Amanda Seyfried opens up about panic attacks: 'It feels like life or death'

Blake Harper
·2-min read

In an interview with Sunday Today's Willie Geist, actress Amanda Seyfried spoke candidly about how she has experienced panic attacks and the toll they have taken on her.

"Yeah, it feels like life or death," the Oscar nominee, 35, told Geist when asked about the experience of having a panic attack during her "Sunday Sitdown" interview. "That's what a panic attack is, really. Your body just goes into fight or flight. The endorphin rush and the dump that happens after the panic attack is so extraordinary. You just feel so relieved and your body is just kind of recovered, in a way. It's so bizarre because it's physiological but it starts in your head."

She added, "It never goes away."

A panic attack is defined as a sudden episode of intense fear or anxiety that triggers physical reactions despite no actual threat of danger. They are surprisingly common in the United States, as an estimated 2.4 million Americans have at least one panic attack in a given year

Seyfried has been transparent about her mental health in the past. She began seeing a psychiatrist in her late teens due to anxiety about unfounded health concerns, and found that it helped her manage her anxiety, as well as her obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

Actress Amanda Seyfried spoke candidly about how she has experienced panic attacks. (Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
Actress Amanda Seyfried spoke candidly about how she has experienced panic attacks. (Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

"A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is," Seyfried told Allure in 2016. "It should be taken as seriously as anything else. You don’t see the mental illness: It’s not a mass; it’s not a cyst. But it’s there."

Seyfried has also been an outspoken advocate for medication as a form of treatment, as she has been taking antidepressants since she was 19 and has said that she has no plans to stop.

"Yeah, I’m on Lexapro, and I’ll never get off of it," she told Allure. "I’ve been on it since I was 19, so 11 years. I’m on the lowest dose. I don’t see the point of getting off of it. Whether it’s placebo or not, I don’t want to risk it. And what are you fighting against? Just the stigma of using a tool."

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