Continuing to help dispel stigma about mental illness, actress Amanda Seyfried has expanded on comments she made last year about the efficacy of therapy, now speaking more in-depth about her obsessive compulsive disorder.
“I’m on Lexapro,” Seyfried, 30, says in the new issue of Allure, referencing a brand name of escitalopram, a common medication used to treat conditions including OCD, “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?” she asks. “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.”
Adding, “It should be taken as seriously as anything else,” the “Mamma Mia!” and “Les Misérables” star noted, “You don’t see the mental illness: It’s not a mass; it’s not a cyst. But it’s there. Why do you need to prove it? If you can treat it, you treat it. I had pretty bad health anxiety that came from the OCD and thought I had a tumor in my brain. I had an MRI, and the neurologist referred me to a psychiatrist. As I get older, the compulsive thoughts and fears have diminished a lot. Knowing that a lot of my fears are not reality-based really helps.”
OCD, defined by the Mayo Clinic as a pattern of unreasonable thoughts and fears that lead to repetitive behaviors that interfere with daily life, affects 1.6 percent of the adult population in the United States sometime in their lifetimes, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Other stars who have spoken about their OCD include singer Katy Perry, who told Vogue in 2013 she had a mild form of the condition; “Hawaii Five-O” star Alex O’Loughlin, who said to GQ in 2011 he also suffers from attention deficit disorder (ADD); and Food Network “Unwrapped” host Marc Summers, who discussed his condition with Oprah Winfrey in 1997.
Seyfried, who tied with Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock for No. 13 on Forbes’ 2015 list of highest-paid actresses, earning an estimated $8 million in the designated time period, is scheduled to appear in Showtime’s upcoming “Twin Peaks” sequel.