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Carrie Fisher Dies: How 'Star Wars' Actress Became Advocate For Mental Health

Update Date: Dec 28, 2016 08:00 AM EST
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Carrie Fisher died at 60 on Tuesday, Dec. 27 after she suffered a heart attack two days before Christmas. Aside from being a renown and talented actress, Fisher was also known as a mental health advocate. 

Many people know Fisher for her role as Princess Leia Organa in the "Star Wars" movie franchise. Aside from that, she was also a writer and a mental health advocate who was inspired by her own struggles.

In November, the "Star Wars" actress opened up about her mental illness to The Guardian. In a column dated Nov. 30, she admitted that she struggled with drug addiction. She also told the publication that she learned that she was bipolar at the age of 24.  

Despite learning of her disorder, she refused to accept the fact that she needed diagnosis until she was 28 when she overdosed. She ultimately made the effort to get sober.

In a 2000 interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer on "PrimeTime," the 60-year-old actress revealed that she took 30 Percodan tablets daily to try to manage her manic state. In the three years of her prescription drug abuse, doctors rescued her by improving her health and maintaining a recommended medication regimen. 

In 2001, Fisher received the "Rona and Ken Purdy" Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness for her contribution in helping end mental health discrimination and stigma, CNN reports. She has also been lauded for placing importance on getting treatment for mental health disorders. 

Besides being an actress and mental health advocate, Fisher was also a writer. The "When Harry Met Sally" actress wrote a book titled "Wishful Drinking," where she opened up about her life and struggles. The memoir was published in 2009.  

Fisher also penned "Postcards from the Edge," which became a movie in 1990. Here she talked about drug addiction from the perspective of a recovering addict. 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a combination of medication and psychotherapy is necessary for an effective treatment plan for bipolar disorder.

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