In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, hard rock band Creed was at the top of its game, selling over 40 million albums worldwide and winning a Grammy in 2001 for best rock song, “With Arms Wide Open.” But by 2014, lead singer Scott Stapp was far from the top of his game when a very public drug and bipolar-induced breakdown sent him on a downward spiral.
In December 2014, Stapp released a video claiming he was homeless and “under some kind of vicious attack.” His delusions went so far that he told his wife he was a secret CIA agent on a mission to kill President Obama.
In May 2015 Stapp and his wife, Jaclyn, came clean about what was behind his psychotic meltdown: bipolar disorder. Stapp’s mental illness had gone undiagnosed for over a decade. His doctors originally diagnosed him with depression in 1998.
“I was treated with depression without knowing that at the time I had bipolar starting to manifest,” Stapp, 42, told FoxNews.com. “Looking back, had I been properly diagnosed in ’98, I venture to say my whole life would be vastly different.”
According to a National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association (DMDA)survey conducted in 2000, 69 percent of respondents with bipolar disorder were misdiagnosed. The National Institute of Mental Health describes bipolar as a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy and activity levels.
There is no single cause for bipolar disorder, but some research suggests factors like brain structure, genetics and family history may play a role.
“Mental health issues run on both sides of my family,” Stapp said. “We’re pretty certain I was innately predisposed to it and that it was going to take a hold through my DNA whenever that time was coming.”
Mental health problems are commonly associated with substance abuse. Approximately 60 percent of patients with bipolar I disorder have a lifetime diagnosis of a substance abuse disorder. In the midst of living the rock and roll lifestyle, Stapp started to depend on alcohol and marijuana to compensate his extreme moods.
“Alcohol and marijuana gave me temporary relief,” Stapp said. “The marijuana took me out of depression at times and alcohol took me out of my mania. After a long period of time of using those things to get balanced, that’s when addiction manifested. It took a number of years before it went from a self-medicating tool to full-blown alcoholism.”