental treatment or take good enough care of themselves. Sometimes people who suffer from mental illness are unaware of their self care, and sometimes they can’t afford to take care of themselves if they are unable to work due to their illness, or because they live at the poverty level.
Mental Illness is Nothing to Laugh At
The truth behind mental illness is really very sad. Mental illness can be overwhelming for the families who are trying to help their loved one. For the rest of society, it is easier to bury our heads, gain a chuckle, make a buck and and busy ourselves so we don’t have to face the overwhelmingness of what to do about mental disorders that exists all around us. In this day and age, there is so much unawareness and fearfulness about mental disorders.
Drug abuse and mental illness often go together. Sometimes substance abuse can trigger the illness or make it worse. Sometimes the individual is has the mental disorder and takes drugs or alcohol to self medicate as a form of relief from mental illness. Proper treatment involves treating both disorders. But it is not an easy task. Often the withdrawl can exacerbate the mental illness. In addition, as the person goes through the painful process of detoxification, their mental health may decline due to feeling very vulnerable. and the drug or alcohol problem may reoccur.
It is very common for both mental illness and subtance abuse to occur in the same person.
- 60% of people who abuse drugs or alcohol, it is believed, also have a mental illness.
In some instances, the drug abuse brought on the mental illness. In some instances the mental illness created the drug abuse. As we learn more about mental illness, evidence points to inheritable characteristics playing an important role in predisposing people to these disorders.
- People with disorders related to mood or anxiety may be 2 times as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
- People with substance abuse disorders are approximately 2 times as likely to be diagnosed with a mental disorder.
- Mental illness makes people vulnerable to drug abuse.
- Drug abuse increases the risk of a mental disorder occurring.
- Suicide rates have been skyrocketing due to rising unemployment, financial distress is causing emotional distress across the globe.
We Don't Really Mean to Laugh at Another's Misfortune
Intervention is very important to treat the individual. The problem is that most people are resistant to treatment, believing that they are okay, and the stigma associated with treating these disorder impedes them from getting the proper help.
People who need help are hesitant to get the needed treatment and when the public makes fun of people who do funny things, but are really suffering from one or several disorders, we are perpetrating the problem. Our world would be a better place, if we realized that the things people do, are not always as funny as they appear. We don’t really mean to laugh at people’s misfortune, but somehow for those with a mental illness it is okay. It is hard to help someone like Charlie Sheen, right now. He doesn’t think he needs help. But it is insensitive and we show a lack of empathy when we expose an ill person at their most vulnerable points. I feel for the individuals who see themselves in him. Many people with mental illness do not seek help for fear of ridicule or misunderstanding, or isolation. The stigmas are real and inhibiting, and they and their families suffer in silence. Mental illness and substance abuse are not funny for the people who suffer from it and for the people who love and care about them.