Does Zack Greinke have a Disorder?

In this blog post, we will be answering the question, “Does Zack Greinke have a Disorder?”, and cover who is Zack Greinke, what is a social anxiety disorder, its causes, symptoms, and treatment. We will also answer frequently asked questions

Does Zack Greinke have a Disorder?

Yes, Zack Greinke has a social anxiety disorder and we will be talking about his disorder in detail below.

Social anxiety disorder is one of the anxiety disorders in which a person suffering from it gets extremely anxiousness when they are in social situations and they try to avoid social situation as much as they can. 

Who is Zack Greinke?

Donald Zackary Greinke 

Donald Zackary Greinke was born in the year 1983 on October 21st. He is an American professional baseball pitcher, born in Orlando, Florida, to teachers Donald and Marsha Greinke. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Houston Astros, and Arizona Diamondbacks. 

His professional career started back in 2002 when the Royals selected him after he won the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award as a senior in high school. He played in minor leagues and had impressed many onlookers after which he finally made his MLB debut in 2004. 

He was 20 years old and the youngest one in the majors. He has a pretty good run and he recorded his first career win on June 8 that year, when he pitched seven scoreless innings against the Montreal Expos. 

Still, in the off-season of 2005, things began to go downhill for Greinke. In the year 2006, he was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder with accompanying depression. During this time, he later confessed that he nearly quit baseball. 

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

Social anxiety as described by American Psychological Association is as follows  

‘fear of social situations in which something embarrassing may occur (e.g., making conversation, meeting strangers, dating) or there is a risk of being negatively evaluated by others (e.g., seen as stupid, weak, or anxious). 

Social anxiety involves apprehensiveness about one’s social status, role, and behavior. When the anxiety causes an individual significant distress or impairment in functioning, a diagnosis of social phobia may be warranted.’ (APA, 2013)

While it is completely normal to feel nervous in some social situations, in social anxiety disorder/social phobia, daily interactions cause significant anxiety, extreme self-consciousness, and also embarrassment due to no apparent reason but because you fear being a subject of scrutiny or the fear of being judged negatively by others. 

Avoidance due to fear and anxiety can significantly disrupt your life and your relationships, daily routines, work, school or other activities can become a source of severe stress. 

The disorder can be a chronic mental health condition in most cases, but learning how to cope in psychotherapy and taking medications if and when necessary can help you gain confidence and also improve communication skills. 

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Symptoms of social anxiety disorder

The symptoms of social anxiety disorder are as follows:

Emotional and behavioral symptoms: 

  • anxiety and fear in significantly high levels, 
  • panic attacks, 
  • negative emotional cycles, 
  • nervousness, 
  • dysmorphia (in this context, obsessive concern pertaining to real or perceived flaw) of some part of their body, most commonly the face. 
  • They avoid situations where they think they might have to be the center of attention.
  • They refrain from participating in any activity where they think they might be embarrassed. 
  • Due to the above fear they may completely isolate themselves and quite their job or school
  • Unable to cope, they might abuse substance and alcohol.

Physical symptoms: 

  • rapid heat-beat, blushing, trembling
  • Excessive perspiration, stomach trouble, throat and mouth going dry, dizziness, muscle tension or twitches. 

Causes and risk factors of social anxiety disorder

Like other mental health illnesses, social phobia likely arises from a complex interaction of environmental and biochemical factors. 


Most serious mental health disorders tend to run in families. However, it isn’t entirely clear as to how much of this may be due to the genes or how it is passed on and just how much is learned behavior.

Structure of the brain: 

Amygdala has been studied to play a role in controlling the fear response. An overactive amygdala in people may give rise to high responses to fear that causes increased anxiety in social situations.


Social anxiety disorder also is a learned behavior when some people develop significant anxiety after a social situation that is unpleasant. Also, there may be an association between social anxiety disorder and parents from where children learn to model anxious behavior in social situations or with children having overprotective and restrictive parents. 

The risk factors hence include negative experiences like bullying or a situation which has been extremely embarrassing to you, family conflict, trauma, family history, temperament, getting a lot of unwanted attention, having to meet new people or speak in front of strangers etc. 

Treatment and management of social anxiety disorder

The treatment required is person specific and depends on how much the disorder affects the ability to function effectively in daily life. The most common treatment for social anxiety disorder includes psychotherapy or medications or both.


Like any mental health condition, psychotherapy helps improve symptoms in most people with social phobia or social anxiety disorder. In therapy, people learn how to recognize, evaluate and change negative thoughts about oneself and help develop skills to gain confidence in social situations. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) 

It is the most common and also effective type of psychotherapy for any kind of anxiety, and it can reap considerable benefits when conducted individually or in groups. In a type of CBT called exposure-based CBT, people gradually work up to facing the situations they fear most. 

This can improve coping skills and help develop the confidence to deal with anxiety-provoking situations. Participating in skills training or role-playing is also encouraged to practice social skills and establish comfort and confidence in others. 

Practicing exposures to social situations is particularly helpful to challenge your worries. People start off by imagining the exposure by themselves, then role-playing and when there are improvements, people start talking in front of very small groups, preferably in front of people they know first, and then escaping the scale.


Medication along with psychotherapy is a useful form of treatment for many, but not all, people with a social anxiety disorder/social phobia. According to research, the use of anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, and certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used in tandem with CBT have been beneficial most times. 

Greinke’s struggles with his mental health

Coming back to Zack, he was always a quiet child who kept to himself. Even at his clubhouse, he was said to be quiet and awkward. 

After being diagnosed Greinke almost quit the game, however, baseball was something he loved and even though he does not like the idea of interviews, social meetings, fan meetings and anything which accompanies baseball, he decided that he should stick around doing something he loves. 

He later told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “I was done playing, I’m surprised I came back, to tell you the truth.” Greinke had some help and medication, after which he did come back, and he stood by for what the Royals saw when they drafted him in the first round out of high school. 

Right now he is already in the Hall of Fame, however that does not mean that he wants it, and it definitely doesn’t mean that his anxiety just disappeared.

Mental health issues among sports persons’ has been covered up since forever but these dyas players are willing to admit their issues and speak up. Being in the public eye, especially in sports where the players are required to uphold their teammates and their fans, having social anxiety is extremely scary and harmful. 

Zack himself was always criticized for his lack of proper responses during interviews or with fans. I mean think about it, a person with social phobia already has enough anxiety while facing someone and to know that people are really criticizing him is a nightmare. 

Though they might be in sports where keeping up with all the stuff apart from baseball is said to be important, it is not necessary to comply with everything. Now with proper help and of course retaining some of his ‘ odd’ nature, Zack Greinke found his peace and manages his social phobia/social anxiety disorder quite well. 


We answered the question, “Does Zack Greinke have a Disorder?”, and covered what is a social anxiety disorder, who is Zack Greinke, his struggles with his mental health, and how social anxiety disorder can be treated. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Does Zack Greinke have a Disorder?

Is Zack Greinke mentally ill?

In the year 2006, Zack Greinke was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder with accompanying depression. He is now managing his diagnosis quite well. 

What medication is Zack Greinke on?

Greinke, when diagnosed with social phobia, started taking treatment and took Zoloft, an antidepressant used by millions of people. He still takes his medication as necessary till date. 

Is Zack Greinke socially awkward? 

Greinke comes off as socially awkward due to his social anxiety disorder. He was always upfront regarding his diagnosis and states that he is not comfortable with social situations and he avoids them. 

What are the side effects of Zoloft?

The side effects might include, headache, nausea, restlessness, fatigue, increased perspiration, insomnia etc. 

Why does anxiety affect sports performance? 

Sometimes, a sportsperson can be feeling overwhelming fear, where they may be unable to move, talk or play at all. Pre-competitive anxiety also develops as an inability to concentrate before an upcoming event or competition and if the athlete is unable to concentrate on the game at hand, they cannot give their performance full attention and perform their best. 

How do I stop anxiety before sports?

Limit the caffeine intake and be prepared. Imagine yourself playing the sport and being calm, practice well, and do not focus on what can go wrong, rather focus on what you can do to do your best. Avoid self-doubt. 


American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, American Psychiatric Publishing, Washington, D.C., 2013: Pages 197-203.

ADAA. Social Anxiety Disorder. Available at:

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!