Actor Richard Dreyfuss says "There's no shame in having depression"

Richard Dreyfuss, famous for staring in films such as 'Jaws' and 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind', has spoken out about his life-long struggle with bipolar disorder.

According to dailymail.co.uk, the 66-year-old star has suffered from the disorder since the age of 14. He hopes that talking openly about his condition will remove some of the stigma associated with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, as he believes such diseases are nothing to be ashamed of.

Bipolar disorder is a condition in which the sufferer experiences extreme lows of depression and then extreme highs, known as 'mania'. The two emotional conditions can switch very quickly, making it difficult for the sufferer to cope.

The actor explained that he experienced crippling anxiety attacks every single day which caused him to hate and doubt himself.

"It's like the night before the test and you aren't really sure about the subject and this balloon of self-loathing starts to swell up fast in anticipation of failure, I lived that feeling every day, every minute for my entire life," he told people.com.

However, despite his condition, Mr Dreyfuss went on to have a very successful acting career but his divorce caused him to hit a new low.

He then sought counselling, which helped him recover: "Counselling helped kill my guilt. We went on a journey to find the right meds and it took four long years."

He added that treatment has allowed him to be himself again and that "things are great".