9 Famous People & Celebrities With Social Anxiety Disorders (2023)

9 Famous People & Celebrities With Social Anxiety Disorders (1)

Even though actors, musicians and athletes live in the spotlight and perform in front of an audience on a daily basis, it’s enlightening to learn there are many famous people and celebrities with social anxiety disorders.

So it’s no surprise that regular people not in the limelight also struggle with anxiety.

Feeling anxious or stressed out is becoming an epidemic in the United States, especially for people who are working hard just to meet expectations. That being said, anxiety disorders are felt across every spectrum of the population and are currently the most common mental illness in the U.S.

Sadly a quarter of our children suffer from anxiety disorders and unfortunately this makes them prone to engage in substance abuse, as anxiety and addiction repeatedly go hand in hand. While anxiety disorders are highly treatable, approximately only a third of those suffering reach out and get the treatment they require to overcome them to live a healthy and stress-free life.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), over 40 million adults over the age of 18 suffer from an anxiety disorder.

Of these people, there are many highly successful famous people that are now stepping forward and sharing their experiences with social anxiety disorders. This is great news, as it helps the rest of us understand that we’re not alone.

Here we’ll explore 9 famous people who have opened up about their anxiety disorders, along with an insight into how they managed to combat their anxiety with tools like meditation, vitamins, yoga, creativity and exercise.

9 Famous People & Celebrities With Social Anxiety Disorders (2)

Celebrities With Anxiety Disorder

These stories of celebrities with anxiety serve as an inspiration and a path to success for anyone who struggles with anxiety disorders.

(Video) Top 10 Celebrities With Anxiety Disorders — TopTenzNet

1. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is a talk show host, TV network owner and producer, actress, and author, famous the world over. Despite her worldwide fame, Oprah suffers from anxiety to this day.

Interestingly, Oprah’s anxieties manifested in not wanting to speak with some people or feeling awkward with others. This gives all of us hope, because if someone of her fame and notoriety can get over her anxiety and speak in front of the world, then we can all overcome mental health conditions like anxiety.

Like so many others, the root cause of Oprah’s adult anxiety disorder was trauma in childhood, more specifically sexual abuse. By overcoming her ongoing anxiety and using it as a fuel for her success, Oprah is a shining example of what is possible when we open up about our problems and use them as a powerful force in the world.

“Once you start to make changes, no matter how small, suddenly everything seems possible.”
– Oprah Winfrey

2. Kourtney Kardashian

Kourtney Kardashian is a model, media personality, and socialite, made famous by her 2007 reality TV show, “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”

She is the eldest of three sisters who are all extremely popular in the social media world. When Kourtney opened up about her anxiety, she said that stress often causes her to feel nauseous.

Kourtney says, “Still when my anxiety is extreme, it feels like my body is constantly burning calories all day long.” She uses exercise to overcome feelings of anxiety, and her message is a positive one of self-love and exercise as a way of taking our minds off the feelings of anxiety.

“I just always wish that I had more time. But I feel like I want to cry,” she admitted through tears. “Just ’cause it, like, gives me anxiety and I don’t know why…. ’cause then I’m like, I have so much and I should just be so happy.”
– Kourtney Kardashian

3. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is a country and pop singer who has felt the pressure of fame encroaching on her personal life. In particular, Swift was publicly bullied by Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian in 2016.

She felt publicly misunderstood, but this gave her a reason to dig deep and develop trust in her close circle of friends and family.

One way that Swift has managed to battle her anxiety is with the vitamin L-theanine, which is a naturally derived amino acid that helps soothe the nervous system.

(Video) 8 Celebs Who've Struggled With Anxiety

She, like others on this list, avoids smoking, drinking alcohol, caffeine, and focuses on relaxing activities like meditation and yoga to combat her anxiety.

“It can feel, at times, if you let your anxiety get the better of you like everybody’s waiting for you to really mess up — and then you’ll be done.”
– Taylor Swift

4. Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert is an award-winning television personality and actor that has opened up publicly about his anxiety.

Colbert had a breakdown after his marriage in 1993 and then had to be medicated (for 9 days) with xanax for his anxiety, before realizing that the drugs were just covering up his disorder.

Stephen has found that leaning into his work and on stage has helped him work through his anxiety. For him, creating and performing are not sources for his anxiety, but instead they actually help him cope with it.

“Creating something is what helped me from just spinning apart like an unweighted flywheel.”
– Stephen Colbert

5. Adele

Adele Laurie Blue Adkins MBE is a Grammy award-winning English singer and songwriter. Adele has publicly revealed that she suffers from severe anxiety attacks that make it hard to perform in front of large audiences.

During one concert, she vomited and then ran off stage and escaped through a fire exit, because her anxiety got so bad.

Adele manages her anxiety by imagining what Beyonce would do in her place, and also going to a therapist to help control her anxiety and depression.

Talking about her postpartum depression with other moms also helped Adele manage her depression. She has proven time and time again that the key to overcoming her mental disorders is opening up and asking for help.

“I don’t really need to stand out, there’s room for everyone.”
– Adele

(Video) Famous people with Social Anxiety

6. Missy Elliott

Melissa “Missy” Arnette Elliott is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and philanthropist.

Missy Elliott opened up about her lifelong struggles with anxiety in 2015 in an interview with Billboard. During her performance at the Super Bowl, Elliott had a full-blown panic attack that required medical attention.

Despite her success as a music artist, Missy Elliot is really quite shy. She is also very spiritual and relies on God to show her the way. When speaking to Billboard about the Super Bowl event she said:

“I know it was nothing but the grace of God that lifted me up and took me through that performance.”
– Missy Elliott

Related: Stress vs Anxiety

7. Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg is an American actress, comedian, author, and television personality.

Since witnessing a mid-air collision, Goldberg has suffered from the anxiety disorder “aerophobia” (fear of flying) for many years. This was debilitating for her, as she is required to fly to locations as part of her job.

Aerophobia is often treated with Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Therapy. Goldberg enrolled in a “fly without fear” program to overcome her anxiety disorder.

“When you are kind to someone in trouble, you hope they’ll remember and be kind to someone else. And it’ll become like a wildfire.”
– Whoopi Goldberg

8. Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell is an American actress and singer and she has struggled with anxiety and depression her whole life.

Her condition deteriorates when she is overworked, and then she often cycles between both anxiety and depression.

(Video) Celebrities With Anxiety | social anxiety disorder |anxiety attack

Kristen is very open about her struggles with anxiety and has disclosed that she uses CBD oil, nature, gratitude, cooking, gardening and meditating to alleviate her anxiety.

She finds it hard to say no to people, which means that she often ends up overcommitted and she explained:

“I realized that my codependency was so crippling that I couldn’t say no to people. So what I’ve been doing this month is practicing saying no to people in a very kind way.”
– Kristen Bell

9. Joey Votto

Joey Votto is a professional Canadian Major League baseball player that plays for the Cincinnati Reds. Votto became debilitated with grief and anxiety after his father died at the young age of 52.

Votto’s anxiety heightened after the baseball season ended as he failed to find anything positive to focus on. Subsequently, he has been placed on the disabled list (DL) many times as he said that he was physically incapable of doing his job.

Fortunately, he had several hospital visits that eventually helped him on the path to recovery.

“Once I felt like I could get through two or three nights of sleep without having the phone beside me worrying about having to call the hospital, once I got through that, I felt like I could start playing ball again.”
– Joey Votto

Seeking Help for Anxiety

For anyone struggling with anxiety or depression, it’s essential to ask for help. There are many steps we can take to tackle debilitating mental health disorders such as anxiety, as we’ve learned from the above celebrities. No two stories are the same.

Oftentimes, celebrities (and others suffering from an anxiety disorder) do a great job of putting on a front, seeming as though they are not feeling panicked inside.

For some people, medication helps, while for others, the need to participate in therapy and creative work can alleviate the deep emotional feelings of anxiety.

Photo Credits:

(Video) Top 10 Most Accurate Depictions of Mental Illness in Movies & TV

Oprah Winfrey by Aphrodite in NYC
Kourtney Kardashian by Glenn Francis
Taylor Swift by David Shankbone
Stephen Colbert by Montclair Film
Adele by Marc E.
Missy Elliott by Atlantic Records
Whoopi Goldberg by Daniel Langer and Comic Relief, Inc.
Kristen Bell by Myles Kalus Anak Jihem
Joey Votto by Keith Allison


Who is most diagnosed with social anxiety disorder? ›

People who are naturally more reserved and those who have experienced trauma like childhood abuse or neglect are more likely to develop the disorder. Additionally, those with a first-degree blood relative who has the disorder are anywhere from two to six times more likely to experience Social Anxiety Disorder.

Do some actors have social anxiety? ›

Over the past several years, a few celebrities have spoken up about their battles with social anxiety and other mental health concerns. It may be hard to imagine that someone whose job is to be in the media spotlight could have anxiety in social situations, but this can and does happen.

What famous person has panic disorder? ›

Emma Stone, Actress

During an interview at the Child Mind Institute in October 2018, the actress opened up about her anxiety issues and her first panic attack as a 7-year-old.

What country has the most social anxiety? ›

Like symptom severity, the US had the highest prevalence with more than half of participants surveyed exceeding the threshold (57.6%), while Indonesia had the lowest, with fewer than one in four (22.9%). Table 2. Social anxiety scores.

Does social anxiety get worse with age? ›

Does anxiety get worse with age? Anxiety disorders don't necessarily get worse with age, but the number of people suffering from anxiety changes across the lifespan. Anxiety becomes more common with older age and is most common among middle-aged adults.

Can social anxiety be cured? ›

Social anxiety is very treatable, with strategies for overcoming social anxiety depending on your individual personality and how much the disorder affects your life.

Why do people get social anxiety? ›

Negative experiences.

Children who experience teasing, bullying, rejection, ridicule or humiliation may be more prone to social anxiety disorder. In addition, other negative events in life, such as family conflict, trauma or abuse, may be associated with this disorder.

Is anxiety a mental illness? ›

Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. But anxiety disorders are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available. Treatment helps most people lead normal productive lives.

Can people with anxiety disorder be successful? ›

In truth, some anxiety and stress are actually good for performance, pushing the person to achieve. What's different about those with Type A personality is that they've learned how to turn their stress and anxiety into a motivating factor that helps them succeed, rather than getting in their way.

Does sunshine help anxiety? ›

Getting some sun increases your serotonin and helps you stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and sun exposure can also help people with anxiety and depression, especially in combination with other treatments.

Who suffers with anxiety? ›

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. Over 40 million adults in the U.S. (19.1%) have an anxiety disorder. Meanwhile, approximately 7% of children aged 3-17 experience issues with anxiety each year. Most people develop symptoms before age 21.

Why is anxiety more common now? ›

Why Is Anxiety So Common in America? What Changed? Unfortunately, no one seems to have an exact answer as to why anxiety is so common, but many attribute this presumed increase in anxiety disorders to factors such as social media, poor sleep habits, lowered stigma, and underreporting in the past.

What age group is most affected by anxiety? ›

What age does anxiety affect the most? The age group most likely affected by anxiety is those from 30 to 44 years of age.

Who does anxiety affect the most? ›

The groups of people who were most affected by anxiety disorders were women, adults under the age of 35, and people with other health conditions. Around 10.9 percent of adults with cardiovascular disease in Western countries also had generalized anxiety disorder.

What is severe social anxiety? ›

Social anxiety disorder is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. This fear can affect work, school, and other daily activities. It can even make it hard to make and keep friends. The good news is social anxiety disorder is treatable.

What happens if social anxiety goes untreated? ›

Social anxiety can progress from fearing a single social situation to multiple situations, or even develop into an overall fear of people. Extreme cases of untreated social anxiety disorder can lead to isolation, depression, other anxiety disorders, or even agoraphobia.

How does a person with social anxiety act? ›

People with social anxiety either avoid or feel very anxious in social settings. They may blush, sweat, tremble, avoid people, stand rigidly, avoid eye contact, or find it hard to talk. They may not know why they feel anxious, but it's usually due to a fear of being judged or offending another person.

Are there pills for social anxiety? ›

Though several types of medications are available, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often the first type of drug tried for persistent symptoms of social anxiety. Your health care provider may prescribe paroxetine (Paxil) or sertraline (Zoloft).

What are 3 symptoms of social anxiety? ›

Physical and physiological symptoms of social anxiety disorder can include: Blushing, sweating, shaking or feeling your heart race in social situations. Feeling very nervous to the point of feeling nauseated in social situations. Not making much eye contact when interacting with others.

Is social anxiety a disability? ›

Is Social Anxiety a Disability? Social Anxiety can be considered a disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and you could be able to receive Social Security disability benefits with social anxiety disorder.

What having social anxiety feels like? ›

always worry about doing something you think is embarrassing, such as blushing, sweating or appearing incompetent. find it difficult to do things when others are watching – you may feel like you're being watched and judged all the time. fear being criticised, avoid eye contact or have low self-esteem.

Are you born with social anxiety? ›

We can say that no one is "born" with social anxiety. You may remember circumstances and events from very early in life, but there is no "gene" that codes for social anxiety, and there is not an immutable set of genes that cause social anxiety to occur.

Is social anxiety genetic? ›

Genetic. The genetic component of social anxiety disorder is also known as the “heritability” of the disorder. Although heritability rates can vary a great deal in studies, it has been estimated at around 30 to 40 percent, meaning that roughly one-third of the underlying causes of SAD comes from your genetics.

What chemical in the brain causes anxiety? ›

Epinephrine/Norepinephrine Norepinephrine is responsible for many of the symptoms of anxiety. These hormones and neurotransmitters are responsible for the adrenaline and energy that is pumped through your body when you're stressed or anxious, and cause changes like rapid heartbeat, sweating, etc.

What is the easiest mental illness to treat? ›

Anxiety disorder is the most treatable of all mental illnesses. Anxiety disorder produces unrealistic fears, excessive worry, flashbacks from past trauma leading to easy startling, changes in sleep patterns, intense tension and ritualistic behavior.

Are there levels of anxiety? ›

Anxiety levels are typically classified by the level of distress and impairment experienced into four categories: mild anxiety, moderate anxiety, severe anxiety and panic level anxiety.

What percentage of the population has social anxiety disorder? ›

An estimated 12.1% of U.S. adults experience social anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.

What is the root cause of social anxiety? ›

Family history. You're more likely to develop social anxiety disorder if your biological parents or siblings have the condition. Negative experiences. Children who experience teasing, bullying, rejection, ridicule or humiliation may be more prone to social anxiety disorder.

What can be mistaken for social anxiety? ›

Social Anxiety is frequently misdiagnosed

clinical depression. manic-depressive disorder (bipolar disorder) panic disorder. schizophrenia, all types.

What category does social anxiety fall into? ›

What is Social Anxiety Disorder? (Social Phobia) Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as social phobia, is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by excessive fear, anxiety, discomfort, and self-consciousness in social settings.

Is social anxiety a disability? ›

Is Social Anxiety a Disability? Social Anxiety can be considered a disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and you could be able to receive Social Security disability benefits with social anxiety disorder.

Is social anxiety considered a mental illness? ›

Social anxiety disorder (formerly known as social phobia) is a mental health condition where you experience intense and ongoing fear of being judged negatively and/or watched by others.

Is social anxiety genetic? ›

Genetic. The genetic component of social anxiety disorder is also known as the “heritability” of the disorder. Although heritability rates can vary a great deal in studies, it has been estimated at around 30 to 40 percent, meaning that roughly one-third of the underlying causes of SAD comes from your genetics.

What is the best therapy for social anxiety? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective type of psychotherapy for anxiety, and it can be equally effective when conducted individually or in groups. In exposure-based CBT, you gradually work up to facing the situations you fear most.

At what age does social anxiety begin? ›

Social anxiety disorder typically starts in childhood or adolescence. Among individuals who seek treatment as adults the median age of onset is in the early to mid-teens with most people having developed the condition before they reach their 20s.

Are you born with social anxiety? ›

We can say that no one is "born" with social anxiety. You may remember circumstances and events from very early in life, but there is no "gene" that codes for social anxiety, and there is not an immutable set of genes that cause social anxiety to occur.

Is social anxiety a form of autism? ›

Autism and social anxiety are two separate conditions. Autism is neurodevelopmental condition and presents in early childhood, whereas social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that can develop in childhood or adulthood. People can have one or both.

Can someone with social anxiety be a narcissist? ›

One of the main characteristics of individuals with increased levels of vulnerable narcissism is anxiety. Inter alia because of their high hypersensitivity and insecurity, they often experience high levels of anxiety in social interactions, and therefore tend to avoid social contacts in the offline world [9, 23].

Is social anxiety a symptom of schizophrenia? ›

Social anxiety is highly prevalent in people with schizophrenia and can hinder functional recovery. Our patient received a diagnosis of schizophrenia at age 23.

How do doctors test for social anxiety? ›

There is no medical test for social anxiety disorder. A psychiatrist or other mental health professional can make a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder (otherwise known as social phobia) based on your own description of your symptoms, how they occur, and in what situations.

Can parents cause social anxiety? ›

(2017) noted that both parents contribute to social anxiety in different ways. The authors noted that maternal overprotection can increase social anxiety in adolescents, whereas social anxiety can be reduced by paternal emotional warmth.

Can social anxiety be cured? ›

It is more common in females than in males. However, social anxiety disorder is treatable. Talking therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and medications can help people overcome their symptoms.


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