If You Suffer From Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), You Might Be Interested to Learn There Are a Lot of Famous People with OCD...

...It Interferes with Their Lives Just As Much as it Does Yours

There are a lot of famous people with OCD and if you suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), you might be interested to learn that it interferes with their lives just as much as it does yours.

Many of these celebrities have shared their battles with OCD with the rest of us. This is a good thing because it lets us know we aren’t alone and we can learn how other people deal with their OCD.

Dr. Stephen Whiteside, a psychologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, specializes in anxiety disorders and he said there is no research to show that celebrities are especially likely to get OCD. (See this article from ABC News.)

It appears that famous people with OCD have been with us for a long time, even back to the days of Michelangelo. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Historically Famous People with OCD

There have been a number of historically famous people with OCD and we will take a look at a few of them here. Many of them are thought to have had OCD because the diagnosis didn’t exist when they were alive and so experts who’ve reviewed their life and work have speculated these historical figures may have had OCD.

  • Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882): While the exact nature of his illnesses remain a mystery, the Royal College of Psychiatrists believe that Darwin suffered from OCD. Some experts believe he also had autism. He had a history of illnesses throughout his life and they have been studied for nearly a century.
  • Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870): According to the experts who’ve analyzed Dickens’ works, he apparently suffered from mild OCD.
  • Michelangelo (1475 – 1564): He had some odd habits, such as sleeping in his clothes and was reported to have never removed his boots…these things have led experts to believe he suffered from OCD.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827): He had OCD and was also deaf.
  • Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784): This English author, poet, essayist, and critic had OCD as well as Tourette’s Syndrome.
  • Marcel Proust (1871 – 1922): This French novelist never was officially diagnosed with OCD but he was thought to have had it.
  • Stonewall Jackson (1824 – 1863): This Confederate general believed one of his arms was longer than the other one; he’s thought to have had Asperger’s Syndrome and OCD.
  • Nikola Tesla (1856- 1943): This revolutionary scientist, inventor, and engineer had OCD as well as autism. He obsessed over the number 3 and created elaborate rituals around the number 3.
  • Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955): Einstein was thought to have OCD.
  • Howard Hughes (1905 – 1976): By the late 1950s, Howard Hughes has developed symptoms of OCD and social avoidance behavior.

Current Famous People with OCD

  • Donald Trump: He has a phobia about germs so that he is afraid to shake hands, especially the hands of teachers. Trump says teachers have 17,000 germs per square inch on their desk, so he refuses to shake their hands. He also won’t push the ground floor button of an elevator because of all the germs on the button. He says he has borderline OCD.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio: Leonardo has OCD and he has to force himself to avoid stepping on chewing gum stains while he walks. He also fights urges to walk through doorways a number of times as he doesn’t want his condition to take over his life.
  • Jessica Alba: She reports she suffered from OCD as a child.
  • Cameron Diaz: Cameron has OCD and has admitted she constantly rubs the doorknobs in her house so hard in order to clean them that the original paint on the doorknobs has faded away. She also admits washing her hands numerous times a day and she uses her elbows to push open doors.
  • Alec Baldwin: Alec has OCD and he says the condition disrupts his life and his schedule.
  • Charlie Sheen: Charlie has OCD, among other problems.
  • Charlize Theron: Charlize has OCD that involves excessive cleaning.
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt: Claims she cannot sleep at night if her closet or cabinet doors have been left ajar.
  • Billy Bob Thornton: Thornton has OCD which manifests as repetitive and compulsive actions. He also suffers from phobias. Thornton and Warren Zevon became close friends after they discovered the other had OCD.
  • Woody Allen: Woody suffers from OCD.
  • Katy Perry: Perry admits to having OCD tendencies when she is very stressed out.
  • Howard Stern: Howard chronicled his struggles with OCD in his book, Miss America and admits he struggles with the need to complete several types of rituals in order to distract himself from his fears about going into broadcasting.
  • Dan Aykroyd: Dan has Tourette’s Syndrome and he also may have OCD.
  • Roseanne Barr: Roseanne has OCD.
  • Howie Mandel: Mandel has OCD and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). He avoids shaking hands and touching other people in order to avoid germs. He also shaves his head in the belief it makes him feel cleaner.
  • Stanley Kubrick: Kubrick is thought to have OCD.
  • Kathie Lee Gifford: Gifford is also thought to have OCD.
  • Fiona Apple: She has OCD.
  • Harrison Ford: Ford is terrified of reptiles and spiders and says he has OCD about it.
  • Justin Timberlake: Timberlake has OCD and ADD; he likes to line things up perfectly.
  • It is easier to find famous people with OCD who are currently alive because they’re here to tell us they have it! It’s also helpful to look at their behaviors because they share many of the same behaviors that the historically famous people with OCD had.

    The encouraging thing about reading about famous people with OCD is that it helps us realize we are not alone with this disorder and that it can strike anyone.

    Famous people with OCD struggle with it just as much, if not more so, than “normal” people because they are in the public eye.

    The average person does have a degree of privacy and anonymity and can often hide their OCD. Famous people with OCD have every move scrutinized by the paparazzi and media and this makes it very difficult for them to have the privacy they need in order to work on their OCD without outside disturbances.


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