It started after a horrific experience she had as a teenager.
Singer Lady Gaga revealed that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder on a segment of “Today” filmed at a homeless shelter for LGBTQ youth. Gaga began experiencing symptoms of the disorder after she was raped at the age of 19.
“I told the kids today, ‘I suffer from PTSD.’ I’ve never told anyone that before. So, here we are,” she told “Today.” “But, the kindness that’s been shown to me by doctors as well as my family, and my friends — it’s really saved my life.”
Throughout Gaga’s career, she has been open about being raped by a music producer when she was a teenager. She wrote about coping with the trauma in her Academy-Award-nominated song “Til it Happens to You” but never discussed her PTSD symptoms. PTSD sufferers often experience nightmares, repeated thoughts of the assault, negative changes in thoughts and feelings, edginess, and difficulty sleeping. Studies have shown a relationship between PTSD and heightened suicide risk as well.
Gaga’s revelation that she has PTSD opens up an important dialog about the disorder. Most people associate PTSD with war trauma, but not sexual assault. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, almost all women experience PTSD symptoms in the two weeks immediately following a rape and 30% of women report symptoms of PTSD nine months after the assault. By raising awareness of the link between sexual assault and PTSD, we can better care for those affected by the debilitating disorder.