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Having the right amount of anxiety is an important part of being a healthy adult. Anxiety sometimes warns us that we need to take action, prepare for an event, or in different circumstances, it keeps us out of harm’s way. Persistent and uncontrollable anxiety even for famous people, however, is disabling and causes an irrational dread of everyday situations.
When anxiety disrupts a person’s day-to-day life, they might be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that 40 million American adults live with anxiety disorders. These are the most common psychiatric conditions in the country, and only a third of people coping with anxiety receive treatment.
What are the Different Types of Anxiety Disorders?
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks
- Separation Anxiety
- Selective Mutism
- Other Specific Phobias
Because anxiety issues are so common, it’s not surprising that even those in the spotlight suffer from these illnesses. Knowing that even successful people can suffer from anxiety sometimes makes it easier to deal with and removes some of the apprehension of seeking help.
Here are 6 Famous People with Anxiety Disorders
1. Abraham Lincoln
The 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln served during the most tumultuous time in the country’s history and is believed to have suffered from severe depression and anxiety.
Lincoln himself said, “We live in the midst of alarms; anxiety beclouds the future; we expect some new disaster with each newspaper we read.”
2. John Steinbeck
One of America’s most notable authors, John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, and East Of Eden among his many novels. He also suffered from anxiety and depression and sought treatment from psychologist Gertrudis Brenner.
In regard to anxiety and depression, Steinbeck said, “A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ.”
3. Amanda Seyfreid
Known for her work as an actress in movies like Mama Mia, Mean Girls and Les Miserables, Amanda Seyfried has dealt with anxiety since she was a young girl.
Seyfried has received treatment for her disorder, and said, “I wish I knew it was possible to get through it, because at one point I didn’t think there was another side. …It can paralyze you.”
4. Khalil Greene
Former major league baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals, the San Diego Padres and the Texas Ranger, Khalil Greene played shortstop until going on the disabled list for social anxiety disorder.
“[Baseball] is a source of a lot of joy,” he said in an interview with USA Today. “But it’s also a source of a lot of frustration and sadness and fear.”
5. Adele Adkins
Grammy award winning singer songwriter, Adele, is the first female artist in history to ever have three singles in the top ten at the same time. She also suffers from debilitating panic attacks that keep her from playing large festivals.
In an interview with Q Magazine, Adele said, “I have anxiety attacks, constant panicking on stage, my heart feels like it’s going to explode because I never feel like I’m going to deliver ever.”
6. Charles M. Schultz
This icon of the funny papers, Charles M. Schultz created characters like Charlie Brown and Snoopy in his comic series Peanuts.
Though an incredibly successful artist and writer, he suffered from intense anxiety issues. “I have this awful feeling of impending doom,” Schultz said in an interview. “I wake up to a funeral-like atmosphere.”
It’s not uncommon for people with anxiety disorders to self-medicate using drugs, alcohol or prescription painkillers. These substances dull the tumultuous emotions and fearful feelings.
The problem, though, is that this behavior worsens anxiety disorders and can unwittingly result in a dual diagnosis.
It’s important to understand that this level of anxiety is a treatable condition. A combination of therapy and certain medications, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), are especially helpful for anxiety.
Getting the proper diagnosis and treatment is the first step in toward living a happier, healthier and anxiety free life.