Amanda Seyfried is getting candid about living with obsessive-compulsive disorder and the stigmas that go along with seeking help for mental health issues.
The Ted 2 star is gracing the November cover of Allure, and the subject of mental health arose while discussing the recent renovations to her home in upstate New York. Asked whether her decision not to include a stove in the guest house (she was afraid a guest might burn the place down) was a result of her OCD, the actress replied, “Yes. About the gas. You could so easily burn down something if you leave the stove on. Or the oven.”
As for whether she’s taking medication for the disorder, Seyfried said, “Yeah. 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. And what are you fighting against? Just the stigma of using a tool?”
She continued, “A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is.” Instead, Seyfried argued, “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.”
Seyfried added that at first, she believed her mental illness was manifesting itself physically. “I had pretty bad health anxiety that came from the OCD and thought I had a tumor in my brain,” she explained.
“I had an MRI, and the neurologist referred me to a psychiatrist,” she continued. “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.”
This is not the first time Seyfried has spoken about her struggles with OCD, and her mental health. She admitted to seeing a psychologist to help her overcome stage fright. “I have a lot of anxiety that I’ve been struggling with my whole life,” Seyfried, 29, told Vogue last year. “So I have been working through it. I’m terrified, but this is exactly what I wanted.”
In 2012, Seyfried opened up to InStyle about her OCD, saying, “I don’t feel like I’m struggling with it. 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.” She added, “The only thing I’d like to get beyond is my fear of driving over bridges and through tunnels. I can’t overcome it.”