What do performers Donny Osmond and Barbra Streisand, and athlete Ricky Williams have in common? All three celebrities have suffered with social anxiety disorder (SAD). Donny Osmond became paralyzed by stagefright during performances of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and underwent cognitive-behavioral therapy to overcome his fear. Barbra Streisand developed the symptoms of SAD after forgetting the words to one of her songs during a concert in Central Park in 1967 and did not perform publicly for another 27 years. Streisand gradually learned to cope with her fear and gave a comeback tour in 1994.
Ricky Williams first began showing signs of SAD after being drafted to the New Orleans Saints. During his football career he has faced many ups and downs as a result of his diagnosis. At one point Ricky was a spokesperson for the medication Paxil, used in treating SAD. Many other celebrities have had experiences with shyness or SAD. My hope is that as more people in the public eye reveal their experiences with SAD, the disorder will become more widely recognized and accepted.