Clay Aiken is cool, calm, collected and a natural crooner when onstage. Off-stage is another story, the American Idol runner-up revealed.
Clay Aiken told People magazine that he suffered from panic attacks when meeting fans. “I’d walk into a room and say to myself, ‘I am not going to have a problem when these people stare at me,'” Aiken told the magazine. “But then [in] that situation, my heart would start pumping, and I’d start sweating and looking around nervously and shaking. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack.” “I said ‘Listen, I don’t want to go to a therapist.'” Clay said of conversations he had with his doctor to discuss the attacks. “I have nothing against therapists. I want to think I can do this on my own. And she recommended that I try a medication… Now I can sit here; I can go into a store; I can handle a photo shoot. I’m able to get rid of all that stuff in the periphery. It makes everything easier.” Clay’s doctor prescribed the anti-anxiety medication Paxil to help the singer control his panic attacks. The singer also helped his recovery by choosing to move away from the stress of Hollywood and back to his home of Raleigh, North Carolina.