Music Artists Who, Like Roky Erickson, Have Struggled With Mental Illness

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After a nervous breakdown -- combined with substance abuse issues -- that made his mental instability more and more apparent, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in the late '60s, where he underwent electroshock, lithium, and other treatments. Wilson spent much of the next two decades sequestered in his home, addicted to drugs and food, on anti-psychotic medications, and seeking various forms of therapy. Finally, he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and eventually made his way back to stages and studios, finishing his long-gestating album Smile in 2004. He's released a handful of albums since and continues to tour.


Irish songstress Sinead O'Connor has long battled bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, and has attempted suicide several times, most recently in January, when she overdosed on pills. In the spring, O'Connor canceled her tour dates on the advice of her doctors to continue psychiatric treatment. From Pollstar, in May:

After taking a medication called Tegretol, which O'Connor said made her bipolar symptoms worse, she said if she hadn't called off the tour, she "might have acted on a suicidal compulsion alone in some hotel room." She has now switched to a different medication which "seems to be helping a lot," adding that it will be a slow process to get the levels right and recovery physically. O'Connor plans to continue making music because she says it is a gift from the Holy Spirit.

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Category: Music

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