Inside Ariana Grande's Experience With PTSD

According to the Mayo Clinic, PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition that can manifest after a highly stressful event. If you have PTSD, you may experience nightmares, flashbacks, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Other psychological symptoms may include severe anxiety, a sense of hopelessness, memory issues, and difficulty feeling positive emotions, among others. Emotional symptoms can include angry outbursts, being easily startled, and feelings of overwhelming shame. PTSD symptoms are often severe enough that many people have difficulty functioning at work and maintaining healthy relationships.

World-renowned pop singer Ariana Grande developed PTSD following the deadly terrorist bombing that killed 22 audience members during her May 2017 concert in Manchester, United Kingdom. Grande told Vogue in 2018 that while she has always suffered from anxiety, it was never as severe as it was after that concert. She opened up about experiencing dizziness and extreme anxiety, crying through portions of the Vogue interview as she recalled the horrific event.

In April 2019, Grande inadvertently frightened her fans when she posted her brain scan alongside the scan of a normal brain, confirming her PTSD, on Instagram Stories. She said her intention for the post was to inform and encourage people to listen to their bodies and to take care of themselves, per Us Magazine.

Treatments for PTSD

Initially called "shell shock" in World War I, experts know that what we now call PTSD affects people beyond combat veterans. According to the experts at the American Psychiatric Association, approximately 3.5% of American adults experience PTSD annually and roughly one in 11 Americans will develop PTSD in their lifetime.

The good news is that PTSD is treatable, and the odds of recovery are better the earlier people get the help they need. There are a number of ways to approach treating PTSD. In some cases, people with PTSD will need treatment that uses methods such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or EMDR (per Mayo Clinic). In other cases, someone's PTSD symptoms may dissipate over time, per American Psychiatric Association.

An early intervention available for people who experience trauma is called Psychological First Aid (PFA). According to the experts at the American Psychological Association (APA), PFA approaches the stress response as a normal reaction following a traumatic event. Support and coping strategies are provided in diverse settings such as hospitals, homeless shelters, community environments, and telephone hotlines. Implemented within the first days to weeks following a traumatic event, PFA is intended to alleviate distress and improve functioning in both the short-term and long-term.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.