On an episode of Rumor Has It, the show panels discussed the “panic disorder” which has affected several celebrities in the Korean entertainment business, what it means to have this disorder, and why K-Celebs are so prone to becoming diagnosed with this disorder.
K-Pop idols like WINNER‘s Mino, Sulli, former B.A.P member Bang Yongguk, Crayon Pop‘s Soyul, Gain, and Lee Hi all have medical history of suffering from panic disorder.
One of the panels explained that panic disorder dates back to the American Civil War, when soldiers with no actual heart or other health conditions would suffer from unmanageable distress. Panic disorder can cause increased heart rates, physical pain, difficulty breathing, and uncontrollable anxiety.
While anyone can be diagnosed with this condition, panic disorder has unfairly been nicknamed the “celebrity disease” in Korea because celebrities do have a heightened vulnerability to it due to their occupation. Another panel claimed that celebrities are more likely to be diagnosed with panic disorder because they depend heavily on the public for attention, approval, and ultimately financial stability. In other words, they feel a tremendous amount of pressure to always live up to the general public’s expectations – and deal with the consequent fear of possibly failing to do so and becoming unable to sustain themselves.
On a separate episode covering the same topic, a media reporter added that Korean celebrities are held to extremely high expectations too. The Korean public, according to the reporter, want their celebrities to have flawless morals – on top of impeccable visuals and talents.
That’s why I tell everyone to stop emphasizing the celebrities’ ‘good deeds’. Like them being extra polite or extra charitable? Don’t shed too much light on that. It only adds to everyone else’s pressure and it only worsens the already-unrealistically high public expectations. In the end, celebrities are only human too.
— Reporter Jung Young Jin
He also pointed out that Korean celebrities are now highly unlikely to have any means of relieving the stress that comes from trying to meet these standards. Unlike previous generations, with the advance of cellphones, internet speed, and social platforms, celebrities continues to have “nowhere to hide” and their private lives are constantly shared with the public regardless of consent. And without a normal, healthy way to relieve any of the negativity that piles up, celebrities easily fall victim to these mental disorders.
The show host Lee Sang Min, who also suffered years of panic disorder, strongly urged those who are affected by panic and anxiety symptoms to immediately seek medical help. He reminded the viewers that panic disorder is not only a thing among the celebrities, but a serious mental condition that could affect anyone.
If your mental state of being starts affecting your physical state, please get help. I was only able to break my decade long habit of drinking after I met my psychologist and got prescribed the proper medication to treat my panic disorder. I’m able to work like this again only because I got help. Having a condition and getting help for it is nothing to be frowned upon.
— Lee Sang Min