Actress Amanda Seyfried Opens Up About Her Mental Health, Stigma

By Kelly Burch 10/20/16

The Ted 2 actress thinks mental illness "should be taken as seriously as other illnesses."

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Actress Amanda Seyfried Opens Up About Her Mental Health, Stigma

Actress Amanda Seyfried is on the November cover of Allure magazine talking openly about her mental health diagnosis and the stigmas that accompany it. 

Seyfried, who made her big-screen debut in Mean Girls and most recently starred in Ted 2, has obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

In highlights from the interview reported by People magazine, Seyfried did not shy away from talking about her medication regimen, and says that she never wants to be without her medications. 

“I’m on Lexapro, and I’ll never get off of it,” she said. “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?”

Despite being on medications, Seyfried’s OCD still affects her often. Most recently, her disorder changed plans for renovations to her upstate New York home, when she decided not to include a stove in the guest house because she was worried that it was a fire hazard. 

“You could so easily burn down something if you leave the stove on. Or the oven,” she said. 

Seyfried expressed frustration about the stigma surrounding mental illness. 

“A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is,” she said. “It should be taken as seriously as anything else. 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.”

Although she now knows that her illness is invisible, when Seyfried first experienced symptoms she thought that she was dealing with a physical disease. 

“I had pretty bad health anxiety that came from the OCD and thought I had a tumor in my brain,” she explained. Seyfried was so convinced she was ill that she had an MRI done. However, when the neurologist referred her to a psychiatrist the correct diagnosis—OCD—was made. 

Since then, Seyfried has learned to control her symptoms, using medications and behavioral changes. “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.”

She has also been able to use her OCD tendencies in positive ways. “I think OCD is a part of me that protects me,” she told InStyle in 2012. “It’s also the part of me that I use in my job, in a positive way.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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