Recently we have been talking about famous people who have anxiety disorders. We began this series by sharing some of the celebrities who are known to have obsessive compulsive disorder. In this post we will be focusing upon those famous people, including singers and actors who suffer from what is known as Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia. It is hard to imagine someone whose job is to be in the media spotlight in front of lots of people to have a fear of social situations. But this can and does happen. It just goes to show you that nobody is immune to developing an anxiety disorder. Even those people who make their living on screen or in front of large audiences can feel extreme anxiety. It also shows that you can still become successful despite having an anxiety disorder such as social phobia.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by extreme anxiety or fear of everyday social situations. Each sufferer is unique in what social situations may trigger the fear response. For one person, conversing with others in a group may cause great anxiety. For another person, the act of eating and drinking in front of others may produce panic and dread. If the disorder is extreme, the anxiety may be present during any social situation, making life exceptionally difficult to navigate. There is a common fear among most sufferers that they will somehow be judged or humiliated and that they may do something embarrassing in front of others.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 15 million adults (over the age of 18) have some sort of social anxiety disorder in the United States. Social phobia often begins in childhood and early adolescence.
Which celebrities have Social Anxiety Disorder?
• Kim Basinger
Most people know Kim Basinger from her many movie roles including being a Bond girl in Never Say Never Again, or for her performance in films such as The Natural or 9½ Weeks. Basinger speaks openly about suffering from social anxiety and can recall feeling fear over reading out loud in class. Her fear was so extreme that teachers believed she was having a nervous breakdown. When she accepted her Oscar for her role in the movie, LA Confidential, she was struggling to find her words despite having rehearsed her speech for days.
Basinger took part in discussing her social anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and agoraphobia in an HBO film called Panic: A film about coping. Basinger has been quoted in the media about her fears: "When I came to Hollywood, I could wear a bikini, but I was in misery because people were looking at me. So I wore baggy clothes and watched other girls get the big parts and awards. I used to go home and play piano and scream at night to let out my frustrations. And this led to my agoraphobia."
It is reported that therapy has helped Basinger but that she is still susceptible to both panic attacks and symptoms of agoraphobia.