Kanye West's mental health condition, bipolar disorder, explained

Here’s everything you need to know about Kanye West's mental health condition, bipolar disorder.

Kanye West's mental health condition, bipolar disorder, explained
© Stephane Cardinale - Corbis / Getty Images
Kanye West's mental health condition, bipolar disorder, explained

Kanye West recently sent a 'White Lives Matter' t-shirt down the runway during Paris Fashion Week and was criticised for it by Vogue contributing editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson. This sparked a torrent of Instagram posts on behalf of the Yeezy designer, hitting back at anyone who criticises him or supports Karefa-Johnson.

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Kanye West's history with bipolar disorder

It is no secret that Kanye West has bipolar disorder. As reported by the New York Post, Kanye West told David Letterman in an interview in 2019 that he only got his diagnosis two years earlier, in 2017.

Indeed, the album art for West’s eighth record, Ye, which was released in 2018, included the phrase, 'I hate being / Bi-Polar / it’s awesome'. West also described the disorder as 'my superpower' on the album.

After announcing that he was running for US President in 2020, his then-wife Kim Kardashianexplained 'as many of you know, Kanye has [bipolar] disorder', pleading for 'compassion and empathy . . . so that we can get through this'.

What is bipolar disorder?

According to The Conversation, bipolar disorder 'involves alternating periods of intense mania (high energy and activity) and severe depression (low energy and mood).'

Manic periods typically last days to weeks and are associated with the following symptoms:

  • An overwhelming drive to be active and unable to sit still
  • Grandiose ideas and ambition to accomplish big things
  • Rapid speech that’s hard to interrupt
  • A strong sense of oneness with the world
  • Irritable or elated moods

Depressed periods typically last weeks to months and are associated with:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Low moods
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviours

There are also mixed states, where the person is very active or agitated while at the same time very distressed.

Can it be treated?

Bipolar disorder can be treated with lithium carbonate, which acts as a 'mood stabiliser', as reported by The Conversation. If a person does not respond to lithium, or its side effects are too adverse, anti-epileptic drugs can also be used.


- New York Post: 'Inside Kanye West’s bipolar disorder'

- The Conversation: 'What is bipolar disorder, the condition Kanye West lives with?'

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Disclaimer: The contents of this article: text, graphics, images, and other materials contained, are strictly for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Please always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with all the questions that you have related to, or about, a medical condition.

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