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“Mental illness should be taken as seriously as anything else”: Amanda Seyfried opens up on her OCD

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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Mental health is an issue that affects us all, but women in particular can be vulnerable to issues: the most recent figures from the NHS show that one in five women in the UK have reported a mental illness in recent years, compared to one in eight men.

With this in mind, more conversations around the topic of mental illness are vitally needed, and A-listers stepping up to the proverbial soapbox to discuss their own battles with mental wellness can only help to pave the way.

Following in the footsteps of Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Ellie Goulding, who have all publicly discussed their mental health, Amanda Seyfried has now opened up about taking antidepressants to help manage the symptoms of her OCD.

"I’m on Lexapro [an antidepressant], and I’ll never get off of it." the 30-year-old actress told Allure. "I’ve been on it since I was 19, so 11 years.

"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? A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is."

Wearing Givenchy on the red carpet last year

Wearing Givenchy on the red carpet last year

The actress, who has starred in blockbuster films including Mean Girls and Mamma Mia, also revealed that, like most of us, she can occasionally get struck with feelings of insecurity.

"Sometimes I feel I know the world so well, but then... it’s so debilitating. You’re like, What am I doing here? No one wants to see me," she said.

"It’s not all about me, but I make it about me because I’m insecure.”

And given the all-encompassing effects of suffering from a mental illness, no matter how severe the symptoms, Seyfried is adamant that we should all learn to take it as seriously as we would any other illness.

"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?" she said. "If you can treat it, you treat it."

Playing Karen, left, in Mean Girls

Playing Karen, left, in Mean Girls

And on her personal journey to seeking treatment for mental illness, she talked about how she has gradually learned to deal with the symptoms over time.

"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," she revealed.

"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.”

Images: Rex/Instagram

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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Features Editor at Stylist

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