Famous People with Anxiety Disorders: Celebrities with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Merely Me Health Guide
  • According to The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) about 40 million American adults who are 18 and older have an anxiety disorder. This means that a little over 18 percent of the American adult population suffers from some type of anxiety disorder. That is a lot of people! It seems nobody is immune from the ill effects related to anxiety, even famous celebrities. I have compiled a list of some of the celebrities who are reported to suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, or phobias. If you are one of the 40 million adults with some type of anxiety related disorder, take heart. You are definitely not alone. And as these lists will show, you can suffer from an anxiety disorder and still be highly successful no matter what you choose to do in life.

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    Part One: Celebrities who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)


    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affects between 2-3 percent of people living in the United States. Two of the major symptoms of OCD include obsessions and compulsions.  Obsessions are intrusive anxiety provoking thoughts and compulsions are excessive, repetitive behaviors which the sufferer may be convinced will protect them from harm or will reduce their fear. The good news about OCD is that there are treatments which have been proven to be effective in reducing OCD symptoms such as behavioral therapy and medication.

    Here is a short list of celebrities known to have OCD:


    Howie Mandel


    Howie Mandel, comedian and former host for the popular game show, Deal or No Deal, went public about telling the world about his OCD. He has written a memoir of his experiences entitled, “Here’s the Deal: Don’t Touch Me.” Click on the link to read an excerpt from his book. Mandel, who also suffers from ADHD, talks about his fear of dirt and germs which prevents him from shaking hands with anyone. Our Eileen Bailey had the honor of interviewing Howie Mandel  for Health Central’s ADHD site.  It is a not to be missed interview.


    Howard Stern


    This sometimes controversial radio and television talk show host doesn’t seem like he suffers from anxiety, especially on air. But ABC News and Entertainment  reports that Stern has talked publicly about his OCD. In his book, “Miss America” Stern writes about creating an “elaborate maze of rituals” which kept him from confronting his fear. Some of these rituals included only touching the outside of records or tapping the dial of his car radio a certain number of times with his right hand. Stern reportedly used transcendental meditation to help him overcome his OCD. Here is an audio of Howard Stern and actor Hugh Jackman talking about the benefits of transcendental meditation.


    Charlize Theron

    Not to leave the ladies out, there are also many female celebs who suffer from symptoms of OCD. You probably know Charlize Theron from the big screen movies and especially for her Oscar winning role in the 2003 film, Monster.  But did you also know that this highly successful actress battles with an anxiety disorder? Theron is one of the more recent celebrities to admit to having OCD. She was quoted in London’s Daily Mail as saying, “I actually have a serious problem – obsessive-compulsive disorder. I don’t do counting or anything like that. I’m good with chaos, I just don’t like it when chaos is hidden.” Theron admits to losing sleep over a disarranged closet or cabinet.  Theron had experienced trauma early on in her life when she witnessed her mother fatally shooting her alcoholic and abusive father.  It makes one wonder if early trauma contibutes to the development of OCD or other anxiety related disorders.  It is unclear what causes OCD but there are certain risk factors  for developing any type of anxiety disorder including OCD.

  • Other noted celebrities who battle the symptoms of OCD include: Leonardo DiCaprio, Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Cameron Diaz, David Beckham, Jessica Alba, and Billy Bob Thorton. A website called, Disabled World, has a fairly comprehensive list of celebrities having OCD as well as this ABCNews Entertainment article

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    If you want to learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder here are some informational articles for you to read from our site:


    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms


    Myths about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


    Deep Brain Stimulation for OCD


    In Part two of this series we will be discussing celebrities who suffer from social anxiety. So stay tuned!

Published On: January 10, 2011