Amanda Seyfried became a cultural icon for her role in Mean Girls and has continued to captivate audiences ever since. While she may appear carefree onscreen, she has been dealing with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and anxiety for years. Now, at 30, she’s advocating for mental health issues in hopes of lifting the stigma associated with seeking treatment.
In the November issue of Allure magazine, Seyfried explains: “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.”
She continues: “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. 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.”
It’s admirable that she is being so open about being on medication but, at the same time, was it necessary to mention that she’s on “the lowest dose”? What about people who are on the highest dose and still suffering? It’s unlikely that she meant any harm in saying that but, really, that is part of the problem. Even when we admit we are in treatment, we have a tendency to want to minimize it to avoid judgment and backlash.
Either way, it does sound like she really suffered before getting help. She recounted, in the magazine: “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.”
That’s great news for Seyfried, even if it isn’t a reality for many who continue to suffer throughout their lives. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can be especially difficult to treat since sufferers often feel that their compulsions protect them from serious harm. Ending those protective rituals can be terrifying, even with treatment and support, which is important to mention. Still, this does not mean that improvement isn’t possible and shouldn’t be sought!
It sounds as though Seyfried is in a happy time in her life, having recently gotten engaged to her Last Word co-star, Thomas Sadoski. Kudos to her and all of the other celebrities who are trying to be more open about their battles with mental illness!