Amanda Seyfried opened up about what it’s like to live with obsessive-compulsive disorder and how taking medication for mental illness shouldn’t be stigmatized.
The Mamma Mia! actress, 30, was talking with Allure about the renovation of her home in Stone Ridge, New York, when the topic of OCD came up. She revealed that she had the stove removed from a guest house on her property for fear that someone could start a fire.
“I always worry about people and how they use stoves, which is just a controlling thing,” she told the magazine. Asked if it was related to OCD, she replied, “Yes. About the gas. You could so easily burn something if you leave the stove on. Or the oven.”
The Mean Girls star has been taking a drug called Lexapro, which can be used to treat anxiety and depression, for 11 years. “I’ll never get off of it,” she said. “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?”
Seyfried, who got engaged to Thomas Sadoski last month, explained what some people don’t understand about mental disorders such as OCD. “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,” she said. “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.”
She continued: “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.”
The Ted 2 star previously opened up about how her obsessive-compulsive disorder manifests itself in a 2012 interview. “I have to do lots of things at the same time. It’s an obsessive-compulsive thing,” she told InStyle, citing the example of working out on the elliptical machine at the gym while knitting, playing Sudoku and listening to music. “I think OCD is a part of me that protects me. It’s also the part of me that I use in my job, in a positive way.”
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