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Famous People with PTSD

Famous People with PTSD

(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that stems from a person’s experience with a traumatic event. Some of these events are sexual assault, near death experiences, participation in war activities, and other serious injuries.

PTSD is a relatively new term, and is often diagnosed for a patient who is experiencing disturbing flashbacks or nightmares, selective amnesia regarding the event, and high levels of anxiety that continue for periods of time after the event.

Darrell Hammond

Celebrities with PTSD

PTSD is not just a disorder that affects regular people. Several celebrities have had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder relating to different events in their life. From a military perspective, combat soldier turned actor Audie Murphy (pictured below) was the most decorated American Soldier. After returning from WWII, Murphy had a 21 year acting career, but all the while he was suffering from what would later be coined PTSD. He slept with a loaded handgun under his pillow and became addicted to sleeping pills to get through the day.

It is also believed (and sometimes debated due to it not being officially diagnosed) that singer Michael Jackson suffered from untreated PTSD due to his past, growing up in a household of family violence and trauma. It is assumed that Jackson’s downward spiral was never caught by doctors and was relative to symptoms of PTSD.

Actor and War Veteran Audie Murphy

Actor and comedian Darrell Hammond (pictured at top) has recently spoken out about his diagnosis of PTSD stemming from years of child abuse. His disorder led him to years of alcohol and drug abuse, and eventually evolved into self-harming. He currently advocates seeking help for the disorder and is maintaining a sober lifestyle.

James Blunt is an English musician and former army captain who advocates for PTSD research. He isn’t officially diagnosed, but has experienced events that could later lead to symptoms.

Some others rumored (but not confirmed) to have experienced PTSD include Tobey McGuire, Johnny Depp, Oprah Winfrey and Spike Milligan.


A true PTSD diagnosis is not very common, as most people who experience trauma do not develop the disorder. However, it has been determined that woman are more likely to develop PTSD than men (rape, sexual abuse / assault), despite the fact that it is most commonly linked to war veterans.

This war link is due to the fact that 98-percent of men returning from at least thirty five days of uninterrupted war between 1942 and 1945 had developed some degree of psychological issues. Despite this fact, the modern definition of PTSD was developed in the mid 1970’s, after the discovery of issues among Vietnam Vets, and the diagnosis was officially recognized in the 1980’s.

Although it is a relatively new diagnosis as far as terminology is concerned, historical references point to syndromes such as “shell shock”, “Traumatic war neurosis”, and “combat stress reaction”. These previous determinations have similar symptoms and are considered early types of PTSD.

Diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder requires the patient to have exposure to life threatening stressors, which affects them afterward for a period extending beyond four weeks. The symptoms of PTSD range from sleeplessness, re-experiencing of the event in flashbacks/dreams, to irritability, anger, depression and desire to self-harm. Several treatment options are available, from medications to psychological therapy methods.