Celebrities with Panic Attacks – We Need A Spokesperson

Yesterday we had a little discussion on Facebook about celebrities with panic attacks:
Discussion about Amanda Seyfried and celebrities with panic attacks
Recently Amanda Seyfried admitted to suffering from panic attacks as a result of being in the public eye. She reports seeing a therapist regularly to cope with anxiety.  Source

The fact that Amanda came out and openly admitted to having panic attacks is something I really applaud. In my opinion, not enough people talk about this very serious condition and that just helps to keep it all so mysterious.

If more big name celebrities with panic attacks spoke out openly like Amanda, I think it would really help all of us who suffer so profoundly. Bringing panic attacks into the mainstream media would help to demystify them and also bring more public awareness to the situation. It might also spur doctors into doing more research into anxiety and working on effective treatments for it.

There have been some famous celebrities with panic attacks who have spoken out on the issue, but there needs to be someone who is really willing to go the extra mile and take panic attacks on as a cause, in my opinion.

When you think of Parkinson’s disease, you might automatically think of Michael J. Fox. This is because he not only suffers from the disease, he is a huge advocate for Parkinson’s research. Halle Barry and Nick Jonas are both spokespeople for Type 1 Diabetes.

Famous celebrities with panic attacks include: Donny Osmond, Kim Basinger, Carrie Underwood, Nicole Kidman, Drew Barrymore and others. There are tons of celebrity names that come up if you do a simple Google search for celebrities with panic attacks. Are they all for real? Is the term panic attacks being used loosely in some of the examples I have found? Who knows…

But I think there is a difference between occasional news stories on celebrities overcoming panic attacks or having one big panic attack, and a celebrity actually taking up anxiety and panic attacks as a personal cause.

And the difference here is no one has.

The stigma of mental illness and panic attacks in society today persists and it is so unfortunate. It is to the detriment of everyone who suffers. I don’t like the label of mental illness, nor do I think panic attack sufferers are mentally ill. Perhaps being connected to anything that sounds like you may be mentally ill would be something a celebrity would steer away from at all costs.

But I have to think that’s not the case. Howie Mandel, Charlize Theron, and Leonardo DiCaprio all suffer from and have spoken out about OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). OCD is an anxiety disorder after all, so doesn’t that put it in the mental illness category too?

While OCD seems “cool” and interesting and even funny to talk about for celebrities, panic attacks and panic disorder remain very serious and guarded subject matter.

I like what Drew Barrymore said about her panic attacks:

“Every single medical expert says (panic attacks) are not real. So you’re like, ‘But how come when my throat is closing up, I’m blind with dizziness, I can’t catch my breath, and I am hot and faint and want to rip my skin off and am convinced I’m going to die, that’s so real to me?” Source

Is panic and anxiety worthy of a celebrity spokesperson? I certainly think so:

  • Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year.  Source – more now, the source is from 2005…
  • The economic burden of anxiety disorders is staggering, in the *billions* of dollars. Source – note, this source is from the 1990’s so the cost is way more now….
  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment. Source
  • But the most sobering fact is that severe anxiety can be a risk factor for suicide. Source

It’s high time for a celebrity to speak out on our behalf.

I wish you peace,
Jill G.

ps.- Join me on Facebook.com/SelfHelpForAnxiety or leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on this.

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