Anxiety can affect anyone. It affects the poor, the rich, the young, the old, the sick, the healthy, and more. Anxiety doesn't discriminate, and while some people may be more prone to anxiety than others, the reality is that anyone from all walks of life can suffer from anxiety disorders.
The most famous, rich, and successful people in the world suffer from anxiety alongside everyone else. In this article, we'll look at thirteen different people that suffer from the three most common anxiety disorders - generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Anxiety Disorders and Anxiety
Anxiety is a spectrum of experience. All of us will worry, but when anxiety is persistent and getting in the way of everyday life we might consider it to be a disorder. Not everyone who is anxious will meet all of the criteria for a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. Many famous people have talked openly about their struggles with anxiety, though not all of whom have confirmed whether they sought mental health treatment.
Famous People With Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent worrying, often about a wide range of topics rather than one thing in particular. Some of the most famous celebrities have suffered at one time or another with this type of anxiety, which affects a large percentage of the general population. Notable celebrities include:
As recently as the middle of 2012, LeAnn Rimes decided to enter a treatment facility for severe anxiety and stress. While the nature of her anxiety is not listed in any reports (and shouldn't be, since patient information is always confidential), her representative stated that Ms. Rimes simply needed to re-learn coping tools for the significant anxiety that comes with being a celebrity.
While it's difficult to diagnose based on only historical information, many believe that Abraham Lincoln suffered from severe anxiety and depression. It should come as no surprise. The most famous president in history was bombarded with challenges, and the world around him was often in chaos. As he once said: "We live in the midst of alarms; anxiety beclouds the future; we expect some new disaster with each newspaper we read."
Famous People With Panic Attacks/Panic Disorder
Whilst someone suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder often has a continual level of anxiety that remains no matter what they are doing, those with panic attacks often have more sudden and visible symptoms. When someone has an attack it can be debilitating and frighten not only the person suffering from panic attacks but also those around them. Perhaps because it's difficult to hide panic disorder, more celebrities have been willing to openly share their panic attack problems, including the following individuals:
Johnny Depp may be one of the most popular actors in the world, but that hasn't stopped him from suffering from panic attacks for years. The actor doesn't speak about them very often, but his struggles with panic disorder are well known. As he said in an interview:
“I don't go out very much. I stay at home a lot. Or when you go out to eat, you know, you've got to - it becomes a strategic sort of plan.”
Johnny Depp's former girlfriend, Kate Moss, also revealed that she had been dealing with panic attacks for years - especially in her youth. She revealed in a magazine interview that her panic attacks might have been related to severe stress over the idea that she needed to make provocative poses with men and women in a way that made her distressed.
Speaking of famous actors and actresses, Emma Stone may be one of the most popular young women in movies today, but she also dealt with numerous panic attacks to the point where she developed agoraphobia. While most people get panic attacks in their 20's, Emma Stone got her first panic attack in her youth. Today, she says she still deals with panic attacks once in a while but has found that she's developed healthy coping strategies to deal with them.
For those that only pay attention to movies and film, the name "Joey Votto" may not ring any bells. But those that follow baseball know that as of this writing Joey Votto is one of the best players in major league baseball, and has been for many years.
But while he was working his way up the minor leagues and even into the majors, Joey Votto suffered from severe panic attacks, to the point where he shared the one phrase that those with panic attacks know all too well: "I thought I was going to die." He went to the hospital on more than one occasion worried that something was wrong before seeking help.
Some people get their first panic attacks when they're severely stressed. Others get their first one out of the blue, with no way to see it coming. The latter is what happened to famous actress and model Kim Basinger, who had her first panic attack in the middle of a grocery store. Her panic attacks were so terrible that she developed agoraphobia and depression as a result.
Charlie Beljan is a golfer that became the face of panic attacks when he suffered from one while playing on the PGA tour. He managed to finish with one of the lowest scores of his career despite himself and the paramedics believing he had a heart attack that turned out to actually be a severe panic attack.
Being beautiful and famous doesn't stop anxiety. Scarlett Johansson, who shared that she often feels nervous on sets before filming a movie, has also said that right before filming she has suffered from some severe anxiety attacks. It's not clear if she's talking about "severe anxiety" or "panic attacks," but it's obvious that the actress is not without that added stress.
In an interview, she stated that one of her main triggers was red carpet events, which would cause her to experience a rapid heartbeat and sweat the moment she stepped out into the cameras.
The most famous singer in the world in 2011 and 2012 appears to have suffered from not only panic attacks but also social phobia and severe stage fright. Performing in front of crowds of thousands can give anyone stage fright, but at one point Adele had to quit touring as she found the anxiety and panic unbearable. She eventually started touring again, but brought her therapist with her on the road to help her cope.
Famous People With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Many people, celebrities included, may describe themselves as being “a bit OCD”. Often what they’re referring to is having particular routines and habits that other people may think of as odd. A diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is given when the anxieties and related behaviors are so intense that they are interfering with the person’s life.
Those that live with OCD know how debilitating and stressful it can be. It's not just liking order or never using a public bathroom. Those with OCD develop severe anxiety, have intrusive thoughts or fears, and perform ritualistic behaviors specifically to get through their day to day life.
There are several famous people that feel your pain. A small sample of these people includes:
A "fear of germs" doesn't necessarily make you obsessive compulsive, but Howie Mandel's lifestyle changes are indicative of a person that is overcoming a mental health disorder. Mandel not only doesn't shake hands or touch dirty things - he even keeps his hair shaved to help him feel cleaner.
While he's managed to be very successful despite his disorder, David Beckham has all of the qualities of someone living with OCD. Beckham's obsession is order, specifically with pairs. He has spoken about needing to have even numbers or he becomes very uncomfortable and has been known to throw out or add to things in order to make sure they're an even number.
The former lead singer of Limp Bizkit has said that he has struggled with terrible OCD, but he prefers to keep the details of his obsessive-compulsive disorder private. He claims that he has looked for several tools, including books, to try to get rid of his ticks behavioral troubles, but that he still struggles with it to this day.
What to Learn From Celebrities With Anxiety Disorders
There are countless more examples of celebrities and famous individuals with various anxiety disorders. From Carrie Underwood to Jennifer Lawrence to Amanda Seyfried, it doesn't matter if you're famous or not - anxiety disorders can affect everyone.
But one thing you can learn from these celebrities is that most sought help. They recognized that their anxiety was a problem and they committed themselves to control it.
- Emma Stone began seeing a therapist to control her panic attacks.
- Howie Mandell sought out Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (OCD).
- Jennifer Lawrence was prescribed anti-anxiety pills.
Many of these celebrities sought help and were effective in treating their overall anxiety.