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 just like 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.
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Anxiety Disorders and Anxiety
The reality is that many people struggle with anxiety - including those that do not qualify for an anxiety disorder diagnoses. Anxiety can also differ in severity. Many famous people struggle with serious anxiety and many more struggle with mild to moderate anxiety.
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Famous People With Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder is a persistent form of daily anxiety that doesn't have any of the symptoms of other anxiety disorders. Some of the most famous celebrities have suffered at one time or another with this type of anxiety, which plagues a large percentage of the general population. Notable celebrities include:
As recently as the middle of 2012, Leann Rhymes 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 needs to re-learn coping tools for the significant anxiety that comes with being a celebrity.
While it's difficult to diagnose someone before diagnoses existed, 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 Disorder
While generalized anxiety disorder is pervasive, it's also "manageable." As severe as the anxiety can be (and it can be extremely severe), many people with GAD can hide the disorder and go about their day as if it doesn't bother them. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is incredibly stressful and requires treatment, but a person can go their whole lives without admitting to others that the anxiety exists.
The same is not true of panic disorder. Panic disorder often causes severe, debilitating anxiety attacks that can frighten not only the person suffering from panic attacks but also those around them. Because it's difficult to hide panic disorder, far more celebrities are 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.
Johnny Depp's old 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."
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 be nothing more than 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.
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 there is a strong likelihood that her anxiety attacks were an issue long before she ever stepped on stage.
Anxiety Comes in All Shapes and Sizes
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Famous People With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Many celebrities claim to suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. Most of them do not. Being OCD has become a very unusual badge of honor for a lot of different famous people, who see it as a neat eccentricity rather than a significant disruption in their lives.
But 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 unusual 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 real 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 live a fairly decent quality of life despite his disorder, David Beckham has all of the qualities of a real celebrity living with OCD. Beckham's obsession is order, specifically with pairs. He needs 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 Amanda Seyfried, it doesn't matter if you're famous or not famous - anxiety disorders can affect everyone.
But one thing you can learn from these celebrities is that nearly all of them sought help. They recognized that their anxiety was a problem and they committed themselves to controlling it.
Take my anxiety test to start finding out more about your anxiety, and learn how you can successfully stop your anxiety forever.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Jan 12, 2018.