Amanda Bynes: Will She Become the Celebrity Face of Schizophrenia?

BynesAmanda Bynes is in the news – again. But this time, much of the focus is on the possibility of a schizophrenia diagnosis.  I mention this to Ben, and he says, “Hmmm. Interesting.” This story will not, I suspect, make a dent in Ben’s insight into his own illness – not now, at least. Patience is key when you love someone with schizophrenia – along with many other qualities.

But we follow the story, to see what the media does with it.  I see Hollywood Gossip report she is on a “drug cocktail” and comment:

“I’m so glad to hear that Amanda is responding to medication (not “drugs”…these are medications to restore balance, not drugs to alter it). Yes, the big question is there: will she take the meds on her own? In my experience, probably not. Many medical reasons for that (see “anosognosia“) but her parents should definitely go ahead with conservatorship. It has been a huge help for us! I blogged about this at, website with great info and support. “
My blogs on conservatorship have gotten the attention of Marketplace, a smart and fair show on marketplaceNPR that is business-oriented, and they have invited me to be part of a show  (coming up this week) on the topic of conservatorship, with Amanda in the news and all.
This same issue came to light in when Britney Spears‘ parents sought to help their child after bizarre behaviors in public brought attention to her possible mental illness as well.  At that time, I was booked to appear on Dr. Drew’s HLN show, but got bumped by a Hurricane Irene story. This time, I hope I can be of some help on Marketplace, sharing the family view of how conservatorship can help.
I am Ben’s conservator, but it doesn’t mean I run his life, or control him. I am simply allowed to help him when he needs the help – and, yes, sometimes when he doesn’t know he needs that help. (when schizophrenia symptoms take hold.) It’s a safety net. And we need it.
Watch this blog for updates!


6 thoughts on “Amanda Bynes: Will She Become the Celebrity Face of Schizophrenia?

  1. Randye,

    I hope you are able to reach Amanda’s family and share your valuable perspective with them. I also would like seeing a column by you in national publications that educates the wider public on Amanda’s (likely) condition and her family’s predicament.

    A particular aspect I believe the public ought to know more about is what the progression of schizophrenia looks like from the start to full-blown symptoms. Since I began following Amanda after her May arrest in NYC, I’ve been catching up on her back story on-line. Reading interviews and tabloid articles, watching various clips on youtube, and browsing through fan photo galleries, I’ve wondered about her changes from her teens through her twenties, especially before it became obvious there was something wrong.

    What changes were due to Amanda simply growing up as a young woman and actress? What changes were simply PR image-making? And what changes were signs of a progressively degenerating mental illness?

    That kind of insight would help to understand Amanda’s situation and, more importantly, to know what we’re seeing if a family member or friend starts to show signs.

    1. Thank you, Eric. If I had any way to reach her parents, I’d be happy to be of some help to them if I could. Each case of mental illness in the family is unique – and yet we all have many things in common – especially feelings of loss, confusion, guilt, anger, and helplessness.

      I try to reach as many as I can through my book, and my blogposts – here and at – but it’s my readers who help the most by spreading the word via mouth, media, twitter, facebook and linkedIn.

      The questions you ask are spot-on. I ask and answer many of these in my book as our story is told side-by-side with sidebars of information. Also – the education I got by attending NAMI Family-2-Family classes helped me answer those questions.
      Every family needs SEARCH – Support, Education, Acceptance, Respect, Communication Skills, and Humor/Hope. The first two are the first things we need…and they help the rest to come in time.

      So if you know the Bynes, please tell them support is out there! Happy to talk to them if I could.
      thanks for your insightful comment,

  2. Randye: “If I had any way to reach her parents, I’d be happy to be of some help to them if I could.”

    I don’t know them, but I did some googling and sent you what I found via the text box on your contact page.

  3. Eric I got the info. Thanks! Am hesitant about “bothering” them but will try in a subtle way to offer help. Thanks again, randye

  4. Randye,

    I hope it works. I can imagine Amanda’s celebrity/notoriety might make it more difficult for her parents to take care of her. Given that they left Amanda to move close to their other children and grandkids in Texas, only returned to LA last year when it became clear Amanda was in trouble, and the pace of events since her 5150 hold, I don’t believe this challenge is something her parents have long prepared for. They’re not young, either. Maybe they don’t need more help. Or maybe they do. Anyway, I look forward to reading your thoughts on Amanda’s situation as it develops, such as the conservatorship hearing later this week – your insight, of course, not any privileged insider info should you successfully connect with her family.

  5. schizophrenia is not an always troubling disorder it is just like any other some are harder to battle yes but not matter what disorder you have it depends on how you decide to battle it.

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