Famous People with Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia can affect anyone; in fact around 1% of the population are likely to develop schizophrenia. It usually strikes young males between the ages of 18 and 25 and women slightly later, but it can happen at any time. There are some very well known names that have had to cope with this distressing mental illness, often at the same time as being very much in the public eye or trying to hold down a promising career. The following are just some of those people.

John Nash – Nobel Prize Winner

The plight of John Nash was highlighted in the film “A Beautiful Mind” in 2001 starring Russell Crowe. Nash was a mathematical genius who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia whilst a young man at college. He battled with it for many years and continued with his Mathematical studies particularly in ‘Game Theory’, finally achieving the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994.

Syd Barrett – Pink Floyd

Syd Barrett, founder member of the rock band Pink Floyd developed symptoms of schizophrenia in his late teens although it was never formally diagnosed and he never obtained proper treatment. He struggled to maintain his career in the music industry whilst displaying bizarre and erratic behaviour but finally he ended up in an institution where he remained for a while before living out the rest of his life with his mother. He indulged in painting and spending time with his sister before he died in 2006.

Meera Popkin – Theatre Star

Meera Popkin starred in both “Cats” and “Miss Saigon”. She too struggled with schizophrenia whilst trying to keep going with her career but it proved too much and she stopped performing for a while until she got proper treatment and was able to return to the stage once again. Remarkably, Meera has appeared to have made a full recovery from schizophrenia and lives very happily with her husband and daughter.

Tom Harrell – Jazz Musician

Tom Harrell is a famous jazz musician and composer who graduated from Stanford University with a degree in music composition in 1969. He has managed to maintain his career despite a diagnosis of Paranoid Schizophrenia and has played in numerous well known orchestras and made many recordings with some of the biggest names in the industry.

Eduard Einstein- Son of Albert Einstein

Eduard Einstein was diagnosed with Schizophrenia when he was only 20 years old and spent many years in and out of institutions before finally dying in an institution at the age of only 55. After his diagnosis he had very little contact with his father.

Vaclav Nijinsky – Famous Ballet Dancer and Choreographer

Vaclav Nijinsky was one of the most talented ballet dancers of all time who could perform incredible moves on stage. His career ended when he suffered some form of breakdown and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He spent about half of his life in and out of mental institutions and died at the age of 61.

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