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Peter Scolari, who is best known for his roles in television sitcoms Newhart and Bosom Buddies, recently opened up about years of drug and alcohol abuse and being diagnosed bipolar in his 40’s. Starring alongside Tom Hanks early in their careers, both stars exhibited great potential; in coming forward with the troubles he’s faced, Scolari admits he could have done more had he not been so engaged with addiction. He now takes medication to treat his bipolar disorder, but reflects on the years he went undiagnosed and engaging his frantic often manic life as an actor.
“I’m pretty sure I stunted and stilted my growth as an actor with all this self-medication and self-delusion and self-obsession,” Scolari told Opera in an interview.
It’s not uncommon for individuals who struggle with bipolar disorder to attempt to alleviate symptoms by self-medicating, with an estimated 60% of all individuals with the disorder abusing substances.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings which can range between extreme highs and severe depression, combined with substances used to alter mental and emotional states, it can be challenging to diagnose.
Hollywood tends to attract extreme personalities, and it’s also not uncommon to see celebrities become wrapped up in the sensationalized party lifestyle as well. Scolari is famous for his hilarious antics and high energy ability, and cites his extreme personality to his ability to create larger than life roles.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings which can range between extreme highs and severe depression, combined with substances used to alter mental and emotional states, it can be challenging to diagnose. Some of the symptoms for bipolar disorder increase the potential to abuse substances, including impulsive behavior or engaging in indulgent activities such as drugs and alcohol. It is for this reason a period of sobriety is often necessary to determine a diagnosis.
Well known for his hyperkinetic portrayal of the neurotic yuppie TV producer Michael Harris on Newhart, Scolari received the Viewers for Quality Television Award and three Emmy nominations. Bosom Buddies, which premiered on ABC in 1980 and ran for two seasons also lead to frequent drop in roles in television and film, as well as Broadway roles in shows like “Hairspray”, “Sly Fox” and a string of off-Broadway work. He has the charismatic ability to win over audiences and critics alike, and in revealing his troubles with drugs and alcohol, opens the door to others who struggle with self-medication.
Peter Scolari’s late diagnosis and years of self-medicating