Schizophrenia is a chronic psychological disorder that affects a patient’s feelings, thoughts, and behavior.
The disorder affects an estimated 1% of the population.
Symptoms of schizophrenia typically start between ages 16 and 30.
Researchers believe that a number of life stressors, environmental factors, and genetic factors may play a role in schizophrenia’s onset and course.
List of 22 Famous People With Schizophrenia:
#1 Syd Barrett
He was an English songwriter, singer, and musician and a founder member of the band Pink Floyd.
After a mental break forced his departure, Syd spent 30 years as a painter and recluse.
Syd Barrett seems to have experienced some of the environmental factors which have been strongly associated in research to an increased chance of developing schizophrenia.
Also, he had a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia.
On July 7, 2006, he died at home in Cambridge. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer.
#2 Mary Todd Lincoln
She was the wife of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
Some historians believe that Mary Todd Lincoln may have had schizophrenia.
After she died on July 16, 1882, an autopsy revealed a brain tumor.
#3 Veronica Lake
She was an American stage, film, and television actress. Veronica Lake was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child.
On July 7, 1973, Lake died of hepatitis in Burlington, Vermont.
#4 Vaslav Nijinsky
He was a ballet choreographer and dancer who is considered the greatest male dancer of the early 20th century.
His capacity to perform seemingly gravity-defying leaps was legendary.
Vaslav Nijinsky was almost 30 when he was diagnosed as schizophrenic.
#5 Antonin Artaud
He was a French dramatist, essayist, actor, poet, and theatre director who came up with the idea known as “The Theater of Cruelty.”
Diagnosed as schizophrenic, Antonin spent the next 9 years in mental institutions.
#6 Joe Meek
He was an English sound engineer, record producer, and songwriter who pioneered experimental pop and space-age music.
Joe Meek suffered from delusions and manias at a time when mental illness was difficult to treat.
#7 Jim Gordon
He was the drummer in the blues-rock supergroup Derek and the Dominos.
In 1983, while experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, Jim Gordon killed his mother.
#8 Tom Harrell
He is an American flugelhornist, jazz trumpeter, arranger, and composer. Tom received a Grammy Award nomination for his big band album, Time’s Mirror.
Moreover, he has won multiple Trumpeter of the Year awards from Down Beat magazine, SESAC Jazz Award, Prix Oscar du Jazz, and BMI Composers Award.
In hopes of helping others cope with their own challenges, Tom Harrell speaks openly about his struggles with schizophrenia.
#9 Andy Goram
He is a Scottish former football player. Andy Goram played for both Hibernian FC and Oldham Athletic AFC, however, he is best known for the time he played in Rangers FC.
In addition, Andy Goram was the 4th goalie inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.
When Goram went public that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, fans greeted him with the following chant:
”Two Andy Gorams! There’s only two Andy Gorams…”
#10 John Forbes Nash Jr.
He was an American mathematician who made important contributions to differential geometry, game theory, and the study of partial differential equations.
For his landmark work, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1994.
A book about his life, called “A Beautiful Mind,” was released in 1998.
”The mental disturbances originated in the early months of 1959 at a time when Alicia happened to be pregnant.” – quote from his autobiography.
#11 Roky Erickson
He is an American harmonica player, singer-songwriter, and guitarist who was a founding member of The 13th Floor Elevators.
In 1968, Roky Erickson was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Roky was admitted to a psychiatric hospital to receive electroconvulsive therapy.
An excellent documentary on Roky, “You’re gonna miss me” (2005), chronicled his troubled life – his schizophrenia, incarceration for possession of a joint, and talented and eccentric family.
#12 Lionel Aldridge
He was a defensive end in the National Football League for 11 seasons with the San Diego Chargers and Green Bay Packers.
Shortly after receiving a diagnosis, Lionel Aldridge started speaking publicly about schizophrenia.
In 1998, he died at age 54 in Shorewood, Wisconsin.
#13 Vincent van Gogh
He is usually considered the greatest Dutch painter, though he had little success during his lifetime.
Vincent van Gogh produced all of his work during the last decade of his life. Interestingly, van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime.
Different stories of Vincent van Gogh’s behavior make some scholars think he had schizophrenia.
#14 Zelda Fitzgerald
She was an American novelist, painter, socialite, and wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald (an American fiction writer).
In 1930, Zelda Fitzgerald was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
In 1992, Zelda was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame.
#15 Eduard Einstein
He was born in Zürich and is the 2nd son of Albert Einstein.
In 1930, schizophrenia struck Eduard Einstein during his 20th year.
Eduard received psychiatric care at an asylum in Zurich.
At the age of 55, he died in an asylum. According to his brother, the thing which ruined him was the treatment with electric shocks.
READ MORE: Famous People With Bipolar Disorder
#16 Peter Green
He is a British blues-rock guitarist who, in 1998, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
His first band was Bobby Denim and the Dominoes.
Peter Green was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent time in psychiatric hospitals where he underwent electroconvulsive therapy during the mid-1970s.
#17 Brian Wilson
He is arguably the greatest American composer of popular music in the rock era. Brian Wilson has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.
In 2014, a movie about his life, “Love & Mercy,” was released, showing how he dealt with the voices inside his head.
In addition to his struggles with mental problems, Brian is known for his unique approaches to the mastery of recording methods and pop composition.
#18 Skip Spence
He was a Canadian-born American singer-songwriter and musician who was a co-founder of Moby Grape.
During the time of recording an album with the band, Skip Spence was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
#19 Jeremy Oxley
He is an Australian singer, songwriter, and guitarist who fronted the 1980s pop-rock band Sunnyboys.
At age 22, Jeremy Oxley was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
#20 Darrell Hammond
He is an American stand-up comedian, actor, and impressionist who was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live.
Darrell revealed that his mother had abused him during his childhood.
The trauma from abuse led to diagnoses that included borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
#21 Kat Bjelland
She is an American songwriter, musician, singer, and guitarist who rose to prominence as the lead singer of the rock band ”Babes in Toyland,” that Kat formed in Minneapolis in 1987.
In 2007, Kat Bjelland suffered a schizophrenic episode.
READ MORE: Famous People With Tourette’s Syndrome
#22 Joanne Greenberg
She is an American author best known for the novel ”I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.”
Joanne Greenberg was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager but recovered without the use of medication.
Featured image credit – Getty Images
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