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The General Hospital Articles Pages

2007 General Hospital Opinion Articles and Essays!

By Laurie  9/27/07

Maurice Benard Discusses Bipolar Disorder With Oprah

Model turned actor, Maurice Benard has had a successful career for over 20 years.  His career path led him to the role for which General Hospital fans have grown to love him.  Since 1993, Maurice has brilliantly portrayed the “mobster” Michael “Sonny” Corinthos.  He has been nominated for a total of five Daytime Emmy Awards.  In 2003, Maurice won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a drama.  Sadly, Maurice Benard has been battling mental illness for much of his adult life. 

Maurice appeared on Oprah's talk show this week to discuss bipolar disorder.  It was the second time the actor spoke with Oprah about the disease.  Three years ago, Benard admitted on the show that he suffers from bipolar disorder and has had several “breakdowns” since his early 20’s.  Maurice has been taking the drug Lithium for 15 years. 

Recently, Maurice has experienced some “setbacks” with his disease.  After suffering an anxiety attack while on an airplane, he was unable to take the flight or fly since then.  He appeared on the Oprah show from their California home with his wife, Paula.

Prior to the incident on the airplane, Maurice had another anxiety attack due to his storyline on General Hospital.  It occurred during the time when his character, Sonny, was paired with Emily.  Sonny was going through a mental breakdown, and the character was put on Lithium when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  Maurice says he experienced an anxiety attack when the story about Sonny’s mental illness came to a close. 

Maurice talks openly about bipolar disorder and his battles with it.  According to ABC.com, Maurice is now  “working with” Mental Health America (formerly known as The National Mental Health Association) on their “Bipolar Disorder: Do You Know It? campaign to help educate Americans” on how to understand and “recognize” the disease.

The National Institute of Mental Health defines bipolar disorder as “a serious medical illness that causes shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function.”  Also known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder affects people of all races, genders, and occupations.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “at least 5 million people have been diagnosed with some degree of bipolar disorder.”

For more information on bipolar disorder, visit The National Institute of Mental Health at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/.   You can also visit Mental Health America at: http://www.nmha.org.

The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The TV MegaSite or its other volunteers.

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