Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk made headlines Sunday when he tweeted about his “great highs, terrible lows and unrelenting stress” with the possibility of even being “bipolar,” which he later followed-up by saying: “Maybe not medically tho.”
And, while that news may come as a surprise to his 10.8 million followers on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), many CEOs say they have experienced similar symptoms during their tenure.
“It does not surprise me at all that Elon may have a bipolar disorder because many people with this disorder are highly successful. People with bipolar are usually highly creative people, have a fighter/survivor attitude, and are very proactive in self-improvement in an attempt to reach their full potential,” Dennis C. Miller, former CEO of Somerset Medical Center and Healthcare Foundation and author of Moppin’ Floors to CEO: From Hopelessness and Failure to Happiness and Success, tells FOX Business.
Miller, who is now a leadership coach for many CEOs, says he also suffers from bipolar disorder and if he didn’t have it, he’s not sure he would have been successful.
“It has given me extraordinary energy to achieve my life goals and exceed beyond my wildest imagination. In my book, I identified my early struggles with depression as a young man, but once I got the help I needed (talk therapy and medication), I have been living a great life. I have been married for over 36 years, parent of two sons and now a grandson,” Dennis adds.
In fact, odds of CEOs being depressed are quite high, according to research from the American Sociological Association’s Journal of Health and Social Behavior in 2014. The study found that CEOs may be depressed at more than double the rate of the general public, which is currently around 20%.
Dr. Sam Ozersky, a psychiatrist that specializes in mood disorders at the University of Toronto says Musk might not be bipolar since he hasn’t be medically diagnosed yet, but could suffer from hypomania, which a milder form of mania, marked by elation and hyperactivity.
“Hypomania is a good thing, too, sometimes. It’s a little high that gives [CEOs] a willingness to take risks and gives them confidence,” Ozersky tells FOX Business.
However, Ozersky says it can turn for the worst when that mania causes them to become severely manic where they start to hear voices and have problems sleeping.
“Winston Churchill and Robin Williams suffered from this type of mania,” he adds.