Celebrities are human just like us. Today, we share another blog in our series on Celebrities with Long-Term Disabilities, with a focus on PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Click here to read other posts in the series, on Skin Cancer, Lyme Disease, Lupus, Diabetes, and Brain Aneurysms.
People who find themselves in frightening, distressing, or even life-threatening situations can react in many different ways. Fear or injury or the possibility of either can immediately cause things like stress, nervousness, or panic. These are completely normal reactions to these sorts of situations, but sometimes these experiences can have a more lasting impact on a person.
Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a mental illness that is often the result of exposure to trauma that involves death, the threat of death, or serious injury. The disorder has also been linked to sustained and ongoing emotional trauma, such as being involved in an abusive relationship. PTSD is a long term issue that can severely disrupt a person’s life and can require treatment in many cases.
“Often, veterans are the first type of person that comes to mind when hearing the term PTSD. What used to be called "shell shock" or "combat fatigue" is now recognized as post-traumatic stress disorder. Rates of PTSD remain quite high among both active and retired members of the armed forces, as well as members of law enforcement. A recent survey of the Canadian Forces estimates that over 11% of regular personnel have experienced PTSD at some time, and that’s only the diagnosed cases.
But veterans and police officers aren’t the only ones affected by PTSD. The condition can affect literally anyone who has experienced physical or emotional trauma at some point in their lives – even celebrities.
Whoopi Goldberg Has Dealt With PTSD
Whoopi Goldberg is one such celebrity who has dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder on a long-term basis. The comedian-turned-actor-turned-talk show host witnessed a midair collision between two planes in 1978 and has had a severe fear of flying ever since. "Some people are meant to fly,” Goldberg told CNN in 2011. “And I don't know if I was meant to fly.”
Unfortunately the nature of Goldberg’s job means that she has to fly from time to time, and in several instances she has suffered severe panic attacks as a result. Goldberg’s fear of flying is so acute that for decades she’s traveled around the United States on a private bus, driving coast to coast between Los Angeles and New York when required.
"I feel like I shouldn't be flying," said Goldberg. "I should be rolling in my bus."
Goldberg has openly discussed that she receives therapy for her fear of flying and associated anxiety.
Fear & Anxiety Are Not The Only Issues
Fear and anxiety aren’t the only issues associated with PTSD. The condition can affect many aspects of a person’s life, causing sleep issues like insomnia and nightmares, flashbacks, sudden bursts of anger or other emotions, and withdrawal from others, be they family or friends. People with PTSD are also more likely to experience issues with drug and alcohol abuse. The combination of these factors can complicate a diagnosis, which makes receiving the proper diagnosis from a doctor the most important step in effectively dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
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