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Soap opera star dies by suicide: What to know about bipolar disorder

LOS ANGELES — The death of 43-year-old Billy Miller, an actor best known for his role in the soap opera “The Young and the Restless,” was due to suicide, his mother has confirmed.

Patricia Miller wrote in a statement shared on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that her son suffered from bipolar disorder, noting that “in the end the disease won the fight.”

“He fought a long hard valiant battle with bipolar depression for years. He did everything he could to control the disease,” she wrote. “He loved his family, his friends and his fans but in the end the disease won the fight and he surrendered his life.”

The statement was shared on X by Billy Miller’s manager, who on Sunday publicly announced his death in a statement to Variety.

Sunday would have been the actor’s 44th birthday.

BActor Billy Miller poses with an award for “The Young and the Restless” during The 41st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on June 22, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

According to the magazine, Billy Miller died Friday in Austin, Texas.

In addition to his role on “Young and the Restless,” for which he won three Emmys, Billy Miller also starred on TV shows including “General Hospital,” “Suits,” “Ray Donovan,” “NCIS” and “Truth Be Told.”

What to know about bipolar disorder

In battling bipolar disorder, Billy Miller was far from alone: Nearly 3% of adults in the United States live with the condition, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

In recent years, high-profile figures including singers Mariah Carey, Selena Gomez and Bebe Rexha, former NBA player Delonte West and college basketball coach Joanne P. McCallie have all publicly revealed their own battles with the mental health condition.

MORE: Nearly 50,000 Americans died by suicide in 2022, a record-high number, CDC reports

Bipolar disorder is defined by the NIMH as a “mental illness that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, activity levels, and concentration” that are more severe than the usual ups and downs that people experience.

The condition has three different types — bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder and cyclothymic disorder.

All three types involve drastic changes in moods ranging from very up and energized, called manic episodes, to very down and sad, known as depressive episodes, according to the NIMH.

The different moods and frequency of changing moods can impact a person’s day-to-day functioning, as well as their sleep and activity levels.

According to the NIMH, bipolar disorder is most commonly diagnosed during the late teen years and early adulthood.

It is a condition that requires lifelong treatment, which can include everything from medication to professional talk therapy.

The NIMH notes that for people with bipolar disorder, in many cases, they also have other mental health conditions like anxiety disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and may struggle with drug or alcohol abuse or eating disorders.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder include noticeable changes in mood, sleep and activity levels, and swings in mood changes, ranging from manic to depressive, according to the NIMH.

People who have concerns that they or a loved one may be struggling with bipolar disorder or another mental health condition should reach out to a medical professional for help.

If you are experiencing suicidal, substance use or other mental health crises please call or text the new three-digit code at 988. You will reach a trained crisis counselor for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also go to 988lifeline.org.

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